Internet Marketing Services You Can Obtain for Lawyer Websites

Being a lawyer has numerous responsibilities. You have to manage cases, that take up a large amount of your energy and time. You also have to prioritize clientele and be certain you’ll fulfill their goals. With all these responsibilities, you may not have the time to concentrate on lawyer marketing procedures. Thankfully, you’ll be able to turn to Internet Marketing firms in the event you require a raise in your promoting wants. These may present many services that can help you bring in possible people.

Search engine marketing (SEM)
Search engine marketing makes it possible for your internet site to gain exposure on search engine result pages (SERPs). This encompasses other types of Internet Marketing procedures like search engine optimisation (SEO), on the web paid advertising, and social media. Even though it uses organic search results, most lawyer websites choose paid out advertisements.

SEM has several advantages. The lookup can guide your people to your internet site if they type particular keywords on major search engines and make an effort to click your internet site. Your advertisement will constantly be visible on search records if you are involved in the paid results. It is usually cost-effective when compared with other promotion tactics.

Search engine optimisation (SEO)
SEO, like SEM, aims to raise your website’s traffic on major search engines. The distinction, however, lies on the procedure. SEO depends more on how individuals use major search engines and how these work to increase your on the web visibility. SEO involves the manipulation of keywords, cataloguing certain phrases that target audiences prefer using.

Most lawyers marketing their services on the web prefer to use this strategy because of its several advantages. SEO services from Internet Marketing firms are more cost-effective than other promoting techniques like media and print. Obtaining Search engine optimisation also boosts the likelihood of having far more people since more individuals will focus on your internet site. What is a lot better is 24/7 advertisement-users can connect to your internet site anytime of the day as long as it’s updated.

Email marketing
Email is among the effective equipment on the Internet. Email marketing involves the use of emails to send information, to communicate with existing and potential people, and to promote products or services. The process is simple, straightforward, and personal. You have to be informative so your people will be enticed to read your message. As such, the message must contain relevant content with a few sales pitches towards the end.

Some lawyers marketing their services also use this strategy because of its several advantages. Email marketing is fast and easy-you do not need an expert to compose an informative message or to send the email to your clientele. You can also do this strategy without spending too much, as you can create a free email account. What is even better is you can stay in touch with your existing and current clientele constantly and easily. Most clientele even appreciate it if you respond to their queries personally.

Social media marketing
With social networking sites becoming popular, it is not surprising lawyer websites use these as their advertising platforms. Social media marketing involves the use of networking websites to catch the attention of your clientele. This allows you to post information clientele can read and share.

Social media marketing can also be beneficial for your job. You can meet and interact with your clientele through networking websites. Participating in social media may also increase your lawyer websites’ rankings-consistently updating your account may increase your traffic from major search engines. This marketing strategy might also increase your chances of getting potential clientele, especially if you have many subscribers.

Process Helps Lawyers Accept, Implement Innovation

Marketers operate in the realm of innovation. If it’s been done before, they believe, it’s rarely worth doing the same way again. Most lawyers, by contrast, operate in the realm of precedent. If it hasn’t been done before, it’s risky.

A special challenge arises when the two worlds meet – when eager marketers try to lead cautious-by-nature lawyers into the uncomfortable territory of innovation.

Plus, there are additional reasons why lawyers in general are loath to innovate. They tend to be impatient, which makes them poor listeners in marketing meetings. They are afraid of failure. They fear being held accountable for bad results

Although getting lawyers to innovate is challenging, it’s not impossible. Lawyers are process-oriented. Marketers who want to encourage lawyers to innovate can achieve success by acknowledging this fact and following a careful step-by-step process. Identify in advance what might hinder you, and figure out how to fix it.

In addition, lawyers enjoy success just as much as the next person. Marketers who want to advance an innovative project should counter-balance lawyers’ lack of patience, fear of failure and fear of reprisals with a clear vision of the value of a successful marketing project in advancing a lawyer’s or a law firm’s success.

Always ask yourself and your lawyers, is the risk of failure or reprisal so great that it cancels out the many, rich benefits of success? If you are truly honest with yourself, you have to admit that it rarely does.

Kohn discussed how law firm marketers can identify, develop and implement innovative ideas in a law firm at the monthly educational meeting of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. The presentation took place Sept. 11 at Fogo de Chao restaurant in LoDo, Denver.

Kohn has been president of Los Angeles-based Kohn Communications for 27 years. During that time, he has worked with more than 1,000 law firms and conducted more than 28,000 individual lawyer coaching sessions. He is co-author of two popular books, most recently Selling in Your Comfort Zone (Safe and Effective Strategies for Developing New Clients.

Process to successful innovation

Kohn’s innovation process involves nine steps.

Generate an innovative idea. Innovative ideas are all around us. I ask lawyers to actively generate their own ideas, which trains them to think about innovation. I ask them to look outside the carefully defined world of law to the greater world around them to discover transferable strategies.

I want them to see the world not as noise, but as a catalyst. Which things in your environment set themselves apart from the noise and get your attention? For example, why do you open one piece of junk mail and not another? How can what you observe in the wider world be applied to your practice or your law firm?

