Managing LinkedIn Endorsements and Optimizing Your Profile

During Membership Appreciation Week here at the Chicago Bar Association I put on a program on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile. One question that came up was about the new endorsements of your skills and expertise listings. If you are interested in managing that area of your profile take a look at this short video. If you would like to see the entire program it is now online, free for Chicago Bar Association Members.

You may also want to take a look at a recent article from Attorney at Work titled “Should Lawyers Connect with Competitors?” and note the links to other pertinent articles on lawyers’ use of LinkedIn at the end of the article.

Learning, Food, Prizes: CBA Law Practice Management & Technology Expo

Come by the CBA on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, between 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to catch up on the latest in law practice management and technology services that can benefit your law practice, including CBA Member Benefit providers, plus participate in free CLE, see product demos, and enjoy food and prizes!
Expo Hall from 10am – 3pm

From 10-3 visit with national and local law practice management, business services, and technology companies in the Law Practice Management & Technology Expo. See more and find out who is coming in the Expo Guide.

Door prizes will include: $100 American Express Gift Card, compliments of Practical Law Company, LLC; iPad Mini, compliments of LexisNexis Firm Manager; Four $25 Starbucks Gift Cards, compliments of LexisNexis Firm Manager; Two Lawyer Career Manuals: (1) Direct Examination, a workbook for lawyer career satisfaction and (2) Ask the Career Counselors, answers for lawyers on their lives and life’s work, compliments of Under Advisement; Software package including WordPerfect Office X6, Perfect Authority and PDF Fusion, compliments of Corel; 12 months free subscription to Smokeball, compliments of Smokeball; Kindle, compliments of AAA; and more!

Complimentary lunch and snacks will be available in the Expo Hall.
Complimentary CLE from 11am-12pm and 1pm-2pm

Join us for complimentary CLE presentations at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. sponsored by LexisNexis Firm Manager and Practical Law Company.
11am – 12pm – Moneyball for Lawyers: Using Data to Make Your Firm Competitive

Long gone are the days of an “if you build it, they will come” law practice. Today’s potential clients are not only savvier about what specific legal services they need, they’re willing to shop around to ensure they’re getting the biggest bang for the buck. Running a competitive firm these days takes management and marketing skills, sure, but it also takes something many lawyers don’t think of: data analysis. Just as the Oakland A’s used player stats to build a winning team in the hit movie Moneyball, so can lawyers take their firm to new levels with inside data. This webinar will teach you how to look at your firm’s stat sheet in a whole new light—and how to use that information to make sound business decisions. Register Now!

Speaker: Christopher Anderson, LexisNexis Firm Manager
1pm –2pm – This Just In: Keeping Up With Developments in Your Practice Area

Keeping up with cases, codes, regs and news that affects and informs your ability to competently represent your clients can be a daunting task. Come learn about resources and strategies to get “just in time” information and harness it in your law practice. Free and fee-based services provide a focused stream of real-time information that can be accessed via the web and mobile platforms. From do-it-yourself RSS feeds to professionally edited, curated and produced content portals there are ways to maximize your efforts and minimize time when keeping up with current developments. Register Now!

Speakers: Ryan Allen, PLC and Catherine Sanders Reach, Director CBA Law Practice Management & Technology
Product Demonstrations at 9:00am, 9:30am, and 3:00pm

Product demonstrations in Charter Hall (first floor) directly before and after the Expo Hours will give you a chance to sit down and get a focused look at some new and favorite technologies. Come watch and learn more about:

3:00pm- Avvo Ignite Suite marketing platform
9:00am – Corel WordPerfect Office software
9:30am – Smokeball Office document management and assembly

This is but a taste of the festivities during CBA Member Appreciation Week. Check out the full week of festivities and please join us!

Three Ways to Add Pizzazz to Your Firm Website

Law firm websites often have a lot of text rich content, but little in the way of multimedia or graphics. Visitors to a website need something that grabs their attention, tells a story, and delivers it in short, digestible bits. Consider updating and enhancing your site content with some video, infographics and live feeds.

1. Lights, Camera, Action: Video

More and more law firm websites are incorporating video. In addition to using multi-media to add interest and engage your visitors, you can fit a lot of content into a short amount of time that does not require someone to read a long article. It can also highlight the real lawyers in your firm and help introduce them to potential clients. This November 2012 article from the American Bar Association on How Lawyers are Using Video has great information on the basic who/where/how/why of law firm videos. If that doesn’t convince you let’s look at some YouTube statistics:

  • Over 800 million unique users per month
  • More than 20% of global YouTube views come from mobile devices
  • 500 years of YouTube videos are watched every day on Facebook, and over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute

A YouTube channel is free. Creating good looking videos will likely require getting help from a videographer. Or, if you want to create educational videos that are a little more “fun’ you can use sites like goanimate.com or www.xtranormal.com to create an animated video using your own script.

