Watch the Recording of “How to Get New Business from Your In-Person Marketing”

business developmentWhat: Watch the video recording of the webinar, “How to Get New Business from Your In-Person Marketing”

Who: presented by Larry Bodine, the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers website and Sr. Legal Marketing Strategist of LawLytics.

Why: You will discover:

  • Top business-generating techniques of rainmakers.
  • Getting quality contacts at social functions.
  • Networking with a purpose.
  • Easily connecting with people.
  • Your 30-second commercial.
  • Creating a crowd where everybody knows your name.
  • Getting referrals from clients.
  • Getting referrals from professionals.
  • Being active in an organization.
  • How to get on the Board of Directors.
  • How public speaking generates new business.
  • Follow-up faux pas.

Watch the recording at:

Learn from an expert

Are you marketing more these days and getting less in return? Then you are the perfect attorney to watch our free webinar that reveals the most effective in-person marketing techniques that reliably produce new business.

Many attorneys are frustrated because they devote effort and money to grow their law firms, and they get the feeling that some or all of it is wasted. For answers, you’ll want to hear from attorney Larry Bodine.

Larry, who is the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers website and Sr. Legal Marketing Strategist of LawLytics, has been advising lawyers on business development since the 1990s. He will cover the face-to-face methods that reliably produce new files and new clients.

In-person marketing is essential to growing a law firm. Larry will present the best of tried-and-true plus shiny-and-new business development techniques that will work for you.

We’ll cover where clients come from, the 4 tactics that rainmakers use to get new business, networking with a purpose, elements of a 30-second commercial and getting referrals.

Larry Bodine

Larry Bodine

About our presenter:

Larry Bodine is a marketing writer and editor who helps law firms get more customers and generate more revenue with content marketing. An attorney, journalist and marketer, he brings the skills to business messaging that produce results.

He is the Editor of The National Trial lawyers website and Editor of the soon-to-be launched website

Bodine is the Senior Legal Marketing Strategist for LawLytics, the #1 choice for websites for small law firms.

Recent projects include:

  • Law Tigers association of motorcycle attorneys: 28-page
    downloadable e-book on niche marketing
    , and two email marketing
    campaigns with 10 messages per campaign.
  • LawLytics Legal Marketing Suite: Developed the web strategy for a local Maryland law firm to become the national source of information about Taxotere mass tort litigation. see
  • Mass Tort Nexus: wrote daily blog posts for an educational company about product liability cases involving dangerous drugs and medical devices. See
  • Larry Bodine Marketing Blog: author of a legal marketing blog for more than 15 years on business development for attorneys.
  • served as editor-in-chief of consumer website for LexisNexis for three years.

Since he launched his consulting practice in 2000, Larry has advised more than 250 law firms — as large as a 3,000-lawyer global law firm and as small as a husband-wife litigation boutique – on their business development strategies and tactics, and Web
sites. For more information, see He is a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University Law School and Amherst College.


5 SEO Practices That Will Hurt Your Law Firm Website (and 3 That Will Help)

SEO GoogleStepping into the world of search engine optimization for the first time can be bewildering. At times it can seem like all of the “experts” on the subject have a different idea of what constitutes “best practices.” Also, the fact that the specific functions of search engine algorithms are kept secret from the public does not make the learning process any easier.

Worst of all, SEO professionals (SEOs) and marketing salespeople often sell services to attorneys under the guise of SEO, even when those services have nothing to do with SEO whatsoever (as in the case of reselling pay-per-click ads, for instance), and might actually damage the visibility of your website on search engine results pages (SERPs) in the long run.

As you begin your personal foray into SEO for your law firm website, you will want to familiarize yourself with the webmaster guidelines for each search engine (Google, Bing, and Yahoo are still the largest search engines in the US). Adhering to the webmaster guidelines of search engines will help your website to avoid the de-ranking associated with algorithmic updates meant to target webspam. Straying outside of those guidelines, however, can land your website a search engine penalty, or could even cause your site to be de-indexed from a search engine altogether.

The information contained in this post will help you stay in the good graces of search engines while avoiding penalties associated with so-called “black hat” SEO activities. For a more complete introduction to law firm SEO, download the free eBook, “SEO Basics for Lawyers,” published this year by LawLytics.


SEO Tactics That Will Hurt Your Law Firm Website

Set It and Forget It

Some attorneys operate under the assumption that their law firm website will function much in the same way as a sign hanging outside of their office. These attorneys believe that once their site is live, their work on the website is done, and the site can be left alone to begin gathering leads for them independently. Unfortunately, this is not true.

Websites are more like living organisms than static pieces of marketing material. They need to be updated and added to regularly in order to maximize their value to your law firm. In fact, Google appears to use the “freshness” of content as a ranking signal, meaning that sites which are left alone for long periods of time may experience “decay” with regard to their visibility on SERPs.

Further, because attorney websites affect the “future happiness, health or financial stability” of search engine users, according to Google, it refers to them as “Your Money or Your Life Pages.” The search engine holds these sites to a higher standard than those belonging to local restaurants or entertainment sites, for example, and therefore requires that attorney sites are updated with regularity.

The process of gaining visibility on SERPs through “white hat” SEO tactics (those which are within the boundaries of search engine webmaster guidelines) is not one that lends itself to overnight success. Rather, the best and most trusted sites need to be nurtured, improved, and updated to ensure that the information provided therein is always accurate, informative, up-to-date, and valuable to search engine users.

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Hiring the Wrong SEO Company

There are a number of ways in which hiring the wrong SEO professional can wind up hurting your law firm. Most importantly, attorneys will always be held responsible for any advertising—including online advertising—done on behalf of their firms. Therefore, if your SEO provider is not well-versed in legal ethics they could accidentally violate an ethics rule on your behalf. Simple mistakes—like labeling your firm as “the best” in its area of practice, or changing the wording of a phrase in a way that alters its legal meaning—can attract negative attention from your peers and disciplinary authorities.

Often, SEOs bill themselves as “experts” or “specialists” in the field of legal marketing, though there is no standard for how much experience qualifies one as an SEO expert. Nor is there an equivalent of the MPRE that SEOs must take to prove that they understand how to act ethically in their business practices. It’s not uncommon for law firm SEO “specialists” to also claim specialties in any number of unrelated fields—from plumbing to eCommerce—in addition to “specializing” in law firm SEO.

Some SEOs work outside of webmaster guidelines and will perform “black hat” practices as part of their “services.” Should you allow a “black hat” SEO to work for your law firm, their tactics could land your website with a search engine penalty that may be difficult, or even impossible, to recover from. For these reasons, it’s a good idea for attorneys to either handle their SEO efforts themselves, or to at least fully vet any SEO they intend to hire to work on their behalf. (LawLytics, for example, makes it easy to do-it-yourself, or to safely delegate tasks to qualified, knowledgeable professionals.)


Keyword Stuffing

In the early days of search engines, it was relatively easy to trick algorithms into ranking sites higher in SERPs than those sites merited on their own. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, one of the most popular black hat SEO methods was to stuff keywords on sites at high densities, sometimes in ways that made those keywords invisible to users but still indexable by web crawlers. But Google caught on to many of those tactics quickly and started combating them with updates to its algorithm. The value of keyword stuffing has been on a rapid decline since Google’s “Florida” update in 2003, and more complicated methods of keyword stuffing (such as hidden text and keyword-stuffed meta tags) were addressed by later updates, most notably the Panda and Penguin updates of 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Web crawlers still use keywords as signals to help index content, though the presence of keywords in unnaturally high densities now serves as a spam signal to the search engine and will actually hurt a website’s SEO. Writing content for your website with users in mind rather than search engines should naturally, as a byproduct of good writing, include keywords at a favorable density, so there is no need to stuff extra keywords into your content for the sake of SEO.