List the benefits of implementing this idea. Begin by listing the personal benefits to you if your idea succeeds. Will you make more money? Will you achieve a greater profile within the firm? A clear understanding of these potential benefits makes it much more likely that you will work hard to achieve your innovation. Move on to list the benefits to the law firm. Arm yourself with research that substantiates your claims.

List the risks of not implementing this idea. Once again, start with the personal risks and move on to the firm-wide risks. Are you happy with your career just the way it is? Does your firm have all the work it needs? What is likely to happen if you do nothing? Once again, substantiate. Do your research. Prepare and rehearse language that clearly expresses the risk of doing nothing.

Prepare your strategy for implementation. The two greatest motivators are safety and fear. A ‘safety’ strategy emphasizes the good and protective things that will happen as a result of your innovation. A ‘fear’ strategy emphasizes the bad things that will happen if you fail to innovate.

Any strategy must also include a maintenance component. What needs to happen next? Who will be responsible? Always negotiate the next step. Keep the ball in your own court so that you can keep things moving.

Why will your strategy be effective? List all of the reasons that your strategy will be effective. Anticipate every possible argument questioning these reasons. If you do not have a ready answer, do some additional research. Read, talk with others, surf the internet. The answers are there. Be prepared to answer any question with solid facts.

What resources will you need? New ideas require resources, which can include time, money, hired expertise and equipment. Any one of these can be a roadblock on the road to acceptance of your planned innovation, unless you have carefully considered them ahead of time, determined the cost and determined the reasons why the innovation is worth the cost.

What are the obstacles to implementation? Step back from your innovative idea and examine it like an objective observer. Imagine every possible objection that someone could have. Consider every possible event or trend that could de-rail your idea. Decide ahead of time exactly how you will counter every single one of these objections or roadblocks.

What is your recommended deadline? Have in mind an absolute deadline by which your innovation should become reality. Set the date, and then work backwards to create interim deadlines. Be rigorous about meeting these deadlines.

Who are your ideal advocates? If your innovation is personal, who in your life needs to be on board in order for you to succeed? Who can help you achieve your goals? If your innovation is for the law firm, you will need powerful internal advocates – both to get your idea accepted and then, once it is accepted, to get the resources you need. Have your advocates lined up before you even propose your idea. Do this in private.

Innovation can be challenging for individual lawyers as well as law firms – and for the law firm marketing professionals who work with them.

Careful preparation makes all the difference. Following this process to lay the necessary groundwork makes it much more likely that lawyers will conquer their fear of innovation, failure and reprisal — and focus instead on the ‘success’ side of the innovation equation.

A Strategy For Lawyer Marketing

Every product needs marketing and a legal service is no exception. A good marketing strategy should be a first priority item for every practicing lawyer. Lawyer marketing needs a properly planned strategy for successful results. A well crafted strategy will take into account many factors. One of these factors is the cost of marketing. It is wise to put aside some money for advertising your legal business. Make a good budget; it will play a major role in making your business a success. You can also make an annual plan to make sure that you market throughout the year perfectly. By doing so, you will not spend finances meant for advertising and this will make your lawyer marketing effective.

Another focus is the creation of clientele. As a new lawyer, you have no referrals, so you must do aggressive marketing to get clients. This means that you have to be very active to generate business and keep it going. This brings the importance of choosing a means of marketing that will attract clients from the first day and keep attracting more. To achieve this you may need to use two ways of marketing. Online lawyer marketing remains the fastest way of doing this; search engine optimization is the best for long time lawyer marketing. Additionally, pay per click advertising can put you in the market within a day. This makes it a good strategy for immediate marketing. This is a factor that needs to be carefully carried out because if not, it could easily bring the whole business down.

A third factor is picking your targeted audience. This entails knowing how much you can spend on marketing and the means of advertising that is most suitable. It is also important to recognize the people that you want to reach out to. Use a way of advertisement that is easily accessible to your targeted group. Television and mail are also effective ways of reaching many people. Good research will give an effective lawyer marketing strategy and more benefits.

Another important factor is called Spread marketing tactics. Do not carry all your eggs in one basket; it is advisable to use as many ways of marketing as possible. When you do this, you end up sticking with the lawyer marketing channel that works for you in the best way. Follow up all your marketing channels; identify the most active and dormant ones. Compare the cost, time and energy used in certain marketing techniques and see if the return on investment is worth the effort. You should also be careful not to expect too much from a certain channel. You need to be realistic; you might dismiss a good way of doing lawyer marketing if you aren’t. Do not stick to the advanced technology if your targeted audience does not have access to it.

These are just five main factors that should be considered when making a lawyer marketing plan. By carefully following them your business is bound to boom. Reaching as many clients as possible is the aim of lawyer marketing. This is the final part of the straw after law school.

Social Media For Lawyers: The Rise, And Rise Of Blogs

Have you heard comments from other lawyers suggesting that blogging is not an effective strategy for attracting clients to your law firm? Some believe that a website combined, perhaps, with effective (or expensive) SEO tactics is all they need to succeed together with their current networking and referral strategies.