2. Learning Is Fun: Infographics

Infographics are the new way to communicate complex information in a visually appealing way. It takes charts and graphs and punches them up for today’s graphics oriented and attention deficient audience. Companies like Visual.ly let you subscribe to the service and request a custom infographic through their marketplace. For attorneys looking to add some visual punch to their websites or blogs, the over 25,650 infographics in 27 categories can also be embedded in your website. Simply find one that speaks to your target audience and grab the code. For instance, if you represent green companies you could add a “going green at the office” infographic or if you want to let your clients know to keep their social media presence curbed you could add the “Privacy Fail: Concerns that Face Facebook Users” infographic.

3. Keep It Fresh: Social Media Feeds

Clients not into Twitter? No problem! If you tweet, and wish more of your clients and potential clients were on Twitter, you might want to take a look at Twylah. Twylah, currently in invitation only beta, is a free (for now) service that turns your tweets into a beautiful, customizable web page with subject groupings, graphics and more. What might have looked like gibberish, or too much information to non-tweeting clients and colleagues is now beautifully arranged and shows your tweets to their best advantage. The easiest way to explain Twylah is to look at an example: http://www.twylah.com/catherinereach .

Additionally, whether your firm is active on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, it is possible to show the updates to those profiles directly on your website. Your website may not get updated as often as you would like, so this is a way to add some fresh content and interest PLUS provide your website visitors a glimpse at your social media presence.

A law firm’s website is a vital first impression for potential clients. How well does your website reflect your firm? Get a Law Firm Website Review from the Chicago Bar Association’s Law Practice Management & Technology Director. This service will not only report on a site’s content and appearance, but also look at management and organizational issues to help the firm keep the site fresh and current. Take advantage of this objective review for your firm’s website to help provide the best possible reflection of your firm to website visitors.

This article first appeared in CBA Record February/March 2013

Choosing a Social Network for Client Development

A question raised by many lawyers who are considering using social media for outreach and client development is, “Which social media platforms should I use?” That question is usually followed by, “How much time should I spend?” And the answer to that question usually results in a wail of, “How much?” As a marketing tool, all social media outlets provide a platform for sharing information and engaging with clients, potential clients and referrals. However, there are ways to target the networks on which to focus your time and attention.

Read more in the March/April issue of Law Practice Magazine’s special ABA TECHSHOW issue.

How to… Customize Site/Blog Links in Your LinkedIn Profile

Did you know you can customize the links for your blog, website and other links in your Linkedin profile to say something other than “company website” or “blog”? Here’s how!

CBA’s Law Firm Start-up Boot Camp is one week away – register today!

Whether you are going solo, opening a small firm, or just need a refresher, the CBA’s new “Law Firm Start Up Boot Camp” is a day long event that will provide essential information on getting a successful law practice up and running.

The program will be held on Thursday, October 4, 2012, from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the CBA Building, 321 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago. The program has been approved for 4.25 IL Professional Responsibility Credit and 1.75 IL MCLE Credit.

Our panelists include some of the most experienced practice management advisors in the country: Jim Calloway, J.D., Director, Management Assistance Program at the Oklahoma Bar Association; Natalie Kelly, Director, Law Practice Management Program, State Bar of Georgia; Catherine Sanders Reach, Director, CBA Law Practice Management & Technology Division; and Reid Trautz, J.D., Director, Practice and Professionalism Center, American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The presentation will provide practical and proven guidance to lawyers in various settings to create effective, ethical and efficient solo and small firm practices. In this economy you have to give yourself the best chance for success. Invest in yourself. Invest a day to learn the best practices for your law practice. Invest in your future. Whether you are just starting out or looking to inject new ideas and energy into your existing firm, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

Topics include:

  • Becoming a Law Practice Entrepreneur
  • Budgeting and Financing
  • Building a Client Base
  • Using the Web/Social Media for Practice Development
  • Money Talks
  • All About Clients
  • Managing the Matter
  • Risk Management
  • The Life of the Lawyer

PLUS a networking lunch with the speakers, sponsored by CBA Administrators

Register to attend in person, or online (am and pm sessions are separate registrations) or call 312-554-2056

Tab.bz Chrome Extension for Collecting Browser Tabs

Recently Mashable posted an article on 8 Google Chrome Extensions to Boost Your Productivity. While many were useful, the one that stood out to me was the “Tab Packager” Tab.bz.  This Google Chrome extension allows you to create a short URL that captures all the open browser tabs in Google. Opening the short URL then shows all the tabbed website links on a single page, or you can have Chrome open all the links in seperate tabs. A couple of ways this could be used include:

  • Send a client a Tab.bz link to point to multiple websites instead of copying and pasting the links into an email
  • Bookmark or favorite a Tab.bz link in your browser to access sites for a research project, rather than creating a(nother) bookmark folder
  • Save a tab.bz link to Evernote to condense the number of notes (and consequently save on storage space).

These are but a few ideas for the Chrome Extension. Capture your research or browsing to share with a single click!

Expose Yourself

My new article in Slaw.ca: Expose Yourself

For a variety of reasons, some law firm websites may not have reached the top slot in Google, Bing, or Ask. There is competition for keywords, and the search engines change their algorithms frequently. Without having a team of folks tweaking the site, there will likely be some ebbs and flows in visibility in search results. However, there are a number of ways to boost visibility on the web so that whether someone finds the firm or attorney through social media, a directory, the website, or a professional nameplate site, you can get the message out about the firm’s professionals and services.

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