Blog labeled with key places on a web page.

Using keywords in key places can still help crawlers index your online content, but keyword stuffing will hurt your site’s SEO.

Finally, an artificial intelligence element known as “machine learning” was incorporated into Google’s search algorithm with the implementation of its RankBrain feature in 2015. This feature helps the search engine to better understand synonyms and user intention based on context clues, meaning that the SEO value of specific keywords will likely continue to lose traction as a ranking signal over time.


Link Exchanges and Link Schemes

When Google was founded in 1998, it used a scoring system called PageRank to evaluate the “importance” of a website. The idea was that external links essentially served as endorsements. Ergo, the more links pointing to a particular page, the more endorsements it had and the better its ranking should be. But spammers and black hat SEOs got wise to this game and developed ways to cheat it. Simple link exchanges formed (e.g., “Link to my site, and I’ll link to yours.”), and as Google got better at detecting them, they evolved into more complicated “web rings” and “link prisms” that traded links across multiple sites in an effort to conceal that the exchange was taking place.

Companies developed solely to conduct the “business” of buying, selling, and distributing links across the web. Spammy websites appeared that served no purpose other than to provide long lists of purchased links. For many years, trading in link schemes seemed to work.

Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.


Today, the presence and quality of external links pointing to a site is still a factor when it comes to rankings on SERPs. But Google and other search engines have gotten much better at detecting and penalizing link schemes. Google has also begun evaluating the quality of external links more carefully and now associates websites with the sites they link to, as well as the sites linking to them (an association known as a site’s “link neighborhood”).

Some link exchanges still exist today, though their effectiveness and value has plunged dramatically (and your firm’s past participation in one can be a toxic asset which you must affirmatively disavow). Though some online visibility may be obtained in the short run through participation in a link scheme, if caught, offenders can be hit with a manual penalty (a rankings penalty that is applied manually by a search engine employee) from a search engine. Such a penalty not only affects the visibility of a site on SERPs, but it also instantly negates the value of those links (along with whatever it cost to get them in the first place). And, unless those links are removed—which can be difficult to accomplish—it can be extremely difficult to pull your site up from a penalty applied as a result of participation in a link exchange.

In short, if someone asks you to participate in a link scheme, or to pay to have links placed for you across the web, know that it’s against Google’s guidelines to do so, and the risk of participation usually outweighs its SEO value. It is better to earn links to your site the old fashioned way—by providing content on your website that is good enough to warrant a citation elsewhere on the web. People link to good content that provides valuable information without asking for or accepting compensation. And these organically placed links will be your site’s most valuable endorsements.


Providing Thin and/or Duplicate Content

Google has tasked itself with the stated mission to “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” And because the bulk of the company’s revenue comes from selling pay-per-click ads (PPCs) that appear on SERPs following relevant searches, the company’s business model depends on returning the best information possible for each and every query it processes. Therefore, returning low-quality results for searches is bad for a search engine’s business, and providing thin, low-quality content for the search engine to index is bad for your website’s SEO.

But what exactly is thin content? Google’s Panda update targeted sites called “content farms,” which existed for the sole purpose of inflating site rankings by providing low-quality content with high keyword densities. Often, these “articles” were auto-generated by software programs, or were composed of long lists of keywords that were incomprehensible when read by human users.

Thin content is essentially content that is made with search engines, as opposed to search engine users, in mind. If the content on your website provides value to users in the form of thoughtful, original information meant to answer specific questions, Google will register that content as high-quality. If you are ranking well for a search phrase like “What should I do if I’m charged with a DUI in Michigan?”—but you direct users from that search result to a page displaying only your law firm’s contact information—that’s thin content. Duplicate content or content that is “scraped” from another online source is considered thin. This includes practice area pages on your law firm website that are cut-and-pasted from one another with only the location information (such as the city or county name) changed between them.

Keep your potential clients top-of-mind when you write content for your site, and do your best to write in a way that will appeal to those clients, and you can avoid search engine penalties associated with publishing low-quality content on your site.


SEO Tactics That Will Help Your Law Firm Website

Make Sure Your Website is Secure

Transfer Layer Security (TLS; also known as “secure sockets layer,” or SSL) is a third-party certificate that indicates that the information transmitted between your site and its users is encrypted and safe from hackers. It is this certificate that differentiates a site served over older HTTP communication protocols (the insecure version) and HTTPS (the secure version). In January of 2017, Google began showing a warning in its Chrome browser for insecure sites that request password or credit card information. In July 2018, all sites without a TLS/SSL certificate will come with a warning in Chrome.

Chrome is the market-leading browser as of this writing, with more than 57 percent of market share (Apple’s Safari is second with less than 15 percent). Though it may not affect your site’s placement on SERPs yet, user engagement metrics that suffer as a result of this warning may have a negative effect on your site’s SEO in the near future. Therefore, if your site is not served over a secure HTTPS protocol, it’s a good idea to begin migrating to a secure platform sooner rather than later.


Think Locally

Search engines take a user’s location into account during searches. Therefore, search engines sometimes return local information for searches that do not specifically include local terminology. Including local information on your law firm website can help you corner the market on certain local search terms. Many attorneys write content that is too general to be returned for local search results. Many marketing and SEO companies typically do not have the bandwidth or regional knowledge necessary to include such information on the websites they manage without making the local content spammy. This creates an opportunity for your law firm website to address specific local queries relevant to your practice area that are likely to be of interest to your potential clients.

Even when the relevant laws are created at the state level, many of your potential clients—especially those not well-versed in the law—will search for information on the local level. This is because search engines and your potential clients tend to think locally, not legally. There are many ways to add local information to your law firm website, and doing so can help boost your local SEO, and therefore, drive more potential clients to your law firm.


Focus on Long-Tail Search Terms

Many attorneys don’t understand how their potential clients search for legal information online. Specifically, attorneys may assume that their potential clients know up front that they need an attorney and will, therefore, perform a search like “criminal defense attorney New York” or “personal injury lawyer Seattle.” For this reason, competition for general keywords and search phrases tends to be fierce and costly. General legal search phrases tend to be among the most expensive search terms to bid on, and maintaining a high ranking on SERPs for those phrases is usually an uphill and sustained battle.

The fact of the matter is that your potential clients may not know that they need an attorney as soon as they begin facing a particular legal issue. Many will begin searching for specific information that applies to their situation first. Thus, long before searching for “Baltimore birth injury lawyer,” a potential client might search for “injury from extraction device during birth.” It is at this point that you want to put yourself in front of potential clients by capitalizing on the often-undervalued, yet highly convertible long-tail search phrases.

Chart showing decreased competition and increased conversion rate for long-tail searches.

Competition for long-tail search terms is less fierce. Long-tail searches are also more likely to convert searchers to clients.

Long-tail search phrases are those which contain more than a few words, including complete questions. By anticipating the questions that your potential clients will ask on search engines, and then answering them one-at-a-time, attorneys can capture the attention of potential clients early, and therefore remain top-of-mind with those potential clients when they decide to seek counsel. Competition for long-tail phrases tends to be less intense than for general searches, and conversion rates for long-tail searches tend to be higher than conversion rates for shorter phrases. Further, with the rising prevalence of voice search, the average search phrase is getting longer and more conversational, meaning that targeting such phrases on your website now is likely to continue to pay off, long-term.


Craig Baker

Craig Baker

Craig Baker is a former journalist with several years of experience working in the marketing sector. He currently creates educational blog posts, eBooks, and infographics at LawLytics, the leading online legal marketing platform for lawyers who want to grow their marketing without wasting time or money.