This post will highlight why this view is not necessarily true, and how lawyers can make blogs work brilliantly for them as part of an effective and comprehensive social media strategy.

First, why are some blogs totally ineffective?

I’ll suggest a few reasons, though there may be loads more:

There is no real strategy for having a blog in the first place – which is to develop a position of authority within a target niche and differentiate yourself from competitors;

Not enough time is set aside to develop a good content strategy for blogs, which means they are not updated regularly or don’t provide information that prospects and clients are actually interested in;

Very little use of other social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter to direct followers to the content provided on the blog;

Very little use of offline marketing strategies to point target readers to the information provided on the blog;

No irresistible offers provided via the blog (e.g. free reports, invitations to seminars/webinars/lunches) to deepen relationships with readers;

No lead capture systems in place to collect names and communicate new information or offers.
A blog that stands by itself with no connection to other marketing tactics and channels is a waste of time. A blog that simply talks about the services on offer or which is used to make comments in a language that readers might not understand is no good either.

Blogging is not passed its sale by date, and serious lawyers should not view it as irrelevant to their marketing strategies. If you address each of the five points above, then you are on your way to having a blog that successfully attracts leads to your legal practice.

Blogs are also a fantastic channel for engaging with prospects and clients. Whatever methods you use to get feedback, whether it be direct questionaires or via crowdsourcing platforms, you have an opportunity to produce content that you know people are actively looking for. This is a fundamental prerequisite for success.

The other thing to note is that SEO does not have to be expensive if you want good search rankings either for your blog. If you make sure you analyse the search terms people are using to look for information (e.g. using Google analytics or StatCounter), you can start off by tailoring your headers and content accordingly. This will help with rankings and, more importantly, more people will link back to your blog, comment on what you write or share the content via other social media channels.

I am not the first person to comment on the value of blogs for law firms, or on the use of various social media tools to attract clients. However, recent discussions I have had combined with commentary on the use of blogs has highlighted the fact that there is still a lot of resistance by lawyers to creating blogs.

I think the main reason is because many feel they don’t have the time or skill needed to set one up and connect it to various other elements of their web marketing strategy.

Many lawyers start off with “what will I blog about?” instead of asking “what information do people want updates on that I can easily comment on or give freely, and which can help them solve their problems?”

So, find out what information people are looking for. Ask clients, prospects or peers. Once you have a clear idea of their information needs, think about the target market for your blog. It is better to be relevant to a few who will actively follow you instead of being a generalist and simply get lost in the vast crowd that already exists on the Internet. For example, many lawyers will find that a localisation strategy is key to their success.

Setting 15 – 30 minutes aside twice a week should not be too difficult for lawyers. If it is, then delegating or outsourcing the creation of content is an option that should be considered. Either way, you need regular updates to keep yourself top of peoples’ minds.

Eria Odhuba helps lawyers implement new online business models to attract more clients to their practices, giving them the chance to be succesful and enjoy the things they would like to do but can’t because they have no time or money.

He helps lawyers use social media to position themselves as leaders within their target niches and creating platforms to increase their visibility despite the competition they may face. He creates messages that answer the questions going on the in the minds of prospects and, when combined with an effective lead capture system, helps lawyers develop a winning platform from which they can develop trust with prospects and win new business without the need to do any hard selling.

Process Helps Lawyers Accept, Implement Innovation

Marketers operate in the realm of innovation. If it’s been done before, they believe, it’s rarely worth doing the same way again. Most lawyers, by contrast, operate in the realm of precedent. If it hasn’t been done before, it’s risky.

A special challenge arises when the two worlds meet – when eager marketers try to lead cautious-by-nature lawyers into the uncomfortable territory of innovation.

Plus, there are additional reasons why lawyers in general are loath to innovate. They tend to be impatient, which makes them poor listeners in marketing meetings. They are afraid of failure. They fear being held accountable for bad results

Although getting lawyers to innovate is challenging, it’s not impossible. Lawyers are process-oriented. Marketers who want to encourage lawyers to innovate can achieve success by acknowledging this fact and following a careful step-by-step process. Identify in advance what might hinder you, and figure out how to fix it.

In addition, lawyers enjoy success just as much as the next person. Marketers who want to advance an innovative project should counter-balance lawyers’ lack of patience, fear of failure and fear of reprisals with a clear vision of the value of a successful marketing project in advancing a lawyer’s or a law firm’s success.

Always ask yourself and your lawyers, is the risk of failure or reprisal so great that it cancels out the many, rich benefits of success? If you are truly honest with yourself, you have to admit that it rarely does.

Kohn discussed how law firm marketers can identify, develop and implement innovative ideas in a law firm at the monthly educational meeting of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. The presentation took place Sept. 11 at Fogo de Chao restaurant in LoDo, Denver.

Kohn has been president of Los Angeles-based Kohn Communications for 27 years. During that time, he has worked with more than 1,000 law firms and conducted more than 28,000 individual lawyer coaching sessions. He is co-author of two popular books, most recently Selling in Your Comfort Zone (Safe and Effective Strategies for Developing New Clients.

