Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It Takes a Man: Honoring Judge Mirarchi

“It takes a man with the utmost self confidence to focus on other people besides himself. It takes a man who truly knows himself who can be completely genuine and unpretentious with everyone, whether they are a judge, a file clerk, or anyone in between. And it takes a man of great character who will let other people shine. Judge Mirarchi, is that man.” - Annette Ferrara, former law clerk to The Honorable Charles P. Mirarchi

One of the things I love about being an Italian-American and a member of the legal community is the honor to serve The Justinian Society as Chancellor. The Justinian Society is an organization of Italian-American lawyers, judges and law students that was founded in 1935 in Philadelphia. On September 21, 2009, I had the honor to participate in a portrait unveiling for the Honorable Charles P. Mirarchi – who is not only a trailblazer in the legal and judicial communities – but who was a family friend long before I was born.

Dan Cirucci did a great job reporting on the evening in his blog. And Annette Ferrara summed it up in her words just perfectly – yes – it takes a man of great character. And I add: it takes a man of great principle to always lead by example, to provide selfless counsel, and to be loved by most everyone he has ever come in contact with. Thank you, Judge Mirarchi, for always being that man.

Here are some photos from our official photographer, Mike Mountain.

The State of Today’s News Stories

Posted by Leah Rice

Jack Loechner of the Center for Media Research recently wrote an interesting brief titled, Just The Facts, But Get 'em Right, featuring Pew Research Center surveys on the accuracy of news stories and the media. According to the surveys, the public's assessment of the accuracy of news stories is now at its lowest level in more than two decades.

Loechner and the surveys reported that just 29% of Americans say that news organizations get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate. Back in 1985 this survey data was collected and 55% of those surveyed said news stories were accurate while 34% said they were inaccurate.

As usual, the poll that Loechner reported on found that television remains the dominant news source for the public, with 71% of those surveyed say they get most of their national and international news from television. More than four out of ten say they get most of their news on these subjects from the internet, compared with 33% who cite newspapers.

Surprisingly, four out of ten people get their local news fix from newspapers despite declines in newspaper readership during the last few years – which is more than twice the number that go to the internet for local news.

After working in the PR field for close to four years, I have my own opinions about the accuracy of reporting and the media – both good and bad. But outside of that, I find it so interesting to see how the everyday person, who uses these outlets as their main source for daily information, views these media outlet and their credibility. To read Loechner’s full recap on the state of today’s media and news stories, click here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gina Rubel Tapped for PR Career Tips in Culpwrit Blog

Ron Culp, Partner and Managing Director of Ketchum and head of the PR agency’s Corporate Practice in North America, recently interviewed Gina Rubel and tapped some of her legal PR expertise for his PR career-focused blog, Culpwrit. To read more about Gina's career and resume tips, reading habits and her thoughts on the importance of a first job, click here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Philadelphia CLE Event News - Second Women in the Profession Summit

If you are looking for CLE credits and are in the Philadelphia area tomorrow, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) and the Women in the Profession Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association will be hosting the Second Women in the Profession Summit, "Women in the Profession: Then, Now and Where Do We Go from Here?" The event will take place at the PBI CLE Conference Center on the 10th Floor of the Wanamaker Building in Philadelphia.

Registration for the event will begin at 11:30AM and lunch will be served shortly after. Chancellor Ladov and Summit Planner, Kimberly Ruch-Alegant, Esq., will welcome guests and the keynote address will be delivered by JoAnne A. Epps, Esq., Dean of Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law. An impressive list of faculty from the Philadelphia-area will address the following topics: Removing Gender Bias from Attorney Evaluations; Hot Topics for Women; and A Woman's Voice on the Bench. This event will offer participants four total CLE credits (2 SUB and 2 Ethics) and a cocktail reception will follow at 5PM. To learn more, visit www.pbi.org or call 800-932-4637.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Philadelphia's Own ALI-ABA Continuing Professional Education Hosts Groundbreaking Legal Industry Event - Oct. 15-17

Posted by Leah Rice

Here is some news on a groundbreaking continuing legal education event hosted by Philadelphia's own ALI-ABA Continuing Professional Education and the Association for Continuing Legal Education. The two organizations have teamed up to host a high-level summit on lawyer education and development in the 21st century. The summit will be held October 15-17, 2009, at the Fairmont Scottsdale in Arizona.

