Collaboration That Works: 2017 LMA Technology Conference Midwest

The event will be held on September 25th and 26th at the University Club of Chicago. Check out more about this years Technology Conference Midwest and LMA!

 

The National Law Review is proud to be this year’s Metabyte Sponsor!

The New Competition – Emerging Legal Technologies Out of Silicon Valley

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In January, the National Law Review had pleasure of attending theAnnual Marketing Partner Forum in beautiful Rancho Palos Altos, California. Programing was provided by the Legal Executives Institute at Thomson Reuters and featured over 15 hours of dynamic workshops. Hundreds of  marketing partners, managing partners, in-house counsel and senior-level marketing and business development professionals were in attendance.

The “New Competition” program featured emerging legal technologies within Silicon Valley. Catherine Hammack of Jurispect, Monica Zent of Foxwordy, and Daniel Lewis of Ravel Law each showcased their innovative technologies and shared their thoughts as to where innovation is taking the legal industry in 2015.

“Jurispect will help fundamentally transform how companies operate by providing organizations with a real-time analytical view of both exposure and opportunities to take proactive steps to manage legal and regulatory risk.” – Catherine Hammack

Catherine was present on two momentous occasions in U.S. financial history: as an intern at Arthur Anderson when Enron was indicted, and as a first-day associate at Bingham McCutchen the day Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, and the start of the financial crisis in 2008.  Following her time at Bingham as a financial litigator, she transitioned to join Google’s Policy team, where her perspective on legal services dramatically changed.

Catherine Hammack of Jurispect - Real-time regulatory analytics for better business decisions

As Catherine elaborated in a post-conference interview: “There was a huge gap between the way law firms traditionally provide counsel and the way companies need information to make business decisions.” She was surrounded by engineers and data scientists who were analyzing vasts amounts of data with cutting edge technology.  Catherine became interested in adapting these technologies for managing risk in the legal and regulatory industries.  Inspired by Google’s data-driven decision making policies, she founded Jurispect.

Jurispect is a tool that companies can use to track legal and regulatory changes relevant to their industry, and possibly to identify risks earlier on to help avoid future Enrons and Lehman Brothers. Currently, Jurispect is geared toward companies in the financial services and technology space, and will be expanding into other regulated industries in the very near future.  Key decision makers in the corporate legal, compliance and risk departments of companies are benefitting from Jurispect’s actionable intelligence. The user’s experience is customized: Jurispect’s technology adjusts based on user profile settings and company attributes. As the user continues to utilize Jurispect, its algorithms continuously calibrate to improve the relevancy of information presented to each user.

Jurispect - New Legal technology emerging out of silicon valley

Jurispect’s team of seasoned experts in engineering, data science, product management, marketing, legal and compliance collaborated to develop the latest machine learning and semantic analysis technologies. These technologies are used to aggregate information across regulatory agencies, including sources such as policy statements and enforcement actions.  Jurispect also analyzes information in relevant press releases, and coverage by both industry bodies and mainstream news.  The most time-saving aspect of Jurispect are the results that coalesce into user-friendly reports to highlight the importance and relevance of the regulatory information to their company.  Users can view this intelligence in the form of notifications, trends, and predictive analytics reports.  Jurispect makes data analytics work for legal professionals so they spend less time searching, and more time on higher level competencies.  As Catherine elaborated, “We believe that analytics are quickly becoming central to any technology solution, and the regulatory space is no exception.”

“Foxwordy is ushering in the era of the social age for lawyers and for the legal industry.” – Monica Zent

Monica is an experienced entrepreneur and had already been running a successful alternative law firm practice when she founded Foxwordy. Foxwordy is a private social network that is exclusively for lawyers.  Monica reminded the audience that we are, remarkably, ten years into the social media experience and all attorneys should consider a well rounded social media toolkit that includes Foxwordy, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Monica Zent of Foxwordy - the first private social network for lawyers

However, as Monica elaborated in a post-conference interview, LinkedIn, for example, “falls short of the needs of professionals like lawyers who are in a space that is regulated; where there’s privacy, [and] professional ethics standards.” As an experienced attorney and social seller, Monica understands that lawyers’ needs are different from other professionals that use the more mainstream and very public social networks, which is why she set out to create Foxwordy.

Foxwordy is currently available to licensed attorneys, those who are licensed but not currently practicing but regularly involved in the business of law, certified paralegals, and will eventually open up to law students. Anyone who fits the above criteria can request membership by going to the homepage, and all potential members go through a vetting process to ensure that they are a member of the legal community.  At its inception, the Foxwordy team expected to see more millennials and solo practitioners taking advantage of the opportunity to network on Foxwordy. Those populations have joined as expected, but what was surprising is how the product resonated across all demographics, positions and segments of the legal industry. Foxwordy has seen general counsels, in-house counsels, solo practitioners, major law firm partners, law school deans, judges, politicians and more become members.

