Great news for people like me who use Time Matters for contact management and Infusionsoft for collecting leads off the internet and doing automatic follow up marketing. Time Matters consultant Tom Caffery has an API that will integrate these two great programs. I’ve got to get it!
Stephen Fairley of the Rainmaker Institute: “Websites are an essential part of a law firm’s success when it comes to reaching and converting prospective clients. If you don’t market your law firm, few will know you exist. Your law firm relies on quality prospects and returning clients. Let’s get clear about the challenges we all face. As you know, the legal industry is evolving more rapidly than ever before. Competition, technology and consumerism seem to be taking huge bites out of our business possibilities. Not to mention the challenges of not being able to reach our desired prospects. We’re working harder, feeling more stressed, and not yet seeing the results we want. We are afraid the old answers to building and sustaining our law firms just don’t seem to be working any more. Whether we like it or not, it’s time to take action and re-engineer our marketing efforts and our law practice – or risk our futures. With this in mind, let’s talk about the most common law firm marketing mistakes many lawyers make on their websites and how to correct them.”
I have a new contestant for the worst email signature block spam of the year. I got an email message today with the following text after the sender’s name:
This e-mail transmission contains information that is intended to be privileged and confidential pursuant to the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine. It is intended only for the addressee, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient. If you receive this e-mail in error, please do not read, copy or disseminate it in any manner. Please reply by e-mail and delete or discard the message. Your assistance in correcting this error is appreciated.
Although this e-mail and any attachments are believed to be free of any virus or other defects that might affect any computer system into which it is received and opened, it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that it is virus-free.
If your e-mail contained a question, the above response to your question is based solely on the information contained in your message. I would likely need to know more facts and possibly conduct research before giving a response on which I would expect you to rely in the conduct of your affairs. There also may be exceptions to the general legal principles that are discussed in this response. This response is based on my knowledge of Arizona estates and trust law only, and not any other state.
No information contained in any e-mail is a substitute for a personal consultation with an attorney. This message is not intended to provide legal advice, imply an attorney-client relationship, nor be deemed to contain the signature of the sender nor any other party. The sender takes no responsibility for reliance on this message by anyone without specific, actual and not implied, independent authorization by the sender to so rely.
Pursuant to the rules of professional conduct set forth in Circular 230, as promulgated by the United States Department of the Treasury, nothing contained in this communication was intended or written to be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer by the Internal Revenue Service, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer for such purpose. No one, without our express prior written permission, may use or refer to any tax advice in this communication in promoting, marketing, or recommending a partnership or other entity, investment plan or arrangement to any other party.
Do you have any examples of signature block spam in an email? Add a comment if you do.
Kissmetrics: “For a company diving into Twitter for the first time, it can be a little intimidating. Where do you start? How do you get followers? How are you supposed to get customers? These are just a few of the questions that arise for businesses that are beginning their Twitter efforts. In this post I’ll address some of these questions and give some advice for making sure you have an effective Twitter account. But before we begin, and just in case you don’t read anything beyond this point, please always remember this:
It should not be looked at as a place to advertise your products. It should be looked at as a place to have meaningful conversations with people important to your business.”
All attorneys need to put USPS postage on letters, envelops and packages. Most lawyers and law firms need to print labels from time to time. The two most common types of labels are file labels and shipping labels. The DYMO LabelWriter printers are made specifically to print labels of all kinds, including USPS postage stamps. The printers are tiny and do not use toner. They use thermal printing technology that causes the content or image to be zapped onto the label paper. You buy rolls of paper for the type of label you want to print. The rolls contain 500 labels or 200 postage stamps.
Every secretary and legal assistant and some lawyers in my law firm have connected to their computer one of two little printers, the DYMO Label Writer 450 Twin Turbo label & USPS stamp printer or the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo High-Speed Postage and Label Printer for PC & MAC. These great and inexpensive little printers make printing shipping and file labels and postage stamps a breeze.
Both of these printers will print USPS approved postage stamps that you can peel and stick on letters, envelops and packages. You purchase postage online using supplied software after you open a postage account. We use the DYMO Label Writer 450 Twin Turbo label & USPS stamp printer to print both shipping labels and postage stamps because it holds two rolls of paper, one for shipping labels and one for postage. Because it is a pain the neck to change the label paper you will want this dual purpose printer unless you never plan on printing anything other than one type of label or stamps. We only have one dual paper roll printer.
