If you are a lawyer in the favorable position of moving laterally, this one's for you.

If you are a lawyer in the favorable position of moving laterally, this one’s for you. Go for it!

Thinking outside the box…. for lawyers who are anticipating a move, or are being forced into a move, it might help you to have some of this in the playbook –so to speak –and be ahead of the game.

The Lateral Publicity Checklist:

  1. Save critical files to flash drives. Be mindful of proprietary work product.
  2. Update your Web profile. Make it match as closely as possible to the format of the new firm. Craft it to speak to benefits and value proposition, not just features.
  3. Upload your contact list to Plaxo. Your moves and your contacts’ moves update automatically in your address book (with a few clicks). Realizing that not everyone in your contact list is on Plaxo, it’s still a really great (and overlooked) tool.
  4. Secure digital copy of attorney photo. Don’t waste any time getting an updated photo done to match the new firm’s web site. Alternately, shell out the $250 to get a really good one. Show your firm you are willing to invest in your own success. (Entitlement is a thing of the past.)
  5. Write a short, to the point, press-worthy profile to be used with media releases. (This is different than web profile.) Don’t wait for the law firm marketing staff to have to pull it out of you. Help yourself by helping them. They ARE your advocates. They want you to succeed. They are on your team…right?
  6. Then, relinquish authorship. They are the pros.
  7. Respond immediately to all requests from new firm’s marketing department.
  8. Have marketing department prepare and print new business cards before start date.
  9. Search online for all iterations of your name. (Marital and pre-marital name too. While your at it, make sure your relatives and your mate have respectable foot prints. Oddly enough, it matters.)
  10. Search your name AND your old firm(s) + your name on MSN, Google, Yahoo, Twitter. Print off results and file.
  11. Set up a Google and/or Yahoo alert with your name and new firm/old firm.
  12. Do a search of your name every 2 weeks just to make sure things are moving forward with name association with new firm. Don’t forget #yourname or #yourlawfirm on Twitter.com.
  13. Begin building new content to push down any mentions of you with previous firm. (Sign up for new sites – see below)
  14. Update ALL social profiles as soon as possible. This will also send out update alerts to those in your networks.
  15. Mention your new firm name in any status updates on FB, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc. several times in the first 3 months. Don’t forget to Tweet some content.
  16. Add a line to the beginning of your email signature: Please note new address. Keep it there for several months.
  17. Join JD Supra. Open profile with new firm information. Upload articles…quickly. They will likely return high on search result indexes.
  18. Join ABA social network Legally Minded, Legal OnRamp.
  19. Flesh out articles that you can re-purpose for publishing on new firm Web site, guest bloggging, Legal OnRamp, JDSupra, Legally Minded, etc.. They don’t have to be long. They need to have keywords and make sure that your by line reflects your new position. Get exposure. Get noticed.
  20. Press release should go to as many digital and print outlets as possible including law school, undergrad, and military alumni publications, as well as standard regional, national or international print media outlets. Don’t forget your hometown newspaper. Mom will love it. You never know where new work will originate. It’s all about connections.
  21. Notify directories. E.g. Findlaw, Martindale Hubbell, Chambers, Best Lawyers. New versions typically come out in the spring and early summer….hurry!
  22. Notify all organizations for which you might be listed as a board member or even on a membership list. (This may turn up in your Web search.)
  23. Create eNewsletter announcement for new firm’s general mailing list. Include your photo.
  24. Send hard copy letter to all clients letting them know of your new move. (I have a sample) Welcome them to inquire about your new firm –if this is not disallowed by any agreement with old firm.
  25. Send out personal email to your contact list (which you exported from Outlook to a CSV or Excel file to a flash drive…. see #1). Make it memorable. Include a photo and something unique about your new firm and how you make it stronger. Your new marketing department may have a branded template for your use.  ALWAYS coordinate with your marketing professionals.
  26. Make a list of 15 people you should call or take to lunch in the next 90 days.

Advanced efforts include:

  1. Notify local, regional, national reporters that YOU know. Feed them background information on special topics or areas of interest. Or, provide your marketing PR folks with that information so they can help you. ALWAYS listen to your marketing people. My bets are that they know what they’re doing.
  2. Follow niche topics on Law.com and add comments to blog posts. Particpate in the social Web generally. Join the conversation. Pick your spots. There are dozens of special interest blogs – e.g. www.greenbuildinglawupdate.com
  3. Send internal email to your new partners (and associates) with a personal introduction. (not a mass email)
  4. Walk the halls and say hello. Not just once, but a lot. Have coffee, (If you’re in Minnesota this is not a problem. There are more coffee joints per square foot in the Skyway than any other place on earth. 🙂 ), do lunch, make time to establish key relationships. Talk to your marketing department for direction. They KNOW. Those key relationships aren’t always obvious.

Enjoy the adventure and congratulations!

Disclaimer: This post is cross posted at http://legalwatercooler.blogspot.com

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1 Comment

  1. And may I add …
    Evaluate, honestly, your marketing skills, especially client service. Then find an excellent way to make improvements where needed. This will increase your value to your new firm.

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