Thursday, April 30, 2009

Souter to Retire

NPR Breaking news: Supreme Court Justice David Souter planning to retire:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Legal Award Announced for Philadelphia-area Law Students

Posted by Gina Rubel

Here is a great opportunity for Philadelphia-area legal students:

The Philadelphia Bar Association encourages students to enter the 2009 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “Pursuit of Justice” Legal Writing Competition. 

Any topic relating to rights, privileges and responsibilities under federal law is acceptable. Submissions should be of law review quality.

The award is open to full and part-time law students in their 2nd or 3rd year during the 2008-09 academic year at one of the following institutions: Drexel University College of Law, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Rutgers School of Law (Camden), Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law, Villanova University School of Law, Widener University School of Law (Delaware Campus).

The winning law student will receive a $2500 cash prize, publication in The Philadelphia Lawyer and on the Bar Association’s Web site, presentation of the award at the October Quarterly Meeting & Luncheon of the Bar Association.

The deadline is 4 p.m. on Friday, May 8, 2009. Visit for more information.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What do PR Firms Look for in a Freelancer?

Posted by Katie Noonan

Today, in lieu of a blog post, we recommend you head over to Freelance Picnic, where thePRLawyer, Gina Rubel, tells readers what Furia Rubel Communications and other PR firms look for when hiring a freelancer.

Read the blog here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another Great Philadelphia CLE Program for Lawyers in Transition - May 13

Here is yet another great Philadelphia-area CLE program that Gina Rubel will be participating in on May 13 targeting Lawyers in Transition. The program will take place at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building in Philadelphia - see more info on the event below.

The current economic slowdown has hit the legal profession hard. Attorneys have been laid off and firms have closed their doors. In an effort to assist attorneys who have been affected by the recession, the Law Practice Management Division of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) will present "Lawyers in Transition," a 2.5-credit CLE program designed to help struggling attorneys get back on their feet on Wednesday, May 13.

Job seekers will get advice about what steps to take to find a new position. Attorneys interested in forming their own practice will learn how to do so, how to market themselves and ethical considerations. This program will also provide an opportunity to network with other attorneys with whom you may want to practice or who are facing similar situations.

In furtherance of PBI's goal of assisting attorneys who find themselves in transition and are looking for work during these difficult times, PBI is offering this program at a substantially reduced fee. In addition to the reduced fee, those who cannot afford to pay for the seminar may attend at no cost. PBI will not require verification for this opportunity; you simply need to check the box appropriate to you when registering.

Panelists for this program include Daniel J. Siegel, president, Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC and Mary F. Platt, Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP (course planners); Ellen Freedman, Law Practice Management Coordinator, Pennsylvania Bar Association; Kenneth J. Hagreen, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc.; James LaRosa, JuriStaff, Inc.; and Gina F. Rubel, president, Furia Rubel Communications, Inc.

The program begins with "Suddenly Solo," a session discussing issues relating to how to set up your own law practice or to handle client matters while seeking new opportunities. Following a short break, "Looking for a Job" will examine using placement services, interviewing techniques, resumes, networking and dealing with stress. The program closes with "Marketing Yourself," with a discussion on getting clients, working with existing clients, ethical aspects of communicating with former clients. The program begins at 1 p.m. at The CLE Conference Center on the 10th floor of the Wanamaker Building, 13th and Market Streets. Because of the CLE rules, a portion of each of these sessions are not creditable. Credit will be provided for 30 minutes of ethics during each session. Click here to register for this event.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Power of Public Relations

Here at Furia Rubel, we are constantly educating our publics on why PR is important; how to use PR to your advantage while applying best practices; and what PR resources to use for results. Here is a perfect example of the power of public relations.

We recently received an Honorable Mention for the PR News’ 2009 Legal PR Awards in the category of Media Coverage. We were recognized for our outstanding media relations efforts on behalf of Philadelphia personal injury law firm, Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstock & Dodig. Our agency worked with attorney and partner Mark Tanner regarding the death of Diane Glynn who was killed by a drunken driver who was never charged.

Mark Tanner and the Feldman Shepherd law firm represented the Glynn Estate in the wrongful death of Diane Glynn. During the discovery phase, Tanner learned that the driver of the car that killed Glynn was intoxicated and never charged. Seeking an explanation and charges against the driver, Tanner turned to Furia Rubel to garner media coverage that would bring to light this injustice and pressure the D.A.’s office to file charges. Our team secured coverage including Inside Edition, the Associated Press, local television and print news exposure in Philadelphia and Scranton, and more. Following the coverage, the motorist responsible for Glynn’s death was charged with vehicular homicide and eventually pled guilty. Total media coverage to date is valued in excess of $158,000 including more than 30 million media impressions.

