A Better Firm Website: Keep Your Website Content Up-To-Date

On the day your website was created, it was beautiful to you. After spending a few thousand bucks, your firm officially had a real estate on the internet. Your attorney bio pages were filled with all of the self-promotional puffery your attorneys could think of – class ranks, Martindale rankings, awards from local bar associations. It was beautiful. To you. But it never really drove business to your law firm. You didn’t understand why, but it never really troubled you either. You could find your law firm website on Google whenever you typed in the full name, and that’s all you needed. That was seven years ago. This is what your law firm website looks like to people today: Why it’s important to have updated website content 1) To ensure you have the correct information What good is spending any time or effort on a website, which is your primary real estate on the internet, if the information isn’t accurate? An out-of-date website is likely to cause those who visit considerable confusion if the information isn’t correct. I recall having difficulty convincing a client that I worked at my firm because the website hadn’t yet been updated to list me as an attorney. Worse, if your website fails to list – or lists inaccurately – your law firm’s practice areas, you could lose out on the business of people who intend to hire you, but don’t see their particular type of problem listed on your website. 2) To avoid ethical pitfalls Attorney advertising can be a little like walking through a minefield, but with shifting conditions. Walking a specific... read more

5 Proven Tips for Better Social Media Marketing

Sunny San Diego. I’d quote Ron Burgundy, but that seems a little inappropriate. Last month, San Diego was host for Social Media Marketing World 2015 conference. Many of the world’s top social media marketers gathered to talk about the current and future world of social media. (For anyone interested, they have put a lot of the presentations from the conference online. It’s worth a look.) There were plenty of important takeaways for anyone who uses social media for any aspect of their business. For lawyers and law firms, an industry that hasn’t really jumped on board with social yet, there may have been more. Among the important aspects, the conference gives our profession the chance to innovate with strategies that have been tested by some of the best in the social media marketing industry. So lawyers, here are 5 Proven Tips for Better Social Media Marketing: 1) Video is the king of content… on all networks. There’s really no way for me to say (again) how critical video content is for effectively marketing your law firm. Whether it’s on your website, in your ads, or in your social media content, you simply cannot reach the same audience without it. Everyone knows how big YouTube has gotten, but you may have missed how effective video embedded directly onto Facebook can be. 57% of professional marketers are using video in some portion of their marketing. 72% plan on using video marketing in the near future. There are plenty of tools available to help you too. Whether you’re looking for professional grade video editing (Final Cut Pro just announced an upgrade allowing you... read more

LinkedIn Elevate: Because Your Employees are Cooler than You

One undeniable truth about social media is that, no matter how you measure success, the number of people you’re connected to will always be an important part. Why? Because, for the most part, your ability to be “social” is dependent to the number of people you are “networked” to. It makes a lot of sense. Along those lines, it’s always helpful to remember that people prefer to connect to other people rather than to businesses. For example, LinkedIn estimates that the average user has ten times as many connections as companies have followers. So, if you’re a company with content you want shared, it makes sense to ask your employees to help get the word out. More connections = better distribution. LinkedIn Elevate is the newest attempt to do just that. Your law firm’s content could use a boost. As a recent post on The Next Web described, LinkedIn has really gone all in on content recently. Between the creation of LinkedIn Pulse and the development as LinkedIn as a publishing platform, they want to be the place that professionals go for industry news. And, if we look at it objectively, it’s been pretty successful. Personally, the plurality of my blog traffic comes from LinkedIn, and I don’t even use the LinkedIn publisher (although based on that last sentence, I probably should). According to social media guru Kevin O’Keefe, one of the crucial ways for law firms to get their content to a wider audience is for employees to share the content with their own networks. Part of that post is based on a finding from the New York... read more

Cyber Attack War Games: Where Are You Vulnerable?