Process to successful innovation

Kohn’s innovation process involves nine steps.

Generate an innovative idea. Innovative ideas are all around us. I ask lawyers to actively generate their own ideas, which trains them to think about innovation. I ask them to look outside the carefully defined world of law to the greater world around them to discover transferable strategies.

I want them to see the world not as noise, but as a catalyst. Which things in your environment set themselves apart from the noise and get your attention? For example, why do you open one piece of junk mail and not another? How can what you observe in the wider world be applied to your practice or your law firm?

List the benefits of implementing this idea. Begin by listing the personal benefits to you if your idea succeeds. Will you make more money? Will you achieve a greater profile within the firm? A clear understanding of these potential benefits makes it much more likely that you will work hard to achieve your innovation. Move on to list the benefits to the law firm. Arm yourself with research that substantiates your claims.

List the risks of not implementing this idea. Once again, start with the personal risks and move on to the firm-wide risks. Are you happy with your career just the way it is? Does your firm have all the work it needs? What is likely to happen if you do nothing? Once again, substantiate. Do your research. Prepare and rehearse language that clearly expresses the risk of doing nothing.

Prepare your strategy for implementation. The two greatest motivators are safety and fear. A ‘safety’ strategy emphasizes the good and protective things that will happen as a result of your innovation. A ‘fear’ strategy emphasizes the bad things that will happen if you fail to innovate.

Any strategy must also include a maintenance component. What needs to happen next? Who will be responsible? Always negotiate the next step. Keep the ball in your own court so that you can keep things moving.

Why will your strategy be effective? List all of the reasons that your strategy will be effective. Anticipate every possible argument questioning these reasons. If you do not have a ready answer, do some additional research. Read, talk with others, surf the internet. The answers are there. Be prepared to answer any question with solid facts.

What resources will you need? New ideas require resources, which can include time, money, hired expertise and equipment. Any one of these can be a roadblock on the road to acceptance of your planned innovation, unless you have carefully considered them ahead of time, determined the cost and determined the reasons why the innovation is worth the cost.

What are the obstacles to implementation? Step back from your innovative idea and examine it like an objective observer. Imagine every possible objection that someone could have. Consider every possible event or trend that could de-rail your idea. Decide ahead of time exactly how you will counter every single one of these objections or roadblocks.

What is your recommended deadline? Have in mind an absolute deadline by which your innovation should become reality. Set the date, and then work backwards to create interim deadlines. Be rigorous about meeting these deadlines.

Who are your ideal advocates? If your innovation is personal, who in your life needs to be on board in order for you to succeed? Who can help you achieve your goals? If your innovation is for the law firm, you will need powerful internal advocates – both to get your idea accepted and then, once it is accepted, to get the resources you need. Have your advocates lined up before you even propose your idea. Do this in private.

Innovation can be challenging for individual lawyers as well as law firms – and for the law firm marketing professionals who work with them.

Careful preparation makes all the difference. Following this process to lay the necessary groundwork makes it much more likely that lawyers will conquer their fear of innovation, failure and reprisal — and focus instead on the ‘success’ side of the innovation equation.

So Your Business Has a Legal Problem – 8 Useful Tips on What to Expect From Your Lawyer

As a business owner, you are usually run off your feet with the challenges of operating your business. The last thing you need to worry about is a legal problem. Many business people put off dealing with a legal problem because they don’t know where to turn, don’t have the time, or most often, are afraid of how much it will cost and how much time it will take.

Legal issues come in many forms:

· A customer failed to pay an account despite many promises. · You just received a letter from a government agency. · You just found out that your former manager has set up a competing business and has stolen your best customer and one of your key employees. · You have just been sued for $100,000. · Someone told you that one of your standard form contracts won’t stand up in court and you are worried about it. · You have a dispute with your landlord. · You have a problem with a US or European customer. · Your business has been defamed on the internet. · You just found that your warehouse manager has been sexually harassing a female employee. · An employee is damaging your business but threatens to sue if you fire him. You are not sure how to handle it. · You are involved with a Workplace Safety Insurance claim.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of the kinds of legal issues business people run into frequently.

Tip #1 – Seek out legal help at the first sign of a problem

Suppose a competitor has been passing off its business under your name and it’s costing you customers and sales but it’s hard to estimate the amount. Unless you act promptly, it may be too late to seek an injunction from the Court. If you think you have a claim against another party under a contract, a limitation period begins to run from the time the contract is breached and usually expires two years later. It’s not a good idea to leave the claim to the last minute.

If you have an issue with an employee who is working unacceptably, it’s important to develop a legal strategy as early as possible. The longer you wait, the more it may cost your business.

The short point here is that it is important to seek advice as soon you detect a problem and before anything has been done to make it worse. Crisis management is always more expensive and time-consuming than early response.

Tip #2 – Have a team of lawyers to call on when you need them.

Every business should have a team of on-call lawyers. This is less expensive or complicated than it sounds. All you need are the telephone numbers and email addresses of trusted corporate, employment law and litigation lawyers. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also need an intellectual property lawyer, who deals with trademarks, patents and copyright. You may even need a tax lawyer because not all tax issues can be solved by an accountant.