Foxwordy logo -socal media network for lawyers

Foxwordy is currently available to join and will be emerging out of public beta around summertime this year.  As Monica said during her presentation “Time is the new currency”, and what the Foxwordy team has found via two clinical trials is that engaging Foxwordy saves lawyers an average of two hours per day. Membership includes all the core social features such as a profile page, connecting with others, the ability to ask questions and engage anonymously, exchange referrals, and exchange other information and resources. Free members experience all the core functions fully and there is a premium membership that is available with enhanced features and unlimited use of Foxwordy. In the closing thoughts of her post-conference interview, Monica shared that “the ability to engage anonymously and discreetly, yet at the same time collaborate with our legal colleagues and engage with them on a social level has been very powerful.”

“There is an amazing opportunity to use data analytics and technology to create a competitive edge for lawyers amidst all of this information…” – Daniel Lewis

Data analytics and technology has been used in many different fields to predict successful results. In his presentation, Daniel pointed out that fields traditionally considered more art than science have benefitted from the use of data analytics to predict accurate results.

Daniel Lewis of Ravel Law - use data analytics and technology to create a competitive edge for lawyers

Having conducted metrics-based research and advocacy while at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and observing how data-driven decision making was being used in areas like baseball and politics, Daniel was curious why the legal industry had fallen so far behind. Even though the legal field is often considered to be slow moving, there are currently over 11 million opinions in the U.S. judicial system with more than 350,000 new opinions issued per year. There is also a glut of secondary material that has appeared on the scene in the form of legal news sources, white papers, law blogs and more. Inspired by technology’s ability to harness and utilize vast amounts of information, Daniel founded Ravel Law to accommodate the dramatically growing world of legal information.

Ravel Law is optimized for all lawyers across the country. Currently, thousands of associates, partners, and in-house counsel are using Ravel.  Ravel has as also begun working with 30 of the top law schools around the country, with thousands of law students learning how to use it right alongside legal research staples such as Westlaw and LexisNexis.  Professors and students around the country have also independently discovered Ravel and are using and teaching it.  When asked why he works with law schools, Daniel said “We work with schools because students are always the latest generation and have the highest expectations about how technology should work for them.”  Students have given the Ravel team excellent feedback and have grown into a loyal user base over the past few years. Once these students graduate, they introduce Ravel to their firms. Ravel’s user base has been growing very quickly and they have only released a small portion of what their technology is ultimately capable of.

Ravel Law Logo - A New View on Legal Research

Ravel’s team of PhDs and technical advisors from Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook, has coded advanced search algorithms to determine what is relevant, thereby enhancing legal research’s effectiveness and efficiency. Ravel provides insights, rather than simply lists of related materials, by using big data technologies such as machine learning, data visualization, advanced statistics and natural language processing.  In a post-conference follow up Daniel elaborates: “Our visualizations then show how the results connect in context, helping people understand the legal landscape very rapidly as well as find needles in the haystack.” Ravel guides users toward analysis of relevant passages in a particular case, without navigating away from the original case or conducting a new search. Daniel and his colleagues will be launching more new features this year and are looking forward to continuing to “transform how attorneys search and understand all legal information.”

40 Essential Apps For Trial Lawyers, Part Two

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As we noted in Part One of this post, iPads have become ubiquitous in courtrooms and depositions since lawyers use them for everything from keeping organized to presenting evidence. Since 2011, when BullsEye first surveyed some of the most popular apps for trial, the number of litigation-related apps has grown significantly.

When we recently decided to take another look at the best apps for trial lawyers, our list grew to 40. In Part One of this post, we covered apps for reviewing transcripts, conducting on-the-fly legal research, strategizing about settlement, and accessing dockets. In Part Two, we continue our look at 40 essential apps for trial lawyers.

Trial Presentation Apps

ExhibitView ($89.99). This app lets you organize and annotate exhibits and then present them wirelessly. Presentation tools include call-out features, highlight options, freehand pen tool, a laser pointer tool, and complete control of your output to a TV or projection device. Additional features include screenshot saving, creating alias names, and importing and exporting projects. For more functionality, there is a PC version of ExhibitView ($498, which includes the iPad app) in which you can prepare your exhibits and then transfer them to your iPad.

Keynote ($9.99). Although not designed specifically for trials, Apple’s Keynote is a popular presentation app among lawyers in the courtroom and elsewhere. You can use it to view, edit, and design presentations created in either Keynote ’09 or Microsoft PowerPoint. It allows video mirroring so that you can present on an HDTV while seeing a presenter view on your iPad that shows your slides and notes.

