February 2011 Archives

February 16, 2011

Gaming the Competition

AmLaw Daily reports on new bar association on the block: the Video Game Bar Association (VGBA), a worldwide organization for lawyers who specialize in video game law. Launched last week, the group already has a board in place, comprised of two biglaw attorneys, two in-house counsel and a solo who practice in the video game field. According to Patrick Sweeney of Reed Smith, a VGBA founder and board member, at least 60 lawyers who have attended past industry events expressed interest in a bar association for video game law.

If you're interested in video game law but haven't broken into the field, the VGBA won't be much help. As described here, VGBA membership is limited to attorneys who have practiced for two or more years predominantly in the games industry and are recommended by two existing members from different firms. Membership is expected to cost around $100 per year or less.

On one level, starting an association with your competitors seems counter-intuitive, particularly in a specialized field with a finite number of clients (in other words, it's different from the trial lawyers' association or NACBA, where millions of consumer clients have a need for services). Still, overall, there are numerous benefits to teaming up with competitors. First, by pooling resources, VGBA lawyers can stay abreast of new industry developments at a lower cost. Second, because many video companies have in-house counsel, an organization that brings together in-house counsel and lawyers in private practice can lead to more work. Likewise, the mixture of small and large firms in the same organization can result in referrals, with large firms referring small matters to the solos, and solos teaming up with big firms or direct referring bet-the-company types of cases.

Moreover, by teaming up and creating a quasi-elite group with membership requirements, the VGBA lawyers may wind up competing for work with each other, but they'll lock out competition from Johnny-come-lately's who want to dabble in a sexy area. I can easily see VGBA gaining industry cache, with video companies seeking lawyers going directly to the VGBA roster.

Have you ever thought of joining up with competitors this way - or do you belong to a similar group? What's your view of this marketing approach? Post your comments below.


February 4, 2011

Free Webinar - Social Media for Lawyers

Are you wondering how to use social media in your professional life? Confused about how it's supposed to earn you more money as an attorney? Or what resources are out there specifically designed for attorneys? Then you're invited to our latest webinar, Social Media for Lawyers. In this webinar, presented by lawyer, SEO expert, and founder of Justia, Tim Stanley, we'll show you how to successfully apply social media to your law firm and practice.

Register now: Social Media for Lawyers

Social media has exploded in the past couple of years. It's now become essential for businesses and companies: over 65% of attorneys are using social media to grow their firms. They've discovered their web presence needs to move beyond their firm's website. Sign up for Social Media for Lawyers and you'll learn:

  • How social networking applies to legal professionals

  • Strategies for participating on social media, with an emphasis on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

  • Which tools will maximize professional benefits

  • Best practices for legal professionals

This webinar is ideal for:

  • Solo practitioners

  • Principal attorneys at small law firms

  • Marketing professionals at small law firms

Meet Your Presenter
Tim Stanley is a computer programmer, lawyer, and CEO of Justia. Prior to starting Justia, Mr. Stanley co-founded FindLaw and served as FindLaw's CEO and Chairman. He is a member of the State Bar of California, the American Association for Justice, American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Meet the Organizer
Nolo is passionate about making the law accessible to everyone. Since 1971, our high-quality books, software, legal forms, and online lawyer directory have helped millions of people find answers to their everyday legal and business questions. Nolo's online lawyer directory is a unique tool for attorneys at small firms to demonstrate their expertise online. To learn more about being listed in Nolo's lawyer directory, visit Nolo.com.

Webinar Details
When: February 17, 2011, 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Standard Time)
Where: Via computer and/or phone
Cost: Free

Space is limited so register today. There will be a 10-minute question and answer opportunity at the end of the webinar.

Please note: CLE credit is not available. Please join us for this exciting event!

Register now to attend this free event!

Nolo's Lawyer Directory
950 Parker Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
www.nolo.com/lawyers/

February 1, 2011

Selling How, Not What, You Practice

When marketing to prospective clients, lawyers focus largely on what they practice. Law firm websites describe what kinds of legal matters you handle, blogs focus on what types of issues you commonly encounter in your area of practice and elevator speeches reduce what you do to a catchy 30 second sound bite.

The trouble with selling what you do is that most clients don't understand enough to distinguish you from your competitors. You may have achieved great results in the family law or traffic ticket cases that you handle but many other lawyers have too. How's a client to know whether a victor before a particular judge is more meaningful than a win before another? Likewise, can a client understand that the 4 wins you secured in tough cases are worth far more than the 10 wins another lawyer may have obtained in simple matters.

But though clients may not understand what you do, they're capable of comprehending how you do it. Some clients may be interested in knowing that you make house calls or can meet with them via Skype or some other kind of online networking system. Or that you send invoices electronically, or routine updates or don't bill for computerized research services. So tell clients how you practice law, and you'll work wife them if they retain you.