6 Techniques to Maximize the Marketing Impact of Large and Small Verdicts

Recent Personal Injury Jury Awards and Settlements

Your law firm’s case results should tell stories that potential clients can relate to.

By Dan Jaffe, CEO
LawLytics – Legal Marketing System

Which case would you highlight on your website to drive more business to your law firm — a $47,000 car crash verdict or a $55 million medical malpractice verdict? For plaintiff law firm Gilman & Bedigian, the answer is both.

To generate new files from potential clients as well as referring attorneys, the firm’s website used 6 powerful writing techniques to create compelling case histories. Both verdicts telegraph that the firm will take a case to trial when the defendant is evading responsibility for their actions.

Most attorneys would intuitively say that the large verdict is a better result to display. In many respects, they would be correct. However, If a case result is not well-written, or lacks substance it loses much of its impact. This is especially true for more common, or less impressive results.

If the results are merely listed side by side with the monetary value, of course, the $55 million verdict looks more impressive. But simply listing results will diminish your law firm and your accomplishments.

By presenting a well-crafted story, the small verdict can be equally powerful. Your law firm’s case results should tell stories that potential clients can relate to. Good case results pages are not short. That is why LawLytics has a built-in case results module that lets attorneys display each case result on its own search engine-optimized page, while creating a client-friendly index that attorneys can easily reorder.

#1: The case result has a story arc so that it’s easy to read.

While there are numerous ways to create an effective case study structurally and stylistically, it’s important to note that the goal is to create something that your potential clients can relate to.

With offices in Maryland and Pennsylvania, LawLytics client Gilman & Bedigian begins the case report about the $55 million verdict against Johns Hopkins begins dramatically:

“This is the story of Enso Martinez and Rebecca Fielding, who were expectant parents in the Waverly area of Baltimore in March 2010. The couple had planned for a home birth with the help of a midwife. But after several hours in labor, it became clear that Rebecca needed medical assistance.”

“There were obvious signs of fetal distress. These signs required an emergency cesarean delivery. But the medical professionals ignored the signs.”

“The baby was in distress, and the clock was ticking.”

Although the firm has several seven and eight-figure verdicts listed, the potential client will most likely see and read the largest one first.

What happens when an auto-accident client views the $55 million case result? Although it’s an impressive number, the dollar figure is irrelevant. The potential client in an auto-accident case with damages in the five or six-figure range will look a this verdict like somebody looks at a story of somebody winning the lottery or getting a $50 million dollar NBA contract.

That’s nice, she may think, but it’s not me.

Then, when the lower-range auto accident client considers the verdict and the firm’s role in it more closely, she may decide that her case is too “small potatoes” for the firm. If she makes that conclusion, she may then erroneously decide that because their case is small, the firm is less likely to give it their full attention.

The way to mitigate this is to tell the plaintiff’s story and to make sure that other relevant case results are also accessible.

On the other hand, the large verdict is important to every potential medical malpractice client because it shows what the law firm is capable of achieving. The story arc of the malpractice case describes how the parents had to wait two hours for an emergency c-section, how the hospital wouldn’t explain why the baby was having seizures, how common birth injuries are, and how the hospital refused to take responsibility.

The detail in the story brings it to life and makes it relatable to anyone fighting an insurance company or well-known institution for compensation.

It is also convincing to referring attorneys because the verdict shows that the firm is well-funded and able to handle the most complex and highest-stakes cases. This should assure any referral source that the firm is experienced and capitalized sufficiently to handle their case.

#2. The case result shows what the firm did to earn the result.

The malpractice case summary describes how the hospital alternately stonewalled the parents and blamed them for their child’s injuries.

“Despite the prevalence and catastrophic nature of each of these cases, hospitals, their insurance companies and lawyers often play the odds that devastated parents, and their lawyers, will not have the stamina and the financial ability to pursue litigation and prevail. And they’re right because it’s a very expensive and time-consuming process.”

“We understand this, and take our responsibility to secure justice and the maximum compensation for our clients very seriously. This often times means investing years of our time and significant amounts of money into our cases.”

The firm had to overcome defense arguments that the baby’s oxygen deprivation occurred during the stage of labor while the couple was still at home. The attorneys knew that 24 cases of significant birth injury were reported by Maryland hospitals in 2011. They knew that the hospital’s motivation was to avoid compensating the family to save money and avoid attracting similar lawsuits.

“Winning for our clients sometimes involves taking a case all the way through trial and asking a jury to decide,” the firm says. “This was such a case.”

Referral sources want to know that they are sending the client they are referring to an attorney who will handle their case competently and who will treat the client well. The treatment of the potential client reflects back on the referral source. Therefore, they want to make referrals that will make them look good.

A well-written story of a large jury verdict accomplishes two important things for referral sources.

First, the amount itself establishes competence. Second, because the story of the result is something that people can relate to, it’s something that’s easy to share with the potential client as part of the referral process. This prevents the referring professional from having to explain much to justify the referral. It also gives them an insurance policy against the potential client thinking the referral is being made based on something other than merit.

#3. The case result has a protagonist that is not the law firm or attorney (typically it is the client).

Many law firms make the mistake of casting themselves as the hero. In fact, a review of lawyer press releases on PRNewswire and shows self-aggrandizing headlines like “The ABC Law Group Obtains $2.6 Million Jury Verdict for Bus Driver,” without even bothering to identify the client. Others have headlines that read “ABC Firm Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against DEF Corporation.”

These are examples of law firms talking about how great they are. This erroneous approach conveys that the firm is primarily interested in its own interests, and is simply using the client.

In the auto-accident verdict, Gilman & Bedigian appropriately put the client in the spotlight:

“This is the story about a mother and her two young children who were rear-ended by a negligent driver in Baltimore. It’s about their injuries and the injustice offered by State Farm Insurance. It’s about a big insurance company that wrongfully accused this mother of causing the accident. And this story is ultimately about taking the insurance giant to court in Baltimore, making them admit that their driver caused the accident, and making State Farm pay.”

#4. The case result shows the odds that the client and firm were up against and the struggle that was overcome.

“For years, State Farm stuck to its story that our clients weren’t entitled to a recovery, even though they suffered significant injuries when they were rear-ended by a negligent driver insured by State Farm. State Farm stuck to its position all the way up to trial by blaming our client, the victim.”

State Farm refused to offer a single dollar to settle the claims of the clients, even after the insured driver admitted that he was responsible for causing the collision.

The case study describes the intransigence of the big insurance company, which was “very good at this bluff and stall game.” A reader feels the frustration and exasperation of the injured mother and children, who were offered nothing even though they were struck from behind.

Potential clients will be impressed by the firm’s moxie when they read, “Insurance companies often play this game because they know that many personal injury attorneys are afraid to go to trial, or are simply not good in court.”

When a referral source sees the auto-accident case result, he will feel better making the referral to the firm. He will understand that the firm will take care of his referral, regardless of how big or small the case is (assuming the firm accepts the case). He will be reassured that the firm is not one that churns-and-burns low dollar cases to make quick and profitable settlements that don’t serve the clients’ best interests.

Although case results like this may attract referrals for cases that a law firm doesn’t want to accept because there are low damages or unclear liability, they do increase the number of impressions (interactions with referral sources) that a law firm will have. And the more referrals a law firm entertains, the more likely they are to get even more referrals that result in viable and profitable cases.

#5. The case result shows that justice was done.

