Sessions’ war on civil rights

Attorney General Jeff SessionsFrom a “zero tolerance” policy that separates migrant children from their families to walking back criminal justice reform, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is slowly undermining progress made in civil rights, according to a story at The Atlantic. After recusing himself from the Russia probe, Sessions has withstood the withering criticism of his boss, President Donald Trump, to enact a number of measures that reverse gains that have been made to ensure justice for all:

But behind the scenes, even as the president has agitated in public about firing his attorney general, Sessions is the true architect of much of what people believe to be Trump’s domestic-policy agenda. As implemented in recent decisions to curtail asylum grants, ramp up immigration enforcement, and dial back criminal-justice reform and voting-rights protections, this agenda is more than just the reversal of policies enacted during the Barack Obama era, which Trump promised during his campaign. Rather, from the Black Belt in Alabama in the 1980s to the farthest reaches of the border fence today, the Sessions Doctrine is the endgame of a long legal tradition of undermining minority civil rights.

Critics say Sessions is “rolling back civil rights progress” and killing reforms in policing, prosecuting and prisons. Author Vann R. Newkirk II says that Sessions’ history as a US attorney and senator from Alabama may explain his determined efforts to undermine decades of progress in civil rights.

Podcast: NTL member Rhon Jones talks opioid litigation

National Trial Lawyers member Rhon Jones has teamed up with Alabama’s attorney general on opioid litigation, filing lawsuits against opioid manufacturers on behalf of state and local governments. In this edition of Ringler Radio from the Legal Talk Network, Jones talks to host Larry Cohen about the latest developments in opioid litigation, and why it’s so important to end this escalating crisis. 

Jones’ firm, Beasley Allen, has filed similar lawsuits on behalf of a number of Alabama municipalities and counties, including Montgomery County. The firm also is representing the State of Alabama in its opioid lawsuit against Purdue Pharmaceuticals.

“This crisis did not have to happen. Companies like Purdue have been more concerned about their economic bottom lines than the people who were prescribed their dangerously addictive drugs,” said Jones. “Their greed and disregard for human life have cost the taxpayers across the nation over $500 billion. Local communities, like the capital city (Montgomery), have been ground zero in this crisis, stretching every dollar to combat the ills of opioid addiction. These companies think they can walk away from the mess they created, so it is an honor to stand with those in our state’s capital and other local municipalities and counties in Alabama and around the country to help them hold the real culprits accountable.”

NTL member Cynthia McGuinn representing victims of dump truck accident

Cynthia McGuinnSan Francisco personal injury attorney and National Trial Lawyers member Cynthia McGuinn has been featured in the news discussing updates in a case involving a fiery Santa Rose traffic accident that catastrophically injured her client. The incident, which occurred in early February, involved a defective runaway dump truck that caused a devastating multi-vehicle accident.

Attorney McGuinn is representing 76-year-old Barbara Schmidt, a driver of one of the vehicles involved in the collision, and her family. Just months before, in October 2017, Schmidt and her wife were among the many Sonoma County residents to lose their home in the fires that raged through the area. That tragedy was compounded in February when the defective truck, carrying debris from those very fires down a steep hill on Fountaingrove Parkway, lost control at high speed and crashed into Barbara’s vehicle, causing a fiery collision that injured seven victims in total, including three critically.

As a result of the crash, Barbara suffered severe internal injuries and was rendered paraplegic. As Attorney McGuinn notes, her client’s life has been profoundly and permanently changed, as have the lives of her wife and their daughter. Barbara presently resides in a long-term rehabilitation facility, though she has been re-hospitalized several times since the incident due to complications with her injuries, and her family is still reeling from the emotional and financial consequences of the crash.

New updates into the accident, including a recently released police report, reveal that the collision was preventable, and that the driver involved had committed a vehicle code violation for failing to maintain the truck in working order. According to investigators, several sets of brakes on the dump truck had failed prior to it losing control, and the driver admitted to missing an inspection and adjustment. McGuinn believes that the evidence will show that speed, vehicle overload and failure to comply with industry standards and governmental safety requirements are factors contributing to the crash.  The police report provides further justification for claims filed by Barbara and her family against the company and other entities responsible in the operation of the commercial vehicle.

The findings of investigators demonstrate that the crash was preventable had basic safety requirements been followed.  McGuinn observed that the evidence known to date shows the actions of the trucking company and its employee were particularly egregious and reckless as the truck was transporting large, heavy loads in high traffic areas in knowing violation of safety requirements.   Depending on what further investigation reveals, such activities may support the imposition of punitive damages in a civil action.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn. Further information about the crash and Attorney McGuinn’s comments can also be found on The Press Democrat and ABC 7.

Why Building A Legal Brand Is Big Business: Is Your Firm A Brand Or A Name?

Some of the country’s most high-profile lawyers and firms now are household names. You could argue that attorney Glen Lerner’s legal brand is not unlike like Ellen or Oprah of the talk-show world.

But do you think those brands built themselves?

Making a name as an attorney does not happen by chance, overnight or without a huge effort. The “magic” is called branding. And the best businesses in the world rely on this active, intentional process to support everything they do and say. In everything they do and say!

What Does Branding in the Law Space Mean?

While you might know you are a great lawyer because you have extensive experience, a caseload that keeps you busy or lots of positive testimonials from former clients, you can’t count on everybody else to know that now — or ever.