Printing one or more stamps is a piece of cake. You just go into the DYMO software, select the price of the stamp you want to print, select the quantity of stamps then click on the print icon. The printer immediately prints the designated number of stamps. You peel off the paper then peel off the stamps and place them on an envelope or package.
Except for the one person in our office who has the dual roll printer, everybody else has the single roll DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo High-Speed Postage and Label Printer for PC & MAC loaded with shipping label paper. When I need a shipping label it takes a few seconds to copy the entire name and address from a Word document or from Time Matters, our contact management database. I then click on the DYMO label icon in Word, paste the name and address into the DYMO software then click on the print icon. A nice high quality shipping label prints with our firm name and logo above the address. Lastly I peel the label off and stick it on the big envelope. The whole process takes about 15 seconds.
I have used a DYMO label printer for many years. It is a great little label printer – a must have item if you print labels or if you want to avoid going to the post office to buy stamps.
In April of 2012 there was a very interesting discussion on the Wealthcounsel member listserve about LegalZoom and its impact on the future of law practices. The discussion was started by Orange County estate planning attorney David Hiersekorn who began a message with:
“I attended a conference this last week and got to hear some pretty smart and influential folks talk about technology. That, and a six-hour drive home, gave me some time to think about our profession and how we are handling technology. Some of you know that I’m obsessed with redefining our industry to better match the way people live and work in the modern era. Well, apropos to nothing, here are some thoughts and observations. I’d love to hear what others have to say.
I’ll start with a couple of examples from history. In the 1870s, Western Union had several opportunities to buy the rights to the telephone. They made a calculated business decision to ignore the telephone, believing that it was only a local communications tool and that people wouldn’t want to communicate over the telephone. We all know how that turned out. More recently, Blockbuster was given an opportunity to buy Neftlix for $50 million. They passed on the deal. Blockbuster is now going out of business.
In both instances, the large, sophisticated companies made phenomenal, existence-threatening mistakes because they lacked the imagination to see what the telephone would become or what online video would become. In both instances, they mistakenly believed that people preferred their method of delivery. The only evidence, by the way, was that people had historically chosen their method of delivery.
Think about that. Blockbuster decided that people would choose the store over the mailbox based solely on the fact that people chose the store when the mailbox WASN’T AN OPTION. It’s stupidity.
Today, our industry is threatened by LegalZoom. I’ve heard people say that ‘my clients wouldn’t go to LegalZoom.’ Really? Are you sure? Because, if you actually believe that, you might be qualified for a spot on the Western Union or Blockbuster Board of Directors.
WE HAVE NO MORE EVIDENCE FOR THAT BELIEF THAN WESTERN UNION OR BLOCKBUSTER HAD WHEN THEY MADE THEIR FATAL DECISIONS, EITHER.”
If you are an attorney whose practice areas includes any of the types of “nonlegal” services offered by LegalZoom then you are competing with LegalZoom whether you want to admit it or not. One of my areas of practice is the formation of limited liability companies. I have formed 3,400+ LLCs since I started counting in 2002. My main competitor is LegalZoom, not other attorneys who charge a lot to form an Arizona LLC and do not give clients much in return.
One of the reasons I form a lot of LLCs is because I only charge $599, a price that includes an $85 filing fee. Check out what I give my clients for $599. I also made a video in which the KEYTLaw Girl explains what people get for $599.
My price to form an Arizona LLC competes with LegalZoom’s price. To help convince people they should hire me to form their Arizona LLC, I wrote an article called “Why You Should Hire Richard Keyt instead of LegalZoom to Form Your Arizona LLC.”
My point is that if you are competing with LegalZoom you need to do the following:
- Recognize you are competing with document preparers.
- If you elect to continue to practice in the same area of law as the document preparers then you must take action that will make you competitive, i.e., compete head on with the document preparers. You must be able to convince prospects why they should hire you.
- If you are not willing to compete with the document preparers then find and develop another area of law, but make sure the new area of law is one that cannot be replaced by technology.
I tell my son who is a CPA who just graduated from the Arizona State School of Law that he should go into practice areas that cannot be replaced by technology. The most obvious area that will never be affected by LegalZoom and the document preparers is any type of litigation. Until they deregulate the practice of law, a law license will be required to litigate.
The absolute worst areas of law that will be the most adversely affected by the document preparers are any legal services that produce documents such as entity formations and wills and trusts. A lawyer friend told me recently that a client of his sold a $35 million office building without using an attorney because he used documents he got off the internet.