TrialDirector (free). This app enables you to create case folders on your iPad and then add exhibits, including video, through a Dropbox or iTunes account. Once you have added these exhibits, you can use the app to annotate and present them. If you have the TrialDirector 6 desktop application, which sells for an annual license of $695, you can prepare exhibits there and then export them to this app for presentation at trial.

TrialPad ($89.99). TrialPad is generally considered the leader among trial presentation apps. While it is also the priciest of these apps, it is comparable in its capabilities to far more expensive desktop applications. With TrialPad, you can highlight, annotate, redact, and zoom in on documents as you present them. You can also view and compare documents side-by-side, view and edit video, mark up an exhibit with annotations and call-outs and then save the mark-ups for your closing, and project wirelessly.

TrialTouch (free). TrialTouch provides on-the-go access to case materials including photographs, illustrations, 3D animations, medical imagery, video, and documents. It requires an account with the trial-graphics company DK Global.

Jury Selection and Monitoring Apps

iJuror ($29.99). This jury-selection app lets you record information about jurors, assign scores to jurors, assign color codes to jurors for visual reference, view juror demographics, and configure seating charts to match the courtroom. Information can be shared among multiple devices by exporting and importing via Dropbox. Information can also be shared via Bluetooth with someone else who is using iJuror.

iJury ($14.99). This app uses jurors’ responses to voir dire questions to assign them a score as negative or positive for your case. You start by creating a case profile and adding members of the jury pool. As they respond to the jury questionnaire, you tap a button to indicate whether each response is positive or negative to your case. The app records these responses and creates an overall grade.

JuryDuty ($39.99). Similar to other jury-selection apps, JuryDuty lets you add information and notes about each juror, prepare topics and questions for voir dire, create seating charts, and share information among members of your trial team via Bluetooth.

Jury Notepad ($4.99). From the same company that developed iJuror, Jury Notepad is designed specifically for creating, keeping, and organizing notes about jurors. It has a simpler interface that makes it easier to use on iPhones, but it can also be used on an iPad.

JuryPad ($24.99). This app is designed to make it easy for you to record, arrange, evaluate, and use juror information as well as create, edit, and reuse voir dire questions. A unique feature of JuryPad is its ability to take you on a “virtual tour” of jurors’ neighborhoods.

JuryStar ($39.99). Developed by a trial lawyer for use in selecting juries, JuryStar lets you enter and record voir dire questions and juror responses and demographic information. It uses color codes to help you rate jurors and make decisions about which jurors to strike.

Date Calculator Apps

Court Days Pro ($2.99). This is a legal calendaring app for the iPad and iPhone. It gives you the ability to calculate dates and deadlines based on a customizable database of court rules and statutes. Once you set a trigger event, the app displays a list of corresponding dates and deadlines. Dates appear within the app and can also be added to your device’s native calendar app.

DocketLaw (free). This app lets you calculate event dates and deadlines for free based on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For additional monthly fees, you can add subscriptions to rules-based calendars for specific state and federal courts. The cost varies by state and court. By way of example, you can add all New York courts for a monthly fee of $49.95.

Smart Dockets (free). Calculate dates and deadlines directly on your mobile device using court rules. Choose your court rule set, determine the trigger event, and enter the trigger date to calculate deadlines automatically.

Trial Preparation Apps

Courtroom Objections ($2.99). This app is a quick, simple guide to common courtroom objections and responses.

eDepoze (free). This app allows you to present deposition exhibits using an iPad. Users are able to introduce, mark, and share exhibits in real time, and the app allows participants to review and annotate their personal copies. The app is free, but use of the system must be purchased through a network of resellers, most of which are court reporting companies.

iTestimony ($9.99). Use this app to keep track of witness information and notes before and during trial and depositions. Assign avatars to each witness for easier identification. Information about witnesses can be shared with others by email.

TabLit: Trial Notebook ($89.99). This app is designed to enable a lawyer to walk into court with nothing but an iPad. It includes case documents, examination outlines, examination checklists, evidentiary checklists, case contacts, and other features.

E-Discovery Apps

eDiscovery Assistant ($29.99). This app is intended to provide access to key e-discovery information. As purchased, it includes access to the FRCP for e-discovery, pilot projects, key case digests identified by the editors, sample checklists and templates, a resources database, and a glossary of terms. For an additional monthly subscription of $15.99, you can also get access to all state and U.S. district court e-discovery rules, more than 3,000 digests of e-discovery decisions, and more than 50 checklists and templates.

E-Discovery Project Calculator (free). This free app lets you calculate and estimate the size of your e-discovery project. This tool will estimate document and page count based on the size of the job. It will also calculate the time and cost required to complete the project.

