Law Firm Marketing Tools And Tips Using the (new) iPad

Here are some apps and ideas for lawyers and law firms that want to harness the power of (the new) iPad to be more efficient and to reach new prospects.

Videotaping Seminars & Speaking Engagements

Videotape your seminars, speaking engagements and other firm events in high definition using the native Camera app. But if you want to shoot, edit and upload all inside of one app, then consider Vimeo, Avid Studio or iMovie. Avid Studio makes it easy to upload clips directly to YouTube and Facebook. The iMovie app has a steeper learning curve than Vimeo and Avid, but it has the best sharing features, allowing you to upload to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and even CNN’s iReport.

Vimeo is also a great video hosting site alternative for professionals who want to avoid the often-juvenile and ad-filled YouTube channels and pages, but I recommend posting to both for optimal search engine results.

In a crisis, all these video tools can also be used to record and quickly distribute a managing partner’s media statement.

Law Firm Photos & Graphics

Use the built-in Camera app, but for more versatility and precision, use Pro Camera. To edit photos right on the iPad, use either PhotoShop Express or iPhoto for the iPad, but please, do NOT stand in front of law books, law degrees or  staircases when posing! SmugMug (an app and desktop) is a great place to post your photos and is used by many professional photographers. Pinterest is also increasingly being used by businesses to showcase photos and infographics, as well as videos.

Taking Notes–Text and Audio

Notability, Evernote and Penultimate are my three favorite note-taking apps. You can use your fingers for all three (Notability the best for this) or a stylus. Evernote also includes audio recordings. Use Dragon for dictation as the accuracy of this program has vastly improved in recent years.

Staying on top of the news

Try Mr. Reader, an RSS feed that lets you stay on top of all the news by topic, practice, industry, etc. I also like the iPad apps for AP (Associated Press), Reuters Pro, Bloomberg, BBC News, CBS News, CNBC and The Drudge Report, because it has so many news links in one place. Newspapers is a nicely designed app to search for media websites from around the world.

Business Social Media Apps

Instead of Twitter, use Tweetbot, which has a better interface that provides quick access to law firm mentions, messages and retweets.

Flipboard — Great way to use Facebook and Twitter for easy reading and posting.

LinkedIn — The top business app was recently revamped and it’s gorgeous. Now you can even integrate your calendar and see key information on one page with minimal navigation.

Google+ — Great place to create a law firm page that connects back to your website. Use it for posting  links from your website, blogs, photo albums, video channels and more.

Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Pocket Reference — Videos, articles and blog posts from the guy who has redefined sales. He also got me hooked on the phrase “business social media.”

Presentations

Keynote — Apple’s intuitive and beautiful app for preparing slide presentations, it outdoes Powerpoint. PresenterPro and Present (60 Presentation Tips) will improve your content and stage presence.

Music

OK..this isn’t really for marketing, but to relax before, during or after all your hard work! Check out NPR Music, Aweditorium (great new music, amazing interface), Wolfgang’s Vault  (incredible audio from live concerts for us baby boomers) AOL Radio and Pandora. And if you’re not crazy about iTunes design, try OnCue for your music player.

What are your favorite iPad apps? Please chime in.

General Counsel Echo What Many Legal PR, Legal Marketers Have Been Saying For Years

This is a great piece of video because it supports what many of us in law firm public relations and legal marketing have been saying to lawyers and law firms for years about the best way to get business from general counsel.

Lin Wood Statement Doesn’t Help Herman Cain

Howard Kurtz makes a great point in his latest Daily Beast piece on Herman Cain and his attorney Lin Wood by asking if Wood was asleep during the Clinton Administration.

Kurtz made the quip after reading a statement released by Wood in response to another allegation of sexual harassment:

“This appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults – a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life,” Wood said.

Kurtz is right and I’ll go further.  Wood, who has experience with suing media companies, doesn’t seem to understand basic media relations AND political history. It’s naive to suggest a candidate’s sex life is off limits but it also invites MORE questions and coverage when an attorney tries to lecture the media about what is and what isn’t a “proper” subject of inquiry.

