Archive for July 6th, 2010

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Get your ass out there!

This guide, prepared by our internal marketing team, is intended to be a helpful guide to law firms unfortunate enough not to be able to afford their own marketing team.  Muttley Dastardly LLP believes in the hand of friendship.  We hope you will find our guide helpful and that your practice reaps what it sows during these dark and difficult times.

1. Tesco is coming to get you…yes, YOUR firm, YOUR clients, YOUR profits. If you are really unlucky, the Co-op and ASDA will also come to get YOU!  You can’t stick your heads in the sand and expect to make big money…. you have to husssle, hussle and hussle and get your ass out there!

2. You will read a lot about building trust and relationships. This is all very worthy.  Look… the public hates lawyers, they may even hate you personally…so why waste time building trust… they don’t trust you now…why spend money trying to get them to trust you?  The client doesn’t want you to be a friend…the client wants you to put the boot into the guy down the road whose hedge is too large or who keeps parking in ‘his’ parking space.  The client wants you to sue the ass of his employer who sacked him unfairly. The client wants you to screw as much money out of the supermarket which washed their floors and then made him fall over because they didn’t warn him.  The client has seen those ads on TV about big fat cheques coming for a broken leg..and…believe me… he wants a piece of the action!  This is where you come in.  He doesn’t want you pitching up at the pub in your Vauxhall Astra claiming to be his ‘mate’. He wants a big fat cheque and no legal bills because the schmucks on the other side will be paying.

3. SO… how are you going to get your ass out there?!  Here’s how:

(a)  Write articles: This is a very effective way of showing off your expertise, if you have any – if you haven’t got any expertise do a lateral hire. When you write, you aren’t boring the arse off some academics who hyperventilate when they see The Law Quarterly Review.  Speak direct to the client in language they understand.  Think Daily Mail, The Sun, The Mirror. The problem here is that tabloid writing is difficult.  It takes real skill to terrorise entire sections of Middle England.  It take real skill to reduce complex ideas to easily understood fear concepts.  Bin The Guardian style. Don’t be too clever with some Independent style analysis of the legal problem.  Think EPIDEMIC OF ACCIDENTS…. think MAN GETS £100K FOR 3RD DEGREE BURNS AFTER DRINKING COFFEE AT STARBUCKS. Think… OSBORNE IS TAKING YOUR JOB – DON”T WAIT FOR THE AXE – CONTACT YOUR LAWYER NOW! Above all, play on the innate prejudices and fears of the client when you write your article.  Keep it really simple.

(b) Website: Get a decent website…pepper it full of pictures of injuries, happy smiling clients with cheques, wonderful cliche photographs of lawyers – preferably get a good racial mix…and put them on a beach.  Don’t sit back and think (a) our lawyers don’t look as good as that  or (b) what the F**k are lawyers doing on a beach…. think client!  Clients want to see thrusting young lawyers on a beach.  Remember, if you have got your practice well sorted, the client isn’t ever going to meet the lawyer.  Think OUTSOURCING and lawyer farms.

When you design your website…think…ease of use… keep it really simple… one form for the client to use to send in the details.  Don’t forget the PayPal or Visa button if the work isn’t contingency fee.  You don’t want to waste money suing the client once you have won or lost their case, do you?  Above all…under no circumstances give a telephone number.  The last thing you need in a busy day is a client phoning you – it is just not cost effective and clients don’t like being charged for phonecalls.

Don’t worry about keeping your website up to date.  The client isn’t interested in legal news.  The client is interested in the pay out!

(c) Twitter: This is an invaluable tool for reaching people.  A lot of people on Twitter drink heavily at night.  Think ACCIDENTS!…think…MARITAL DISCORD…think…DRINK DRIVING…think…LIBEL, BREACH OF CONTRACT, …think the unthinkable…some of these guys on twitter get so pissed…you could even think ARSON or RYLANDS v FLETCHER when they set fire to their own house and it spreads to the neighbours.

The way to use Twitter effectively is – use your firm’s real name…..produce a tweet about once every five minutes..use capitals and randomly spam people.  There are a lot of well known law bloggers out there…follow the people they follow and then follow the people they follow and so on.  GET AS MANY FOLLOWERS as you can… they could all be CLIENTS!…you will soon build up a good relationship with them..and they are friendly.. they want YOU to make a lot of money representing the downtrodden of Britain.  Get to know THEM… be THEIR FRIEND… flatter them… comment on their blogs…not forgetting to add the URL for your CLAIM page!

Twitter has a #hastag system…. make a point of reading the newspapers carefully.  If you see a major disaster..this is an opportunity for you to write:  WE CAN HELP YOU IF YOU CRASHED AT HEATHROW TODAY #AirdisasterHeathrow.    WE ARE EXPERTS IN OIL SPILL COMPENSATION #BPGulfspilldisaster. Always use capitals. There is a lot of traffic on Twitter…and you have to make sure your MESSAGE gets out there!  People on Twitter always admire lawyers who selflessly try to help VICTIMS… even if you make a bit of money out of it.

In Part 2 we will try to help you even more.  We hope this helps you develop your practice

Fraternal greetings…get your ass out there!