In the old days lawyers had a monopoly on legal knowledge and they would disclose that knowledge for a big fee. Now knowledge is readily available at the click of a few key strokes and a Google search. Legal knowledge is free or it can be obtained relatively inexpensively on the internet. This new way of obtaining legal information has destroyed the old law firm model. If you are practicing law the old way you can bury your head in the sand and hope your practice survives or you can adjust with the times and use technology to make you more efficient, productive and more money.
All lawyers should read a related story in Atlantic entitled “Why All Law Firms are Doomed to Fail.” The article says:
“The legal industry is in crisis. But its archaic partnership models are built for inertia. . . . Most big corporate law firms aren’t built to run like modern businesses. . . . As Indiana University Law Professor William Henderson wrote yesterday for The AmLaw Daily, fundamental aspects of their business models are under attack from entrepreneurs who are finding ways to do tasks cheaper and more efficiently.”
The eLawyering Blog has a couple of interesting posts on LegalZoom and its affect on attorneys and the practice of law. The first one is called “LegalZoom: The “Good Enough” Legal Solution.”
“LegalZoom, the leading online provider of legal services to consumers and small business, as predicted here previously, finally filed for an IPO last week. The company is seeking to raise $120 million to expand their services both in the US and internationally. LegalZoom’s data in the S-1 filing is now available for everyone to analyze:
- In 2011, 490,000 orders were placed through their web site;
- 20% of all limited liability companies in California were done by LegalZoom;
- During the past ten years, LegalZoom has served over 2,000,000 customers.
- Revenue in 2011 was $156 million.”
The second article is “What Lawyers Can Learn From LegalZoom.”
“Unless you’ve been asleep for the last five years, you have probably heard of LegalZoom, the California-based, non-lawyer legal document preparation company that claims it has delivered over 1,000,000 wills to consumers, and that it is the largest incorporation company in the country. . . . Consumers don’t seem to care that they are not dealing with a law firm. As lawyers, we know the service they are selling is risky for consumers, but for consumers it delivers a “good enough” result. LegalZoom would not be growing at this fast a rate if they weren’t offering something that consumers want and value.”
What do you think? If you are competing with LegalZoom, what have you done to convince prospects to hire you instead of LegalZoom?
Reuters: “The crippled law firm Dewey & Leboeuf LLP filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday night and will seek approval to liquidate its business after failing to find a merger partner, marking the biggest collapse of a law firm in U.S. history. Once one of the largest law firms in the U.S., Dewey has been hit by the loss of the vast majority of its roughly 300 partners to other firms amid concerns about compensation and a heavy debt load.”
A related story in the Wall St. Journal called “The Law Firm Business Model Is Dying” starts:
Rules that were adopted to protect the legal profession from outside competition are actually stifling it. On Monday night the century-old law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf filed for bankruptcy—following in the footsteps of other venerable firms such as Howrey & Simon, Heller Ehrman, Coudert Brothers, and Brobeck, Phelger and Harrison. It is easy to think that greedy lawyers are getting their just deserts. But this should not blind us from seeing that there is a better way for America’s law firms to do business. The problems these firms face today are twofold: Large clients are increasingly using in-house counsel to reduce costs, and the public is increasingly taking the do-it-yourself route given the growing access.
You have to be a subscriber to access the full Wall St. Journal article.
The point of the article is that technology and the times have changed the way lawyers practice law. Attorneys and firms who do not adjust to the changes will see their revenue decrease and in some cases vanish. LegalZoom is here to stay and you can bet it will generate a huge number of competitors.
P.S. I subscribe to the Wall St. Journal and read it every day on my iPhone and iPad. Its only $9/month for full access to the paper.
We all want the content in our websites and blogs to have high Google search engine rankings. To achieve that goal there is a learning curve that requires an investment of your time. Do yourself a favor and take the courses Google offers in its free Webmaster Academy. Google says that the goal of the academy is “to help you create great sites that perform well in Google search results.” To graduate you must complete 19 tasks. Here are the major topics:
- Learn how Google works
- Make sure Google knows about your site
- Influence your site’s listing in search
- Create great content
- Images and video
- Connect with Google+
- Extra resources
If you have a Google+ profile (you should) this short video explains the concept of the “circle” and how it can organize your Google+ to give you a better Google+ experience. I do recommend that attorneys who want to create content on their website or blog create a Google profile and configure Google + and create “rich snippets” using Google’s rel=author. For more on this topic read ” “Google Plus & Google’s Rich Snippet.”