Whether Wood issued this statement himself or got outside PR help is unclear but the statement doesn’t work.

Attorneys should stick to what they do best: practicing law. The job of drafting a press statement on behalf of a client (particularly those in crisis mode) should be left to experienced PR professionals who understand how the media operates. The attorney should review the statement  to make sure it does not jeopardize the legal strategy but should also read it to see how it can HELP his or her client’s reputation.

Too many defense lawyers get nervous at the mere mention of putting out a statement. So they say,  “we’ll argue this in court and not the courthouse steps.” It says nothing and does nothing to help a client’s legal case or reputation.

When a client is in a serious crisis as Herman Cain is, then it makes sense to issue statements that can contain the damage from rumors and false allegations that are sure to end up in print, broadcast and online. These statements need to support the legal strategy (often more long term) for sure but it’s often more important for the statement to defend the client’s reputation ASAP.

If attorneys are truly concerned about advocating for their clients, then they would treat the use of public relations professionals to help influence the court of public opinion with the same respect they give to retaining expert witnesses to win in the court of law.

Finally, for Lin Wood, here’s a list of political sex scandals covered by the media.

Social Media Basics For Lawyers – Nov. 3 Podcast

Lawyers are getting more interested in social media but many don’t know where to start, what sites to use and how to leverage these tools for new business.

Tune in for my free 30-minute podcast, Social Media Basics For Lawyers, at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 3. More information about how to listen in can be found here.

Litigation Lawyers Need to Improve Communications With Media

There was a report on a survey today that said news reporters who cover litigation are not getting adequate help from lawyers when it comes to helping them understand the core issues in their cases. I’m not surprised. For many years I’ve tried to encourage lawyers and law firms to engage the media and to get out of the mindset that the media is the enemy. I’ve tried equally hard to encourage journalists not to see lawyers and PR professionals as the enemy.

Unfortunately, many lawyers still don’t trust the media to get the story right or allow their PR professionals to intervene effectively. And too many journalists still view lawyers and PR professionals as obstacles instead of resources.

These stereotypes all need to change if media coverage of litigation is to improve — so the public can better understand the justice system. (We all have a stake in that).

The good news is that more lawyers and law firms today understand the importance of communicating effectively with the media. They know that it has an impact on their reputation, their client’s reputation, and the law firm’s bottom line.

But everyone can do better.

–Lawyers can make a little time for the media that will help their clients in the court of public opinion at all stages of litigation. “No comments” and not returning reporters’ phone calls do not serve the client (or the law firm) well. Those firms with experienced PR help in-house or through an outside agency should take advantage of it, particularly during high-stakes/high profile litigation.

–PR people can help their lawyers to build relationships with key reporters long before the litigation. That makes it easier to get the right reporter’s attention when litigation hits. Good PR people assist the attorneys by distributing court documents and other background materials to the media, briefing the attorneys on the media outlet and reporters who might be covering the litigation, helping to draft key media messages, provide media training, arranging interviews and monitoring/measuring the impact of subsequent media coverage.

–Journalism schools and media outlets can do a better job training reporters and producers to cover complex litigation and legal issues. Due to mass layoffs in the media and so many newspapers/magazines out of business, there are less experienced legal reporters and beat reporters who cover the courthouses. That makes this training more important than ever.

–Bar associations can do more seminars/CLE’s with journalists that educate lawyers about how to work with the media.

Organizations like the Legal Marketing Association have done a good job at bringing journalists and legal marketing/legal PR professionals together to have frank discussions about how to improve their working relationships.

Over the years, I’ve been part of many situations in which journalists, PR professionals and attorneys all worked well together and the end result was a more informed public about a litigation matter. I know many of my colleagues in the legal marketing/legal PR world would agree.

What do you think? I’d be interested in hearing from attorneys, journalists and those in legal PR/marketing.