Monthly Archives: March 2012

A-I-D-A … Plus C!

E. St. Elmo Lewis is believed to have coined the A-I-D-A marketing construct back in the 1920s.  The idea is that a successful marketing program leads the prospect through four stages:  Attraction, Interest, Desire and, finally, Action.

But Mr. Lewis had never heard of social media.  The telephone had barely begun to show up in homes and the Internet was decades away yet.  In Start and Grow Your Limited Scope Practice, I show you how to be aware of–and use to your benefit–an updated model that I call “AIDAC” (see diagram).   It is a concept you need to master, regardless of the type of law practice you have.

A-I-D-A-C Diagram

A-I-D-A adapted to the Internet Age

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Getting Paid

In Start and Grow Your Limited Scope Practice: How to Make Money Serving the “Do It Yourself” Client, I discuss how to make it easy for clients to pay you.  One of those is accepting credit cards.  Sam’s Club and other companies are making this easier to do every day (here is an example).  Lawyers who start accepting credit cards consistently report an uptick in revenues.  What is holding you back?

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Write it Down!

One of the most popular posts on my other blawg, “Practical Compliance,” is “Why Written Policies and Procedures Matter.”  It is still amazing to me how many managers and business leaders continue to try to succeed with unwritten guidelines for their staff.  What is to be gained?  Flexibility?  Lack of accountability?

Because people learn in different ways and have many different job duties, it is not reasonable to expect everyone to keep every TXT message or email or to memorize every oral instruction.  Written policies and procedures serve as memory-refreshers and illustrate good communication.  When written well, they are much more reliable than someone’s memory or hand-written notes from a meeting that happened months ago.

If you are one of those who has put off writing down your instructions and guidelines, change for the better: write it down!

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Filed under Workflow/BPI

Working Smarter

The secret to efficiency in your office is making sure work flows with little to no wasted time, effort or supplies.  There is a whole industry built around improving business processes, but you do not need to hire an expert.  Do it yourself.

If you already have an office, chart the way information flows from the first inquiry by a prospective client through storing the file after the work is finished and paid for.  If you are planning a new practice, you can do it in your mind.  Draw it out, including expected and unexpected events.  Make an outline or a flow chart–whichever works best for you–then make sure your staff goes over it to make sure you do not omit anything.  ANYthing.

TRAP ALERT:  be careful how you ask questions and test their answers.  Some will tell you about the way workshouldhappen, embarassed to tell you the truth.  You want the truth, no matter how ugly.

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Missing An Opportunity By Focusing On The Threat

The editorial today by Bloomberg, “For an Easy, Affordable, Lawyer-Free Divorce, Check ‘Yes,'”, captures much of the issue well.  It describes a “profound shift in the way Americans in all 50 states exit marriage.”

Those who are most frightened by this shift probably should be.  When your target market rejects your business model, it is time to adapt or perish.

Limited Scope Representation is one way lawyers are adapting.  Most simply add these services to their normal practices; some go “all in” and set up high-volume, low-involvement, pay-as-you-go client services business operations.  Either way, it keeps them from going out of business.

Stuck on how to get started?  Get my book.  It includes very unique, practical advice and forms for every lawyer from the newly-licensed (or about to be) to those who have been in traditional firms for decades.  Feel the fear–of changes in the legal marketplace, the economy and even society in general–but take decisive action anyway.

This book, and future posts here, will show you how to “Start and Grow Your Limited Scope Practice.”

 

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I Would Rather Write Than (Rhymes With ‘Switch’)

During the economic downturn, the stress on the legal profession became open and painful for many lawyers and frightening for law school students.  The client base was hit hard and that hurt business.

But “legal problems happen” regardless of the economy and some become more common or more intense as a result of the bad economic environment.  Unlike most areas of the U.S. economy, the Great Recession did not destroy demand and need for legal services, it gutted the ability of many to pay much for them.

But we continued to produce new law school gradutates with record levels of debt.

Push has come to shove.  New lawyers must look for new ways to use their licenses to deliver legal services.  Clients are out there in huge numbers looking for new ways to purchase those services.

Some of you may remember the old cigarette commercials where the actor stated, “I’d rather fight than switch,” indicating deep brand loyalty.  By analogy, I prefer to look for and implement solutions, including trying new alternatives that may fail, rather than bemoan the way the public’s needs have changed.  So I wrote Start and Grow Your Limited Scope Practice to encourage primarily new lawyers to become entrepreneurs and enhance our profession through creative marketing and delivery models. 

Get the book.  Read it.  Come back here and join the discussion.  Lawyers are notorious for arguing even when they agree.  Surely you will have some opinion on the points in the book.  I look forward to the discussion!

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Can LSR Do More Harm Than Good?

The question comes up, but it is a trick question.  The only accurate answer is “it depends.”  On what does it depend?

There are a number of factors that must be considered before offering LSR on a particular matter.  This list is not exhaustive, but here are several:

  • Complexity of applicable substantive and procedural laws
  • Capabilities of the prospetive client
  • Reasonably available alternatives

When Exxon merged with Mobile Oil, you can be certain that no one even entertained the option of offering their CEOs some LSR.  A contested probate matter with half a dozen heirs fighting over $10 million would also be unsuited for LSR.  In a similar vein, a prospective client with a cognitive disability–even in a very simple legal matter–may not be suited to use LSR services.

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