The auto accident story concludes with:

“We pressed forward with a jury trial, which lasted two days. In the end, the jury awarded our client and her two children more than $47,000.00.  After hearing the evidence and our arguments on behalf of the mother, the jury saw right through the smoke and mirrors of the Defendant and his lawyer.”

The medical malpractice story concludes with:

“We took this case to trial. The trial lasted two weeks. In the end, a Baltimore City jury returned a record-setting verdict in Rebecca and Enzo’s favor, and awarded them $55 million. This was the highest jury verdict in a case like this.”

The case histories show that the firm got solid results because it was the right outcome. A reader sees that the attorneys had the power of truth on their side. The defendants were rightly held liable, they were not victims of a runaway legal system. They proved their case legitimately to an impartial jury and recovered a just reward.

#6. The case result personifies the client and shows that the law firm cares.

Despite the high-stakes involved in serious birth injury cases, effective marketing for such cases recognizes that potential medical malpractice clients are not making a calculated economic decision.

  • They feel that they haven’t been heard.
  • They have a story to tell.
  • The defendants’ are not going to acknowledge their story.

They are looking for a law firm that sympathizes with them, and that is willing to listen to them, understand them and fight for them. The case result needs to convey this.

The med-mal story states:

“We took the case to help Rebecca and Enzo receive compensation that would allow them to provide a lifetime of care for their severely and permanently physically and mentally disabled child. Their financial needs were significant, including covering medical expenses not covered by insurance, and building a home that could accommodate the child’s needs.”

When a potential client with a catastrophic birth injury sees the low dollar personal injury case result, she will not be deterred by it because it tells a story that she can relate to. She wants to understand that she is choosing a firm that cares about its clients and fights hard, regardless of the stakes. This result will also help relieve any anxiety she is feeling about whether her case is important enough for the firm.


Not all case results are created equal. Sometimes the results differ by orders of magnitude. However, every positive case result is a story worth telling, and telling well.

As you think about how to best present your law firm’s accomplishments, take some time and think through the multiple audiences that you may have for each case result, and take the time to craft each case result into a compelling story that moves your firm’s marketing forward.

For a more in-depth look at the topic, I recommend watching our on-demand webinar on the topic.

Attorney Dan Jaffe is the CEO of LawLytics - Legal Marketing System.

Attorney Dan Jaffe is the CEO of LawLytics – Legal Marketing System.

Attorney Dan Jaffe built thriving law practices in Seattle and Phoenix in the 1990s and 2000s. After getting burned by a law firm marketing company, Dan learned how the internet and search engines really work. He founded LawLytics in 2011 as a response to his frustrations and created the dream legal marketing service and system he wished had been available to him.

Today, LawLytics powers hundreds of the web’s most successful attorney websites and blogs, and our business is doubling each year. Attorneys interested in exploring LawLytics can schedule a call online, or call them at 800-713-0161.

Gilman & Bedigian is a LawLytics Member and Content Client, and the case results used as examples in this blog post were written by LawLytics on behalf of the firm with the firm’s guidance and input.

Law Firm Social Media is a Waste of Time, and Here’s Why

By Jayne Navarre.

Attorneys were slow to catch the social media wave. But once it looked safe to go into the water—the firm next door was doing it—a majority followed.

  • Legal marketers got busy setting up a firm presence on Facebook and Twitter—featuring Super Lawyers, seminars, and seasons’ greetings.
  • Those with greater resources played with Instagram and Pinterest. The goal was to get likes, shares, and comments, with the reward being greater exposure and business opportunities.

But then something very disappointing happened. The “organic” social media produced by law firms—the stuff that was supposed to create conversation and conversion—appeared to be mostly seen and applauded by a handful of their own employees, lawyers, and a few real-life friends and relatives.

Don’t take my word on that, there is evidence.

According to the April 2017 Greentarget and Zeughauser Group survey, social media ranks at the bottom of “most valued content created by law firms.” That’s right, just 4 percent give a damn about your tweets and status updates.

Yet a whopping 91 percent of marketers, who were also surveyed, report they are “investing in social media”!

More attorneys are using digital and social media to reach clients and prospects. To discover if you’re outpacing your competitors, take the new 2017 Attorney Social Media & Digital Marketing Survey. It takes only 2 minutes.

To be fair to the 91 percent, marketing budgets differ from firm to firm. According to the April survey, blogs were seen as a “credible source of legal, business and industry news and information” by 75 percent of in-house counsel compared to 65 percent in 2015. But it is likely that many marketers consider blog writing, editing, posting, and maintenance to fall in a firm’s social media bucket, and thus the 91 percent. I hope I am not being generous.

Still, the April survey authors suggest that firms’ “methods for client alerts and newsletters are part of well-established practices, whereas [emphasis added] social media sharing and amplification is more time-intensive and expensive.” If true, it certainly begs the question: What are attorneys getting in return for their time and expense?

Kill organic social media for the enterprise

Avinash Kaushik blogs at Occam’s Razor. If you’re unfamiliar with his blog or the scientific rule of Occam’s Razor, here’s the essence: The simplest of competing theories are preferred to the more complex.

I assure you that he’s one of the good guys and someone attorneys should be listening to, on a variety of levels and topics.

More recently, Avinash challenged marketers to stop wasting enterprise resources on “organic social media”—defined as the kind where you post meaningful things about your firm/company to build brand loyalty. (And “hope” for increased sales to justify your efforts.)

He writes, “You can imagine how gosh darn excited I was at the advent of Facebook and Twitter (first real social networks). There were a billion people there, spending a meaningful amount of time on these wonderful platforms. Excitedly, brands could have a presence (a “page”) where they could give meaningful updates (info-snacks) to be a part of the organic conversations people were already having by the tens of millions. Daily meaningful brand connections would be converted into brand familiarity, shifts in brand perception, feeding brand loyalty. #orgasmic”

And goes on to say that: “None of the above transpired….”

How does he know? He says all the data you need to see, that your organic social media on Facebook and Twitter has tanked, can be found in three public bits of information. You don’t need to understand analytics, you don’t need to dig, you don’t need to hire a consultant. You just need to look.

Crunching the numbers

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say your Facebook page has 6,000 warm bodies who “like” you. (Probably a stretch for most law firms, but I’m going for a round number.)

  1. Applause Rate. Your most recent post—congratulating newly anointed Super Lawyers—has 50 likes or emotions (I heart this post!). Divide 50 by 6,000 to get your applause rate, which is…drum roll…a paltry .00833 percent. (“A painful stab in the heart.”)
  2. Conversation Rate. Now take the total number of comments on your post—seven—including “Congratulations,” “Well-deserved,” “He gets his work ethic from his mom!” and etc. Divide that by your universe of 6,000 warm bodies and your conversation rate is a glass shattering .00116 percent.
  3. Amplification Rate. This is the number that confirms whether you truly added value on a human scale or merely “pimped” your company. Let’s say you had three shares—one from a proud dad, one from a best friend, and one from the marketing manager who is paid to do it. Three divided by 6,000 is 0.0005%. Heart stopping, right?

With this simple analysis—the potential to engage 50 weeks +7 days +3 people per post—you can decide what part of your marketing budget you should allocate to your enterprise social media. The answer is zero.

Wait, you say that’s not fair? Alright, let’s add up the applause, conversation, and amplification rates on your Twitter and Instagram, and, being generous, your firm-branded blogs. Let’s compute the monthly, quarterly, and yearly totals. There, is that any better?

To be clear, marketing and enterprise brand building differs from business development (sales)— but, you need both. Arguably, a personal Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter presence in deft hands can be an effective tool for “networking” for business, but, it’s obvious to me that organic social media for the enterprise isn’t moving the needle—I’ve looked. (Please correct me if your firm is an outlier.)

