Tipping Point: Transformation and Innovation in the Legal Department

This ARK Group book was just released. I was pleased to be tapped to write a chapter on the specific steps a legal department can take to increase efficiency, predictability and collaboration with outside firms.

Information about purchasing the book can be found here: http://ow.ly/cw5A30o0lN7 

The following is the ARK Group description of the book.

“The contemporary legal landscape is no longer a rigid hierarchy composed of limited and complacent behemoths, but rather an ecosystem, filled with a wide variety of players that facilitate disruption and revolution and jostle for clients’ attention with agility and innovation. This includes – but is certainly not limited to – entities such as technology companies, consultants, alternative legal service providers, and paraprofessionals.

“Law firms are not the only ones in this environment that must adapt or fail; the legal department and in-house counsel, too, must transform in order to remain relevant and competitive.

“The world of the general counsel (GC) has already seen massive shifts – ever-increasing globalization has meant more legal issues and corporate activism, which in turn has generated new challenges and heightened demand. The GC cannot simply act in the role of outsourcer of work to external counsel, as in the past. With the growth of legal departments (it is now not uncommon for legal departments to number in the hundreds or even thousands, often formed of expensive lateral hires) the GC must now wear a number of hats, including that of the “CEO” of their department.

“The introduction of data analysis into the legal space and the oft-repeated mantra of “less with more” has meant that the GC must now think in terms of spend and budget more than ever before, transforming the legal department from a cost-center to a value-add. They must cultivate a breadth and scope of vision, able to organize and lead their department as an innovator. The flourishing legal ops role also provides yet another challenge for the GC. As the incorporation of legal ops within the law department becomes increasingly essential, the GC must work to ensure alignment and manage change.

“The present time has been hailed as the golden age of in-house lawyering, yet – and perhaps because of this – it is an uncertain and challenging time for the GC. Tipping Point: Transformation and Innovation in the Legal Department is intended as a handbook for the GC looking to build a truly modern legal department and revolutionize their role. Encompassing aspects from leveraging influence with the c-suite to reimagining organizational hierarchies and seeking the right operational professional, this publication features contributions from those at the frontiers of the profession as it transforms and embraces new areas of expertise”.

Stop Clowning Around: It’s Time to Create High Engagement with Clients

Websites these days can create “high-engagement” if they are designed to offer fresh content which will attract clients, potential clients and repeat visitors. Many law firm websites are outdated and not built with the technology for easy to post strong content which would assist clients in meeting their business goals. Law firms of all sizes should be considering updating to current technologies and website strategies in order to stay relevant and to bring in new business.

When law firms jumped into having websites, most were not designed to extend the firm’s brand and disseminate thought-leadership content. These days, firms must view their websites as more than an electronic version of old-fashioned printed brochures. In this old model, bios and practice area descriptions were considered to be the most important content—and client focused content, such as articles, blog posts, and thought-leaderships pieces, were not offered. Even today, many law firms don’t publish fresh and relevant content on their websites. Rather, they do not update their websites to engage their coveted audiences. Some may post fresh content on their blogs or social media outlets, which does not engage viewers to stay on their website and learn more about the firm, its capabilities and unique differentiators.

Fortunately, this is changing. As the market for legal services has become more competitive firms have begun creating more content as a means of distinguishing themselves from the competition. These firms are seeing their websites as publishing opportunities yielding increased website engagement.

The bottom line is that law firms must invest in themselves and consistently develop fresh and client-focused content to maximize the return on their investment. It only makes sense that now, even firms that have resisted, are stepping up and revamping their websites to maximize the chance that visitors will read the firm’s best reputation-enhancing content and engage more thoroughly on their websites.

With years of helping law firms create client-centric and business development focused websites, we, at EM Consulting, are poised to help your firm maximize the return of investing in your website.

LinkedIn: Are we Forgetting Something?

LinkedIn is about content sharing, not social engagements. Clients, referral sources and potential clients develop a strong understanding of an attorney’s or firm’s areas of expertise by reading a steady sharing of industry or practice specific relevant information. Many firms have great success turning content marketing into content sales with this approach. But lately, we seem to be seeing more and more social posts; the kind a reader might expect from other social media platforms such as Facebook.