If the amount of your legal dispute is very small, such as a claim or complaint by a customer for $1,000 or less, it will be uneconomic to hire a lawyer. Fortunately, there are other helpful resources. The BBB has a dispute resolution process which permits BBB businesses and their customers to resolve disputes by arbitration or mediation. You don’t need a lawyer and the only cost is a small administration fee. More information about this process is available on the BBB website.

If your case is in the Small Claims Court ($10,000 or less), you might need a paralegal who specializes in these kinds of cases. Paralegals are now regulated by the Law Society but they are not lawyers and they are not a substitute for an experienced lawyer.

Tip #3 – Learn what to expect when a dispute arises.

As a business person, you have learned that success is often the result of building relationships. The relationships you build with your lawyers can be just as important to your business success as the ones you have with your customers, suppliers, banker and insurance broker. A relationship with your lawyer built on mutual trust and respect will save you many sleepless nights over the years and probably make or save you a lot of money.

There are several ways to find good lawyers for your business:

Ask business associates or relatives if they have someone to recommend. If you get a recommendation, find out more about the firm and the lawyer by using some of the research methods below. · The internet is a very useful resource for finding a lawyer but you have to be careful. Any lawyer can list with various online legal directories. Anyone can have a flashy website. You have to move past the flash to find the substance.
When looking for a lawyer on the internet, look for someone who has experience in the field you require. The first name on a Google search may not be the best choice. Some lawyers have written extensively about the law. This is a useful indicator of expertise and standing in the legal community.
Some lawyers list cases they have been involved in on their websites. Broad litigation experience in complex business matters over many years is a good indicator of competence.
The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario, Canada) has a lawyers’ referral service. The service provides a name but you have to check the details out yourself. · The Law Society certifies specialists in several areas of practice. Certification as a specialist signals that the lawyer has achieved a higher standard of experience in his/her area but certification isn’t mandatory. Many competent lawyers have long experience in a field without applying for certification. You have to decide if this is important to you.
· If your problem is outside Ontario, find a local lawyer first. Many firms have networks with lawyers globally and are able to refer to lawyers in the USA or other countries. Refers between colleagues are often more effective.
When you call, don’t expect the lawyer to solve your business problem over the telephone. The first discussion is for the lawyer to identify whether s/he can represent you and for you to assess whether the lawyer appears to have the skills to deal with your problem. If you have a legal problem the lawyer believes his/her firm can resolve, an office meeting will be arranged.

In business matters, lawyers customarily charge a consultation fee for the first office meeting. At the meeting, the lawyer will give preliminary or urgent advice and develop a go-forward strategy. The lawyer may be able to give a partial fee estimate and will ask for a retainer to cover some of the work. No lawyer can guarantee the outcome. At this early stage, there are usually a lot of unknown matters. While the lawyer may be able to give you a partial fee estimate in a litigation matter, it’s impossible to say with accuracy how much it will cost. It depends on too many unknown factors.

It will be then up to you to decide whether or not to hire the lawyer to represent you further. The decision you make will depend on your sense of confidence in the lawyer. Has the lawyer listened to you? Have your questions been answered? Does the lawyer appear to understand your problem? Has the lawyer presented the risks and downsides of your case? Every case has risks and costs. Beware of a lawyer who tells you only what you want to hear without assessing the strengths of the opposing party’s case.

Some lawyers will accept a monthly or annual retainer which entitles the client to telephone advice a few times a month. More complicated issues require separate engagements.

Tip #4 – The least expensive lawyer is unlikely to be the best person to handle your legal problem

Consider this scenario: you are looking for a lawyer for a complicated lawsuit. You call Mr. Jones, who answers on the first ring. You tell your story, which has many facts the opposite party disputes. Mr. Jones says, “You have a great case. I’m sure you’re going to win.” When you ask how much it will cost, Mr. Jones says “Don’t worry, you won’t have to pay me anything unless you win. Just come on down to my office and we’ll get started.”

Beware of any lawyer who tells you this. While Ontario lawyers are permitted to charge their fees based on contingency, i.e. a percentage of the result, this type of fee arrangement is only rarely applicable in business cases. It never occurs when facts are in dispute, recovery is uncertain or if the amount is small.

When you retain a lawyer, you need a trustworthy advisor, who will point out the weaknesses of your case as well as the strengths. A litigation lawyer who is waiting by the phone for your call and tells you exactly what you are hoping to hear may be too hungry or too inexperienced to manage your case. He may be in over his head and will bail out as soon as your case takes a negative turn. By then, your legal situation may have worsened. It will be more expensive and perhaps impossible to repair it.

Even worthwhile cases require careful analysis and risk assessment. An experienced litigation lawyer will typically do his by for fees on an hourly basis plus GST and any out-of-pocket expenses necessary for your case.

Good litigation lawyers are often in court, at mediation or other litigation procedures, at meetings or discovery. However, good litigation lawyers always call or respond by email within 24 hours. In case of urgency or vacation, the lawyer will arrange for someone in the office to contact you.

Tip #5 – Prevention is better and much less expensive than litigation.