The invitational conference, "Equipping Our Lawyers: Law School Education, Continuing Legal Education, and Legal Practice in the 21st Century," will call together selected continuing legal education (CLE) professionals, practitioners, bar leaders, judges, law school professors and representatives, mandatory CLE administrators, law firm educators, and other experts on lawyer professional education and development. Over the course of two-and-a-half days, these 150 thought leaders will debate and discuss critical issues facing law schools, continuing legal education providers, and the legal profession in equipping today's lawyers for practice, and will develop specific goals and recommendations for improvement and change.

The summit will open on October 15 with two panels of experts discussing “The Future of the Legal Profession” and “The Role of Technology in Legal Training and Practice.” These panels will also be webcast live. The core of the conference will be six participatory breakout sessions, featuring in-depth discussions of trends, best practices, and goals for law school education, bar admissions, CLE, mandatory CLE, in-house professional development, and generational issues. Recommendations emerging from these sessions will be debated by the conferees as a whole, who will craft consensus recommendations for modernizing and improving lawyer education and professional development to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

A detailed agenda for the summit can be found at http://www.equippingourlawyers.org/.

Media who wish to cover the full conference live on-site or the two plenary sessions on October 15 via live webcast can download a Media Credential package online at http://www.equippingourlawyers.org/.

The summit’s planning committee includes honorary co-chairs JoAnne A. Epps, Dean, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law, and Thomas Z. Hayward, Jr., Of Counsel, K&L Gates LLP; executive chair Patrick A. Nester, Director, TexasBarCLE; and reporter and secretary Charles C. Bingaman, Charles C. Bingaman Consulting.

The summit would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors. Platinum sponsors include the ABA Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education/ABA-CLE, American Law Institute, Association for Continuing Legal Education, LexisNexis, and West LegalEdcenter. Gold sponsors include Continuing Education of the Bar – California, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., NALP-The Association for Legal Career Professionals™, National Business Institute, Inc., Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Practising Law Institute, and State Bar of Texas. For a complete list of sponsors, go to http://www.equippingourlawyers.org/.

About ALI-ABA: Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and founded more than 60 years ago as a joint undertaking of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association, ALI-ABA provides post-admission education for the legal profession. ALI-ABA is dedicated to keeping the legal community abreast of current developments and providing practitioners with the resources necessary to enhance their practice. ALI-ABA offers a national curriculum of continuing legal education featuring traditional substantive CLE courses, litigation and transactional skills programs, distance learning courses, published books and periodicals, online materials, customized solutions for institutions, and in-house services for lawyers at every stage of their careers. Visit the ALI-ABA website at http://www.ali-aba.org/.

About ACLEA: ACLEA, the Association for Continuing Legal Education, is a dynamic organization devoted to improving the performance of CLE professionals. Established in 1964, ACLEA is an international association. Members are primarily from the United States and Canada, but also hail from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and Mexico. Administrators, trainers, managers, educators, publishers, programmers and meeting professionals are all members of ACLEA. This diversity in background and outlook makes ACLEA the best source for information on CLE today. Visit the ACLEA website at http://www.aclea.org/.

Why Not to Use Terms of Endearment in Business

I’ve often heard women complain about the use of “terms of endearment” in business, educational and social settings. In fact, just yesterday, a more senior colleague called me “kiddo” at an event where I addressed state Supreme Court justices, heads of courts, US attorneys, colleagues and friends. Suffice it to say that I’ve know this colleague (or he me) all of my life. However, there is something quite unbecoming about being called kiddo in public.

I interviewed several women who had this to say about terms of endearment – they are: condescending, frustrating, obnoxious, patronizing, and uncomfortable.

Although, some do not take offense, they do agree that the tone with which the monikers are delivered makes all the difference.

So today, I have prepared a list of lovely terms of endearment that should be kept in the arsenal and used at more socially appropriate times than at work, at school, at business functions, in social media, etc.