“In this case, the media coverage helped bring justice to a situation where a drunken driver was never charged. We are honored to have had the opportunity to work with Mark Tanner and the Feldman Shepherd firm. We know the media coverage in this case made a distinct difference in the lives of the Glynn family,” said Gina Rubel.

“As result of the media coverage and hard work of the Feldman Shepherd and Furia Rubel teams, we were able to have the killer of a single mother of three prosecuted,” said Mark Tanner. “After years of anguish, justice was served on behalf of the Glynn Family.”

We are very excited to share this Furia Rubel win with you and to demonstrate the real power of strategic media and public relations.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

SEO Optimization How to Guide: Show Up Higher in Google Searches and Find Your Niche on the Internet

Posted by Katie Noonan

Search Engine Optimization is a commonly misunderstood, but extremely important, public relations and marketing tool in the Web 2.0 age. Here is just one of many possible tactics you can employ to boost your SEO organically.

When designing your Web site it is important to be as specific as possible. Determine how you want your business to be known to potential customers. Finding your industry niche is essential in a practical sense, but also terms of building a strong Web site that will show up on page one or two of Google searches that will actually result in business.

An easy way to determine how much your Web site is currently working for you is to track page visits. If visitors who view your page through search engine searches are spending a significant amount of time on your page –ideally more than five minutes, it means that your meta data and keywords are working for you. However, if the average visitor spends under five minutes on your site, chances are your keywords (that translate into Google search terms) aren’t describing your business or your Web site accurately enough.

When it comes to SEO, specificity and simplicity are key.


Because we work with so many law firms I will use a legal example.

A firm may identify the search term "Philadelphia law firm" as one they would want their Web site to rank fairly high on, but that search term garners 1,960,000 results. So, the likelihood of that page being buried in amongst the almost two million hits for that term is all but guaranteed. Unless the page is well-established, has a number of quality links and sites linking back, and more than likely, only if it has been professionally search engine optimized, will it land on the first few pages of this search.

But if the firm was to be more specific with their keywords and focus on a specific practice area for which the firm is known, like, “Philadelphia personal injury law firm” it would reduce the amount of search results to about 299,000. So just by specifying a kind of legal practice area, it will significantly reduce the number of pages that result, and thus increase the chances of appearing higher in the search. Basically, the fewer the pages, the higher the likelihood that a firm's site will appear on or close to page 1 or search results (granted that firm employs other SEO tactics as well).


But this raises the issue of simplicity. How often does the average person without a legal degree search “personal injury?” More than likely, they would search something more basic, like a type of personal injury i.e. “Philadelphia law firm” and "car accident." That result yields 263,000 hits. Granted it's only about 30,000 fewer results, but those types of keywords are ones that will really pay off in terms of driving traffic to your site, and more importantly, they will drive the right traffic to your site- people who are actually seeking the firm's specific services or legal practice areas. Not surprisingly, all the law firms who appear on page 1 of the search term above, are ones that have employed SEO tactics.

The lesson is, determining the specific offering for which you want your company to be known is essential to appearing higher in Google results, and simplicity, in terms of the keywords you use to define your site (especially in industries which are jargon heavy like the medical and legal industries) will drive valuable visitors to your page.

A PRLawyer tip: Use Google Keyword to determine the most relavant and highly searched keywords that relate to your Web site. If your site is content managed, add the most popular search terms to your Web site's meta data (if they make sense with your site's content).

Again, this is just one tip for boosting SEO, of the many out there. For those who find SEO confusing, there are tons of webinars and online courses that will provide you with the basics of SEO. It's a time investment at the outset, but worth it in terms of the potential business that can result.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Drexel University President Papadakis Dies at 63

We wanted to share the following news from Drexel University's Office of University Relations with our readers: Drexel University president Constantine Papadakis has died at the age of 63. This is a tremendous loss for the university and city of Philadelphia. Without his dedication and stewardship, Drexel University would not be the top-ranked, nationally known institution it is today. He will be missed by Drexel alumni, students and the community as a whole. Information on today's press conference can be found below. There will also be an on-campus vigil today at 11 AM.

Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.

PHILADELPHIA (April 6, 2009)- Drexel University president Constantine Papadakis died unexpectedly Sunday evening, Drexel Board of Trustees chairman Richard Greenawalt announced today. Papadakis, who was in remission from cancer, died from pulmonary complications. On April 2, the Drexel board announced that Papadakis had requested a medical leave of absence, and that President Emeritus C.R. "Chuck" Pennoni, a former Drexel trustee, chairman of the board and interim president, had been appointed interim president and CEO.