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This Week in Congress – February 2, 2015 re: 2016 Budget Proposal, DHS, and more

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President Obama will release his Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget proposal today, requesting roughly $4 trillion in spending for the upcoming year and specifying the Administration’s views on how and from what sources the federal government should be raising money and how and on what it should be spending it for the fiscal year beginning October 1.  The President’s budget sets off a fiscal showdown with the Republican-led Congress, whose members generally view the Administration’s proposals as higher taxes and higher government spending.  Many of President Obama’s cabinet members will be on Capitol Hill this week and in the coming weeks, testifying before House and Senate committees as to the merits of the budget proposal and highlighting areas of potential compromise as Congress develops its own budget for FY 2016.  Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will be before the House Ways and Means and Senate Budget Committees on Tuesday, while IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will be before the Senate Finance Committee.  On Wednesday, Shaun Donovan, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, is scheduled to appear before the House Budget Committee and Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, appears before the Senate Finance Committee.  In addition, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold the confirmation hearing this week for Ashton Carter to serve as Secretary of Defense.  With Committee Chairman John McCain’s strong desire for increased defense spending, the budget will no doubt be front and center in that hearing as well.

The House of Representatives returns to legislative business on Monday taking up three bills concerning programs at the Department of Homeland Security.  On Tuesday, the House will vote on H.R. 596, a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act while directing House committees to develop alternatives.  Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, Congress has voted 54 times on measures to repeal, revamp, or make technical changes to it.  On Wednesday, members will consider H.R. 50, the Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx.  This legislation, which passed the House in 2014 by a vote of 234-176, would impose stricter requirements for how and when federal agencies must disclose the cost of federal mandates and equips both Congress and the public with tools to determine the true costs of regulations.  On Thursday, the House will vote on H.R. 527, the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2015, sponsored by Representative Steve Chabot, which requires federal agencies to consider the economic effects of regulations on small business before imposing overly burdensome mandates that prevent growth and job creation.  This legislation has also passed the Republican-controlled House in the two previous Congresses.

The Senate returns on Monday and is expected to vote on H.R. 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, a bill that the House passed unanimously.  The bill would require annual evaluations of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ mental health and suicide prevention programs.  The Senate will then seek to turn to H.R. 240, an appropriations bill that will fund the Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of 2015; the current budget for DHS expires  Feb. 27. While the bill provides $40 in funding for DHS, it also blocks any of the funds from being used to carry out President Obama’s new immigration and deportation policy announced in an executive order last November.  President Obama has pledged to veto the measure if the immigration rider is included.  Leader McConnell is unlikely to be able to get the 60 votes needed on cloture on the motion to proceed to the appropriations bill.  Once the cloture vote fails, he will need to figure out an alternative means of considering the legislation.  He has put a clean Democratic DHS appropriations bill on the Senate Calendar under Rule 14, so moving to that bill after the failed cloture vote is one possibility.

In addition to the hearings focused on the President’s budget and on the Defense Secretary nomination, a list of other key congressional hearings this week is included below:

 Feb. 3

 House Committees

Global Threat Assessment
House Armed Services
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 3, 10 a.m., 2118 Rayburn Bldg.

Flu Preparation and Prevention
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 3, 10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S. Interests in Western Hemisphere
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 3, 11 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Immigration Law Assessment
House Judiciary
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 3, 11 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.

Inspectors General Oversight
House Oversight and Government Reform
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 3, 10:15 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.

NSF Research Facility Oversight
House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Oversight; House Science, Space and Technology – Subcommittee on Research and Technology
Committee Joint Hearing
Feb. 3, 10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.

Energy and Transportation Issues
House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 3, 10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Budget Issues – Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew
House Ways and Means
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 3, 10 a.m., 1300 Longworth Bldg.

Airport Access Control Measures
House Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Transportation Security
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 3, 2 p.m., 311 Cannon Bldg.

Wounded Warrior Program
House Armed Services – Subcommittee on Military Personnel
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 3, 3:30 p.m., 2118 Rayburn Bldg.

Senate Committees

Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission
Senate Armed Services
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 3, 9:30 a.m., G-50 Dirksen Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Budget – Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew
Senate Budget
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 3, 10 a.m., 608 Dirksen Bldg.

U.S.-Cuba Relations
Senate Foreign Relations – Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights and Global Women’s Issues
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 3, 10 a.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.

IRS Fiscal 2016 Budget Request – John Koskinen, Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service
Senate Finance
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 3, 10:30 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.

No Child Left Behind and Student Needs
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 3, 10 a.m., 216 Hart Bldg.

Joint Committees
Veterans Affairs Issues
House Veterans’ Affairs; Senate Veterans’ Affairs
Committee Other Event
Feb. 3 TBA, Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW

Feb. 4

House Committees

Military Compensation and Retirement Commission
House Armed Services
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 4, 10 a.m., 2118 Rayburn Bldg.

