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What's Hot and What's Not In the Profession
Marketing | 2008/04/02 07:47
pPractice Areas/ppHot
Intellectual Property. Not only patents but also copyrights, owing to Internet issues. Proposed legislation may provide copyright protection against knockoffs of high-fashion designs, too, because the devil does not always wear Prada. Also the PTO has adopted new rules.

Immigration. So hot that a few firms are separating it from labor and employment.
Labor and Employment. More complex than ever, not just owing to immigration, but also because of new EEOC rulings, continuing discrimination claims and possible new organization drives by unions.

Corporate Investigations. Fastest growing area of white-collar crime.
Complex Litigation. But see “Getting Hot—Mediation.”

Global Warming. California firms were the first to form this environmental subgroup that includes regulatory and insurance issues. Now Greenberg Traurig (which has offices and alliances around the world) has done so.

Domestic Relations/Family Law. Determination of parentage is now a hot issue in fertility law as the result of in vitro fertilization and embryo storage.

Pro Bono. Not only as a payback to the community, but also as a recruiting attraction and a professional development strategy to provide courtroom experience for associates.

Estate Planning and Administration. Particularly the latter, now that the baby boomers are starting to retire.

Elder Law. As part of the estates practice, mostly in smaller firms.

Animal Law. A niche that was heating up before the Michael Vick case and the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act was signed last May. There are anticruelty laws in 43 states.


Getting Hot
Mediation. As well as other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Libel. Suits against bloggers and message board postings are still increasing.

Foreclosures. Small firms overcome the low rates with staff-to-lawyer ratios as high as 10:1.

Art Theft and Fraud. A small but growing number of lawyers in the U.S. and Europe are focusing on the recovery of stolen art and historical pieces.

Bankruptcy. The cycle is swinging back. May be hot again by spring.

Insurance Coverage. Owing to global warming. Area was cool a year ago.

Post-arbitration Litigation. Some experts are seeing an increase.


Cooling Off
Structured Finance/Securitization. Largely owing to subprime mortgages. But a few firms, including Patterson Belknap, have started subprime counseling practices to help clients deal with problem loans.

Mergers and Acquisitions. Deals are being cancelled or at least deferred.

Cold
Medical Malpractice. Filings continue to decline owing to tort reform in many states, while the percentage of verdicts in favor of health-care professionals has increased in some parts of the country. As a result, insurance defense practices are shrinking and some firms have dissolved.

Workers’ Compensation. Here, too, the number of cases being filed continues to decline.
Geographic Market

Phoenix. Firms from the Upper Midwest and more recently the East continue to expand with offices here because it is the logical market in the booming Southwest. Ballard Spahr Andrews amp; Ingersoll is the latest.

China. Still hot despite a shortage of legal talent and regulations that limit the work foreign lawyers may do. McDermott Will amp; Emery may have found a way around these hurdles by the strategic alliance it entered into a year ago with Yuan Da Law Offices of Shanghai—reported to be the first formal arrangement between a Western and a mainland China firm.

United Arab Emirates. Dubai is white hot. Patton Boggs and Gibson, Dunn amp; Crutcher are opening offices there, following other firms that opened there in the past few years.
Spain. Has continued to be strong for U.S. firms.

Marketing and Business Development CRM. As we reported a year ago, firms continue to struggle with business development activity reporting.

Marketing Technology. Jeanne Hammerstrom, CMO at Benesch Friedlander, has hired a marketing technology specialist to drive the CRM and competitive and marketing intelligence systems, as well as to work with recruiting and IT on project and practice management for practice groups.

Television Advertising. While still frowned upon by most of the legal profession, it continues to be the medium of choice for personal injury firms and others in the consumer legal market. (Radio is second.) Now LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell is partnering with Spot Runner, an Internet-based advertising agency, to create ads specifically for smaller M-H clients. Ads developed to date cover areas such as family law, drunken driving, personal injury and general practice. Commercials for criminal and immigration are being developed.

Print Advertising. Continues to be a medium of choice for large firms. Some have shifted their strategy from an institutional approach (i.e., the firm itself) to featuring practice areas. Cozen O’Connor and Winthrop amp; Weinstine were among the first. Now Benesch Friedlander has launched an interesting campaign, “My Benesch, My Team.”

Advertising and Solicitation. The distinction is specifically addressed within the rules in some states. However, as ABA counsel Will Hornsby has written, “The ABA Model Rules and the states that base their regulations on those rules do not set out the distinction clearly. The difference is important, however….” Therefore, marketers and lawyers must be certain of the rules in their states. This gets even more complicated for firms with offices in more than one state.