If there was a cyber attack on your business, would you know what to do? No, not would your IT guy know what to do. Would you know what to do? That’s a question that Deloitte, one of the world’s top security companies, asked at a recent “cyber-incident war gaming” session held in New York, as reported by PC World. For seven years, Deloitte has invited business executives to their war games to help improve readiness for a cyber attack. This year, they tried something a bit different: With massive corporate hacks fresh in the minds of the public, Deloitte’s war games sought to give their educational program a global feel. While it’s absolutely critical that your IT staff are able to respond immediately to a cyber attack, some of the most important parts of your response will happen away from your IT office. It’s a Company-Wide Problem with Company-Wide Solutions One of the biggest problems with the way most businesses respond to cyber attacks is they think of it as an IT problem. Deloitte decided that this year was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate just how wrong that philosophy is. Taking their cue from the Sony, Target, Anthem and Home Depot hacks, Deloitte designed this year’s war games simulation around an entire company. A fictional retail chain called Your Living suffered a massive cyber attack. Purchase histories of two million customers had been posted for sale online. Sales were dropping, competitors were swooping in, and the media was issuing daily barrages of bad PR. Not a good scene. War Games and the “Your Living” Hack The seven participants were put... read more

4 High Tech Ways to Improve Your Depositions

Last week I had the (good?) fortune to attend two depositions spanning three days in a construction defect case. We represent a fairly peripheral sub-contractor, so despite exceeding 2o total hours, I didn’t get the opportunity to ask a single question. However, we’re not so peripheral that I could completely space out. Over the course of three days, which included the introduction of about 100 exhibits (I’m impressed at the plaintiff’s counsel’s restraint, except when you consider that many exhibits exceeded 250 pages each), I listened intently. Or as intently as possible. Until the other part of my brain, the part that writes this blog, kicked in. I analyzed what I thought was an intelligent, if complicated, system put in place that uses Dropbox for sharing exhibits. But that was really it. No video, no digital exhibits, remote participants listening by phone. I couldn’t help but think that there had to be a better way than this. These ideas, in and of themselves, are not new. Some are even widely implemented in some jurisdictions. But their use is certainly not widespread or universal. Here are 4 High Tech Ways  to Improve Your Depositions: 1) Record the deposition on multiple video feeds The depositions I attended were not videotaped. Personally, I do not understand why anyone wouldn’t record video of a deposition – there are so many benefits. Whether your court reporting service has a videographer, or your paralegal operates a camcorder, you should videotape your depositions. However, I’ve recently learned of a new practice by some court reporter videographers. They use multiple cameras, one trained on the witness, and the other trained... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – March 2015

Well, the Madness of March has come and gone. I’m sure most of you, like me, had your brackets obliterated early on (much appreciated, Iowa State and Virginia), and only the random guy from Wisconsin in your office is even getting points for the championship game. In addition, it was also another great month for apps. I had to leave off several pretty cool apps. Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in March 2015: Multi-Platform: Caliber by Tiplinks, Inc. (iOS, Android), free. Technically, Caliber is not a new app. It was released last year, and this version is technically Caliber 2.0. But Caliber IS a new app, completely redesigned, and definitely worthwhile. And the updated version seems as though it was designed with attorneys in mind. Caliber is a contacts app that connects with your LinkedIn profile (the most popular social network for lawyers by far), and imports your contacts. Once that’s done, Caliber asks you for your interests, and begins suggesting relevant professionals you might want to connect with. What happens next really should be a lesson for LinkedIn. If the person you want to connect with has Caliber, the invitation will appear in the app. If not, it’ll go through LinkedIn. If they respond, you get added to their contacts. Caliber even offers a limited text system that many will find more convenient than LinkedIn’s InMail. Stre.am by Infinite Takes, LLC (iOS, Android), free. Unless you either live under a rock or spent the last month in depositions in construction defect cases (like me), you’ve by now heard about the app sensation Meerkat. Although there’s a decent... read more

4 New Facebook Tools Perfect for Unbundled Legal Services

For many attorneys, talking about unbundled legal services ranks right up with non-lawyer ownership as forbidden topics. Hell, if you’re one of the several state bar groups who has sued Legal Zoom, it may be even worse. However, there’s no way to talk about how technology can benefit lawyers without giving appropriate recognition to unbundling. We see it everywhere. From eDiscovery to legal forms, it’s all around. As many have suggested, unbundled legal services are the future, and failure to adopt could result in being left behind. So you’ve decided to adopt. You created yourself a nice little forms library, and most of them sit unused on your infrequently visited website. Your new products need a platform to be marketed. Fortunately, Facebook just released a bunch of new tools that seem tailor-made for marketing your unbundled legal services: 1) Product Carousel Ads Facebook has long offered promotional posts, but they have been fairly restrictive as far as content is concerned. Each ad has a headline, text, a photo, and a link – and each ad would link to one particular landing page. No longer. Facebook now allows you to advertise several products in one ad: If you have a package of multiple forms for small businesses, try different combinations. You can advertise up to six, so maybe one is your small business creation ad, with LLC formation, articles of organization and sample bylaws. Or if you sell form wills, maybe rotate a couple different types of trusts. It doesn’t have to be products, either, so you can raise awareness for your law firm’s practice areas as well. Remember, advertising... read more

