Holiday Cards and Events

It’s still summer, but many firms are already planning for the winter holidays.  There will be events, gifts, and print and/or electronic holiday cards.

Last year the best electronic card I received  was a link to a tongue-in-cheek video from Leisawitz Heller.  The writing was very good, and I have to say that the attorneys did a great job of staying in character.

The firm managed to cover all of their practice areas in an amusing and entertaining way.  I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with this year, although I believe that their effort was truly unique and will be difficult to surpass or replicate.

Each year I highlight just one; the very best I receive from the hundreds of law firms which are kind enough to include me in their mailing list.  One year a personal letter which recapped business and personal events over the year created such an intense feeling of “relationship” with the attorney who sent it,  it was an easy decision.  For 2015, Leisawitz Heller made it another easy decision.  Other years it’s been more difficult to ferret out extraordinary from ho-ho-hum.

I have just a few tips:

  • Whatever you do, do it early.  There is nothing as disappointing as a card which arrives after the holiday has passed.
  • Don’t overthink the small stuff.  Some firms feel that having the signature of all lawyers on each card, or a hand-addressed envelope, will make the card more memorable.  Not so.
  • Personalize if you can.  Rather than sweat things like hand-addressing, putting a simple handwritten “Dear Client” at the top inside of the card is memorable, as is any other short personal message.  I still remember cards with notes like “I know you can’t wait to get back to gardening in Spring . . . almost there!”  Depending on the size of your mailing list, you may want to carve out only the top 10%, or best referral sources, for this type of personalization.
  • Consider other holidays.  Remember that Christmas is the largest mailing, and it’s hard to stand out in that crowd.  Thanksgiving is a holiday about being thankful. What better time to thank clients and referral sources?  Even Halloween can be utilized cleverly as a “touch” with clients and referral sources.  It’s usually memorable.
  • If your budget is limited, get more bang for your dollars with an electronic card.  What you save on postage you can budget for creativity and quality.
  • If you’re planning an event, get your invitation out early.  People have too much on their calendar that time of year.  If you’re not one of the first to reserve the date, you will not have a decent turnout.

Wondering what I do?  Some years I do nothing.  Most years I do a limited mailing to clients and key vendors and referral sources.  I use a high quality memorable card.  But I order several designs, so that when multiple people at the same firm get a card from me, they get different designs.  It’s noticed.  I also try to include a personal message in each card.  At a minimum I write their name inside the card.  And yes, my 2016 cards are already ordered and here.

How much is your engagement agreement worth?

In case you missed the recent issue of the Pennsylvania Bar Association‘s eNewsletter, I want to call something new and exciting to your attention.

The PBA Insurance Program, offered through USI Affinity, recently announced a risk management policy enhancement for CNA policyholders in Pennsylvania.

A policyholder using an engagement letter in connection with legal services that are subject of a malpractice claim will have the deductible applying to that claim reduced by 50 percent – up to $25,000.

What’s interesting, is that a key provision for this enhancement to apply is that the engagement letter include a statement regarding client file retention.  I have been recommending this be included in engagement letters for many years.  Those who have attended my Records Management seminar can attest.  I even provide sample language to attendees and PBA members.

CNA authored an article entitled Better With a Letter: Why Attorneys Should Use Engagement Letters; An Introduction to Engagement Letters.   Of course, PBA members can get my resource on engagement letters by sending an email request directly or through the PBA website.

Kudos to CNA for putting a value on this best practice!

Attorney Position Opening

Well respected, boutique, Upper Bucks County based General Practice law firm is seeking bright and motivated Attorney to join their growing Litigation practice.

This is an excellent opportunity to join a dynamic, growing law firm with a lot of long term employees and a very friendly, professional working environment.  This practice group handles a variety of matters with a focus on general practice and defense litigation.  Previous related litigation experience is required.

The ideal candidate will have 2-4+ years’ litigation experience, strong research and writing skills along with exceptional interpersonal skills.  Must be admitted to practice in PA, NJ highly desired.

