Site moved to www.nonbillablehour.com

Moving Day

After nearly 8 years here on Typepad, I'm moving this blog to Wordpress at www.nonbillablehour.com.  The new site has all of my posts (and comments) along with some cool new stuff.

If you've got a link to the ungainly Typepad URL on your site, I'd appreciate it if you'd link to the new site instead. 

Everything here will continue to work for a while, and the links will eventually re-direct over to the new site as well.  If you're reading this using an RSS reader, I've already transferred the feed over to the new blog.

Thanks for hanging out with me here.  I'm looking forward to showing you my new digs.

Matt

July 06, 2011

Law Firm Retreat Blog

As I posted yesterday, I'm moving this blog to the domain www.nonbillablehour.com.

I'm also writing a Law Firm Retreat Blog over on my redesigned LexThink site.  Some of my recent posts:

April 13, 2011

Explain the "Why" to Your Clients

Smashing Magazine has published a tremendous guide to designing an easy to understand e-commerce checkout process for web sites.  If you take credit cards on your site, it is a must-read.

However, even if you don't charge people on the web, you should check out the article anyway, because it explains something about collecting sensitive information from people that we all need to understand: it isn't just the "what," but the "why" that matters:

Even unambiguous fields, such as “Email address,” are great opportunities to explain what you’ll use the data for. “Email address” may be a sufficient description, but most people would want to know how you’ll use their email address. Why do you need it?

In your client intake forms, do you explain why you need all the information you are asking for?  Perhaps you should.

Respect Your Clients

I think it is fair to say that this goes for clients, too.

Respect for Audience
From This is Indexed.

Watch Your Time Like Your Clients Do

Next time you're chit-chatting with a client over the phone, head on over to Lawyer Clock and watch how fast your "burning" your client's cash -- they certainly are.

Lawyer Clock


April 12, 2011

Haiku Your Way to a Better Elevator Pitch

I'm a fan of Haiku, and have been doing an exercise based upon it for several years now at conferences and law firm retreats.  Instead of the 5-7-5 syllable format, I ask my audiences to answer three questions, using just five words for the first question, seven for the second and five again for the third.

Though I'll use different questions depending upon the event, I recently spoke to the New York City Bar about in-person networking and gave these three questions as a way to quickly develop an "elevator speech" that responds to the "What do you do?" question we get all the time.

The three questions, which must be answered with the specified number of words, are:

  • Who do I help? (Answer in Five Words)
  • What do I do for them? (Answer in Seven Words)
  • Why do they need me? (Answer in Five Words)

An example response to these questions from a business lawyer could be:

I help small business owners

incorporate their businesses and protect their assets

so they can sleep better.

Another example for a personal injury lawyer may be:

I help injured accident victims

understand their rights and recover medical expenses

from people who are responsible.

Give it a try.  It isn't an easy exercise, but it will help you answer that all-to-common networking question with something other than, "I'm a lawyer."

March 23, 2011

Ignite Law 2011 Speakers Named

The official speaker roster for Ignite Law 2011 is set. The event, produced by LexThink CEO Matt Homann and InsideLegal's CEO JoAnna Forshee, will feature 12 speakers sharing their view on the future of law practice and law technology, delivered via 6 minute rapid-fire presentations. Presenters were chosen based on online voting results and include a ‘who’s who’ of legal technology spanning attorneys, legal software executives, legal technologists, consultants and industry bloggers. Ignite Law 2011 takes place on April 10 at the Chicago Hilton, the eve of ABA TECHSHOW.

A total of 25 speaking topics were submitted and based on 1000s of online votes cast, 12 candidates were selected (including 8 'first-timers') to share their 6-minute Ignite presentations. The final Ignite Law 2011 speaker’s list includes:

Jim Calloway – “A Failure to Communicate”

Kevin Chern – “Creating the Perfect Future: Strategic Planning for Your Law Firm and Your Life”

Eric Cooperstein – “(Lack of) Privacy 2.0: Law in the Age of Transparency”

Will Hornsby – “And the survey says...”

Dennis Kennedy – “The Freemium Practice of Law”

Stephanie Kimbro – “Call of Duty: Legal Ops: Serving DIY Clients”

Marc Lauritsen – “Apps for Justice – Code to the Rescue”

Victor Medina – “Bespoke Legal Services in an Off-The-Rack Culture”

Tom Mighell – “Preparing for the Post-PC Law Practice”

Kevin O'Keefe – “Facebook: Can it be really be used by lawyers and law firms for professional and business development? How so?”