What Happens When You Get Hacked? Cyber Attack Anatomy

Too many lawyers and law firms are convinced that even if hacking is a problem, they’re not a target. Law firms tend to be too small, too insignificant compared to the likes of Sony Universal or Anthem Health Insurance to get hacked. If you believe this, you’re sorely mistaken. Not only is the situation vastly different than you imagine – hackers attack the little guys too – but your vulnerability is worse. Not only will you have to deal with the financial fallout of being hacked, you’ll have to deal with the ethical implications as well. What can be done? Well, a lot of things, really. But nothing prepares a person to handle a difficult situation like knowledge. Knowing what it means to be hacked – not the feeling like you’ve just been robbed, but an actual understanding of how it happened – is critical. Here’s what it is to get hacked – an anatomy of a cyber attack: 1) Reconnaissance The first phase of a hack is basic – recon. At this point, it’s all about information gathering. Using publicly available information, the hacker or hackers will gather all possible information on the target of the intended hack. This information can be technical – such as IP addresses, information on network infrastructure, hardware, or even passwords – or nontechnical – such as office social structures or location information. To get this information, hackers might look to search engines, social networks, the Domain Name System (which contains important information about the owner of a website), or even a company’s website itself. Importantly, there are no attacks at this point. The... read more

A Better Firm Website: Mobile Friendly or Else!

Have you ever used your smartphone or tablet to look something up on the internet? Stupid question, right? Of course you have. Whether you’re looking up the menu of a restaurant your friend suggested, the hours of the local coffee shop, or whether there’s a coupon available for your oil change. Guess what, people are starting to look for lawyers the same way you look for restaurants – on the internet. Many, if not most, of them will be looking up your law firm directly from their smartphone or tablet. Just like you, they hate it when the websites they want to see aren’t designed to work well on mobile devices. Oh, and Google hates it too. And Google’s decided to do something about it. As of April 21, 2015, Google will start penalizing websites that aren’t “mobile friendly.” That’s right, your search engine ranking, that number you paid those marketing guys to improve will suddenly get worse if your website doesn’t work well for mobile. So what’s behind Google’s move, and what can you do? 1) Why does Google care about mobile friendly websites? First and foremost, Google cares for the exact same reason you should care: your customers care. More and more, people are looking to the internet to shop. Along with that, more and more are doing so from their mobile devices. A study released just last week indicates that as much as 60% of all consumer internet searches are happening from mobile devices. People tend to want some sort of resolution to whatever problem is on their mind at any given time. Whether they happen to... read more

8 Simple Cyber Security Rules You Need to Know

Your firm is a target for hackers. That’s right. They want valuable data. You’ve got it. A lot of it. And it’s nicely organized and, usually, poorly protected. And just in case you weren’t paying attention, if they do get it, you’re probably going to have to answer to more than just your client (as if that wasn’t bad enough). Civil damages and ethics charges are two of the fabulous prizes you could earn thanks to your poor security. Yet, there are rays of hope! No system is perfect, no security is absolute. But here are 8 Simple Cyber Security Rules You Need to Know: 1) Cyber security is complicated, so first, educate yourself There are a lot of places you can go to get the basic information to keep yourself updated on security. Regardless which one (or more) you choose, you have to choose one. Securing your information in a tech-savvy world isn’t taught in law school, and the only thing you gain by being unaware is an increased likelihood of committing legal malpractice (and, of course, getting hacked). You can’t be in a position to lead if you haven’t educated yourself. It won’t be the blind leading the blind. If you claim to lead without knowing what you’re talking about, everyone will be able to see it clearly. 2) Create an inclusive culture of cyber security Contrary to popular belief, the greatest threat to your firm’s data security is your employees. Sure, if your client base manages to get the attention of China’s weapons developers, or you represent Sony pictures, you might have to focus on foreign hackers. But... read more
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