Jamie Cadogan-Howard OE Bt
Director of Marketing
Muttley Dastardly LLP

Strength & Profits

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Lord Hailsham in the 1970s formally excluded gay and lesbian lawyers from entering the judiciary by allowing only married people to be appointed. Photograph: Jane Bown for the Observer

Judicial culture still deters gay and lesbian lawyers, say researchers

Guardian: Perceived hostility ‘preventing applications to become judges’

The judiciary is failing to reflect the UK’s gay and lesbian community, experts say, as research suggests it is seriously under-represented on the bench.

Research by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) law network Interlaw has found that judicial culture, the perception of hostility to gay judges and the isolated nature of the job are deterring gay and lesbian lawyers from applying for careers as judges.

The study also suggests that gay and lesbian lawyers fear that their private lives may be subject to additional scrutiny if they were to become judges. “The judiciary and sexuality are uneasy bedfellows,” said Les Moran, professor at Birkbeck, University of London, and one of those behind the study. “It is a myth that sexuality has nothing to do with the judiciary … The deafening silence on the importance of sexual diversity in the judiciary is an institutional culture that has to stop.”

The preliminary findings, which have been made public for the first time, were provided to Liberal Democrat peer Lady Neuberger, whose review of diversity in the judiciary was released earlier this year.

I cannot, personally, see why a person’s sexuality should be a qualification or disqualification for any job, let alone the  difficult work of a judge but that is probably because I have never been interested in knowing about such matters of a personal nature in relation to my friends. Years ago, a very good friend of mine, who subsequently died of AIDS,  was talking at dinner  about the work of the Terence Higgins Trust.  He talked with passion and knowledge.  I asked him what attracted him to the work of this trust.  He looked at me, baffled – I had known him for 20 years – and told me that he was gay, initially, as if this was some failing in me as a friend until I explained that as I had never heard him, nor, indeed, many of my friends discussing their sex lives (Some people don’t) I didn’t know and even If I had known it would not have affected my perception or judgment of him.  I suspect this is true for many, if not most, people.

I  went to a public school in Scotland and we were told by our Housemaster’s wife, a doctor of great charm and sense, that it was not compulsory to be homosexual, but if we were, this was not something which should be a cause for worry or angst.  That was in the late sixties when attitudes were by no means the same as they are today.  There is, clearly, still prejudice today – prejudice diminished, hopefully, in the so called ‘macho’ circles by a leading rugby player coming out recently and being received warmly by his friends, fellow players and many members of the public.

This is by the by – but I make the point simply to make the point that sexual orientation should not be a bar to anything.

The Guardian notes: “Sexual diversity in the judiciary has been a controversial issue for years. In the 1970s, the then lord chancellor, Lord Hailsham, formally excluded gay and lesbian lawyers from entering the judiciary, by allowing only married people to be appointed to the bench. The practice was only ended in 1991, when the then lord chancellor, Lord Mackay, allowed unmarried people to become judges. However, there are still few openly gay judges. Court of appeal judge Sir Terence Etherton, high court and international criminal court judge Sir Adrian Fulford and circuit judge Jeremy Richardson are among the few judges in England and Wales known to be gay.

“We have no idea how many gay and lesbian judges there actually are,” said Daniel Winterfeldt, partner at law firm Simmons & Simmons and founder of Interlaw. “We only know of a handful ‑ around five at the most, and some of those only by hearsay. It’s clearly a mark on the profession that so few gay and lesbian judges feel able to be visible.”
A quick call to a friend of mine (a tolerant friend given that I called him at 6.10 am – he was at his desk, inevitably), a partner in a City law firm, confirmed that it was unlikely that many seeking partnership would ‘feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation’.  I took this to mean that prejudice still exists even among a younger group in the law at some level. He confirmed that this was his impression.
Ken Clarke, Justice Secretary and splendidly attired Lord Chancellor at the Opening of Parliament observed…“The appointments process (for judges)  must fully respect and maintain the independence of the judiciary, and appointment on merit must remain absolutely at the heart of the process,” said Clarke. “These principles will underpin the review.”
On a rather different note…

‘Big brother’ traffic cameras must be regulated, orders home secretary

Guardian: Numberplate recognition cameras routinely survey the movements of millions of motorists.

The home secretary, Theresa May, has ordered that a national police camera network that logs more than 10m movements of motorists every day be placed under statutory regulation.

Her decision means that a “Big Brother” police database that currently holds a mammoth 7.6bn records of the movement of motorists using more than 4,000 cameras across the country will have to be operated with proper accountability and safeguards.

Each entry on the database includes the numberplate, location, date, time and a photograph of the front of the car, which may include images of the driver and any passengers. These details are routinely held for two years.

Well… who would have thought that a Tory Home Secretary would be keen to ensure that civil liberties are protected? Times have changed!  It is to Labour’s shame (and I vote Labour) that they allowed our civil liberties to be so eroded.  ironic, given that they gave us the Human Rights Act which I regard as one of the very cornerstones of our ‘civilised’ society.  Maybe the New New Labour, when they finally get back to the business of Opposition, will reflect on the fact that many Labour voters were appalled by their stance on civil liberties and have long and good memories.

Nothing like a bit of polemic – and on that note. Breakfast at a cafe and a chance to see what is happening in the parallel universe that is both The Sun and covered by The Sun.

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