Papadakis, called "Taki" by friends, colleagues and loved ones, is survived by his wife of 39 years, Eliana, and daughter Maria, 23, a 2008 Drexel graduate.

Papadakis, who had served as president of Drexel since 1995, is known in the national academic community as an innovative leader who transformed a struggling institution into a comprehensive, top-ranked national research university.

During his tenure the University made the remarkable addition of both a medical college and a law school. The creation of the Drexel University College of Medicine as a successor to Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University saved 13,000 jobs and the education of 3,000 medical and nursing students and kept intact a key academic medical resource for Philadelphia. In addition to the medical college, the acquisition brought the College of Nursing and Health Professions and School of Public Health to Drexel. Just four years later, in 2006, Drexel became the first top-ranked doctoral university in the country to open a law school in more than 25 years.

Papadakis was the only Greek-born president of a university in the United States. He was born in Athens on February 2, 1946, to Nicholas Papadakis, a Greek physician, and Rita Masciotti Papadakis, a native of Italy. He graduated from the National Technical University of Athens with a degree in civil engineering before his arrival in the United States in 1969. He received a master's in civil engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a doctorate from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. For his achievements, commitment to higher education and involvement in charitable organizations, Papadakis received 153 awards and honors.

A church service will be held at noon on Tuesday, April 14, at St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church in Broomall, Pa. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the "Constantine Papadakis Fund at Drexel University," Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104.

EDITORS NOTE: Richard Greenawalt, chairman of the Board of Trustees and University officials will address news media at 10:30 a.m. at 3141 Chestnut Street.B-roll: can be messengered upon request

News Media Contact: Philip Terranova, Vice President, Office of University Relations,Drexel University, 215-895-2613 or

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Arianna Huffington at Philadelphia Bar Quarterly

I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, today at the Philadelphia Bar Association Quarterly meeting. Arianna served as the keynote speaker. I found her to be witty, energetic, and thought-provoking. In reference to the economic crisis – she referred to an analogy that made more sense than anything I’ve heard to date. Referring to Wall Street leadership, she said, “If a school bus driver was driving a bus blindfolded and totaled the bus – you wouldn’t give him another one.” Certainly makes you think.

Sayde Ladov, Chancellor of the Bar Association opened the program and recognized the Immediate Past Chancellor, Michael A. Pratt, for his leadership of the Association in 2008 and his diversity initiatives. Sayde also announced that the Law Practice Management Division, an initiative of former Chancellor, Alan Feldman, has received a national award for its work.

Mayor Michael Nutter also spoke about the City’s deficit. But that’s not what the Philadelphia media wanted to talk with him about. Reporters from Fox29, NBC10 and the Inquirer were all on hand to get a statement about the city’s demand for the $8 million raked in by the Eagles Skybox at Veterans Stadium from the 2000 and 2001 seasons. What’s being reported by NBC10 is that our beloved “Eagles won’t pay up, claiming the city is at fault for their losing $8 million when the 2001 pre-season game was canceled due to turf problems.” Another public relations headache for the City and our Eagles.

Fortunately, Arianna was not put in the middle of Mayor Nutter and Jeffrey Lurie – but if she had been asked to comment, I’m sure her charm would have shown through.

A nationally syndicated columnist and author of twelve books, Arianna Huffington is also co-host of “Left, Right & Center,” public radio’s popular political roundtable program. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that has quickly become one of the most widely-read, linked to, and frequently-cited media brands on the Internet. In fact, in 2006, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine's list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union.

Philadelphia-Area CLE Event on PR for Lawyers - April 30

If you are looking for continuing legal education events in the Philadelphia region, Gina F. Rubel, Esq., will be speaking at a legal education networking breakfast on public relations for lawyers on Thursday, April 30.

Gina will join Team Capital Bank in presenting a CLE program titled, “Everyday Public Relations for Lawyers: Ethics in Communications and the Internet,” at Villa Barolo Ristorante in Warrington, Pa., beginning at 7:45AM.

The program will provide event attendees and area attorneys with information to employ and ensure that their everyday public relations strategies and tactics stay within the ethical boundaries defined by the Pennsylvania Code of Ethics. More specifically, Gina will address how to employ public relations tactics that work including media relations and social media engagement; how to use the Internet to communicate with prospects and clients using Web sites, blogs, social media and more; when to niche your law practice and how; and knowing what to say, when and how to say it for business development.

In cooperation with the Bucks County Bar Association one CLE credit is available to qualified attendees at a cost of $30 for Bucks County Bar Association members and $45 for non-members. Feel free to RSVP Rebecca Atkins at 267-327-4507 or before April 15, 2009.