Legal problems are like computer crashes — they are bound to occur, it’s just a matter of time. Unlike computer crashes, some lawsuits can be avoided. Often, businesses owners deal with legal matters only when a crisis arises. They look for the least expensive lawyer to draft their leases, contracts, corporate and employment agreements without regard to skill, competence and experience.

Sometimes, business owners avoid legal steps like failing to make a shareholder agreement, failing to file a trademark application or failing to prepare a non-competition and non-solicitation agreement with a key employee. When served with a lawsuit, they ignore or tear the papers up in anger. These business owners will be caught short when the inevitable occurs. While litigation or arbitration may still occur when there are written agreements in place, you will be in a far more secure position if you have taken precautionary steps before the dispute occurs. If you respond to correspondence and legal papers promptly, you will be better protected than if you ignore them.

Competent legal advice is available for matters such as corporate organization, leases, the wording contracts and other documents you use in your business, partnership and shareholder agreements, your relationships with your employees, your company’s trade names, logos and website, your regulatory compliance, your risk management and litigation prevention techniques. It’s all important to arrange legal affairs to ensure that your personal liability is limited in the case of a claim against your business.

Ensure that the legal issues affecting your business are in good order. This is likely to save you a lot of money and grief in the future. You might even consider having a legal audit or a “business legal checkup”. We plan to write about this topic in a future article in this newsletter. Preventative legal advice may be expensive but it is just as important as fire insurance.

Tip #6 — Don’t assume that ‘going to court’ means ‘going to trial’

If you haven’t been involved in litigation before, you may not appreciate that more than 90% of cases settle before trial. While a trial (or even an appeal) is not always avoidable, lawyers use techniques to try to resolve cases at earlier stages. Business people are looking for certainty and to limit expense and exposure.

It’s never a bad idea to negotiate a settlement with the opposing party but the timing and approach will depend on the case. It is best to negotiate from a position of strength. This may mean holding off negotiations until enough facts and documents have been disclosed to favour your position.

Mediation is another technique lawyers use to achieve settlement before trial. Mediation involves a neutral mediator, who is usually an experienced lawyer, acceptable to all parties. The parties and the lawyers prepare briefs to explain their positions to the mediator. On the mediation date, after an opening session, the parties retire to separate rooms. The mediator will “shuttle” between the parties until an agreement is worked out or an impasse is declared. This process produces a high rate of settlement even in very complicated cases.

Tip #7 – Understand the risks of the litigation process: Why do lawyers emphasize settlement?

Even if you have an airtight case, your lawyer will still recommend settlement. Lawyers assess risk every day. Even the most airtight case could have problems at trial. The judge may prefer the evidence of the opposing party over yours. The other party’s expert witness may be more persuasive than yours. These are just two of many possibilities. A trial is always a last resort.

Another good reason to settle is that even if you win at trial, the case may not be over because

The legal costs awarded by the court to a successful party are only a partial recovery of the legal costs payable to your lawyer. · If you lose at trial or if the opposing party does better in court than their settlement offer, you will have to pay a portion of their legal costs. · There may be an appeal which could delay payment for two years or longer.
Until a final judgment is granted, a defendant is rarely prevented from dealing with his property – unless the property is the subject of the lawsuit (or some other exceptional situations).
The judgment may be unenforceable. The opposing party may be insolvent or go bankrupt. You might not collect anything. · The defendant may conceal his assets or transfer them to family members to make the debt difficult to collect. A separate lawsuit may be necessary to find the defendant’s assets or to declare the fraudulent transfer void.
The defendant may have assets outside Ontario. A lawyer in the jurisdiction where defendant’s assets are located may have to be retained to collect the judgment.
A settlement involves a resolution both parties can live with. If the case involves the payment of money, there won’t be a settlement unless payment is made.

Even with these concerns, some cases can’t be settled. The positions of the parties may be so far apart that a trial is necessary. As the case progresses, you and your lawyer will have to revise and update your strategy and estimate the legal cost and risk of each stage of the case. Keep in mind that the opposing party is dealing with similar risk assessment and cost issues as you are.

Tip #8 — Be a good client.

From a lawyer’s perspective, a good client is a business person who does the following:

Presents all the facts of the case fairly without exaggeration or deception. Tell your lawyer everything; not just the facts that help you. The rest of the story always comes out and usually with adverse consequences. · Considers the lawyer as a trusted advisor and advocate.
Has a well-organized set of relevant documents.
Provides other documents and information promptly when requested.
Accepts that every case has weaknesses and works with the lawyer to develop a strategy to minimize the weaknesses.
Recognizes that the lawyer cannot guarantee the outcome but can only provide effective advocacy to produce the best result, often as a result of negotiation or mediation.
If an examination for discovery or trial is required, takes the time to prepare to testify.
Asks for clarification on all matters that are unclear.
Understands that in litigation matters, it is impossible to predict the fees accurately but that the lawyer will gladly provide estimates of imminent steps in the case.
Pays retainers when asked and settles interim accounts promptly when rendered.
Considers the lawyer’s recommendations carefully and provides reasonable instructions.
One of our firm’s clients is a technology business which started as a family operation and has grown to the point that its brand is now accepted and recognized globally. Our client’s president knows hows to get the most out of his professional advisors. He is always respectful, trusting of professionalism, intelligence, experience and competence. He is prompt in responding to requests for information, appreciative of good advice and excellent service. He works hard but he usually has a happy and cheerful attitude.