Google Guy’s Video Explains How to Get Your Picture Next to Google Search Results that Show Your Content
I figured out how to configure my website/blog content with Google so that when Google displays search results that show a link to any of my pages or posts my picture will appear to the left of the link. People say that having your picture next to your Google search result will substantially increase the number of clicks the link will receive. I’m ready to implement this new feature Google calls “rel=author,” but I am going to up date my bio picture first. Some people also call this feature “rich snippets.”
The process is confusing, but not difficult. This video is by Google employee and SEO expert Matt Cutts. He and Othar Hansson discuss how to rel=author works. I recommend watching this video first so you will have an understanding of the big picture.
For more about this topic read “Google Plus & Google’s Rich Snippet.”
In the process of configuring my Google profile I came across an interesting and useful article that has nine tips for taking a picture to upload to your Google profile.
- Happy Profile Picture = Happy Life
- The open-mouth glamor shot: body language for your face
- Fake IDs: babies, cartoons and pets
- No logos, but still a bit of brand
- Bright Background
- Keep it consistent, across sites and over time
- Look at the camera, or look to your left
- Worst Profile Pic Ever? The QR Code
- Use a Pro Photographer
I’m going to take some advice from the article and create a new picture for my Google profile picture.
There a tons of scanners on the market so the choice of a scanner for your law office can be daunting. You can spend a lot of time researching scanners and then take a chance on one or you can follow my advice and purchase the scanner used in my law office that does a great job for a relatively small amount of $$. I have been scanning documents since 2001 and have been 100% paperless since March of 2004. For more on the paperless law office read my article called “A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Law Office.”
I bought the first scanner for my law firm in 2001. It was a multi-function Hewlett Packard Laserjet 3300 printer/copier/faxer/scanner. The machine was great at three of its four functions, but as a useful law office scanner the HP 3300 sucked big time. The problem with the the HP 3300 was it only scanned at two pages a minute. That may be ok for home use, but it just doesn’t cut it for use in a busy law practice that does a lot of scanning. Attorneys typically create and receive a lot of paper so they need a fast scanner, i.e., at least 20 pages per minute (ppm).
In 2004 when I went paperless I researched the scanner market and purchased two Xerox 252 scanners for approximately $700 each. We still use both of these scanners. I do recommend this family of scanners (see the Xerox DocuMate 262i Color Duplex 38 PPM 76 IPM ADF Scanner for $715), because they are fast (38 ppm) and do a great job, but so is my favorite scanner, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner for PC. The ScanSnap iX500 is only $415 (Amazon varies the price – it was $301 for two days in May) and it comes with Adobe Acrobat XI standard (a software program almost everybody in a law firm should have on their personal computer or on a server).
I recommend that all lawyers (except those that are tech-retarded), legal assistants and secretaries in a law office have a personal scanner on their desk. The best way to be paperless is for the people who know a particular document best to take a minute or two to scan the document then save it in the law firm’s document system. Do not create inefficiencies, bottlenecks and added expense by letting people send their documents to a designated scanner who scans docs for a large number of people. The best time to scan and save the pdf file is when you get the letter or the document. You know best where the document should be saved and how to name it. Once saved the document is now on your system to be accessed and viewed by others in your firm (unless you attach security to the document using your document management system). If your firm does not have a document management system it should.
My Law Office Scanner Recommendation: the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500
I recommend that attorneys and law firms buy the $415 – $450 Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac. I have several ScanSnaps. Here are the reasons your law firm needs this scanner:
- Fast scans: 25 ppm in color and faster for black and white.
- 50 page sheet feeder
- Small: It is about the size of a shoe box.
- It comes with Acrobat XI Standard]. This is a $279 (as of 1/19/14) stand-alone software program.
- Scan to: PDF, searchable PDF, JPG, Word (editable), Excel (editable). It also scans business cards and zaps the data into an organizer.
- Automatic duplex scanning
- Easy to use. Drop the document in the scanner and press the scan button and your five page document will appear on your computer monitor in Adobe pdf format in about 15 seconds. You can then save the document, attach it to an email message or print more copies of the document. No need for a stand-alone copy machine any more because everybody that has a scanner can scan and print as many copies of the scanned document as needed.
Buying the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac (PA03656-B005) scanner is a no-brainer because you get such a smoking deal – Acrobat XI for approximately $279 plus the ScanSnap iX500 for a little bit more. When you buy this scanner from Amazon you are literally paying only $100 = $160 for it.
