Monday, November 25, 2013

Remembering Judge Anthony J. DeFino, a Great Philadelphia Jurist

Gina Furia Rubel & The Honorable Anthony J. DeFino, Beccaria Award 2008
The passing of The Honorable Anthony J. DeFino last night is a terrible tragedy.  The news reported that the Judge’s home on the 2500 block of 20th Street in South Philadelphia caught fire. The Judge did not make it out alive.

Today, the Philadelphia legal community mourns along with his wife Rose, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. My heart and prayers go out to all of them.

Judge DeFino was known to so many people in so many different ways. He was a devoted family man and a zealous jurist. He was a community man and a proud Italian-American.

He was the founder of the Order of Brotherly Love, a past president of the Frank Palumbo Lodge of the Order Sons of Italy in America, and he was an Ex Officio member of the Board of Governors of The Justinian Society of Philadelphia.

I never tried a case in front of his honor, but I did have the pleasure to serve with him on the board of The Justinian Society. Every meeting was brighter and lighter when he was in the room. His smile was contagious.

One fond memory is from 2008. I was the Justinian Chancellor and we honored Judge DeFino with the Cesare Beccaria Award, the highest award given by the Justinian Society in partnership with the Criminal Justice Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

The Beccaria Award is given to an individual who promotes the cause of justice and the advancement of legal education, and who exemplifies the ideals of Cesare Beccaria, an Italian scholar whose writings would help lay the foundation for the modern legal system.

On that day, I quoted the late Honorable Lisa A. Richette, who said, “…it is clear that a voice like Beccaria’s is divinely inspired, and in turn, throughout the centuries, continues to uplift us to a vision of justice luminous with both humanity and discipline. Beccaria’s vision is a lasting memorial to the potential majesty of the law and to the beauty of the human spirit.”

And it was in the spirit of justice that we presented the Beccaria Award to our friend and longtime member, Judge Anthony DeFino, a man with a distinguished career in the field of criminal law.

La morte non ci porta via completamente la persona amata, rimane sempre il suo ricordo che ci incita a continuare. Coraggio. (Death doesn't take away completely a loved person whose memory lasts and induce us to go on with courage.)

May God rest his soul.

Photo credit: Mike Mountain.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Great Career Webpage = Great Talent

By Kim Tarasiewicz

Do you really want to hire the best talent for your company? Is your website HR friendly? Does your company career page invite applicants or turn them away?

For many companies, updating the career opportunities page isn’t high on the priority list, but it should be. While it’s true that there is currently a high number of people looking for employment, the number of top candidates looking for jobs has essentially remained the same. Investing time in improving your career webpage will help you attract great applicants rather than random resumes that don’t qualify.

Here are a few ideas to improve a career webpage:
  • Reflect the company’s personality. First impressions mean a lot – on both sides of the hiring fence so share your vision and history, but also why it’s a great place to work. By the time the prospect comes in for an interview, they will already love your company.

  • Make it easy to use. It sounds obvious but too many clicks to find the job posting could make the candidate loose interest. Be sure to have a link to the career page clearly visible on each Web page when possible and on the home page at the very least. Allow people to send resumes even if no positions are available; it will keep your talent pool current for those unexpected openings.

  • Use technology. In today’s digital world, 70 percent of job seekers use smartphones to search for positions, so be sure to have a mobile version of your website for them to access. Adding industry keywords to the career page also can improve search engine optimization for your company’s website, helping it land on the first page of search results.

  • Build social media links. Icons on the career page for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn help increase networking and sharing of your job openings on social media platforms and provide free recruiting for the position. This is a powerful way to increase your company’s brand awareness and attract potential candidates.

  • Change it up. Look at most companies’ career pages and they all look the same. Adding something different to the page can keep people viewing it longer. An FAQ section, videos or the latest company blog will also create a positive experience for users.

  • Keep it current. There is nothing worse than finding the perfect job listing only to find out it’s six months old. Keeping old postings on your website will make your company look dated and leave a bad impression for job seekers.