Our client expects is professional advisors to have the same enthusiasm for their work as he does for the operations of his business. And another small matter: our client pays every professional account within 48 hours of receipt. He believes that if he had to challenge his lawyer or accountant’s bill, the professional relationship is not a healthy as it should be. Our client expects fair treatment, excellent service, sound advice, creative strategy, experienced advocacy and determined, no-nonsense negotiations. And he gets all of them in spades! A lot of business people who are dissatisfied with their professional advisors could learn a lot from him.

These tips offer no assurance that your legal matter will turn out exactly as you expect. However, by following our suggestions, the resolution of your business dispute is likely to be a less expensive, less time-consuming and less stressful experience and possibly more successful. Keeping your business legal affairs in good order permits you more time to focus on making your business flourish.

Igor Ellyn, QC, CS and Orie Niedzviecki are partners of ELLYN LAW LLP Business Litigation and Arbitration Lawyers, a Toronto law firm, established specializing in dispute resolution for small and medium businesses and their shareholders.

An Effective Lawyer Marketing Plan

A lawyer marketing plan is the one which a lawyer undertakes to support his career. It is generally conducted by lawyers entering into the field of practice for the first time. But for that a lawyer needs to be aware of certain things which will determine his marketing plan.

Each individual lawyer needs a separate marketing plan. One strategy is not applicable to all. A senior lawyer may have a different marketing strategy than a new lawyer who has just entered the business. A marketing strategy cannot be borrowed from someone else. The lawyer should have new ideas and strategies.

A lawyer should basically make his plan on the basis of factors like cost, audience, mix, testing etc.

Cost- Before setting up a lawyer marketing plan a lawyer should consider his budget and how much will he be able to spend in year on marketing.
Immediacy factor- This is a very important factor in a lawyer marketing plan. It means how heavily you depend on a strategy to promote business. A senior lawyer can get his business from marketing avenues but a new lawyer has to depend upon good marketing techniques. This will decide and influence the immediacy factor and in turn the lawyer marketing plan.
The audience- The lawyer has to consider the audience while chalking out his plan. The audience holds a prime position in lawyer marketing. He should reach out to the people through television ads, search engines or by targeting a particular type of audience.
The Marketing Mix-The plan should be diverse. The more diverse it is the better it gets. The lawyer should advocate different methods instead of sticking to one in his lawyer marketing plan.
Lastly the lawyer should keep a track of what is happening in his plan and what is working out for him without investing in a lot of money on the strategy. There are obviously many other factors which should be considered by him while deciding on his strategy. The above listed are few important ones which may a lead to a good and promising start of the lawyer’s career.

Settle With Insurance or Get a Lawyer? Strategies For Minor Personal Injury Cases

Every day, hundreds of people in California are involved in car accidents. Often times these are mild rear-enders, or “fender benders.” People often ask me whether it’s worth it to get a lawyer in such circumstances.

You may be surprised to hear this, but it’s not always worth it to get a lawyer! If you find yourself in this type of situation, you have two main options – either retain a lawyer to handle your case, or try to deal with the insurance companies directly.

First, let’s look at what usually happens if you deal with the insurance companies directly.

The Insurance companies will want to evaluate your injuries, so they will usually ask you for the following: 1. A recorded statement of what happened, 2. Copies of your medical bills and records, 3. Signed medical releases so the insurance company can obtain all of your medical records and bills, 4. Signed employment releases so the insurance company can determine how much work you missed.

Once the insurance company has all of these things, they will evaluate your case, and usually they will either offer to settle with you for a certain amount of money, or reject your claim, if for instance, they think the accident was your fault.

Now let’s look at what happens if you get a lawyer.

Usually your lawyer will recommend that you DO NOT give a recorded statement, and that you DO NOT sign any releases. Instead, your lawyer will usually gather the relevant information, and send the insurance company a “demand packet” explaining 1. What happened 2. Whose fault it is 3. What your injuries are 4. How much time you lost from work, and 5. a demand for settlement.

The advantage to this approach is that the lawyer will do most of the work, allowing you focus on healing. In addition, since you won’t have to do a recorded interview, you don’t have to worry about saying something that may hurt your case. Also, your lawyer will only send the insurance companies your relevant medical records, so you don’t have to worry about disclosing private medical histories.

These are all nice services, but most people’s main concern is How much is this going to cost me?

Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that they will receive a percentage of your ultimate recovery – usually somewhere from 25% to 40% depending on the attorney and on the case.

The advantage to the contingency fee is that you don’t have to pay your lawyer an hourly fee. The disadvantage, is that it will ultimately reduce the amount of money that will end up in your pocket.