Acrobat XI Standard is a necessity for the scanning because it is the program that converts the scanned document to pdf format, the universal document file type.
From time to time I read on email message forums that lawyers do not want to buy the ScanSnap iX500 because it is not “twain” compliant. I have no idea what that means, but I can tell you that in the eight years my law office has been 100% paperless we have never needed a twain compliant scanner. To learn more about twain and why the ScanSnap iX500 is not twain compliant and does not need to be read “Why Doesn’t ScanSnap come with TWAIN drivers?“
Does your law firm have a stand alone fax machine that sends faxes the old fashioned way? I mean does your law office print the document to be faxed, insert it into a fax machine and push the send button and watch while the machine scans each page and then uses its modem to send the fax to the recipient? Do your incoming faxes come into your fax machine over the phone line and does your old fax machine then print a hard copy of the fax?
If so, your law firm needs to move into the 21 century and use the not so new fangled technology to send and receive faxes. My law office has used efax.com to send and receive faxes since 2004. It’s great. To send a fax I do the following:
- Convert the item to be faxed to an Adobe pdf file. If the document is a Word document, I click on the Acrobat tab on the menu bar at the top of Word then I click on the “Create PDF” tab and tell the program where I want to save the pdf file. If the document is a hard copy document I put it in the sheet feeder of my Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner and press the scan button. A few seconds later the document opens in pdf format on my computer screen and I save the file on my computer.
- Click on the eFax icon on my desktop to send an email to eFax. This opens the free eFax software. I enter the name of the recipient, company name (if desired) and the fax number. If I previously sent a fax to the recipient that information is saved and easily zapped into the proper fields for my fax. I can check a box to create a fax cover sheet that contains my recipient information and add more information if desired.
- Attach the pdf file to the fax. I click the attach icon and browse to the pdf file I saved and attach it to the eFax email.
- Click on the send icon. The email and attachment are send to eFax and it then converts the pdf and immediately faxes it to the recipient.
One very nice feature is eFax maintains a record (including the content of the fax) of every fax my firm has sent since we purchased the service.
What I like best about eFax is that all incoming faxes are converted to Adobe pdf and sent to us as an attachment to an email message. I can add up to five people in the firm to receive the same fax. Both of my legal assistants get every fax I get and they handle most of the faxes. Any email can easily be forwarded to another person in our firm or anybody outside the firm. When we get a fax that we want to keep we click on the Time Matters save icon in Acrobat and save the pdf file to the client or matter in our Time Matters document management system. For more on our document management system see my article called “A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Law Office.”
Every attorney in our firm has his or her own dedicated eFax phone number. This allows each attorney to have a fax number that causes faxes to that number to go only to the attorney associated with the number and up to four additional recipients in the firm. eFax also retains every incoming fax in case you need it.
Here’s the cost of an eFax Plus account as of the date of this post:
With eFax Plus, you’ll get a private and secure way to send and receive faxes as email attachments.
|Choose a local or toll-free number|
|150 Included inbound fax pages per month|
|150 Included outbound fax pages per month*|
|$.10 per page overage charge|
|$10.00 one-time setup fee|
Monthly Plan: $16.95/mo
Do yourself and your staff a big favor and switch to the new way of sending and receiving faxes.
What do you think? Do you use a different digital fax service? Tell us about it.
Hewlett Packard Laserjet Printers
Ever since 1985 when I bought my first Hewlett Packard laser printer I have only purchased and used laser printers in my law practice. I am biased towards Hewlett Packard laser printers because in my experience they are fast, produce high quality text and never need maintenance and produce high quality text output. I’ve probably owned about 20 of them over the years and can only remember calling a repair person one time to fix an ailing HP Laserjet.
The first HP Laserjet printer hit the market in 1984. It was a 300-dpi, 8 ppm printer that originally sold for $3,495, but the price was reduced to $2,995 in September 1985. I bought the original HP Laserjet printer in 1985 for $3,000. Can you imagine paying that kind of money today for an 8 ppm printer? The printer replaced an impact printer that I was using to print documents and letters sent to clients. Laser printers produce the best quality text. I would never print documents on an inkjet printer and send them to clients or anybody else. HP has sold over 100 million Laserjet printers.
In 2001 I bought two HP Laserjet 3300 printers. These were great four in one printers that included a fax machine, scanner and copier. The machine had a 50 page sheet feeder. It also had a top that could be lifted to copy over-sized paper or open books. I still have one of them that we use in the office solely as a copy machine.