Fiscal 2016 Budget Issues – Shaun L.S. Donovan, Director, Office of Management and Budget
House Budget
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 4, 10:30 a.m., 210 Cannon Bldg.

U.S. Schools and Workplaces
House Education and the Workforce
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 4, 10 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.

HUD Ethical Oversight
House Financial Services – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 4, 10 a.m., 2167 Rayburn Bldg.

U.S.-Cuba Policy Assessment
House Foreign Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 4, 10 a.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Legal Workforce Act
House Judiciary – Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 4, 10 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.

Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act
House Judiciary – Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 4, 1 p.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.

Palestinian Authority and International Criminal Court
House Foreign Affairs – Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 4, 2 p.m., 2172 Rayburn Bldg.

Senate Committees

Secretary of Defense Nomination
Senate Armed Services
Full Committee Confirmation Hearing
Feb. 4, 9:30 a.m., G-50 Dirksen Bldg.

HHS Fiscal 2016 Budget Request – Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary, United States Department of Health and Human Services
Senate Finance
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 4, 10 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.

Cybersecurity and Private Sector Issues
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 4, 10 a.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

Implications of Immigration Action
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 4, 10 a.m., 342 Dirksen Bldg.

Vessel Discharge Regulations
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation – Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 4, 2:30 p.m., 253 Russell Bldg.

Indian Affairs Legislation
Senate Indian Affairs
Full Committee Markup
Feb. 4, 2:30 p.m., 628 Dirksen Bldg.

Loan Leveraging Issues
Senate Indian Affairs
Full Committee Oversight Hearing
Feb. 4, 2:30 p.m., 628 Dirksen Bldg.

Financial Exploitation of Seniors
Senate Special Aging
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 4, 2:15 p.m., 562 Dirksen Bldg.

Joint Committees

Proposed Waters Rule
Senate Environment and Public Works; House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee Joint Hearing
Feb. 4, 10 a.m., HVC-210 Capitol Visitor Center

Feb. 5

House Committees

Drinking Water Protection Act
House Energy and Commerce – Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy
Subcommittee Hearing
Feb. 5, 10 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

Senate Committees

Treasury Fiscal 2016 Budget Request – Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew
Senate Finance
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 5, 10 a.m., 215 Dirksen Bldg.

Joint-Employer Standard
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Full Committee Hearing
Feb. 5, 10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.

Judiciary Issues

Senate Judiciary
Full Committee Business Meeting
Feb. 5, 10:30 a.m., 226 Dirksen Bldg.

Kaitlyn McClure, Covington & Burling LLP Policy Advisor, co-authored this post.

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Content Marketing for Law Firms with John McDougall

Listen as we speak this week with John McDougall, CEO of McDougall Interactive, on content marketing for law firms.

Nicole Minnis, National Law Review, Legal PublicationNicole Minnis:  Hi. This is Nicole Minnis again, with the National Law Review. I’m here today with John McDougall, president of McDougall Interactive and author of LegalMarketingReview.com.

We spoke last time about Authority Marketing and thought leadership for law firms, so be sure to check out a link to that podcast. But today, we’re going to be talking about content marketing for law firms. Welcome back, John.

John McDougall, McDougall Interactive, Marketing, Authority MarketingJohn McDougall:  How you doing?

Nicole:  I am doing great. How are you?

John:  Excellent.

Nicole:  We had a great time last time. Tell me, why are eBooks and the top of the funnel calls to action important?

John:  A lot of people with website marketing make the mistake of expecting customers to only call them on the phone or fill out a form. When you don’t have a top of the funnel call to action, like an eBook or a case study that’s downloadable, or a whitepaper, you miss a huge portion of the Internet that is casually surfing and could become a lead, but a more casual lead.

A ToFu offer, as we call it — not to be confused with soy products [laughs] — a ToFu offer, a top of the funnel offer, is, again, like an eBook, and it’s somewhere around 85 percent of the Web is looking at the top of the funnel. When you search the web, do you buy something from Amazon or hire a lawyer every time you search the web? You don’t.

You tend to, most of the time, you’re searching and looking for things. You’re in the early stage of the buyer’s journey. Eventually, you’re making bookmarks, and later you go back and hire someone or buy a product. It’s about 85 percent there.

Maybe another 10 percent, roughly, are at the middle of the funnel. In the middle of the funnel, you’re comparing one law firm to another, you’re in that comparison stage. At the bottom of the funnel, maybe only five percent of people using that free consultation form on the attorney’s site or calling the phone number, et cetera, going to the contact page.