Are your social media platforms useless? No, says Avinash. From an advertising perspective, the couple billion people on Facebook and hundreds of millions on other social channels are an audience that might be of value to your law firm. Should you kill your organic social strategy and switch to a paid social media strategy? Yes.

Don’t waste your money on fuzzy organic social media goals. Buy advertising from Facebook. Buy advertising from Twitter, Instagram, and yes, LinkedIn. All of which can give your social media strategy purpose.

“Your [social advertising] strategy can drive short and medium-term brand and performance outcomes,” says Avanish, “You can set aside the useless metrics like impressions and 3-second video views. Set aside hard to judge and equally useless Like and Follow counts. Measure the hard stuff that you can show a direct line to company profit. Define a purpose for the money you are spending.”

I completely agree. In tests I’ve run on organic posts versus promoted paid posts, paid always outperforms. Sure, the click ratio on a paid post can be dismal—particularly if you’re not using best practices—but at least you are reaching a new audience. Even one inquiry from a potential client is a better result than a mom or brother liking your Super Lawyers post.

Law firm content sets a low bar

Enterprise social media aside—yes, you should be advertising—from a pure content marketing perspective, clients appreciate meaningful content in all its shapes and forms—words and images. But, according to the April survey we’re not doing an exceptional job at that either.

Including social media, e-newsletters, blogs, and the like, the survey found that only 52 percent of in-house counsel ranked law firm content “very good-to-excellent,” an improvement from 43 percent in 2015. Ranking in the range of “satisfactory or better but not quite very good,” dropped to 42 percent in 2017 from 49 percent in 2015, suggesting that law firms are getting “better” at content. The survey’s authors purport that it is indeed possible that the (improved) results show that firms with “more defined content strategies” are “separating themselves from the pack while others languish.”

After all these years of producing content, and 48 percent of firms are falling below “very good,” means only one thing to me—nearly half of law firm content is either inadequate, incorrectly distributed, repetitive (you were scooped by other firms that acted quickly), or what you’re producing is just plain crap—excuse me, I mean legalese that has no clear business value. That’s a low bar.

The survey, Avinash and I suggest that you need a purpose, a strategy, and a plan. When you get that plan, then, you need great writing. Writing a brief is very different than writing something the public, even in-house counsel, wants to read. I know “we’re” getting better according to this survey, but not quite very good is not where you want your law firm to be.

Jayne Navarre

Jayne Navarre

Jayne Navarre + Associates has more than 20 years’ experience working exclusively with law firms on strategy for content and communications. The company is forward thinking, entrepreneurial, and works with some of the best law firms, both in the U.S. and internationally. Contact 786-208-9108,, or

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Hear and See the Webinar: How to Convert More Callers to Clients Without Spending More Money on Advertising

Click the “Play” button below to watch the recording of our webinar broadcast on May 25, 2017, “How to Convert More Callers to Clients Without Spending More Money on Advertising.”

Click to see the slides.

By Michael DeLon

Michael DeLon is an author, marketing coach, and President of Paperback Expert

Michael DeLon is an author and marketing coach.

Your #1 problem is not “getting more leads.” You generate leads from advertising. The phone rings and you capture their information in your intake system. Then you follow up with them relentlessly.

  • Why are you not converting more callers to clients?
  • Why aren’t you making more money?

Your #1 problem is not “getting more leads.” Your #1 problem is converting more of the leads you’re already generating.

What’s the Solution?

 If you talk with other attorneys or people in the media, their solution is to do more advertising. There’s some truth to that. But I don’t think it’s the best strategy.

Increasing the sheer volume of leads is not the best answer to your problem. It might work, but it will cost you a lot of money.

If you’re advertising properly and your phone is ringing, then you’re likely getting enough leads. You need to look at the other steps in your process to see where you are losing money.

If you look at your lead conversion process as a bucket that you’re trying to fill, you need to plug the holes in your bucket so you’ll retain more “water” and make more money.

Two of the most common holes we find firms overlooking are in the areas of Intake and Conversion. Legal marketing expert Harlan Schillinger says, “Intake and conversion are the most overlooked part of your business.” So let’s fix that.

Harlan Schillinger is in charge of business development at Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys.

Harlan Schillinger of Paradise Valley, AZ, has 40 years of experience in advertising and law firm marketing.

Why You Lose Clients

What you send your caller after they call you helps you convert them from a caller into a client.

So what do you send them after they call?

  • Your full-color company brochure filled with papers and information about how great you are, how long you’ve been in business, and how much money you’ve helped others receive?
  • Awards you’ve won or events you’ve sponsored?
  • A picture of your building and staff?
  • And don’t forget your refrigerator magnet and business card.

These are all things callers receive. In fact, since they call multiple firms, they receive piles and piles of this stuff. It’s overwhelming and confusing.

Here’s the real problem: It all looks the same. Every firm says basically the same thing. Change the logo and the color of the brochure and they would all be identical.

Why should the caller choose to hire you? When you look like everyone else you will lose more than you win.

Instead of showing up looking like all of your competitors, do something different. Position yourself uniquely. Don’t send what everyone else sends. Put a credibility-builder in your prospect’s hands. You will stand out prominently, impact the prospect memorably, and move yourself to the top of the pile.

Become the Recognized Authority

When asked to name a business and personal motivation guru:

  • Tony Robbins is very often the first name mentioned.
  • Michael Hyatt has burst onto the scene in recent years positioned as your “Virtual Mentor.”
  • Dave Ramsey has created a fortune by positioning himself as America’s personal finance go-to guy.

Now I like Tony and Michael and Dave—but none of them are that much smarter or better than the next guy. In fact, you can get much of what they offer for much less with a little bit of research.

But what they have—that their competitors don’t have—is positioning. We see Tony and Michael and Dave as authorities in their field. We trust what they tell us. And we pay handsomely for it.

They have created a platform for their message, generate a large following, and produce shocking profits.

They weren’t the first ones to the game. Arguably, they might not even be the best. But they are considered the experts in their industries. Since they have this position, they can spend less on advertising, enjoy higher conversions, and generate more revenue.

So how did they create this position for themselves? What made Tony, Michael, and Dave experts?

They each published a Book

It’s that simple. Tony Robbins came onto the scene with his book Unlimited Power. That book made him a national expert and a household name.

Michael Hyatt published Platform and it catapulted him to national expert status.

Dave Ramsey published Financial Peace in 1992 and has gone on to build a media conglomerate generating millions of dollars a year.

All three of these men were once sitting where you are now. They decided to take action and put their thoughts into a book—and the rest is history.

The simplest way to convert more callers to clients is to be The Recognized Legal Authority in your market. And the simplest way to do that is with your own book.

“I give my book to past and current clients, other professionals I work with (i.e. doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors, etc.), motorcycle shops, schools, shows, and anywhere else I can think of. It is far better than giving out my business card since it shows I care about motorcycle safety and society.” — Steve Grover, Grover Law Firm, Alberta, CA,  Author of “Ride Hard, Ride Safe”

The legal market is ultra-competitive. To stand out and be noticed you need to be recognized as an expert. You must differentiate yourself and position yourself as the authority in your market.

“I believe that a book is the ultimate business card. In this competitive market, you either differentiate yourself or you die. Having a book will help you convert leads to clients and put more money in your pocket.” –– Harlan Schillinger

Your book is the most cost-effective tool in your marketing arsenal. It empowers you to convert more callers to clients and earn more money without spending more on advertising.

When you receive phone calls, don’t just mail the caller your brochure and business card. Send them a signed copy of your book. You will immediately stand out in your their mind.