Martindale-Hubbell. A new surge of challenges from firms questioning the cost of listing in M-H.

Marketing Budgets. Continue to increase as a percentage of firm revenues at both large and midsize firms, with many now going beyond the historic 2 percent. In the U.K., marketing budgets have always been much larger, running as high as 10 percent in some “white circle” firms. In the U.S. and the U.K., the big accounting firms have been spending that much for years.

Marketing Department Staffs. Increasing in size along with the budgets.
Role of the Marketing Professional. Appears to be changing in several different directions. Some firms have recognized that their chief marketing officers’ role should be strategic. However, as their departments have grown, a high percentage of CMOs are having to spend more time on department administration and staff management. And some firms now expect their CMOs to produce new business—i.e., concentrate on sales and business development.

Marketing vs. Business Development. Many firms have not yet realized that these are separate but symbiotic functions. As we stated in last year’s report, corporations long ago recognized this and have combined marketing and sales under one senior executive so that the functions supplement and complement each other. This is another area where law firms should learn from their clients.
/p


Alston Bird LLP Forms Subprime Taskforce
Marketing | 2008/03/05 12:57
font face=Arial size=2The national law firm of Alston amp; Bird LLP announced today that it has formed a multidisciplinary taskforce of 50 partners to assist clients in the U.S. with issues arising from the current credit crunch.

The subprime taskforce is comprised of attorneys from across the firm who specialize in financial litigation, securitization, class actions, finance, insurance coverage disputes, real estate, bankruptcy, workouts, structured products, retirement plans, banking regulation and derivatives. The group is chaired by Brian Cox, a finance partner in the firm's Charlotte office, and John Latham, a securities litigation partner in the Atlanta office. Contacts in the New York office are Gary Roth, a partner in the financial services group, and Michael Johnson, a litigation partner.

About Alston amp; Bird
With more than 800 attorneys, Alston amp; Bird is a leading national AmLaw 100 firm. The core practice areas of the firm are complex commercial litigation, corporate, tax and intellectual property, with national industry focuses in energy, financial services, health care, and public policy. The firm has been highly recognized for its workplace environment, having been ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past nine years, including four rankings in the top ten.

For more information on Alston amp; Bird please visit insa href=http://www.alston.com/ target=_blankuwww.alston.com/ins/a/u. /font


Helms Mulliss, McGuireWoods to merge law firms
Marketing | 2008/03/05 12:18
pOne of North Carolina's largest law firms is merging with a national giant, the firms announced Wednesday./ppHelms Mulliss amp; Wicker, which has more than 145 lawyers in Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington, is combining with McGuireWoods, a Richmond, Va.-based firm with 750 attorneys worldwide that opened in Charlotte in 1998./ppWhen the merger takes effect March 31, the combined firm will be known as McGuireWoods and will have about 160 lawyers in Charlotte./ppThe merger is a result of clients' changing needs, McGuireWoods Chairman Richard Cullen said in a press release./ppWe need to match our capabilities and geographic reach to meet those needs, he said./ppHelms Mulliss' chairman, Peter J. Covington, will become vice chairman of McGuireWoods. Scott Vaughn, Helms Mulliss' finance group leader, will become managing partner of McGuireWoods' Charlotte office./p


Holme Roberts Owen chooses new leader
Marketing | 2008/03/03 12:40
pB. Lawrence Theis has been elected chairman of the executive committee at Denver law firm a href=http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/related_content.html?topic=Holme%20Roberts%20%26%20Owen%20LLPstrongfont color=#000000Holme Roberts amp; Owen LLP/font/strong/a, succeeding Robert Bach. /ppTheis is a partner with HRO's litigation practice group. He founded the litigation firm of Musgrave amp; Theis, which merged with HRO in 2006. He is a former state antitrust prosecutor. /ppBach had been the firm's executive committee chairman for eight years, HRO (a href=http://hro.com/strongfont color=#000000hro.com/font/strong/a) said in a statement Tuesday. Bach will return to full-time law practice. /ppTheis had been HRO's general counsel. Mashenka Lundberg will assume that post. /ppHRO, founded in 1898, is Denver's second-largest locally based law firm, according to the Denver Business Journal's Book of Lists. The firm says it has more than 260 attorneys in three Colorado officers as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, London and Munich. /p!-- Send us your comments More Latest News Buttons --


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