The successful candidate will show demonstrated ability and willingness to work as part of a team, manage multiple responsibilities, solve complex problems, and adapt easily to changing priorities.  Strong analytical, research and writing skills, along with exceptional interpersonal skills required.  Must excel at developing good working relationships with professionals, clients and colleagues.

Competitive salary, realistic billable requirement, generous bonus structure, and excellent benefits package offered.

Send CV and cover letter to Karen Chellew, Firm Administrator.

Office Manager

Office Manager – Part-time

 

Successful small law firm in Allentown, PA needs an Office Manager. Reports to the Managing Partner.  Management experience: 2+ year law firm, or 4+ other industry.   Education: A.S. or relevant certification. Solid MS computer skills.  Strong people skills. The firm will honor your summer vacation plans!  Send resume, cover letter and desired compensation to  Melissa Schwartz, Managing Partner.   Job description may be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/z5mtxct.

Is Your Apple Device Safe from Malware Infection?

Apple customers, particularly Mac users, are normally adamant about the fact that their computers don’t need protection from viruses, Trojans, Ransomware, or other threats that impact Windows PCs on a day-in-and-day-out basis.  Is it true, or a myth?  The truth is that while the general threat level is far lower on a Mac than a PC, the OS-X operating system is not immune.

Apple has been a target of lesser opportunity only because criminals invest their time, money and resources where the return will be greatest.  That has historically targeted PCs almost exclusively, due to their market share.  As the installed base of Macs continues to grow, so does the appearance of threats.  How quickly?

A recent blog post on the Official Security Blog site of Malwarebytes states: “The popularity of Macs leads to more cybercriminals wanting to write malicious code for OS X. Although still much lower than PCs, the number of threats targeting Apple operating systems has grown steadily, with a spike in Mac infections observed over the last 18 months. A recent study by Bit9 + Carbon Black found that the number of Mac OS X malware samples detected in 2015 was five times greater than in the previous five years combined.”

If you are not deploying security software on your Apple device, now would be the time to do so.  Don’t wait to be a victim of something like the Ransomware  KeRanger , which was  downloaded  by  around  6,500  people  within  the 12-hour  period  that  it  was  available.  Some  of  those  users  had  their  data  completely  destroyed.

Malvern PA office space available

Lawyer has spare office(s) to rent in Class “A” offices in Malvern, PA.  Close proximity to Route 202 and Great Valley entrance of PA Turnpike.

1 – 3 furnished window offices available with secretarial units, too.  Possibility of business referrals for lawyers in bankruptcy, criminal, real estate, family, immigration, estate or employment law.

For additional information contact Kathy Boyer, paralegal, by email or phone at 610-363-3888.

Differentiation Always Counts

Do you fully understand what differentiation means when it comes to your marketing efforts, and ultimately your success?  I just read an amusing anecdotal blog post from the powerhouse legal recruiting firm of Major, Lindsey & Africa.  Entitled “Tales from the Inside: Do You Think I Should Send a Thank-You Note?” It tells the story of how three candidates for a desirable in-house position were differentiated by the simple fact that one of the three took time to send hand-written thank you notes after each interview, and the other two did not.  Guess who got the job?

Take a look at what Wikipedia has to say about differentiation, when used in the context of marketing (emphasis added):

In economics and marketing, product differentiation (or simply differentiation) is the process of distinguishing a product or service from others, to make it more attractive to a particular target market. This involves differentiating it from competitors’ products as well as a firm’s own products. The concept was proposed by Edward Chamberlin in his 1933 Theory of Monopolistic Competition.

The objective of differentiation is to develop a position that potential customers see as unique. . . .

Differentiation primarily affects performance through reducing directness of competition: As the product becomes more different, categorization becomes more difficult and hence draws fewer comparisons with its competition. A successful product differentiation strategy will move your product from competing based primarily on price to competing on non-price factors . . . .