When they pile all the brochures and business cards they’ve received onto their table, your book will be on the top of the pile. As they file brochures and toss business cards, they’ll hold onto your book.

When’s the last time you threw away a book? People don’t throw away books — it’s almost sacrilegiousIt seems so very simple. Yet so few follow this proven pathway of unconventional wisdom. Your book will stay around longer than all your competitors’ brochures and business cards and miscellaneous junk. Your book will speak to your prospects even when they aren’t reading it.

Just seeing your book on their table, desk, or nightstand will remind them of you. They’ll remember your advice. They’ll call you for an appointment. They’ll hire you to represent them.

Creating Your Book

It’s fairly easy to put your name on a book these days.

You can publish one yourself (if you have the time). You can license one that someone else has written (a viable alternative). But nothing compares to having your own book that tells your story in your words.

When you are an author, you establish authority, easily differentiate yourself, and will have people calling to work with you like never before.

Remember Tony, Michael and Dave? This is exactly what they did.

Authority status is the position you need to establish to gain more clients without spending more on advertising. And the fastest way to attain authority status is to become the author of your own book.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Publish your own book.
  • Utilize your book in ALL of your marketing and advertising.
  • Give your book to every lead you receive.

Do that and you’ll stay in front of your leads longerconvert more leads to clients, and make more money without spending another dime on more advertising.

This article was adapted from the soon to be released book Michael is writing with Harlan Schillinger.

Michael DeLon is an author, speaker, marketing coach, and the founder of Paperback Expert, a marketing-centric book publisher for attorneys.

Using their unique Speak-to-Write process, Michael works with you to create your book in just 90 days. Then he teaches you exactly how to use your book to Attract Leads, Convert Clients and Generate Profits.

Michael’s first book, On Marketing, helped him convert leads to clients effortlessly. Now he helps others enjoy this same experience. He believes a book is the best marketing tool to have in your arsenal. It differentiates you, gives you the authority, and builds trust in ways nothing else can. A book really is The Ultimate Business Card.

Contact Michael: Direct: (501) 539-0038


How to Get New Business From Your In-Person and Online Marketing

By Larry Bodine and Victoria Blute.

Are you marketing more and getting less in return? 

The solution is two-fold:

Getting Quality Contacts

Attorneys have struggled with networking events even before there was an internet. The solutions were revealed in 1936 by Dale Carnegie in “How to Make Friends and Influence People,” a book that I highly recommend.

A key tip from the book is when you are meeting someone, stop talking about yourself. Get the focus off yourself. Ask questions about the other person, and get them talking. Notice something about how they dress or look and compliment them; ask them more about it. Ask them about their challenges at work. Probe for challenges that may have that have legal solutions.

Remember these two follow-up questions:

  • “Tell me more about that.”
  • “What makes you say that?”

If you have an estate practice, ask how their parents are. If you have a personal injury practice, ask them what they think about texting and driving. Listen, and avoid talking about yourself. If they are talking, you are selling.

Online, more potential clients are turning to the internet to find law firms. They will use Google to find an answer to their legal questions. But they generally won’t search for something like “DUI Attorney Oshkosh” or “Business Attorney Milwaukee.” They are more likely to instead pose a question to Google like:

“What’s the best way to give co-founders options in a corporation?” or “How will a DUI affect my California state nursing license?”  

Content indexed by Google

The content that you add to your law firm’s website and blog gets indexed by Google. When you answer those kinds of questions in great detail, Google is more likely to return those pages to a search engine user — in this case, your potential client — when they make a relevant search.

High-quality content that answers your potential clients’ questions is the best form of SEO that there is.

Content builds that bond of trust and takes the show-don’t-tell approach: Instead of shouting from the rooftop that you’re the best attorney to handle their matter, show them that you are by creating content that showcases your knowledge about the problem they’re facing.

  • Have solid FAQ pages. Think about the questions that your potential clients ask you when you’re sitting across the desk from them. These are the same kinds of questions that they’re typing into Google, so if you’re answering those questions on a FAQ page, you’re giving yourself an advantage with search engines and with your potential clients.
  • Blogging.  Yes, blogging really does bring in new clients (see Writing blog posts is a great way to drive traffic to your site and it should really be done on a regular basis. For example, if you’re an immigration attorney, there are lots of things changing about immigration policies right now, and there will be potential clients searching for information about that subject. But if you can’t write for your website on a regular basis, then using a professional proxy writer is the next best choice that you can make. Make sure that your writing team understands and will abide by the necessary legal ethics.  

Easily connecting with people

It’s always uncomfortable to walk into a big room at a social event where you don’t know anyone. This is where marketing with premeditation comes in. Before going to an event, request the attendee list, or the directory if you are a member, and study it. Google one or two attendees whom you want to meet. Use Google to research trends affecting members of the organization.

Successful networkers come to a meeting with specific people they want to meet, and they are prepared with questions to get conversations going. I recommend that you rehearse the questions you will be asking until you feel comfortable with them. Prepare for a networking event as you would prepare for a court hearing.

What happens if you attend and your target people aren’t there? Simply find the president of the organization, tell him or her that you are new, and ask to be introduced to someone you can talk to. An attendee will be impressed to see the president bringing someone over to talk to them.

Online, there used to be more of a stigma about connecting with strangers online, but I don’t think that’s so true anymore. People connect online with strangers all the time now and it’s become a normal part of our online experience. It’s normal to see attorneys connecting with other people on social networks, whether that’s their peers, potential clients, or referral sources.

Some attorneys see social media as completely separate from their website and blog, and they take a lot of time thinking about it. This is a mistake. Social media should be supplementary to your website and blog.  

One of the best ways to use social media is to publish links to new blog posts that will drive traffic back to your law firm website. Publishing on social media makes it easier for others to share what you’ve written with their friends or family who have a matter for you. Your goal here is to get people back to your website through social media. There, they can read more about what you have to say, read other blog posts and peruse substantive content.

Three social media sites that generally have more value than others for attorneys are Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Avoid spreading yourself too thin by thinking about social media like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit and Tumblr.  

One other way to drive business is to participate in the online conversation — social media is not a one-way street — so you’ll want to comment on what other people are talking about and build a reputation as an online thought leader. The more you participate, the more opportunities you have for people to recognize you — whether that’s a potential client or a referral source.

All About You

At a networking event, wait for the moment when the other person asks you what you do for a living. This is the big moment for you to respond with your “30-second commercial”: a short description that makes others want to know more about you. It begs a question “Tell me how you do that?” A 30-second commercial is concise and can be spoken in a single breath.  

It has three elements:

  1. “I am___________________” (What function do you perform?)
  2. “I work with_____________” (Describe your ideal client.)
  3. “To solve________________” (How do you help clients?)

You can get other people to ask for your business card by getting the other person to talk about their job. Take an interest, ask for more information and the request their business card. In the process, you can make a natural exchange of cards.

After the conversation ends, make sure to write down three things on the back of the card you acquired: the date, where you were and what you talked about. When you get back to the office, immediately enter this information into your computer contact list. Don’t stick the card into a stack with a rubber band, because it cannot be searched electronically.

Online, your attorney bio should be written so that people know, trust and like you.  

Often times, I’ll see attorney bios that are just a list of facts and figures about the attorney: “Attorney John Smith was born here, went to school here, graduated in this year.” It’s a shame, because these bios don’t give any sense of what that attorney is like, and that can be a real turn-off for potential clients.