That’s such a small percentage of Web visitors that you’re really missing, a huge amount, potentially as much as 95 percent of visitors, if you don’t offer some way for them to casually connect with you — signing up for your email newsletter or getting your eBook.

Nicole:  Where are these ToFu calls, top of the funnel calls, most effective? Are we looking at a law firm home page or a blog page? Where will it have the most impact?

John:  You want to put them consistently throughout your site, so definitely at the home page level, because that’s usually the most visited page. Not always, but often the most visited part of your site. You should have at least one top of the funnel, if not a top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel, like your phone number or consultation form, call to action, at the home page level.

Then, if you go into a practice area, like intellectual property law, you might want to have a little sidebar there with a call to action for an eBook or a whitepaper or something around that topic. Then, you go to the blog, and you’re reading the blog, either in the right sidebar you can put an irresistible offer to download maybe a collection of the blog posts into one PDF for printing.

Or, at the bottom of a blog post, that’s a very effective way, after someone reads something and they’ve been very engaged, to then put a nice little…maybe a banner or a nice graphic that sells them on the idea of filling out the form to get your eBook.

Nicole:  Would you include these top of the funnel calls to action on a law firm publications page? To follow up, you wouldn’t limit it to just having a special page for all of their thought leadership?

John:  Yeah. I think it’s good to have a resources section, definitely. After Google Hummingbird that looks even more deeply at Q&A content and natural language search for mobile — Google eats up that kind of content where you’re answering customers’ questions.

It’s great to have that on a blog. That’s one of the most typical places to put it. But sometimes you can have the resources, Q&A library also, and then you have the collection of eBook and podcasts and videos and links to lots of blog posts, and break up your thought leadership in an area like that.

I would say all of the above. There are different types of people that…some are going to like the blogs, some will like the resources area, some will like video, some will like podcasts, some will like the text posts. Break it up and put it throughout your content, and ideally make content top of the funnel calls to action to match the page they’re on.

If at some point you can get around to having 30 eBooks or an eBook for every practice area — it’s a pretty tall order, but, again, made easier through podcasting. One hour of podcasting can be turned into an eBook, and that’s pretty easy to do. You can get a nice cover design and go to each practice area and then have a top of the funnel call to action for each area. That’s the ideal.

Nicole:  That way, you can cover all your bases, so to speak, in terms of who’s looking at your website and what they’re looking for.

John:  Absolutely.

Nicole:  Tell me, how can attorneys use content for their business development?

John:  I’m not a business development expert for law firms, per se. But this has been a very hot topic recently, because we’re doing so much blogging for law firms and content marketing for law firms. I’ve been interviewing people for one of my sites, both Legal Marketing Review and AuthorityMarketing.com, and talking about these issues.

I interviewed a couple of different people specifically on business development, and time and time again they’re saying that they do like to have their attorneys make use of their own posts, if possible. It’s great if the attorneys have their own content to share when they’re pitching people and following up with potential customers.

But even if there’s a blog on the law firm’s site, and then an individual attorney, even if they didn’t write the post, they can share that content. You can share your newsletters and alerts and all different things.

But the more thought leadership content you have, the better off you are at reaching out to, say, a general council, and not annoying them with, “Hey, can we get together? I’d really like to work for you guys.” [laughs] Because that’s really salesy. That’s more old school marketing.

New school, inbound marketing is more, “Hey, Mr. or Mrs. General Council, I thought you’d really appreciate this blog post that we wrote, because I know you’re going through this particular issue with your company. I saw something on the news, and we have a post that really addresses just that issue. Just thought you might like to see this and that you might find it helpful.”

I’ve heard that a lot at the LMA conferences. I spoke recently at the LMA New England conference, and I’ve heard a lot of people talking about that in both my interviews and at conferences — that it’s a healthy way to extend that strategy we’re talking about, about SEO and content marketing and doing it for Google reasons. But there’s this great, of course, offline reason that lets you extend the value of that further.

Nicole:  This content marketing that’s being produced by attorneys, is it trackable in terms of improving these sales? I was going to say they’re selling themselves, but I don’t mean to make it sound so silly. But attorneys are marketing their services, so is the content marketing trackable?

John:  Absolutely not. No, I’m just kidding.

[laughter]

John:  Here’s when it’s not trackable — when you don’t track it. It sounds really simplistic, but you would be amazed, actually shocked, if I told you how many people come to us and they have no tracking mechanism to see if it’s working. First, some people don’t even have something like Google Analytics installed on their site, if you can believe it in this day and age.

Is it trackable? It’s trackable if, number one, you take the 10 minutes to take the snippet of code from Google Analytics and put it onto every page of your site and embed the code. That’s really easy to do, but it is still amazing to us that we see people not doing it.