HP 2055DN Laserjet
Did you ever want to send somebody a link to a web page, but the URL for the page was very very long? There is a simple way to convert a long URL into a tiny URL. Just copy the URL, go to http://tinyurl.com, paste the long URL into the box, click the make tiny url icon and copy the URL generated by Tiny URL.
I could copy and paste the below URL into a Word document or an email, but why not convert it into a tiny url.
Tiny URL: http://tinyurl.com/7xjczdy
Go to http://tinyurl.com and bookmark it so you can easily convert long URLs in a matter of seconds.
Another site that does the same thing as TinyURL is Bitly found at http://bitly.com/.
I got an email today from a lawyer who said check out my article at : http://blog.firmname.com/index.php/estate-planning-2/7-major-errors-in-estate-planning/#more-147. Have you ever gotten an message with a link that is mostly numbers such as www.firmname.com/blog/12/5/030455020110304440500060.phx? I am sure you get lots of email messages that have URLS with a long string of text or numbers and/or text that doesn’t make much sense. I call these URLs “gross URLS” or for WordPress users “gross permalinks.”
Do yourself and your readers a favor and do not create pages or posts on your website that have gross URLS for four reasons:
- They look bad.
- They often get broken by email programs and don’t work when clicked.
- They are hard for people to type into a browser.
- They probably do not help your search engine optimization.
The last point may be the most important because you want your URL to contain key words that may help increase the page or post’s search engine ranking. Think about the most important key words in your post and use them in the URL / permalink. If you are writing an article about Arizona widget law which of the following URLS is better:
Must Have Productivity Software by Insight Software Solutions
Macro Express is the premier Windows macro utility. It can automate all of your common computer tasks. I love Macro Express because it saves me a tremendous amount of time and makes my computer life easier. Macro Express satisfies my biggest requirements for law office software, i.e., it makes me more efficient and productive. Everybody in my small law firm uses Macro Express constantly throughout the work day and they love it.
Do you type the same text into Word, email messages or other programs over and over? We all do. Every attorney and law office staff person is constantly typing the names, phone numbers and email addresses of themselves and firm personnel into email messages and letters. Imagine how much time you and other people in your office would save if the contact information could be zapped instantly into a Word document or an email message. Using macros to insert repetitive text has the added benefits of always inserting the desired text (no omitted text) without any spelling errors.
Macro Express is a program that allows you to create a macro (memorized computer keystrokes) to automate virtually anything you do repeatedly on your computer. I use it primarily to insert text into Word documents or email messages. If you use the same text or phrases over and over, why waste time typing the text from scratch each time you need the text when you can type a short abbreviation that inserts the text instantly at the point of your cursor? Not only does Macro Express save time it eliminates typos and insures that the exact desired text is generated every time just the way you want it.
For example, when somebody calls and asks me about forming a limited liability company, I ask them for their email address so I can send them a marketing email message that has links to pages on my website about LLCs. The message is several paragraphs of text. With Macro Express, I simply type “.llclink”
Do you have your own law blog? Does your law firm have a blog? Do you want to get more clients? Do you want to make more money? Does a bear . . . oh never mind. I am a big advocate of the attorney law blog. It works for me. It can work for you.
The term “blog” is short for web log. In the early days of blogging a blog was a series of posts displayed on a website in reverse chronological order. People typically created a blog with content about a specific topic because they wanted to provide a source of information about their topic of interest. You can find many blogs on any topic you can imagine. The quality of each blog depends on the creative talent, knowledge and writing ability of the blog’s creator. Nobody know how many blogs exist, but there are millions of them.
Here is my list of some of the reasons a lawyer should have a blog:
- Blogging is a learning experience. Writing good articles (called “posts” in blogese) helps you to know your topic better and increases your legal knowledge. When you write something that can be viewed by the entire world it has a tendency to cause most people to invest time in making sure the don’t say something that is not true or that is misleading. It is very common for me to spend time researching a statute or reading one or more cases to make sure that what I say in my post is correct. Writing about a topic also helps me understand that topic better.
- Blogging brings traffic to your website/blog. An important goal in having a website/blog is to attract a lot of visitors to your site. The best way to get visitors is to have large quantities of good content on your site. One of the best and easiest ways to create content is the blog. With good blog software like WordPress is it extremely easy to write an article and post it on your site. No need to send the article to your web designer and wait a week for the article to be up on your site. With WordPress adding an article to your site is as simple as writing the article, giving it a title, adding it to one or more categories and clicking the upload icon. Read “Why I Love WordPress for My Law Firm.”