Dan Schwartz – “The Elephant in the Room”

Jay Shepherd – “Quantum Leap: How You Will Practice Law in 2019”

 

Free tickets for the event are still available and can be secured here.

March 04, 2011

Don't Complain

A great Venn diagram from Indexed:  

Ignite Law Details

Small Ignite Logo 

Head on over to the Ignite Law site to submit a proposed talk, check out the submissions we've already received or pick up your free tickets for the event. 

We're looking forward to seeing you in Chicago!

February 25, 2011

Ignite Law is Back

Small Ignite Logo
I'm very excited to announce that Ignite Law is back at ABA TECHSHOW this year!  We'll have all the details up on the Ignite Law site Monday, including how to reserve your ticket (we sold out last year) and how to submit a speaking proposal. 

In the meantime, check out some of last year's Ignite videos.  We can't wait to see you in Chicago!

December 29, 2010

Until 2011...

I'm working on a major blog overhaul for early 2011.  Until then, please check out all of my Resolution Posts.  They are some of my favorites.

 

Thanks.  See you next year!

December 22, 2010

Hug Your Clients

Hug1003a1

 

via: Hugh MacLoud

November 10, 2010

What's in Your Manifesto?

I really liked this, from Holstee:

Holstee_Manifesto

October 26, 2010

Stop Negotiating Via Email

PsyBlog recently highlighted Ten Studies About the Dark Side of Email.  One highlights why you should never negotiate (with clients on fees or opponents on settlement terms) via email:

Email negotiations often feel difficult, especially with people we don't know well. When Naquin et al. (2008) compared them with face-to-face negotiations, they found that people were less co-operative over email and even felt more justified in being less co-operative.

Part of the reason negotiations are difficult is that people tend to be more negative on email. For example, Kurtzberg et al. (2005) found that when people evaluated each other in performance appraisals using both pen-and-paper and email, they were consistently more negative about their colleagues when using email.

Yet another reason why, when the stakes are high, face-to-face wins the race.

October 22, 2010

Cognitive Dissonance and the Low-Cost Lawyer

This interesting Wired Magazine piece, titled Why We Love Our Dentists, explores the unique relationship between price paid and perceived value.  According to a recent study, two dentists will reach the same conclusion when looking at an identical x-ray only about half the time.  Yet despite the fact that dentists are so frequently wrong (they can't both be right, can they?), people love their dentists more than any of their other medical providers.

The reason, according to the article, is due to cognitive dissonance, "the human tendency to react to conflicting evidence by doubling-down on our initial belief."  The study's author Dan Ariely attributes our irrational love of dentists to the pain they inflict:

 

I think all of this pain actually causes cognitive dissonance and cause higher loyalty to your dentist. Because who wants to go through this pain and say, I’m not sure if I did it for the right reason. I’m not sure this is the right guy. You basically want to convince yourself that you’re doing it for the right reason.

The article has a few more examples of irrational behavior influenced by perceived value.  Consider this study:

[R]esearchers supplied people with Sobe Adrenaline Rush, an “energy” drink that was supposed to make them feel more alert and energetic. (The drink contained a potent brew of sugar and caffeine which, the bottle promised, would impart “superior functionality”). Some participants paid full price for the drinks, while others were offered a discount. The participants were then asked to solve a series of word puzzles. [T]the people who paid discounted prices consistently solved about thirty percent fewer puzzles than the people who paid full price for the drinks. The subjects were convinced that the stuff on sale was much less potent, even though all the drinks were identical.

What does this mean for lawyers?  Know that your clients hold deep-set beliefs that the value of your advice is tied (even if subconsciously) to the price they pay for it.  In other words, if you're the lawyer offering the lowest prices on your services, understand that your clients believe your advice is less valuable than the same advice offered by your higher-priced peers.

An unanswered question: do lawyers offering that low-cost advice believe they're less competent than their higher-priced peers? Just as their clients expect to get what they pay for, do lawyers expect to deliver what they charge for?  What do you think?

 

October 21, 2010

Legal Rebels Video

Here's my six-minute / twenty-slide presentation on Building the Service-Centered Firm I delivered as part of the ABA Journal's Legal Rebels project.