November 08, 2009
Courthouse Libraries BC New Website
Courthouse Libraries BC have just launched their new website. The revamped online presence can be found at courthouselibrary.ca and represents a completely fresh take on how the organization interacts with its user base on the web. In addition to a significantly updated design, key features of the new site include:
* Integrated search - a single, powerful search application that can search any or all of 10 different library sources (e.g. the library catalogue, their in-house "asked & answered" database, their unreported decisions database, etc.);
* Practice Portals- practice-specific hubs designed to provide practitioners' with ready access to key resources, texts, legislation, leading authorities and recent news in a single environment. There are five practice portals initially (Civil litigation, Family law, Personal Injury, Wills & Estates, and Practice Management & Technology) with plans already underway to add more;
* User Accounts individual user accounts that can save preferences, order histories and searches;
* News filtering by practice area - self-explanatory; and
* A new blog, "The Stream" which will serve as a platform for Library staff to provide their insight and commentary on law and legal research developments relevant to British Columbia lawyers.
Also of key importance in my view is that CLBC's extensive involvement in the development and operation of a separate (and excellent) legal information site geared specifically to the public - CLICKLAW - has enabled the organization to focus the new Courthouselibary.ca site squarely on the needs of practicing lawyers. While both sites are fully accessible to anyone, separating out the offerings to cater more specifically to their respective user bases can only result in better user experiences across the board.
Skunkworks is proud to have been involved in several aspects of this project although full credit goes to our friends at Habanero Consulting Group for the top-notch site build and to the Courthouse Libraries' team for their vision both in engaging in extensive user consultation and research into what users wanted from a new library website and in their willingness to explore new approaches and priorities even where such choices represented fundamental shifts away from established library processes. It's accepted wisdom in marketing circles that brave clients make for interesting work. For me, this has been a textbook example of exactly that.
April 28, 2009
RSS in plain english
In my discussions with lawyers about blogs and internet marketing at various seminars and events it is usually the case that only a very small percentage are familiar with RSS feeds. In a nutshell, RSS "feeds" allow people to subscribe to the various websites, blogs or sections of websites that are of interest to them. It's an important technology for a whole myriad of reasons and "hardcore" technology and legal marketing folks tend to take it for granted but I think most lawyers are still at something of a loss as to what it is, how it works and why it matters. Therefore, I want to share one of Common Craft's terrifically simple "In Plain English" videos that explains RSS more clearly. (Also, credit to Rex Gradeless at Social Media Law Student for giving me the idea via his own blog which I am shamelessly poaching here because I think it warrants broad distribution).
January 14, 2009
Social Media For Lawyers Breakfast Seminar - LMA Vancouver January 21, 2009
For Vancouver area lawyers and legal marketers interested in the exploding world of Social Media/Social Networking and wondering what all the fuss is about, I will be presenting a breakfast session next Wednesday, January 21st at downtown law firm Farris Vaughan Wills & Murphy. Any and all interested parties welcome from committed luddites to the merely curious to hardcore techgeeks who will undoubtedly be able to teach me a thing or three along the way.
Details and registration information are available on the Legal Marketing Association Vancouver Chapter website.
January 02, 2009
Seeking 16 BC Lawyers for focus group January 22, 2009
Courthouse Libraries BC is continuing the development of a major revamp of their web presence to be released later in 2009. As part of the development process, they are seeking input from 16 BC lawyers at a focus group session to be held on January 22, 2009 from 4:30pm-6:30pm. The feedback will help build a more lawyer-friendly end-product and is being facilitated by the good folks at Habenero Consulting.
If you are a British Columbia lawyer that wonders what really happens at focus groups, here's your chance to find out first hand while giving back to the profession at the same time. If you are available and willing to pitch in, please get in touch and I'll get you on the list!
June 05, 2008
Law meets Theatre - UBC Masks Conference June 17-18, 2008
Masks: the online journal of law and theatre is a new multi-disciplinary, peer-reviewed online journal based at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law. The journal’s focus is on the intersections of law and theatre. Their inaugural conference takes place June 17-18, and features an academic day exploring theory and one workshop day offering hands-on experience and discussion. Jokes about the high number of drama queens already extant in your office aside, this seems like an interesting take on multi-disciplinary studies, or perhaps a professional mashup.