Many companies still are conservative on hiring, so why waste time with an influx of resumes from applicants that don’t fit or are just going through the motions of sending out resumes with no real interest in your company? By using these tips, you can begin to cull the list of applicants before they even reach your inbox. Elevate your company’s image by finding the right talent the first time around and increase brand awareness at the same time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Do Google AdWords Work for Law Firm Marketing?

By Gina Rubel

We were asked recently about the efficacy of Google AdWords campaigns in marketing law firms, specifically to other businesses.

AdWords is Google’s paid advertising platform which can help drive traffic to your website. It takes advantage of Google searches, which people perform each day, and serves up advertisements for related products on the top and right hand side of the search results pages. It is called Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, a name which speaks for itself.

Running an AdWords campaign may or may not work for your law firm marketing efforts. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. This form of paid advertising has both advantages and disadvantages; it’s more complicated than just telling Google that you want an ad to appear, since more than 1 billion searches are conducted on the site daily.

It is also important to understand that there are various types of AdWords campaigns. For example, a “Search Network – Standard” targets your ads to high-potential customers searching for your services but does not allow for use of AdWords’ advance settings. More specific details about the features available for each campaign type are available on Google’s AdWords > Help > Setup and basics page.

Advantages of Google AdWords for Law Firm Marketing:
  • AdWords ads give visibility to businesses whose sites are buried behind other companies’ pages on Google search results. This provides businesses with the opportunity to attract new customers.
  • As with most Google products, AdWords is user-friendly and offers step-by-step instructions to create an advertisement with options tailored to your needs.

  • The quick set up process and ability to set a maximum budget can be financially beneficial if the marketing budget is tight and the business does not have enough content (yet!) to appear on the first page of Google search results without paid help.
  • Your advertisement has the potential to appear on thousands of other sites across the web, depending on how you set up visibility options. Remember that this may increase the expense of ads, but knowing your audience and anticipating how they conduct their web searches will allow a higher return on your investment.
  • In a short amount of time, AdWords will help you identify the keyword phrases that are most effective for your firm, which can then be used in your organic search engine optimization efforts. No other keyword research tool compares with the data you will get from running an AdWords campaign.

Disadvantages of Google AdWords for Law Firm Marketing:
  • Not all clicks are good clicks, so there is a chance of wasting money. For example, if you are a personal injury lawyer, a broad keyword search can rack up a hefty cost-per-click bill in a short amount of time.
  • There are no competitors to Google AdWords; therefore, there is no other company with which to compare data. Google has a monopoly on this one.
  • You have 70 characters to sell your business. This line would be it.
  • Since AdWords is a money maker for Google, the company is interested in resolving issues. Still, Google is an enormous company, and customer support may be spotty; you may have to “google” for help instead of calling someone directly.

AdWords for Law Firms Considerations

Ask yourself what type of return you want to get from your investment. Determine how much money you would need to invest in AdWords to accomplish that return. Tailor your AdWords campaign to reach a very specific target audience (assuming that target audience is finding legal services through advertising and the web).

As far as its efficacy for B2B marketing, it depends on the purchaser of your services. For example, if your law firm handles government contracting, the likelihood of AdWords being advantageous to your business development efforts may be very slim. On the other hand, if you are a person injury, workers’ compensation, family law or criminal defense law firm, AdWords may prove valuable.

In any event, it may be more advantageous to launch an organic search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. Leveraging your law firm news, press releases and blog posts; creating content-rich videos that appeal to your target audience; engaging in media relations; building relationships; sharing valuable content via social media networks such as LinkedIn; and presenting online CLEs are just a few tactics we execute for our clients to boost their visibility in online search.

Remember, it is the organic, well-placed, relevant content that will remain on the Internet long after an AdWords campaign has ended.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Res Ipsa Loquitur: Showing Instead of Telling

By Sarah Larson

Twitter threw its 200-million-plus users for a loop at the end of October when it suddenly began embedding photos and videos directly into those users' personalized feeds.

The famously terse social media channel had remained resolutely photo-free since its launch in 2006. Users could upload a profile picture, but if they wanted to share photographs, they had to do so through links.

But as Twitter evolved, so too did its audience's expectations, growing amidst increasing pressure from the meteoric rise in popularity of visual powerhouses Pinterest and Instagram.