Before your potential clients or referral sources consider your accomplishments, they want to know about you as a person. The old saying, “People won’t care about what you know until they know how much you care,” is fitting. Try this five-step approach:

  1. Write about your journey to the law. You need to show your potential clients that you care about them, their case, and your practice.  
  2. What motivates you as an attorney and a person? The deeper you can dig for the things that motivate you outside of just winning or making money, the more you can make it about your potential clients, the more relatable you make yourself to a potential client. Ask yourself: what drives you to do what you do and what inspires you?  
  3. Whom do you surround yourself with? What kinds of extracurricular activities are you a part of? Do you support some kind of youth group? Are you a member of charities? What do you do for the community? What helps you define yourself outside of the law?
  4. Whom have you helped? Discuss cases more generally, think about the type of person you typically help. You want to paint a picture of who you’ve helped and why you enjoy doing that.  
  5. What have you done? Talk about what you’ve accomplished in your law career and education. What qualifies you? This can be your honors, case results and, publications. Instead of just listing these things, talk about what it meant to you. Take a publication, for example. Talk about what it means to you to have been selected; how the selection process worked; why it’s a big deal. Give it some context.

A crowd where everybody knows your name

To overcome the fear of public speaking and to get results from a speech, it’s necessary to create a crowd where everybody knows you. The best way to do this is to hold a lunch-and-learn in a conference room. Invite clients, prospects and referral sources to a program that you host. Notify invitees that they can make appointments before and after the program to discuss their legal issues.

Provide inexpensive box lunches and sodas, along with firm gift items like tote bags and coffee cups. Invite all the attorneys from your firm to sit in the audience and make friends with attendees. Make your educational event fun time — give away prizes like books and gift cards.

For online purposes, videotape the presentations and upload them to your website.  It’s important to put up a transcript as well, because humans can listen to the audio and video, but search engines need a text transcript.

If you want to take it a step further, why not present a companion webinar to your talk? Whether you’re using PowerPoint of Google Slides, it’s easy to put together some main talking points and record the audio to go with it.  

Another thing to think about is visual aids, particularly infographics. You might want to take points from your talk or elsewhere and turn them into an infographic. Infographics are particularly nice in that they compress a lot of information into a small space, and one that, if it’s done right, is a lot of fun for people to look at. And there are lots of programs now you can use to create infographics for free, and easily.   

Putting it all together

In-person marketing is essential, but it only works one-to-one. Complementing it with matching digital marketing will allow you to market one-to-many. By harnessing tools revealed in a 1936 book on making friends and employing web tools effectively, any attorney can have a robust circle of clients and referral sources.  

Free On Demand Webinar: Proven Personal Marketing Strategies to Bring In New Business

 Listen to the on-demand webinar, “How to Get New Business From Your In-Person and Social Media Marketing”

One of the most effective ways to bring new business is through personal marketing efforts. Ask yourself – how effective are my networking and social media efforts? How many quality contacts did I get from my last social function? What is the best way to navigate the social media landscape?

For answers, listen to the on-demand webinar, a presentation by Larry Bodine and Victoria Blute. Larry and Victoria will go into detail on proven strategies to improve your personal marketing both online and offline.

Attorney Credits WebinarHow to Get New Business From Your In-Person and Social Media Marketing”
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Strategies to Improve Your Social Media Presence

Learn how to maximize online reviews, avoid common social media traps, and selecting the right personal content to post online.Strategies to Improve Your Social Media Presence

Larry Bodine, Website Editor, The National Trial Lawyers; Senior Legal Marketing Strategist, Lawlytics

Victoria Blute Community Mgr. & Legal Marketing Blogger, LawLytics

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Opportunities to Start or Grow a Xarelto Mass Torts Practice

XareltoThe courts are seeing an explosion in Xarelto products liability cases.

  • The multi-district litigation docket (MDL) was only created in 2014 in the eastern district of Louisiana. Started out with 21 cases.
  • By the end of 2014, there were more than 400 cases.
  • By Dec 2015, the docket exploded to 2,400 cases.
  • Six months later in April, 4,500 cases were filed.
  • The litigation really took off in 2016 and there are now more than 15,000 cases.

Right now is an excellent time to start a practice in mass torts cases involving Xarelto, a blood-thinning drug. The main driver is the first bellwether (test case) trial, which is coming up on April 24, 2017, with the second one scheduled for May 30.

When that takes place, attorneys will see widespread marketing for clients and patients who took Xarelto. Marketing experts say the time to get involved is right now.

The two defendant companies — Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer — are facing a potential liability of $2.5 billion, based on settlements in similar cases. Estimates place the settlement value up to $500,000 in a wrongful death case, and the average settlement could be $162,000.

Easy to start a Xarelto practice

Want to learn more about starting or expanding a Xarelto practice? Watch the webinar “Mass Torts Marketing: Xarelto

At this point, it’s very easy to get involved in Xarelto litigation. The court has established both short and long-form complaints. So essentially, all that an attorney needs to do is find a client and fill in the blanks as appropriate. The defense has put together a plaintiff fact sheet that goes through questions about the medical history of the patient, also available from the court, that’s a fill-in-the-blanks sheet.

A mass torts practice is quite different from typical personal injury cases where the facts and defendants change from client to client. With mass torts, an attorney has a fixed set of facts and defendants. The primary effort that needs to be put in is acquiring new clients.

With more than 15,000 cases already, attorneys might be asking: are there any more plaintiffs out there to find? And the answer to that is yes — there are many more potential plaintiffs. More than 7 million people worldwide have been prescribed Xarelto, and at least 2 million Americans have atrial fibrillation that’s treated with Xarelto. All of these people are potential plaintiffs.

The two defendant companies are facing a potential liability of $2.5 billion, based on settlements in Pradaxa cases in 2014. The settlement value could be up to $500,000 in a wrongful death case, and the average settlement could be in the neighborhood of $160,000.

Xarelto was designed to replace an older drug called warfarin (Coumadin). Warfarin still in use today. It was originally approved in 1954 by the FDA, it can easily be reversed with Vitamin K, the blood element that causes clotting.

Warfarin requires the doctor who prescribed it to monitor a patient’s diet and dosage carefully. Xarelto, on the other hand, was marketed as a once-a-day dose, despite that it has a short half life: between 5-9 hours.

There was a strong profit motive to create a new drug when warfarin became generic. The lowest available price of 30 standard warfarin tablets is $4. The lowest price for 30, 5 mg Xarelto tablets? — $405.

It is clear why Xarelto became a blockbuster drug for Johnson & Johnson: In 2014, the company had sales totaling $3.7 billion for Xarelto alone.

Xarelto has no reversal agent

The FDA approved Xarelto as a once-a-day blood thinner to reduce the risk of blood clots after hip or knee replacement surgery in July 2011. A few months later in November 2011, it was approved to reduce the risk of stroke from atrial fibrillation. Then in November 2012, the agency expanded it to treat deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Since Xarelto went on the market, the manufacturers ignored the dangers of Xarelto. It has no reversal agent or antidote, and can cause uncontrollable internal bleeding. Also, the plaintiffs allege that Xarelto can actually cause strokes and blood clots if discontinued abruptly. The plaintiffs also charge that the makers of the drug failed to warn users and actually concealed the fact that Xarelto causes uncontrolled internal bleeding.

xarelto celebrities vickers palmer nealon

Arnold Palmer took Xarelto and died on September 25, 2016, which was preceded in August 2016 by surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding.

Meanwhile, Janssen and Bayer continue to advertise Xarelto aggressively. One TV commercial featured comedian Kevin Nealon, NASCAR driver Brian Vickers and Hall of Fame golfer Arnold Palmer. The 87-year old Palmer wore a pink sweater and said, “Treatment with Xarelto was the right move for us.” Many people are wondering if that is true in the wake of his death on September 25, 2016, which was preceded in August 2016 by surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding. See Did Xarelto, the Drug Arnold Palmer Promoted, Lead to His Death?

