Let's face it, social is everywhere and it's here to stay. According to the 2013 American Bar Association Legal Technology Survey Report, more lawyers and law firms are beginning to blog and tweet than the prior years, but the numbers are only up slightly. Robert Ambrogi states several findings from the report in a recent blog post.
I found it surprising that only 19 percent of law firms and 14 percent of solo lawyers have a presence on Twitter.
If you are starting a Twitter account for your firm or just need a few new tips, check out these social media secrets from the NextChapter team:
- Buffer + Feedly = Magic. I use Feedly to aggregate all of the news articles and blog posts that I subscribe to in a newspaper format and devote one hour per day to browsing through Feedly. Once I find an article to share with my network, I post to Buffer directly from Feedly and add every network I want to push the content out to. Buffer will automatically shorten the link, set it to post based on your preferred schedule and then show analytics after the post, such as RTs, likes, mentions and clicks. Not only does this save a boatload of time but it also makes you the information leader in your industry.
- Unfollowers.me - Easily trim your Twitter list by using this helpful tool to find out who has recently unfollowed you and who isn't following you back.
- Always give credit - On Twitter and Facebook alike, you should share where you found the original post by including them in the tweet. Most of the time, the original poster will either thank you or retweet it to their network as well, thus increasing your followers.
- Use Hashtags - On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, hashtags can go a long way with increasing followers. For the entrepreneur world, hashtags like #StartupLife or #TodaysOffice can help you find other aspiring entrepreneurs in the same boat you are. Hashtags are an interesting way to build a strong network around things that inspire you or even help with market research with your own company.
We are one month away from the Clio Cloud Conference 2013 scheduled on Sept 23-24 in Chicago, IL. This inagural conference hosted by Clio, the cloud-based legal practice management platform, will connect innovative thought leaders in the legal industry with forward thinking lawyers and other Clio users to help take their practice to 'Cloud 9'.
Conference speakers include Jack Newton, Robert Ambrogi, Ed Walters, Chad Burton, Matt Homann, Joshua Lenon and many others. Running parallel to the conference sessions will be another new concept in the legal conference world, the "Unconference". This format will be a way to connect with fellow Clio users and try out new features with Clio support teams.
In addition to the two-day conference, there are also a few networking events to mingle with other conference attendees such as the Networking Gala and Wrigley Field Skybox. This conference is sure to be a fun time. If you plan to attend but haven't gotten tickets yet, you can go for 25% off by using the promo code: ClioCloud9.
Hope to see you there!
This article firm appeared on Small Firm Innovation
It was earlier this summer when I went to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico for the week. I decided to take one day to enjoy the spa while it was raining on the beach. I entered the lobby and was immediately impressed. The music was settling, the receptionist had a welcoming smile “Ms. Holsinger, would you like a glass of champagne while you fill out our intake form?” From there, it got better. As I pranced around the resort in my robe and slippers holding my cucumber eye mask, I couldn’t help but think how this experience could be applied in many other businesses for a fairly small investment.
Let’s look at the typical law firm initial consultation experience.
Client walks in, sits in a quiet empty lobby with florescent lights and outdated magazines. After the receptionist gets off the phone, she hands over and extremely long intake sheet for the client to fill out. A few minutes pass and the client is then escorted to another room and may or may not be offered a drink. Again, the client waits in an empty quiet room with nothing to do but worry about the upcoming meeting.
You only get one shot at a first impression.
Here are a few ways to change the experience for these potential clients and give them the warm welcoming that will make them want to come back.
- Soothing Sounds ($20) – Play calming sounds in the lobby such as ocean waves or nature tunes to create a relaxing ambiance. You can find these online for free, purchase an album or even buy a sound machine or fountain.
- Reading Material ($25 each) – Keep the latest copy of only four or five magazines for clients to browse through. Think of inspiring and uplifting magazines like Eating Well, Dwell, Fast Company and Travel + Leisure. If your city has a regional magazine, add that in the mix. You can even make a DIY magazine rack to hold them neatly.
- Subtle Lighting ($150) – Turn off the florescent ceiling lights and instead, opt for an amazing walnut floor lamp or table lamp with natural lighting.
- Welcome Sign ($30) – Hang a vintage style chalkboard in the lobby with something uplifting written on it each day. You could write an inspirational quote or even welcome the client before his or her meeting “Welcome Ms. Smith!”
- Refreshment Station ($20) – Set up a small table in the lobby as a refreshment station. Fill a large glass pitcher with ice water and sliced lemon. Place a small sign on the table that says “We also have hot tea and coffee if you’d like.” Add a little basket with creamer, sugar, napkins, and stirrers and be sure that they are always stocked. You could even go one step further and learn to make pour-over coffee and purchase this amazing coffee-drip stand for your station.
- Decorating ($50) – Throw away that old dark rug; consider a bamboo area rug for a more Feng Shui feel. Be sure to hang artwork or photos that will either create conversation or a peaceful feeling.
- Plants ($100) – Add balance and harmony to your office with an Areca Palm or Lucky Bamboo. Both of these plants are perfect office plants because don’t require much light, are air purifying and easy to care for.
With the help of a smiling face to welcome the client into the office and your new zen lobby, your potential client will be sure to remember their experience in a positive light.
This article first appeared on Small Firm Innovation.
Collaborating in an office environment plays a big role in business growth but having multiple meetings per week can actually drain time rather than build company momentum. Cut your counterproductive meetings and start crowd-sourcing your brainstorming sessions using a collaborative web-based productivity tool called Trello.
Trello is a simple team coordination system that is free to use and easy to adopt in any office environment.
I use Trello to collaborate with my team on the development for NextChapter so that I can see what features are ready for testing and those that have been completed. This makes managing a project such a breeze compared to emailing updates back and forth. Trello also holds my upcoming business ideas, personal to-do lists and even to-read book lists.
Small firms and solo attorneys alike can implement this system in a matter of minutes by setting up an account and creating the first board. Here are a few ways attorneys can use Trello.
The Small Firm
- Managing Matters - Build a Trello board for your complicated clients that require several tasks spread throughout your staff. This makes it easier to view the progress of the case without requesting or posting updates.
- Collaborating on Projects - By simply adding a member to your board, that person is now able to post comments, create new tasks and move the cards in real-time. Anyone attached to the board can stay informed on that project.
- ‘Open Door’ Board - One good use of Trello I’ve seen was an ‘open-door’ board where employees are encouraged to suggest ideas for the firm. This gives staff members a way to propose changes to better the practice and even vote on the suggestions.
The Solo Attorney
- Virtual Assistant Tasks - When working with a virtual assistant, you can create a board for each matter she is handling and easier track the progress of the tasks.
- Upcoming Deadlines - In most cases, there are set deadlines to follow after a case has been filed. By creating a ‘Deadlines’ board and adding colorful labels to the cards, you can visually organize the tasks for easier completion.
- Marketing Board - As a solo attorney it is important to track your marketing ideas and goals to know what is working and when you should move on to the next sales strategy. Build a marketing board to hold your upcoming ideas, helpful articles and proven tactics.
- Travel Plans - Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s a good idea to keep notes about your upcoming trips. You can also build a board of places you wish to someday visit with links to attractions and activities.
- Books To-Read - One use of Trello could be to organize the books you wish to read, are currently reading and have finished. You can even jot down tips and take-aways from each book for future reference.
- Personal To-Do’s - As I mentioned above, I use Trello for everything (even my dog’s vet schedule). So play around, get creative and start building boards to organize your personal and business-related ideas.