- Blogging is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your area of law practice. Over time as you add more and more content about your specific area of law (widget law for example) your blog becomes clear evidence to visitors that you are an expert in widget law. When deciding on who to hire a prospective client is more likely to hire the lawyer that has tangible (ok technically it is intangible) proof of expertise than the lawyer who has no blog or website about widget law. Consider for example my blog called “U.S. Real Estate Law.” This blog is about a single topic, i.e., nonU.S. citizens investing in U.S. real estate. I form a lot of new Arizona LLCs for people all over the world who want to purchase U.S. real estate.
- Blogging helps you convince propects to hire you. Several times a day I talk to prospects on the phone who are interviewing me for the purpose of deciding whether or not to hire me. Prospects frequently ask about a subject that is an article or post on one of my websites. When that happens I tell the prospect I have an article on the subject and if he/she will give me his or her email address I will send a link to the article. I then use Macro Express to zap canned text with the link to the article into an email message and send it to the prospect. For example, people frequently ask me about dissolving their Arizona LLC. When I get a call on that topic I send the prospect the following message:
Thanks for contacting me about terminating your Arizona limited liability company. To hire us to prepare the documents to terminate an LLC, complete our service agreement found here:
For more information on terminating an Arizona LLC, see my article on this subject found here:
- Blogging is fun. Yes it is. I enjoy the writing and creative aspects of blogging. I also get personal satisfaction in knowing that people are reading my posts and learning from the results of my investment in time.
A great way to get ideas for blog posts is to listen to questions prospects and clients ask you in email messages and over the phone. I am sure you have the same experience I have with people who ask the same common questions about widget law (ok maybe questions about your area of practice, not widget law). These commonly asked questions make great blog posts. Turn these questions into a post you can email to prospects and clients to show your expertise. See for example a blog category on my Arizona Limited Liability Company Law website called “How Do I.” When I get a call or email message from somebody that asks me a question I’ve answered on my blog I send the person a link to the blog post.
An very important fact of blog life and the key to a successful client generating blog is that you must create good content. This means you need to invest the time to create posts. This leads me to Keyt’s Technology Rule #5, which is call the Website Content Equation. The equation is:
more posts = more content = higher search engine rankings = higher web traffic = more new clients = more revenue
Schedule times for content creation and set a goal for a minimum number of posts every week. Over time your content quantity will grow and the Website Content Equation will put more money in your pocket.
I’ve had an iPhone and an iPad since each device was first offered for sale. I do love both of these incredible electronic computers/phones/do-it-alls. Today at lunch two of my long-time former law partners showed me their new first time-user iPhones and they asked me what apps to get. Which apps to get from iTunes is something that comes up a lot with me and my friends. Here is a list of my favorite iPhone & iPad apps for lawyers, attorneys, law firms and other iPhone and iPad users:
- Dragon Dictation – free. This is a must have app because it is a great tool for converting your voice to text which you can then send as a text message, email, make a copy, send to Facebook or Twitter. It’s conversion of your voice to text is very accurate. You can also edit the text to make corrections or additions. A great tool for sending your thoughts to yourself or secretary.
- TurboScan – Use your iPhone to scan any type of document. Once scanned you can email it as text, a pdf or a jpeg. You can also open the document in pdf, print it or save it to your iPhone camera roll. I checked the app on iTunes today and it had 2,285 five star ratings.
- HP 12C – $13, but it is two great calculators, a standard calculator when held vertical, but it changes to the HP financial calculator when the device is held horizontal. P.S. It uses reverse polish notation logic. Use the financial calculator to find loan payments based on the loan amount, interest rate and number of payments.
- Google – free. Touch the microphone icon and speak your search words. This app then quickly does a Google search and displays the results. My lunch group buddies crack up every time they ask me to do a Google search such as who do the Arizona Cardinals play next week?
- PDF Reader Pro – free. Allows you to open pdf documents.
- Fake a Call – free? Maybe this should be in a different category, but you can use it to get out of a meeting. Set it to fake an incoming call during a meeting so you can excuse yourself.
- Travel Track Pro – $. Great for trips. Enter all of your trip information into this app such as airline flight information, hotel and car rental info and reservation numbers. All information is then at your fingertips when needed. It will tell you if your flight is delayed and when it will arrive. Lots of great information for trips.