On the other hand, often times insurance companies will be more likely to settle, or willing to settle for a higher amount once you retain a lawyer. This can balance out the attorney’s fee, or sometimes even result in you receiving more money that if you had settled directly.

So to review, both options have their pros and cons.

Settling with the insurance directly
Pros: Often faster, you don’t have to pay attorney fees.
Cons: More work, you may disclose private records.

Retaining a lawyer
Pros: Easier, protects your privacy better, can increase value of your case, resulting in more money for you.
Cons: Often slower, you will have to pay the attorney a percentage of your recovery.

In the end, each case will be different. Luckily, most reputable attorneys will offer a free consultation. If you have a case that you are not sure about, you can always go in for the consultation, and then decide to go it alone. Many people don’t realize it, but many attorneys prefer not to spend their time and effort on small cases anyway. If you have concerns that you may be better off on your own, ask the attorney during the consultation! Most reputable attorneys will be honest with you, and let you know when you would be better off alone.

This article is not legal advice.

Personal Injury Lawyers – Strategies to Help Find a Good Lawyer

For many individuals in, looking for a personal injury lawyer is one of the most difficult and important decisions they make. You must determine whether the lawyer specializes in the type of injury claim you are pursuing. Experience is a plus for every lawyer, but specialized experience is highly important.

The type of lawyer you need will often vary depending on the type of accident, for example, the litigation might require advanced knowledge of medical malpractice law, or the pursuit of a personal injury claim will often necessitate a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in a specific area of law.

The ability to adequately evaluate a lawyer’s education, professional qualifications, experience and fees is critical to making an informed decision. Unfortunately, many choose an attorney who does not have sufficient experience in their area of law, or select a lawyer who does not complete good work.

Traditionally, word of mouth recommendations from friends, and recommendations from colleagues or ads in local publications is the most important ways been to find a good lawyer. However, each method suffers from significant drawbacks. Most people ask only one or two recommendations from friends, meaning they can only be a few lawyers to choose from. As a result, they will not have enough information to make meaningful comparisons regarding fees or professional experience.

Choosing a personal injury lawyer for based solely on an advertisement in a publication is not recommended. While an ad can provide some useful information such as a lawyer qualifications or credentials, it offers very little objective information on how easy the lawyer with how efficiently uses the lawyer’s time, or how clever the lawyer is working in his field of expertise.

Web-based reviews and ratings for lawyers represent a strong alternative to the phone book or on a few opinions from friends. Users can read reviews written a large number of friends and other users, ask friends for reviews, browse profiles of lawyers and communicate directly with a lawyer without disclosing their names or contact information.

It also is essential that the lawyer be someone with whom you feel comfortable and feel you can trust. It is not good enough to just follow someone’s recommendation, regardless of how good the lawyer reputation. It is extremely important that you retain a personal injury lawyer who can put you at ease to communicate your needs and concerns.

The process of selecting a personal injury lawyer does not have to be any more difficult than when you are out shopping for a new living room set, or a new car. Always remember, the lawyer works for you. Do not be afraid to ask hard questions about their experiences in the courts, as well as the area of law in which they have practiced. If the above mentioned methods are used, you should have no problem securing a good lawyer to pursue your personal injury claim.

What Research About Businesses Can Teach You

Online Industrial Hardware Stores – The Best Way to Save Money

Today, there are very many online sites that supply people with industrial supplies at massively reduced prices making it possible to get great value for the money that you have paid. Those who are tired of spending a lot of time going to physical stores looking for certain hardware from different stores only to learn that they aren’t in stock any more can now rest knowing that they have a solid partner in an online store. Buying on the internet implies you can see instantly whether the item you require is on stock. Another great thing is that you don’t have to worry about transportation, you possess the advantage of having the item delivered at your doorstep making your business incur fewer costs. When you are getting your stock delivered directly to your location, it means that you can even source more significant amounts of the same thing at once as you aren’t going to incur transportation costs. When you have solid stock, it implies that you can bolster your clients stunningly better. When you have supplies available to you, it implies that you can undoubtedly and better serve your customers.

It doesn’t matter the capacity or quantity of stock that you need, when you buy your items over the internet, you are going to be a step ahead of your competitors. Here, you are going to possess a reliable industrial supply stock meaning that the moment you need to offer your client with certain services, you have everything at hand and you don’t have to keep them waiting as you place an order of the items that you require or equipment. It is also important to always stay update with the latest industrial supply hardware as it can spare your cash; items here move very fast and within no time, you can find yourself without access to whatever that you need. When you are interested in serving a certain client very fast, it is important that you possess what you need and the only way that you can do this is via ensuring that you are always updated. When you order via the internet, it means that you are going to get the part within a few days or even immediately if you wish to get it earlier. The different suppliers on the internet possess different delivery mechanisms so it is important that you perform a thorough analysis of the market before settling down on an industrial hardware supplier. When you have a reliable supplier, you are going to make your clients happy too.

A large number of the more prominent industrial supplies organizations likewise offer part rebates or trade rebates for rehash business on vast numbers of their items. When you discover that you are a vast purchaser, you can glance around to perceive what the dealer brings to the table you. There very many things that you can profit by; here you can even get unique customer support.