Most people would say that the implication of differentiation is the possibility of charging a price premium; however, this is a gross simplification. If customers value the firm’s offer, they will be less sensitive to aspects of competing offers; price may not be one of these aspects. Differentiation makes customers in a given segment have a lower sensitivity to other features (non-price) of the product.

The anecdotal blog post illustrates how simple it can be to develop differentiation in some cases.  However,  any good law firm management consultant or marketing professional will tell you that development of differentiation for lawyers and law firms may not be so easy.  It depends on so many factors, such as whether you have a niche practice, what unique qualifications exist at  your firm, and so forth.  Sometime a firm must make purposeful changes to develop differentiating factors.

Your takeaway from all of this is that being different (in a good way) from your competitors, will always help you stand out in the crowd, and enable you to compete for work on a basis other than cost.

 

Job Opening / Opportunity: Bookkeeper for Philadelphia Law Firm

Job Description – Bookkeeper and Administrative Assistant – FINAL

The well-run successful small boutique law firm of Kang Haggerty & Fetbroyt LLC, located in Center City Philadelphia, has a job opportunity for an experienced full-charge bookkeeper. The candidate who fills the position will devote 90% of time to accounting work, and 10% to firm administrative matters.  The position job description is attached.

The ideal candidate will have a college degree and 5 years of relevant experience.  The firm utilizes QuickBooks, Timeslips, and Microsoft Office.  Existing competency with  these products is desired.

The firm offers a competitive starting salary, health, dental and life insurance, and a non-matching 401(k) plan.

Interested candidates should submit their resume to Edward T. Kang, Esquire.

Job Opening – Commercial Litigation Associate

McCormick Law Firm in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, has a job opening for a full-time Associate Attorney with 1-5 years’ experience who is interested in working in a civil law practice, with a focus in commercial litigation. The associate will also have opportunities to work in the following areas of this general practice firm: commercial law and transactions, municipal law, personal injury and malpractice litigation, and labor and employment law. The ideal candidate will be focused and highly motivated, and will have the energy and drive to take on established business as well as to explore new challenges. The firm offers highly competitive salary and benefits for the geographic area.

McCormick Law Firm is one of the oldest and most respected law firms in north central Pennsylvania. They have a regional presence that continues to grow and evolve. In recent years, Williamsport has been named one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, offering a high quality of life, and it is in the heart of the Marcellus Shale region of the Commonwealth. Williamsport is well known for hosting the Little League World Series annually, and it is home to three colleges and a large healthcare system. McCormick Law Firm is looking for an attorney with a career commitment, who plans to reside and practice with the firm for the long-term.

Interested applicants should send a resume, law school transcript and cover letter, including available start date, to Emilie Pearson, Business Manager, or mail to:

McCormick Law Firm
Attn: Emilie Pearson, Business Manager
835 West Fourth Street
Williamsport, PA 17701

Upgrade to Windows 10?

Microsoft has cleverly delivered pop-up invitations for free upgrades to Windows 10.  Should you take advantage and become an early adopter?  In my usual pragmatic manner, I advise against it unless you want to unwittingly become an early debugger too.

Let the big firms with in-house tech support go through the pain first.  They can afford to smooth all the wrinkles and support users through the bumpy ride.  Wait until at least the first service pack comes out.  And following that, the software gets “good reports” regarding the results of the service pack installation.  Then and only then should you install.

My colleague, Jennifer Ellis, is much more analytical in her approach.  In her blog postShould You Upgrade to Windows 10?” she spells out the specific considerations to take into account for each end-user and firm.  Give it a read, to help you decide.

As always, I will post to the blog when I think the time has arrived to safely install Windows 10 for the majority of users who read my blog.  If you go back into my historical archives of past blog posts, you’ll see that I never recommended installation of Windows Vista.  As time passed it became apparent that it was never going to be a decent operating system.  I suggested keeping XP going until the next generation (Windows 7) was released, and upgraded at least once.  It turned out to be the right move.  I also recommended the same with Windows 8.  So stay tuned.  I won’t steer you wrong.

 

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