June 03, 2008
LMA Vancouver celebrates 2008 HELM Award Winners
The awards recognize achievement of British Columbia lawyers and law firms in five categories: corporate social responsibility, young lawyer, managing partner, firm/marketer of the year and lifetime achievement, and are judged by an independent panel of judges drawn from the legal, corporate and marketing sectors. This is the second year for HELM, and in that time it really has done a terrific job of showcasing some of the great work being done in the BC legal market. Without further ado, this year's winners are:
Corporate Social Responsibility: Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP
Young Lawyer Award: Norm Streu, Alexander Holburn Beaudin & Lang LLP
Managing Partner Award: Tim Sehmer, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Firm/Marketer of the Year Award: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Lifetime Achievement Award: Martin D. Donner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Congratulations to all.
April 28, 2008
Take The BC Courthouse Library Website Lawyer Survey & Enter to Win an iPod Touch!
Skunkworks is currently working with our friends at the BC Courthouse Library Society to obtain user input and feedback in preparation for the redevelopment of the Courthouse Library website. One component of the process is a short 3-minute web survey for B.C. lawyers that will help us assess technology and online usage patterns for this key user demographic. Survey participants will also be entered to win one of two 8G iPod Touch music player/portable internet devices. Help us help the library build a better website by taking the survey today. You can access the survey here:
March 27, 2008
Canadian law degrees - LL.B. vs. J.D.
I've noticed a number of news items in recent weeks about the emerging trend of Canadian law schools making a switch from the LL.B. to J.D. degree designations. U of T has been doing this for some time already. UBC has recently received approval from their Board of Governors to make the switch. Western is currently mid-stream on the same debate and I'm given to understand that Queens and Osgoode Hall are also exploring the possiblity. There appears to be a groundswell of support from student ranks who feel the move will make the degrees (and their holders) more attractive in the international legal marketplace.
Clearly, old age is creeping up on me because I find myself falling squarely into the camp of the traditionalists on this one. Despite the apparent popularity for the switch, I personally find it hard to believe that the types of international firms that are hiring significant numbers of Canadian lawyers have any confusion regarding an LL.B. degree. Indeed, as quoted in the Lawyers Weekly article on the topic, both Western Dean Ian Holloway, and Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan acknowledge that the change is unlikely to have much impact on international hiring. As aptly stated by Dean Holloway, such firms "don't just hire Canadians. They hire graduates from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, India. These are global firms. Regardless of the degree designation, they know just what they're getting."
Setting aside the international marketability question, part of the impetus from the student ranks might also be explained by the fact that in some universities, such as Western, law students are deemed as undergraduates within the university community, thereby precluding them from graduate-level perks such as parking privileges. That, however, is in my view a university-specific glitch that can be easily rectified without changing the degree designation. Indeed, harking back lo those many years to my own law school days at UVIC, law students were recognized as graduate students and had access to the grad student lounge, etc.
Call me squarely behind the times on this one. I say long live the LL.B.!
February 15, 2008
Welcome LMA Toronto!
Good news for Ontario legal marketers - LMA Toronto is official. The Legal Marketing Association's newest chapter marks its arrival with a launch event February 21, 2008 with a session on legal trends.
Obviously I'm a bit biased as a past board member of LMA's Vancouver Chapter, but there is no question in my mind that the organization's presence has helped to significantly raise the bar on the quality of legal marketing coming out of this region, and I'm confident that the new Toronto chapter will have the same effect in Ontario. For anyone working in Canadian legal marketing, the LMA chapters are an indispensable resource for local programming you just can't find elsewhere.
April 04, 2006
Legal Marketing Bootcamp: lessons on differentiating your law firm
The Canadian Bar Association and the Vancouver chapter of the Legal Marketing Association held their joint Legal Marketing Bootcamp seminar last friday in Kelowna. Although I was a speaker, I picked up a few great examples from the audience on what firms are doing to differentiate themselves. During our discussions, one person gave the example of a law firm that sends their holiday cards in the summer instead of in December. Another participant volunteered that her firm eschews holiday cards entirely, and sends birthday cards instead. Simple, inexpensive, and brilliant. We should all be looking for more little gems like this.