Number two, and this is a really big point I’d like to make, is that, with the goal tracking on your website, for example, if someone fills out the form for a free consultation, it should be set up so that they hit the submit button and they go to a “Thank You” page.

Some programmers like to make it tricky so that it doesn’t even need to produce a “Thank You” page, and there are ways to track that. But we prefer to have a traditional “Thank You” page, so yourlawfirm.com/thankyou.html kind of thing.

Then, you need to set that up in Google Analytics to register as what is called a “goal conversion”. You can do that also with phone tracking, with the free consultation forms, you can do it with your eBook signups, you can do it with the email newsletter signups.

You can do it even if you want to set up a goal conversion to track in Google Analytics if someone just views your “about us” page or an attorney’s bio page. There are all different things you can set up. But, again, it really only works if you take the time to set those up.

It’s so beautiful, and it sounds so geeky of me, but it’s so beautiful to go into Google Analytics and see basically the numbers. You can actually see, OK, last year in November, say, we got 18 leads, but this year in November we got 37 leads or 87 leads, and they came from these channels, from SEO, from social media, from Google paid ads, from email marketing.

You can track all the different channels they came from, and then you can see which lead forms or eBooks were downloaded. You can get a really good picture of the amount of leads coming in. Then, it goes a step further if you start to do lead scoring and lead nurturing.

Very briefly, lead scoring is when you’ll let your agency know, now that you’re tracking these leads in great detail, you let your agency know that, “These leads are good and these leads are bad”, or even feed back into Google Analytics the data on what the value of those leads were.

You can plug in, “This lead generated a million dollars in a mesothelioma case for the firm, and a $400,000 profit”, or whatever it might be. You can even go that far, if you want, to tell the agency that, “These are good leads. These are bad leads. They’re worth this much.” You could feed that back into the system.

Then, you can make better determinations on what keywords and what channels are driving the best quality leads, not just the most leads. Then, lead nurturing, or marketing automation is when you’re getting so many leads that you can’t even follow up manually with everyone.

Say you’re getting a thousand eBook downloads a month, or even 300. You would want to have a trigger mechanism to automatically say, “Hey, thanks for downloading the eBooks.” Send another email a few days later, “Hey, you might like this case study.” Another few days later, you might say, “Would you like a free consultation?”

You can set up a work flow in something like HubSpot or Eloqua, Pardot, to use marketing automation to send these automated emails so that people feel like, “Wow, I downloaded this eBook, next thing you know they’re giving me other ideas.”

But the salespeople don’t have to, every single eBook that gets downloaded, manually do it. That’s where you can take the tracking and Google Analytics, and then extend it with nurturing those people that are coming to your site.

Nicole:  If we’re talking about a law firm or an attorney who’s starting from scratch, how much of this data do you think needs to be collected before they can really start to implement changes for their marketing strategy, or implement their marketing strategy at all?

John:  I think it’s almost immediate. Once you start to get a few days or a few weeks of data, you can start to make assessments. But it does get a lot better when you have year-over-year data. If you’re looking at, again, November of 2014 versus November of 2013, or all of 2013 versus 2014, in terms of what channels drove traffic, the amount of leads per channel — it really gives you data to show where you’re headed and how things are improving or not.

We do something called conversion rate optimization, where we look at the data in Analytics, and we say, “You know what? Barely anybody is going to our about us page,” or, conversely, “Everybody goes to the about us page.” Usually, they’re the second most visited page on a website.

If there are pages that are hit very consistently, you want to go and fix up those pages and make them even better. Conversely, if there’s a page on your site that nobody ever goes to, but you think it’s really valuable, you can then go make more links to that page or make calls to action that highlight that content. You can definitely, very quickly get data from Google Analytics to go and make very practical changes to your site.

Nicole:  These are all great ideas and strategies for attorneys and marketing professionals at law firms. Thank you so much, John, for sharing your thoughts on this topic today.

John:  Absolutely. I appreciate you having me.

Nicole:  No problem. We hope to have you back another time. Thanks so much for listening.

How to Get Amazing Attention for Your Firm on Social Media

The Rainmaker Institute

Human beings are wired for loving the spotlight.  When you post something on social media and no one comments or likes, it feels almost like a personal rejection.  And when you’re posting to get attention for your business and no one cares what you’re writing, you are wasting your time.

social mediaOne of the most important ways to get noticed on social media — especially on Twitter — is to make sure your post has a great headline.  There are actually very good psychological reasons for using certain words that makes it almost irresistible for people to click.  Here are 8 proven formulas to craft your headlines around:

  1. Surprise — using words that surprise or startle captures attention because we love novelty.  Words that break the pattern stand out.
  2. Questions — using questions works because a question mark stimulates the human brain to seek an answer.
  3. Curiosity — using incomplete information in your headline to pique curiosity.  A famous example of this is the 1926 ad with the headline, “They laughed when I sat down at the piano…but when I started to play…!”
  4. Negatives — using negative superlatives like “worst” or “stop” intrigues us because we want to know if there is something we shouldn’t be doing.
  5. How to — we all want to get better, so using “how to” in your headline makes a promise of improving the reader’s knowledge.
  6. Numbers — because humans dislike uncertainty, we respond well to numbers in headlines.
  7. Reader referencing — using phrases like, “For those who don’t know what to do after a car accident” or just the word “you” are powerful drivers.
  8. Specifics — quantifiable facts and figures that elicit an image in our head are incredibly intriguing.