One of today's leading social media services, Twitter first gave voice to millions of over-sharing narcissists who then turned their streams into their own personal newswire services. From there, Twitter quickly developed into the Internet's de facto breaking news service, and now is the primary source of news for a whopping 8 percent of U.S. adults.

Not bad for a 7-year-old.

Twitter, though, soon found itself in much the same position as a storied news icon - The New York Times. Though the nation's paper of record printed its first photograph in 1896, The Gray Lady stubbornly held out for decades against the everyday use of color photography. It wasn't until 1997 that the first color photo appeared on the front page of the Times.

The Times, and Twitter, both yielded to a principle that science has shown to be true; the human brain processes visual information faster and stores it deeper and longer than it does textual information.

Twitter touted its new "rich tweets" as a way to bring one's followers "closer to what's happening," but it's difficult to escape the implicit concession from the Model T of microblogs: textual content no longer can be relied upon to hold an audience's interest, even when that text has been whittled down to bursts of no more than 140 characters.

So if we know a picture really is worth a thousand words, what does that mean for those of us who market professional service firms? Great photos on Pinterest might help Nordstrom sell more clothes and crowdsourcing campaigns on Instagram might be right for Red Bull but how does that apply to my law firm?

Creative and effective use of visuals is just as important for professional services organizations as it is for retailers. Engaging visuals can do everything from create a mood to evoke a positive connection to present industry-specific data in an engaging manner.

Not sure where to start? Here are 5 easy ways to start showing, not telling.

1. Send a photo with every press release. 

Were your attorneys named to a "Best Lawyers" list? Be sure to send a photo of the attorney when you issue the press release. Did your office get voted a best place to work? Gather everyone near the (branded) sign and snap a group photo, like Citrin Cooperman's Philadelphia office did here after being named among the Top 100 Places to Work.

2. Hire a professional photographer for events. 

Is your firm sponsoring a charity event, or hosting a grand opening, or having an open house to celebrate an anniversary? Hire a pro to document the occasion. The cost will pay off in the long run when you have professional quality images to share in all of the marketing tactics you surely are implementing to capitalize on the event. When the Hepatitis B Foundation renamed its research institute in honor of Baruch Blumberg, the man who discovered the hepatitis b virus and developed the test and vaccine to combat it, foundation leaders turned to Allure West Studios to commemorate the event. Its future marketing campaigns now have access to photos like this one, of Blumberg's son-in-law Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times Co., with the medical bag Blumberg used on his research trips - a bag that helped save millions of lives.

3. Illustrate blog posts.

Many law firms these days have discovered that writing relevant articles about facets of their particular legal niche for a blog page can help them develop into thought leaders in their fields. The writing is just part of the campaign, though. People will spend more time on your page - and in fact are more likely to be drawn in to read it in the first place - if a relevant photo or other illustration accompanies the words. But don't just rush to Google images and take something from there. Be mindful of intellectual property when choosing photographs. You'll be on safer legal ground if you invest in a stock photo or two rather than hope no one notices you stole a photo from a newspaper or other blog.

4. Embrace video.

More than 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute of every day. Its 1 billion - with a B - users turn to it for everything from learning how to unclog a sink to checking out the newest preview for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The next time your accountants are speaking at a conference or your attorneys are presenting a CLE, arrange for video recording, like the Philadelphia personal injury firm of Feldman Shepherd did when two of its attorneys demonstrated how a house fire that killed two young boys started in a dryer, leading to a products liability lawsuit.

5. Invest in infographics.

The rise in popularity of infographics is no accident. A good infographic takes a jumble of data and reorganizes and presents it in a visually pleasing manner. People who wouldn't invest the time to read paragraphs of information will scan an infographic simply because it entices them to look. Take this example on private attorneys vs. public defenders from Criminal Justice Degree Schools.

As marketing and public relations continues to shift towards visual communications, it becomes even more vital for professional service firms and their marketers to adapt and evolve, too. Thinking visually while executing your next marketing tactic will improve the return on the investment in your marketing efforts, leading to more referrals and business leads and, in the end, increased business development and revenue.