Blogs

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It's Friday afternoon. Your busy week is about to end. But first, you must write your weekly blog. Staring at a blank computer screen or legal pad can be daunting. Even though you’ve been immersed in the law all week, what would your readers be interested in? Where would you find interesting topics? National News The Supreme Court of the United States has been prominent in the news this week. Avoiding political issues, talk about the Supreme Court itself: its history, how cases come to it, how the justices decide what to hear. Many of your readers want to understand this sometimes mysterious branch of government. A quick scan of recent national ...
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"Limited Scope Representation (LSR) refers to the concept of a lawyer agreeing with a client to handle only some part(s) of the client's legal matter. The term 'unbundling' is sometimes used to refer to this method of client service."—American Bar Association Limited Scope Representation was the topic of discussion at a program sponsored by the Master Lawyers and Young Lawyers Sections at the State Bar of Michigan's NEXT Conference in Grand Rapids. The rules governing this new legal service became effective on January 1, 2018. Areas of civil practice suitable to LSR include family law, consumer law, landlord/tenant, homeowner association law, ...
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Published in Michigan Real Property Review , Spring 2018-Summer 2018, Vol. 45 Nos. 1-2  [ view full issue ]. Cite : 45 Mich Real Prop Rev 1 (2018) By Melissa N. Collar My year as Chair has flown by. Time and time again, I have witnessed firsthand how impressive our 3,600 member Section is when put into action. Here is just a small sampling of the great things your fellow members are doing. Strategic Plan : We are nearing the one year anniversary of our 2017 Strategic Plan that was approved last September. Each month, the Council has dedicated time on its Agenda to discuss a goal or recommendation from the Plan. Based on those discussions, we have ...
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Meet the Press

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“I just got a call from Josh,” Lance said to Linda in her office. “Josh, the reporter?” Linda asked. Lance nodded. “He’s doing a story on elder abuse, and he knows we focus on elder law.” “That’s great,” Linda said. “The publicity is good for the firm.” Lance and Josh met during their undergraduate days, and they stayed in contact as their professional careers progressed. Lance is fortunate to have a reporter working in his area of interest who is a long-time acquaintance. Most of us must take the time to cultivate relationships with the press. How to Meet the Press Your first step in cultivating a relationship with reporters is to ...
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If you haven’t visited LinkedIn in the last three months to review your profile, it’s time for an update. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social networking tools for lawyers. Consider that more than 93% of lawyers use LinkedIn (ABA 2016 Tech Report ). Seventy-four percent of those on LinkedIn use it to research companies and people, and LinkedIn drives 64% of all social media visits to websites. General counsel, in-house attorneys, and potential clients are frequent LinkedIn users. It is often the first place they look to learn about you. That means your profile must be current and accurately reflect you and your practice. Here are some suggestions. ...
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Before LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and websites, law firms used regularly published newsletters to stay in touch with clients and contacts. Now you can use e-newsletters to show your expertise in an area of practice and show that you care enough to keep your clients informed. Why You Should Have an E-Newsletter It helps you stay in touch with everyone you meet. There are not enough hours in the day, week, or month to network with all of your contacts and practice law. But, with a click of a button, you can contact everyone with a monthly e-newsletter. You will make more money. Studies show you are only getting about 33% of referrals from ...
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Clients come to law firms in many ways. Some through personal contacts, others find you on the internet, and some come to you through paid TV advertising or seeing your name on a billboard. Let’s assume your original goals for the year were to: Continue to establish your firm as an authority in your area of practice. Generate a larger following for your website, newsletter, and blog. Generate new clients and increase caseload in 2018. A review before the last quarter of the year will tell you where you are, increasing your chances of meeting those goals. Before you can decide what needs to be changed on your internet marketing plan, use ...
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The Master Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan, comprised of attorneys who have been in practice 30 or more years or are 60 and older, surveyed its 19,000-plus members last spring. Experienced lawyers were asked about words of wisdom they would share with a new lawyer. Respondents commented on the business and practice of law, relationships with clients, networking, and enjoying the journey. Many suggestions, while not specifically using the word “marketing,” contained advice on building a practice over time. Among the comments: Keep your focus on client service. Effectively representing business clients requires you to know almost ...
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Network with the SBM