Posted by dougjasinski at 12:50 AM | Permalink
January 10, 2006
Legal Marketing Association grants LMA Vancouver official chapter status
The Legal Marketing Association has approved LMA Vancouver as its first international chapter. The Legal Marketing Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs and maintaining the professional standards of legal marketers. LMA has more than 2400 members from 43 US states and 11 countries. LMA Vancouver rolled out a number of events in fall 2005 during its "chapter-in-formation" period and has a full calendar planned for 2006. For those that aren't familiar with LMA, it's worth checking out.
Posted by dougjasinski at 11:41 PM | Permalink
September 15, 2005
Collecting magnets and avoiding lawyer hotels
Collecting magnets and building a culture that makes your law firm more than simply a “hotel for lawyers” were just two of the interesting ideas that emerged from the Legal Marketing Association’s Vancouver chapter inaugural event that took place on September 9, 2005. Approximately 80 people attended the half-day session that featured 3 distinguished speakers.
Roberta Montafia, Chief Marketing Officer, Day, Berry & Howard LLP, spoke on the fundamentals of planning. Her key message: effective marketing strategy is based on knowing who you are as a firm, how the market perceives you and where you want to go. She also discussed the eternal challenge of identifying unique differentiators for your law firm. Her approach is to collect “magnets” – cultivating multiple human-scale differences that can serve as points of attraction rather than looking for a single magic cure-all.
Dr. Mark Greene, Practice Development & Market Research, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, (and formerly director of the Brand Research Company) followed up by taking the audience through research he conducted (in conjunction with Greenfield Belser) that led to the report “Why Law Firms Fail/Why Firms Succeed”TM, . As Dr. Greene identified the characteristics that separate successful law firms from failed ones, the picture that emerged was that successful firms were more likely to embrace change and accept risks, albeit in a disciplined and managed way. Shared culture and consensus building were also two traits that markedly defined successful firms and allowed them to be more than just “hotels for lawyers”.
Silvia L. Coulter, Managing Partner, Coulter Consulting Group and President, Legal Sales & Services Organization used the “S” word (sales) – still very rare in law firm parlance, and spoke to the critical role of exceptional client service as the key to turning opportunities created by marketing into new business for law firms.
Overall a great kick-off session for the Vancouver LMA chapter, Canada’s first.
Posted by dougjasinski at 09:15 PM | Permalink
August 10, 2005
Marketing on the agenda at Halifax CBA Conference Sept 15-17, 2005.
A CBA conference on "Leading the Canadian Law Firm in the 21st Century" will feature a session on marketing. The CBA has pulled together a panel from diverse marketing backgrounds to discuss effective strategies for marketing legal services and provide advice on how to measure ROI for marketing initiatives. The session will also key in on establishing and maximizing the effect of client teams.
Visit the CBA Website for program information.
Posted by dougjasinski at 06:20 PM | Permalink
August 08, 2005
Vancouver Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association set to launch September 9, 2005.
The Legal Marketing Association's Vancouver Chapter kick-off event has now been set for Sept 9, 2005 at the Four Seasons Hotel. Speakers include Silvia L. Coulter, Managing Partner, Coulter Consulting Group, Roberta Montafia, Chief Marketing Officer, Day, Berry & Howard LLP, and Mark Greene, Managing Director, The Brand Research Company.
For registration info contact Kevin Aschenbrenner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-689-1159.
Posted by dougjasinski at 08:31 PM | Permalink
July 18, 2005
Canadian Law Society & Bar Association Rules Governing Lawyer Marketing
The American Bar Association has a very helpful interactive map on their website that links users to the relevant marketing rules for each U.S. jurisdiction. We thought "Hey, that's pretty cool, we could use one of those in Canada too". So we built it. A few links aren't active yet as we wait to hear back from a handful of the provincial law societies, but you can view the Canadian map here. There will also be a permanent link to it off the Legal Marketing Canada homepage under "Resources".
Posted by dougjasinski at 04:00 PM | Permalink
July 08, 2005
Legal Marketing Association to launch Vancouver chapter
The Legal Marketing Association plans to launch a Vancouver chapter. The launch event is set for September 9, 2005, (location yet to be determined) and advertising for the launch has commenced in the Business In Vancouver newspaper. LMA is the dominant industry trade group for legal marketing professionals in North America, with over 2200 members and 15 chapters throughout the United States. The addition of a Vancouver chapter is a very welcome development indeed.
Posted by dougjasinski at 06:04 PM | Permalink