- Wall St. Journal – free, but I pay $9 a month to get all of the paper on my iPhone & iPad
- Los Angeles Times – free
- New York Times – free app, but $ to get access to all of the content
- USA Today – free and no charge for a lot of well organized content
- Facebook – free
- LinkedIn – free
- YouTube – free
- Videos – free. A great way to watch the music, TV show and movie videos you buy from iTunes
- Solitaire City – $. 21 different solitaire games. At one time everybody in my family was hooked on Alternations, a great solitaire game.
- W.e.l.d.e.r. – $. A fun word spelling game.
- Wurdle – $. Another fun word spelling game.
- Tetris – $ Years ago in the days of playing games on the PC I wasted too much time playing this classic game.
- Scrabble – $. The tech version of a board classic. Play the computer, a random live opponent, friends or join a local multiplayer game. Way better than the board game.
- Monopoly – $. The Parker Brothers classic. I like to play against two computer opponents and have all the cards dealt at random to the players.
- iPhone Secrets – free. A great way to learn all the hidden secrets of the iPhone.
- iBooks – free. A great place to get ebooks (low cost best sellers and many free books). I’d rather read a book on my iPad or iPhone than hold it in my hands the old fashioned way.
- Instagram – free. It’s Twitter for pictures, no text. In five seconds you can take a picture and post it to your Instagram account and all of your followers can see your pictures on their Instagrams. Great for a family. Make your profile private then only allow your family members to follow you. Whenever anybody who you follow posts a picture you can see it immediately and so can all all of the other people who are following the picture taker. You can add captions to your pictures and people can like and comment on other people’s pictures.
- Facebook Camera – free. This is Facebook’s version of Instagram, but it integrates seamlessly with Facebook to put your photos on your Facebook timeline. It is Instagram created specifically for Facebook.
- Zinio – free. This is a magazine reader app. You purchase subscriptions to your favorite magazines and read them on your iPhone or iPad. Reading magazines on the iPad is awesome. Links on pages are hot and take you to another part of the magazine. My favorite magazine is PC Magazine, but a few years ago it stopped making prints and went entirely digital through Zinio. I love reading PC Magazine using my Zinio reader. Every issue is retained on Zinio unless I delete it.
- RedLaser – free. This is a must have app. It scans bar codes on products and then gives you a list of websites that sell the same product and the price of the product. If you finder the product cheaper online you can quickly buy it using your iPhone or iPad. Barcode scans can be emailed, sent to Facebook or Twitter or turned into a text message or added to a favorites list. RedLaser will also scan QR codes and interpret them.
- Amazon Mobile – free. This app also scans bar codes, but it only give prices for the products sold on Amazon. I love this app because Amazon has very low prices. If you have an Amazon account like me you will be able to instantly purchase a product after you scan and get the results. Slick. It has a camera feature that lets you take a picture of the cover of a book, CD, DVD or video game and get Amazon’s price for the item.
- Yelp – free. Find local business such as restaurants and read reviews written by customers. Write your own reviews.
- iPhoto – free. PC Magazine’s May 2012 issue gave this app its Editor’s Choice award for being an excellent iPhone/iPad photo editor.
- Shazam – free. If you hear a song you like but don’t know its name let Shazam listen to the song. It will not only tell you the name, but if the sound quality is good it can distinguish between different artists singing the same song. You can also buy the song from iTunes.
- Flixster – free. Great for checking the movies playing at your local theaters. Lots of information about each movie including start times.
- Pandora – free. Create a “radio station” for your favorite recording artist. Pandora will then play songs by that artist mixed with other artists is selects that have a similar sound. It’s a great way to listen to your favorites and find other artists and music. If you don’t like a song press the thumbs down button and you will never hear that song again. Give your likes a thumb’s up. If you hear a song you like you can buy it from iTunes at the click of an icon.
- Sex Offenders – free. Not an app I use much or that has much value, but it will amaze you when you ask it to search your surrounding area and list all the registered sex offenders. Here in central Phoenix where I live there are literally thousands of them. The app shows their locations on a map and via a list ordered by closest to farthest away. Click on a person on the list and it tells you that person’s address and conviction(s) including a picture.
What are your favorite iPhone and iPad apps? Please tell us by making a comment.
The Google +1 button is a shorthand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out.” Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1’s can help friends, contacts and others find the best stuff when they search. Watch this short Google video to learn more about how to use Google +1.