As changes in the legal landscape continue to increase, most law firms, thank goodness, have given up the dated 16-page full color snail mailed newsletter that covered an ocean of topics and services offered by a firm. Most firms have successfully segued into meaningful and focused snack sized bites of content marketing in specific areas for their various online channels such as websites, blogs, and social media. The goal of content marketing, which leads to content selling, is to increase the position and demonstrate a strong knowledge base of a firm’s and/or individual’s expertise on a precise subject.

Clients and potential clients are always seeking strong and pertinent updates and information. Posting germane industry and practice content and news increases a professional’s relevancy and position in the marketplace. Enhancing a firm’s or professional’s expertise in a specific area can make the difference between not being known or seen or getting on the short list when clients and potential clients are looking for strong expertise.

Is your firm having trouble finding ideas for strong content? There are many ways to achieve this. Consider starting by asking your clients, and those in the industries you are targeting, what types of information would be helpful. This is also a great way to reach out to clients and potential clients to start or to enhance a relationship. We often use an online tool www.answerthepublic.com which can assist in defining and then refining content ideas.

We know it takes time and consistency to raise visibility and make significant inroads into the LinkedIn marketplace. Those businesses and professionals that take content sales and social media seriously will start to see significant upticks in their results. This takes some time and an increase in the comments they make on their connections’ posts. Engagement also increases as professionals share and comment on their LinkedIn connections’ posts. Commenting on a post triggers LinkedIn to send an email to that person to let them know you read and commented on it – fabulous engagement.  This does not happen if you simply “Like” a post. The only way a connection will see that you “Liked” their post is if they take the time to visit the analytics LinkedIn offers.

Content should be varied and can include short updates as well as published LinkedIn articles which can both be created on the LinkedIn Home page. LinkedIn automatically places these articles on the writer’s Profile page. These short articles have a two-fold benefit as they also become permanently part of one’s LinkedIn Profile which demonstrates skill and knowledge when others are checking them out.

Lately, it seems there has been an increase in diluting an individual’s or firm’s brand with too many social posts on LinkedIn. The occasional post about an office’s activities or community supported organization can be powerful in expanding a brand message. However, the recent uptick in more personal and social posts, which are more suited for other social media platforms, is alarming.

Have you noticed the recent increase in the number of posts on LinkedIn about pets, restaurants, vacations, or family outings?  This type of engagement is more suited to other social media outlets such as Facebook.

LinkedIn, according to Forbes, is the number one business social media platform. We advise our clients to post about business, industry news, sharing information learned at conferences, short articles to help clients achieve their business goals, and even comments or analysis from reposting a relevant business article. Don’t forget to include quotes from clients and industry experts to further round out and demonstrate your business expertise and knowledge.

LinkedIn is a social platform but it is focused on business. You might consider that fact before you post your next restaurant review or vacation photo. Content marketing leads to content engagement and sales. Let’s leave the kitten videos to Facebook or Instagram.

The Sky’s the Limit!

The sky may be the limit now for small and mid-size firms to successfully target, court and convert larger company clients. In fact during a recent interview with the Director of Legal Operations at a Fortune 500 insurance corporation, I was told, “We like working with mid and smaller size firms because they tend to give better service and are more open to forming ‘sticky’ relationships with us. They seem more interested in understanding our pain points. Frankly, we find it easier to form strong relationships with them. Mid-size and small firms are starting to capture a big slice of the work these days.”

According to this article published by General Counsel News, “Companies want Smaller Firms But are Having Trouble Finding Them.”

Full Article Here

Law Firms that are Leading the Way

More and more corporate legal departments are requiring their outside law firms to adopt legal operations. In fact, every week 10-20 new legal departments join CLOC (Corporate Legal Operations Consortium). This blog highlights two law firms, Baker & McKenzie and Davis Wright Tremaine, that are well entrenched in legal operations and are effectively leading the way for other law firms. Find out how and why here.

Is Lawyer’s Trusted Advisor Status in Jeopardy?

The Problem

According to James Bliwas, Senior Marketing and Communications Strategist, “This news ought to be deeply disturbing to managing partners and lawyers regardless of the size of their firm: Attorneys are losing their once-reverent position as businesses most-trusted advisor.” Continue reading Is Lawyer’s Trusted Advisor Status in Jeopardy?

10 Reasons to Share Articles to LinkedIn

Staying top of mind with in-house counsel, clients, prospective clients and referral sources is a major reason to post content on LinkedIn. Posting gives you the opportunity to show you have the latest information in your area of expertise, whether it is original content or posting someone else’s great article, such as this one, demonstrates your depth of knowledge. Be a thought leader and post away.

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