Top Five Words Not To Use to Address Women in Business

-Kiddo or Kid
-Hon or Honey
-Sweetie or Sweetheart

Even though these terms of endearment are usually not meant to be harmful or degrading, they have the opposite affect on many women and should be avoided.

Attorneys say companies can monitor employee use of sites, but they may face repercussions - Phoenix Business Journal:

Great article from the Phoenix Business Journal: Attorneys say companies can monitor employee use of sites, but they may face repercussions. Mike Sunnucks says:

"Social networking sites have opened a whole new world of communications for employees and their employers, but they’ve also created unchartered territory for many companies looking to monitor and restrict what’s said about them online."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Egregious Lawyer Misuses of Social Media - Legal Intelligencer Blog

As a regular guest blogger for The Legal Intelligencer Blog, I often explore issues regarding social media and attorneys. In my latest blog titled Egregious Lawyer Misuses of Social Media, I share John Schwartz's article in The New York Times : Legal Battle: Online Attitude vs. Rules of the Bar along with several of my own tips regarding social media. I encourage you to read both articles. Schwartz shares some great stories about ridiculous uses of social media by attorneys that have landed them in hot water while I remind readers of a few tips they should employ to safeguard their communications.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lawyers in Public Relations

Post Written by Amanda Walsh

There was an interesting Q&A posted on the culpwrit blog by Ron Culp, Partner and Managing Director of Ketchum. Ron serves as the head of the agency’s corporate practice in North America. His culpwrit blog serves as a public relations career guide for those looking to break into the industry. Interestingly, he shared some points that I’ve overheard Gina Rubel preach in our office over and over again.

In fact, Gina Rubel, who is the CEO of Furia Rubel Communications and the founder of The PR Lawyer blog, successfully combines being a lawyer with running a public relations agency. One of her favorite things to say is, “Public relations and marketing are no different than practicing law. You’re addressing issues, determining what you want to accomplish, targeting your audience, and sharing your message in order to effectuate a particular and measurable result. The only differences are how and where you do business.”

With the change in economy and current slow-down in the hiring of lawyers, Gina sees a lot of opportunity for communications-trained attorneys to get into the fray. She receives calls and emails regularly from people wanting to make that transition.

Gina also agrees with many of the points Culp makes in Shifting Gears from Law Career to PR. Here are some things to consider:
  • Think about what drew you to law school. Why did you pursue a legal career in the first place?
  • Consider compensation. Although a PR/marketing career can provide its own set of rewards and achievements, there is a difference in the compensation of the two fields.
  • Think about other aspects of the transition - your lifestyle, skills, goals, and the type of work you enjoy.
  • If you are looking to make the career change, prepare to start out in an entry level position. Culp warns that success in public relations is largely due to amount of experience you have.
When I asked Gina what she loves most about having combined her J.D. with her bachelor’s degree in corporate communications, she said, “I love being a lawyer and working with lawyers and I love the proactive nature of public relations and marketing. When the two are combined, I am energized, creative and strategic – much like a trial lawyer delivering closing remarks.” Gina says, “What’s most important is that you do what you love and love what you do – regardless of you’re industry. That’s what defines success.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Furia Rubel E-Newsletter to Launch

Furia Rubel is pleased to announce the launch of our new PR e-newsletter. We plan to share exciting agency, industry and client news, upcoming events that may be of interest to our readers and a whole lot more on the public relations scene.

If you would like to be added to the distribution list for the electronic newsletter, go to http://www.furiarubel.com/contact.php. Please include your name, e-mail address and in the inquiry line, write: subscribe to e-newsletter.

(Image by Pat Achilles and trademarked by Furia Rubel).

Twitter - New Terms of Service

I recieved an email from Twittter's Biz Stone (Co-founder) this morning regarding their new Terms of Service. It said, "As Twitter has evolved, we've gained a better understanding of how folks use the service. As a result, we've updated the Terms and we're notifying account holders."

They have posted a brief overview on the Twitter blog.

Overview: http://blog.twitter.com
Terms: http://www.twitter.com/tos
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com

They are seeking comments which can be posted using the"feedback" link on the Terms of Service page. Let us know what you think.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tapping into Brands College Students Trust Most

Posted by Amanda Walsh

Want to know what brands college students trust the most? I came across this article on Media Daily News by Erik Sass that references the 2009 Alloy Media + Marketing's College Explorer survey.