Here are more than 180 power words to use in your headlines, courtesy of CoSchedule.com:

power words

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Study Shows Smaller Law Firms Value Big Picture Approach to Marketing

Marketing has become a critical function of all law firms, big and small.  Large law firms (over 200 attorneys) tend to have vast resources that can be devoted to all marketing aspects, while small to midsize firms (40-200 attorneys) must be more creative in the ways that they utilize their marketing resources, in order to maximize the benefits of their efforts.  J. Johnson Executive Search, Inc., commissioned a study, conducted by ALM Legal Intelligence, in order to examine the marketing trends of those small and midsized firms and show how marketing departments’ efforts help their firms gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

A group of 90 legal marketing professionals were surveyed via web between November 18, 2013 and December 18, 2013. Professionals from small law firms (40-75 attorneys) made up 42% of the 90, while the other 58% was comprised of professionals from midsize law firms (76 or more attorneys).  Part one of this two-part article will discuss how small to midsized firms are valuing marketing departments and dedicating their resources to marketing efforts in a concentrated and consistent manner. Part two will discuss the shift in the way that small and midsized firms conduct their marketing activities in order to remain competitive in our current economy; the results showing that smaller law firms do have a big picture approach to marketing.

Dedicated Marketing Functions Have Become the Norm

Ninety-percent of the firms surveyed had at least one dedicated staff member responsible for their marketing efforts, such as business development, practice development, marketing, communications, and public relations activities.  Smaller firms have naturally lower budgets and resources, but according to the study, are on target to mirror larger firm marketing structures.

The ideal is to have one marketing professional for every ten attorneys at the firm.  Eighty-one percent of the small firms surveyed had 1-4 dedicated marketing professionals, 48% of midsized firms have 1-4 people, and 47% of midsized firms had five or more marketing professionals on staff.  In this delicate economic climate, more firms are focusing on the importance of having a marketing initiative, simply because previously used methods no longer suffice.

Additionally, the overall firm resources devoted to marketing have grown to reflect the increasing importance of marketing roles in the law firm.  Forty-four percent of the firms surveyed had increased their marketing budget from 2012 to 2013.

From “Nice to Have” to “Must Have” Team Members

Traditionally, attorneys were responsible for their own rainmaking activities and the development of a dedicated marketing department may have been seen as threatening to the process and responsibilities of attorneys. Now more than ever, firm management has requested that attorneys spend more time on client development efforts, which can conflict with an attorney’s need/want to bill time.  This is where having a marketing team can be crucial for their attorneys.

Two-thirds of respondents in the study confirmed that the marketing department is an important factor in winning the firm business.  For smaller firms, marketing is an evenmore critical factor in the win by greater than a 3-to-1 margin.  Gone are the days where corporate counsel will hire a firm simply from how they rank in publications.  Winning business is predicated on building relationships.

For example, the marketing team at Porter Hedges, a smaller firm out of Houston, Texas, helped coordinate a marketing plan that gets the managing partner out in front of the clients and introduces the clients to the attorneys in the trenches.  Their marketing department was able to coordinate and execute a program where clients were able to feel valued. The marketing group is also responsible for organizing client events, so that their firm has a presence among potential clients. On the whole, Porter Hedges is distinguishable from their competitors because of the emphasis they make on client connection.  Developing these relationships would have been more difficult to coordinate without a dedicated marketing team.

Justification for Marketing Efforts

The firms surveyed have seen their marketing efforts pay off in several ways.  In total, 82% of respondents saw a growth in their law firm and 79% saw client retention as a direct consequence of marketing efforts.  There are also several other areas of success, such as an increased image or awareness of the firm in the marketplace (80% of respondents experienced this), and an increase in the firm’s competitive advantage over their competitors (64%).

This study shows that the perceived (and actual) importance of marketing departments has steadily risen over the years. Smaller and midsized firms are recognizing the value of marketing departments and investing in them because of the increased need to remain competitive with their larger brethren.

Stay tuned for part two, where I will discuss exactly what small and midsized firms have been focusing their marketing efforts on and how effective they have been.

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