Of the 255+ posts published on these pages in 2015, we’ve been fortunate to publish some of the big ideas from experts in the industry. A little more than a dozen contributors put their ideas to ink and allowed us to share these with the legal community. This post summarized those contributions into one cohesive piece.
1. Producing Better Law Firm Video
Law firms could do much to improve the use of new video platforms and media argues Helen Bertelli, a veteran PR and marketing executive with Infinite Spada. She explains how law firms need to train their teams, experiment with new tools, and hire and empower visual artists to help them produce better video content.
2. Law Firm Brands Shaped by Client Experience
“Branding is a symbol of firm competence that transcends individual attorney competence,” writes Brian Kennel, a law firm consultant with PerformLaw. “While most clients hire lawyers more so than firms, a good brand behind a talented lawyer adds value.” Mr. Kennel explains that a branding process should focus on how the market interprets a firm’s brand and then align the reality of the firm’s service offerings to support that brand.
3. Winning Legal Innovation
As law firms are challenged to do more with less, innovative thinking wins the day and beats the competition. If they don’t innovate, they’ll end up falling behind according to David Galbenski of Lumen Legal. The consultant, author and frequent guest speaker, suggests six ways in which law firms, corporate legal departments, and the legal services industry at large can embrace change and promote innovative thinking in 2016.
4. Law Firm Techies: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Jeffrey Brandt, CIO at Jackson Kelly PLLC and editor of the PinHawk Law Technology Daily Digest, takes readers for a trip into the creative world of sci-fi and an introduction to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Mr. Brandt explains the possibilities of VDI and also addresses the practical limitations of the technology . . . as of today, that is.
5. Unfinished Business in the Workplace
“It’s no secret that our legal profession faces an embarrassing dilemma: There is a 17 percent pay gap between men and women across the profession and an 18 percent gap in Big Law,” writes Monica Bay, the longtime editor-in-chief of Legaltech News who now serves as a fellow at Stanford’s CodeX. Bay takes on the important topic of gender imbalance in the workplace and argues that organizations must rethink their approach if they want to attract and retain the best talent.
6. Virtual Law Firms and Technology
“Operating an efficient virtual law firm and using case management software goes hand in hand,” writes Stacey Romberg, an attorney in Seattle. She took a “leap of faith” in 1999 and started her own virtual law firm. Virtual law comes with its own unique challenges and advantages including specific technology requirements which she spelled out for us earlier this year.
7. Modern Clients want Modern Law Firms
The new generation of modern law firm clients “want less service and expect lower fees. They are ‘do-it-yourselfer’s’. They diagnose themselves on WebMD and want to Skype with a doctor to get a prescription,” writes Camille Stell of Lawyers Mutual. “Trying to apply 20th-century solutions to 21st-century clients simply won’t work,” she says and “It will result in sour client relations, which in turn will produce bar grievances and malpractice claims.”
8. 12 Steps in a Small Law Firm Strategy
“The importance of communication in this part of the process cannot be overemphasized,” writes Charity Anastasio, a Practice Management Advisor with the WSBA Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP). In an epic post on strategic planning for small law firms, she says, “It is essential that transparency be the rule and that everyone in the firm be compliant with the changes, at a minimum, and optimistic and excited about them as an ideal.”
9. Forget Stockings, Stuff Envelopes
While some in the industry swear by conferences for networking and law firm business development, Derek Maine of Teague Campbell Dennis & Gorham, LLP, suggests what’s old is new again. “You need to stuff envelopes.”
10. What Inside & Outside Counsel Have in Common
If we compare the lists of complaints corporate counsel and law firm partners have about each other, Timothy B. Corcoran of the Corcoran Consulting Group suggests we’ll find items in common. He offers a list of creative ideas to build a roadmap for improved collaboration.
11. Lessons Learned in Law Firm CRM
“CRM is the technology that helps a firm better understand and manage the relationships with clients, prospects and referral sources,” writes wrote Deb Dobson of Fisher & Phillips LLP. “While legal tends to lag behind in technology adoption, it is critical for firms to adopt and embrace a Client Relationship Management system (CRM) in order to compete.”
12. eDiscovery: Insource or Outsource
“With every unique organization starting from a different vantage point and facing varying possible outcomes, this decision-making process can seem overwhelmingly complicated,” according to George Socha of Socha Consulting LLC, and co-founder of EDRM, a guideline and standards organization creating practical resources to improve eDiscovery and information governance.
13. Reverse Engineering Client Selection
Hinge Marketing spoke to 130 legal industry experts and surveyed “1,028 professional services purchasers who bought services in a wide range of industries, including about 40% of whom purchased legal services” to reverse engineer the buyer’s journey in small law. The bottom line? “Historically, many law firms have relied on referrals and references as their primary source of new business,” writes Lee Frederiksen. “And while references are still important, they are no longer sufficient for law firms looking to increase growth and profitability.”
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Note: This list compiled with assistance from Daryn Teague.
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