The survey gives a snapshot into the college-age demographic’s most trusted brands. During the month of April, 1,521 college students were polled by Harris Interactive.

According to the survey, Johnson & Johnson, Apple and Sony are among the ‘trusted’ brands. However, when students were asked about brands they associated with ‘happy’ the only brand that came up again was Apple. So I gather a ‘trusted’ brand may not necessarily be thought of as a ‘happy’ brand? I’m not even sure what it means to be a ‘happy’ brand but I’m assuming that was the point of these questions – for students to form their own opinions and rate brands accordingly.

Sass reports the study findings, “Following Apple on the list of "happy" brand associations were -- in order -- McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Target, Wrigley and Sony (tied), Walmart, Dove and Hershey. On the "trusted" list, Apple was followed by Colgate, Microsoft and Coca-Cola (tied), Toyota, Nike and Bank of America (tied), and Target and Dell (tied).”

In my opinion, Apple does a great job of advertising and marketing. I think many of us can still remember the fun Ipod commercials featuring the black silhouette people grooving to their jams. It’s also interesting to note that Bank of America is on the ‘trusted’ brands list despite the economic times we are facing. The brands chosen are diverse but seem to make sense considering the demographic group.

Other survey questions focused on spending decisions in an attempt to pinpoint changes brought on by the economy. Interestingly enough, “the group's discretionary spending power has actually increased, jumping 37% from four years ago, and 5% from last year to $56 billion.” But only 35% had optimistic outlooks on the economy improving during the next year.

I wrote this blog to give a different insight on my own age demographic group. I thought this survey revealed some interesting facts about corporate brands and served as an interesting follow up to my recent blog post about corporate reputations and brand management.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Handling a Crisis and Coming Out on Top

Posted by Amanda Walsh

There is a great article by Jackie Kolek featured in the Public Relations Society of America’s publication, The Public Relations Strategist. The summer 2009 issue of the publication focuses on different types of crises and explores various industry case studies.

Kolek is the senior director at Peppercom and the head of Peppercom’s digital offering, PeppercomDigital. The article titled, "Managing a Crisis - and Becoming a Stronger Organization" provides some great tips.

Kolek notes that with the downturn in the global economy many organizations’ reputations have suffered. She helps to outline some important guidelines for corporate image improvement. She pulls some facts from the Reputation Institute’s Global Reputation Pulse Study released in May such as, “from 2008 to 2009, 75 percent of companies saw their reputations holding relatively steady, with changes of only plus or minus Reputation Pulse points.” This may indicate that many negative news reports were company specific and other large corporations may not have been effected as deeply as many financial institutions.

-“Run to the Crisis” When many companies were cutting staff toward the end of 2008 one company, Tesla Motors, decided to put layoff news out through the CEO, Elon Musk’s blog. The blog was a venue for honest, direct communication and allowed a specific message to be conveyed. Through the blog posts the company was hoping to cut back on false information and rumors both internally and from the media. The result was balanced news coverage and many comments were posted on the blog offering thanks for the honesty during hard times.

- “Be Transparent and AuthenticKolek uses the sport of cycling as an example. The sport has been under fire with numerous news stories about cyclists and their steroid use. One American cyclist, Jonathan Vaughters, along with Team Garmin – Slipstream came up with an idea to combat this negative reputation. In 2008, a reporter from Outside Magazine was invited to travel with the team members. A positive feature story came from the experience, changing critics’ opinions about the sport.

-“Ingrain Change into the CultureTyco International was a company in dire need of reputation management. After an accounting scandal in 2002, new company CEO, Ed Breen was determined to rescue the company. Restoring confidence back into the company was first on Breen’s To Do list. He made big changes in the accounting department by reviewing existing practices and implementing new guidelines. A new culture of responsible decision-making was created. Breen made it a point to communicate core values to all employees of every level. Just three years later, Breen was named one of Businessweek’s Best Managers of the Year!