Xarelto Litigation Overview

The vast majority of Xarelto cases are in multidistrict litigation Eastern District of Louisiana before Judge Eldon Fallon, where the bellwether trial is coming up.

Meanwhile, a smaller cluster of 1,100 claims have been filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania state court before Judge Arnold New. Finally, there’s a small group of 31 cases in California Superior Court before Judge Kenneth Freeman in Los Angeles.

The plaintiff in the April 24 bellwether trial is Joseph Boudreaux, Jr. in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. He was prescribed Xarelto in 2014 for atrial fibrillation. He only took the drug for 21 days before he suffered severe gastrointestinal bleeding, and he survived only because of several blood transfusions.

Companies Ignored Danger Signals About Xarelto

Evidence will be presented at the trial how Bayer and Janssen ignored many danger signals.

Studies began showing as early as 2008 that Xarelto was more dangerous than other blood-thinning drugs. The New England Journal of Medicine published articles in 2008, 2011 and 2012 all of which discussed an increased risk of adverse events.

In 2012, the FDA recorded “serious adverse events” reports about Xarelto. This was the first year after the drug was on the market and there were 2,081 serious adverse events. 151 of those were deaths, compared to only 56 deaths from warfarin.

In 2013 and 2014, the FDA required that Xarelto drugmakers include boxed warnings.

  • In 2013, the FDA required that Xarelto include a warning that premature discontinuation of Xarelto® increases the risk blood clots.
  • In 2014, the FDA required that Xarelto include a warning that it can cause internal bleeding. The warning must also state that a specific antidote is not available for Xarelto.

Estimated Settlement Values

The prevailing view about a settlement is that nothing will happen until the litigation affects the stock price of Bayer and Johnson & Johnson. This may happen this year, based on settlements involving a similar blood thinner called Pradaxa.

Pradaxa was approved in 2010 before Xarelto and it was a commercial success, generating huge sales for Boehringer-Ingelheim. Unfortunately, like Xarelto, Pradaxa didn’t have an antidote for bleeding. Thousands of lawsuits were filed, and in 2014, Boehringer-Ingelheim settled 4,000 cases in state and federal courts for $650 million. Individual settlements ranged from $500,000 to $12,000.

For purposes of calculating how big a settlement for Xarelto might be, lawyers can start with the average Pradaxa settlement of $162,500.  When multiplied by the 15,611 cases that are currently filed in the federal MDL, this produces a potential liability of $2.53 billion.

This is why Xarelto is an  attractive addition to a personal injury practice.

Xarelto Marketing For Lawyers: How To Add Xarelto To Your Law Firm’s WebsiteHow do you get more clients?

To learn about attracting potential clients for Xarelto cases, watch the webinar sponsored by LawLytics. Do you have questions about marketing a mass torts practice? LawLytics can help. Call at 800-713-0161 or schedule our call.



Anonymous Reviewer Who Criticized Attorney on Avvo Steps Forward

Attorney Deborah Thomson of The Women’s Law Group in Tampa, FL

Attorney Deborah Thomson of The Women’s Law Group in Tampa, FL

Two years after an unsuccessful court battle to discover the identity of a negative reviewer on Avvo, the anonymous client who criticized a Florida divorce attorney has come forward and identified herself.

“Jane Doe” is Holly Dickson of Tampa, Florida, and she is still pursuing her divorce case, now nine years old. Dickson, age 50, has lived in Tampa since 1976 and is a real estate agent. “Everyone at courthouse knows who I am,” she said in an interview.

Dickson posted an anonymous review on Avvo on September 24, 2013, headlined “Things to consider.” She gave Tampa Divorce attorney Deborah Thomson a one-star rating saying, “Her lack of basic business skills and detachment from her fiduciary responsibilities has cost me everything. … My interests were simply not protected in any meaningful way.”

Court refuses to identify reviewer

Thomson sent a subpoena to discover Dickson’s identity, but was denied by the Washington State Court of Appeals in July 2015. Thomson also filed a libel-slander lawsuit against “Jane Doe” on May 21, 2014, but it was dismissed for lack of prosecution on Jan. 21, 2016.

Online reviews are a touchy subject for attorneys, who fear negative comments on Yelp, Facebook, Avvo and many other review sites.

To prove her identity, Dickson furnished the June 2, 2008, attorney engagement letter, the Sept. 4, 2008, final judgment of dissolution of marriage, the marital settlement agreement, and a variety of other documents. Her case is Joel B. Felty v. Holly Ann Felty Dickson, Case No. 08-DR-009606, Hillsborough County, Florida, Circuit Court.

“I feel strongly about the need for a consumer to speak the truth about their experience. I have spent a lot of money on attorneys,” Dickson said. “I have lost my retirement, I was insolvent within nine months of my divorce.  I agreed to no alimony. I have no guaranteed income. I have no retirement, lost an excellent credit score and will surely be working for the rest of my life.”

Asked if she would change the Avvo review today, Dickson said, “I would be far more severe in my commentary.”

Allegations “untrue”

In 2008 Thomson, whose name was Deborah Stewart at the time, was an associate at Catherine W. Real, P.A. in Tampa. The Dickson divorce case was assigned to Thomson.

Thomson, who is now practicing with The Women’s Law Group in Tampa, said in an email, “Ms. Dickson had been a client of a former employer of mine toward the end of my time as an employee at that office.  It was some time after the post by Ms. Dickson that I discovered that she authored this “review.”  

“I completely stand by my response to her post, as her allegations are simply untrue.  I do not condone what she did to me, and although I will not resort to the same tactics concerning her behavior, a simple look at the extensive docket for her post-dissolution case, anonymous reviews of other attorneys that have represented her in the past, as well as other cases in which she is involved, illustrate the real problem.”

Regarding a possible new libel lawsuit, Thomson said, “I have not yet decided at this time whether I plan on continuing to pursue this matter with a civil lawsuit against Ms. Dickson. I am hopeful that my written response to Ms. Dickson’s falsities has provided a potential reader with enough information to understand.

Thomson said she stands by her online response to the negative review. “I would respond just the same, with the exception of clarifying that she retained my employer’s office while I was an employee.  As I said, her allegations about me are untrue.

“There are many other professionals that have had to deal anonymous, untrue “reviews” by disgruntled individuals.  I am hopeful that one day, Avvo, and other similar websites, will begin to verify online reviews prior to allowing them to be posted in order to protect innocent individuals like myself that fall victim to someone’s anger and unethical behavior.”

Acrimonious divorce

Dickson’s divorce case has been long and acrimonious. She and her ex-husband, Joel Felty, were co-owners of a successful business, Creative Modular Buildings in Tampa. In the marital settlement agreement she gave up her share in the business in exchange for the marital home in Tampa. She also received $217,000 in various accounts, although she now says she was entitled to $600,000.

“The settlement agreement was a poor contract from the get-go. I was so upset with the lack of depth of knowledge of my attorneys,” Dickson says. “This has been the worst thing in my life. I lost my credit, my finances, I’m here in terrible shape and still need to take ex back to court,” she says.

Two years ago Avvo refused to identify Dickson as the online reviewer, and Avvo told Thomson he believed the reviewer was a client.

Thomson subpoenaed Avvo seeking the identity of the anonymous detractor. The trial court denied her and the appellate court affirmed. Thomson v. Jane Doe, No. 72321-9-I, filed July 6, 2015.

“The First Amendment protects the right to speak anonymously,” the court said, saying Doe’s speech is entitled to an intermediate level of protection.