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“Join groups, special-interest bars, or other avenues to meet other lawyers and keep an open mind toward areas of law you are not familiar with. Be involved in a bar section. Join a group. Stay connected.” Words of Wisdom, Master Lawyers Survey, 2018. The State Bar of Michigan provides many avenues to meet other lawyers. There are 44 sections covering all areas of law. Section membership encourages new and experienced lawyers to build relationships. These relationships can lead to mentoring, job opportunities, practice-specific information, and furthering your education. Most sections have newsletters ready for your writing skills, and you ...
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“What is Instagram?” Lance asked Jennifer, an associate at L & L Law Firm. “It’s a social networking app,” she answered. “It’s made for sharing photos and videos from your smartphone.” “Some of the lawyers were taking pictures around the courthouse this morning,” said Lance. “They said they were going to post them on Instagram. Should we be doing that?” Instagram is a visual platform, based on pictures and videos. Like other social networks, you can interact with users by following them, being followed by them, liking, tagging, commenting, and private messaging. According to Instagram's website, there are over 800M users and 500M daily ...
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Twitter has grown from its early days as a way for friends to stay in touch to be both a networking tool and news source. Twitter’s mission statement is: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” The 330 million active monthly users that send out 500 million tweets a day agree with that statement. There are now 1.3 billion accounts, 23% of which are U.S. citizens. Who are these active users? According to Hootsuite , they’re millennials—36% of Americans age 18–29 use Twitter. 28% are in college or have a college degree. They’re evenly split by gender and more likely to live in ...
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Evergreen trees and shrubs keep their green needles throughout the year. Like the trees, evergreen content on your website retains its usefulness to readers long after publication. It is information unlikely to change soon, material readers can return to as a reliable source of information. Content that is not evergreen is material relevant for a short period. For example, evergreen content is not: A restatement of Michigan frost laws, the seasonal road weight restrictions, Laws making headlines Registration for a conference your firm is promoting What Makes Valuable Evergreen Content? It’s useful information that benefits ...
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Blog: "A regularly updated web page, typically run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style."— Oxford English Dictionary The basics of a blog are included in the above definition: It is a web page posted on the internet. It is regularly updated. It is managed by a person or a small group. It is written in a conversational style. If you follow the steps of the definition, you will have a good blog read by a few people, but your blog can be better. Add the following tips for a bigger following: Research before you write. Look at your niche practice and the services you offer. Use keywords ...
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The lawyer sitting next to you at the conference is busy writing a tweet, another is taking a selfie to post on their Facebook, LinkedIn, or SBM Member Directory profile. It seems to you that everyone is busy using social media to market their practice. You could be right. Although the legal profession has been slow to jump on the social media bandwagon, the 2017 Legal Technology Survey by the American Bar Association showed that more lawyers are maintaining a social media presence. Consider that 81% of lawyers use social media for professional reasons and that 77% reported their firms also maintain a presence. The survey asked about practice ...
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When driving around our beautiful state, we see rivers, lakes, trees, domestic and wild animals, and the occasional town. As you travel north, the towns are further apart and farms dot the landscape. This is rural Michigan, with an estimated population of 2,519,000 living in the northern half of the state, the thumb, and the upper peninsula (2017 U.S. Census). How to Reach the Rural Consumer The first hurdle to reaching these consumers is the digital gap between rural and non-rural consumers. While nearly 2/3 of rural Americans say they have a broadband internet connection at home, only 58% report using the internet daily and 19% never go online. ...
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Last week, we wrote about saving time by recycling content. This post looks at scheduling the posting of refreshed and new material on social media, your website, and your blog to free up more of your time. Scheduling social media posts saves time and helps you regain control of that time. You can plan for a few days or weeks of posts at once. Go through emails, articles, Google alerts, and the latest news for your niche market, and then schedule future posts. Read each post to ensure the article relates to your practice area. Scheduling posts encourages consistency . For example, if your area of practice is estate planning, you may decide ...
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“Remember that time is money.”—Benjamin Franklin Lawyers are uniquely aware of this. They know that time wasted is money lost while time saved is money earned. Marketing, a necessary part of running a law firm, takes time. You can save some of that time by reusing and repurposing content. Repurposing is taking content such as blogs, articles, white papers, and research, and finding various ways to reuse them. For example, you gave a promotional seminar on elder law at a local hospital. You used a PowerPoint presentation, videotaped it, and got a good response from the event. This was great content, so don’t just toss it in a drawer. Livestream ...
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As we’ve stated in the past, every lawyer and law firm needs a website. It is the online front door to your office. To be sure that your website is welcoming and properly designed, look at this list of common mistakes made by law firms and what to do about them. Website Domain Name: Own your domain name and address. If someone else owns it, for example, www.lancelawyer. webdesigner.com, they could take down your site over a billing dispute or fail to renew your registration. You can purchase your domain name from domain registration companies such as Bluehost, iPage, or GoDaddy, and the cost is minimal. Your domain name should feature your ...
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A business, whether it is service or product based, has tangible and intangible assets. Tangible assets are items that are perceptible to the senses—they are things you can see, hear, touch, or taste, such as the building that houses your law firm, its furniture, or its computers. Intangible assets, which are not physical, include client relations, staff, procedures, brand, and goodwill. Both types of assets have value. Brand and goodwill are intangible assets. To understand their worth, consider what they are and how they are created, maintained, and connected. Your Firm’s Brand A brand is a unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination ...
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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a series of techniques used to increase the visibility of your website. Using them can help your website appear in Google’s organic search results and help provide a complete user experience. For example, Sally seaches for a family law attorney through her favorite search engine. The search engine seeks an answer by combing through billions of documents and returns the most popular and relevant results for Sally’s request. At the top of the results page are paid ads, then map listings, and then finally organic results. How can you be one of the organic results? Research keywords. Type in the words Sally ...
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