- “Build a Strong Reputation” Some of the tips listed above will help lead you to the final result- a strong reputation. A solid foundation comes in handy if a crisis occurs.

There is a proven correlation between a strong reputation and word-of-mouth recommendations according to The Reputation Institute Global Reputation Pulse Study. The Study’s findings state that “54 percent of consumers would give the most reputable U.S. companies the benefit of the doubt in a time of crisis.” This statistic is encouraging news, especially in these economic times.

In conclusion, not only did I enjoy reading this article, but the entire PRSA publication on Crisis Communications was very interesting and thought-provoking. I wanted to pass along some of these helpful facts and tips to our readers as we are all working to make progress and enhance our businesses.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Skype - Valuable, Up and Coming Business Tool

Posted by Amanda Walsh

As I prepare for my second year of ESL teaching in Madrid, I recently downloaded the Internet-calling software, Skype. Skype is a free program that can be used to chat, make phone or video calls via your computer with anyone around the world. I have heard of Skype through travel friends who have used it as a fast, free way to keep in touch with friends and family across the world.

I’m just starting to get used to the program and appreciate all of the features it offers. Anyone who is familiar with AOL Instant Messenger or MSN Messenger will find Skype’s ‘buddy list’ feature easy to navigate. You can search for contacts by first name, last name and/or country. You can then add them to your ‘buddy list’ and see when they are online and available to chat or take a call. Skype to Skype calling and chatting is free and for additional small fees other features can be accessed.

It just dawned on me the endless possibilities that Skype can provide any business, especially one with international ties. Even within a country, Skype’s ‘video calling’ feature can be a free tool for business partners to access in order to host conference calls. On Skype.com there are case studies of businesses that have found video calling useful. For example, instead of lengthy e-mail correspondence back and forth, a client can see the finished product on a free or low-cost video call!

Some neat, new features I also discovered include a business directory, text messaging feature, call forwarding and a Skype number feature which allows contacts to call from their phones to your computer no matter where in the world you are.

Does your business have international clients? Have you used Skype or other services to hold conference calls or video chats? I’m interested in hearing from readers who have found new and different ways to keep in contact when long distance is a factor.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

No Need to Measure Social Media ROI

Here’s a question that all PR practitioners and their clients are asking and no one has yet to find the solution – how do you measure social media return on investment?

Nick O’Neill of Social Times recently wrote an article titled, “How to Measure Your Social Media ROI: Don’t.” In the article, he tackles the topic and gives his feedback on why PR practitioners and their clients shouldn’t force the issue of measuring social media ROI. He highlights the following three points.

 Traditional Digital Marketing is Measurable – O’Neill said, “If you want to start selling something, turning to social media is not the first channel to turn to.” In his article, O’Neill acknowledged that, “large companies have no option but to embrace social media to engage their audience.” One of his suggestions to drive people to a particular social media site is to launch a Facebook advertising campaign (ultimately the ROI for this type of campaign would be measured by using traditional conversion metrics even though the communications model is different). When all is said and done, all traditional digital marketing models have standard metrics.

 The Value of Social Media is Priceless – “With social media, the model is completely skewed. Can you say that a $500 investment will result in 1,000 visitors to your site? Also what percentage of those will convert in comparison to traditional sources? It’s difficult to track that information and while it is possible, the complete value of social media cannot be measured,” said O’Neill.

As a PR practitioner, demonstrating the value of social media is always a challenge, especially if you are proposing the integrated communications tactic to individuals without social media know-how. As O’Neill said in his article, “The value however is not tangible and just like any other intangible asset; social media strategy can not be given an assessed value.”

 Make a Minimal Investment and Determine the Results – “The reality is that social media marketing is not expensive,” said O’Neill. “Even if you are a small business and don’t have a large budget to invest in social media, making a minor investment is well worth it.”

I completely agree with O’Neill – you will never know if social media can work for you and your company if you don’t give it a try. Starting small and dipping your toes in the waters of the social media sphere is the perfect way to take your first step in understanding how to harness social media and put it to work for you. And like O’Neill said, “The result is a community of brand advocates and a more effective way to reach those that are being critical of your company.” Like utilizing public relations services, social media engagement is an investment in your company’s long-term growth.