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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of March 29, 2011

LawBiz(r) newsletter

Complimentary breakfast: If you will be in the Chicago downtown area the morning of Tuesday, April 12th, join me for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Please R.S.V.P. In addition to food, we'll talk about the challenges facing the profession and how these relate to your own practice. You will walk away with at least one idea for greater profit, increased revenue or reduced stress that you can implement immediately on your return to the office. I look forward to seeing you in Chicago.

Medical report: To answer those who expressed concern, I'm now in my third week of recovery from my bike accident. (P.S. The police report said that the car driver was at fault for failing to yield right of way!) I'm pleased to report that I am much better, though yet a ways to go for full recovery. I've been witnessing a wild color chart on my leg, sometimes very much like a rainbow. And, at one point, like burnt toast. The body is an incredible instrument and should be more appreciated than most of us do.
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Testimonials Should Sell Soap, Not Lawyers

Marketers consistently use testimonials - whether from glamorous celebrities or from presumably satisfied "everyday" customers - to serve as evidence that an organization and its products or services are of value. For consumer products, this may be acceptable. But for law firms, I strongly disagree with the legitimacy of using clients' names for testimonials.

My contrarian perspective is against the view of all sales people I've ever met, including law firm marketing consultants. Most advice on this subject from marketers is that testimonials from recognizable client-customers are good. People want to associate with others whom they want to emulate (witness today's flood of celebrity-focused advertising). For business clients, the reasoning seems to be that if you're a small but growing company, you should engage a law firm that has helped and can name other small companies that became big and successful. The implication, by naming these companies, is that the firm can do the same for you.

The Right of Confidentiality
I believe very strongly in the privilege (the right) of confidentiality. This privilege is one of the features that differentiate lawyers from other service providers, and the more we move away from it, the more like others we become and the less able we are to carve out protections for ourselves and our clients when "the authorities" come calling. It is frequently an investigatory tactic of prosecutors and regulators to seek a waiver of the attorney-client privilege in exchange for more favorable treatment; refusal to waive means harsher terms and penalties for the individual client.

Some may say that it's the clients' choice to waive confidentiality and allow the use of their names for a testimonial. Many clients do give permission for testimonials, one of the reasons being that they respect the lawyer and want to help. That's not the point, however. I believe most clients subconsciously are reluctant, even when they do give permission. I've seen this reluctance in my own coaching practice - most of my clients ask me to keep their identity confidential, even though there is no rule governing this. And I respect their wishes. My attitude is that if I can't get business without using a name, then I have not yet proven my credibility and value to the new prospective client.

The Commoditization of Lawyers
If we as lawyers encourage clients to do so, others begin to see us as no different from auto dealers or plumbers. It ultimately results in the commoditization of lawyers and their services, and that which is commoditized can be regulated and controlled in ways that lawyers have resisted thus far. When we adopt the salesperson's mentality, we will be regulated like one.

8 Steps to Greater Profitability

The Lawyer's Path to Prosperity

8 Steps to Greater Profitability

Are you frustrated with how your law firm or practice is running? Are you looking for ways to jump-start your business? Do you want to make the dream of starting your own successful firm a reality?

This 8-CD set provides the most complete audio guide to law practice management available. From crafting a business plan to selling your practice for maximum value, Ed will lead you from start to finish through the eight most crucial steps to law firm success. Earn the living you deserve and find fulfillment throughout your career – embark on the path to success today! Learn more.

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In this issue:

Testimonials Should Sell Soap, Not Lawyers

8 Steps to Greater Profitability

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What Clients Are Saying:

"Through Ed's invaluable coaching and no-nonsense approach, I was able to not only stay employed at the firm, but to make partner and have a future with the firm."

JM, Los Angeles, CA

"Ed knew the right questions to make me answer. He has taught me virtually everything I know about formation, planning, and now management of a successful law firm."

RUM, Los Angeles, CA

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2011 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

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