Prospective clients won’t know how good you are, what you stand for or why you really matter in the legal marketplace unless you do. That’s what a solidly identified brand does for you in the long run: It sends a consistent message about what kind of lawyer you are and what kind of cases you want to attract. When you see or hear the brand, you know what they do instantly.

Unfortunately, attorneys overlook the importance of brand all the time. They often use excuses like “I’m too busy to think about branding or marketing,” “People already know my name,” or “Aren’t there Law Society regulations about how I can advertise myself?” Here’s the best one, “I already have a brand.”

All of these justifications are short-sighted. Why? Because one day the caseload might not be there. And do you really know the number of people who “know your name” outside of the exclusive legal community? Oh, and, branding isn’t really advertising anyway.

The Unmatched Benefits of Building a Brand

So how do you start to understand the value of building a brand for your law practice? Let’s look at the unparalleled benefits of really starting to make yourself or your firm a household name.

At its most essential level, a brand is the sum of what other people think about you. That sounds simplistic, but it’s really quite complex, especially if you want to be known for something deeper and longer lasting than the best 1-800 number in the state.

Whether you have an established practice or you are a new lawyer trying to compete in the flooded legal sector, remember that name or number recognition is just one element of a brand — a defining descriptor — not the sum of who you are and what you stand for.

A brand must be built, but when it starts paying off it does so in a way that will truly future-proof your legal career. Instead of hoping that clients will come to you solely from referrals or willing it so, you can use your brand to actively attract the kind of cases you really want to work on.

So start to identify your most unique skills, traits, values, and perspectives. These 3–5 essential brand attributes will establish a consistent pathway and platform for all your marketing messages. Maybe you are an expert in the competitive space of injury law, but have a uniquely empathetic way of connecting with clients. Or your research and interest in the area of worker’s compensation is your calling card. Or your firm has mastered personalizing the process of mass torts. Or you’re bilingual and know there is a whole realm of work in advocacy for the underserved.

Whatever you commit to, your brand should represent the values you hold true — a measured mix of where you came from and where you want to go, what you care about and what centers your existing practice. Having a brand with that kind of depth will almost certainly lead to more of everything — new business, new networking opportunities, new speaking engagements and new cases.

While you might not think you have the time or knowledge to establish your personal legal brand, or you think the gap is too wide to play in the same space as the top attorneys, dismiss that line of thinking right now.

Attorneys who take branding seriously and have the foresight to learn and market around what they truly stand for will set themselves up for longevity in an unpredictable industry.

Consider more than just marketing your name and a lawyer who does personal injury versus an entire brand. When you hear a brand, you are instantaneously attracted and know exactly what they do.


Harlan Schillinger is a Legal Marketing Expert in Paradise Valley, Arizona.

Harlan Schillinger has worked with more than 120 law firms in over 98 markets throughout North America. Currently, he is consulting privately only with lawyers who share his vision of increasing business, being accountable and obtaining high-value cases. He takes, perhaps, the most unique and accountable approach to Intake and conversion.

Currently, Harlan is working with and in charge of business development Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys. With offices nationally, Glen has one of the largest and most successful plaintiff’s practices in America. The firm already takes on well over 1,500 cases a month, and Harlan is positioning the firm for even more growth.

Webinar: The Facebook advertising playbook for law firms

With more than two billion monthly active users, Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform. And, as we’ve recently been reminded, they have a massive amount of data on your audience – including your ideal clients.

Are you using Facebook to market your law firm? If you’re not, you should be. Join Crisp CEO Michael Mogill on Wednesday, June 13 at 1:00 PM for a free webinar on how you can leverage Facebook to generate leads, raise awareness for your firm, and take your marketing to the next level: The Facebook Advertising Playbook for Law Firms.

Whether you’re a Facebook expert or brand new to the platform, this webinar will show you the ins and outs of setting up and optimizing your law firm’s Facebook ad campaigns to create an incoming stream of quality leads.

Ready to get started? Sign up here! Webinar seats are limited, so make sure you register early to secure a spot.

Podcast: Inside the post-settlement process

legal news for consumersAfter a settlement has been reached and signed, another process begins for injury victims. The post-settlement process can be complex, especially when it comes to providing medical care for accident victims. One of the keys is finding a reliable team who can make the process seem seamless. In this podcast from the Legal Talk Network, Ringler Radio host Larry Cohen talks to Porter Leslie of Ametros and attorney Paolo Longo, Jr. about how to manage medical expenses in a simpler way.

SEO vs. PPC: Which one’s better?

SEO GoogleDeciding between search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing for law firms is often seen as an either/or decision. Which one is more cost effective? Legal marketing expert Jason Bland writes in Forbes that both offer “significant benefits.” Each method has pros and cons to consider, however. Find out what the pros and cons are in this article at Forbes.com.

Video: Woman sued for $1M over Yelp review

legal news for consumersNew York woman is facing a $1 million lawsuit from a gynecologist over a poor review she gave him on Yelp. Dr. Joon Song filed the defamation lawsuit against former patient Michelle Levine over reviews she made on Yelp and other online rating services. Levine claims Dr. Song overbilled her and falsely diagnosed a medical issue. CNN has more on the lawsuit in this video.

Watch the Recording of “How to Get New Business from Your In-Person Marketing”

business developmentWhat: Watch the video recording of the webinar, “How to Get New Business from Your In-Person Marketing”

Who: presented by Larry Bodine, the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers website and Sr. Legal Marketing Strategist of LawLytics.

Why: You will discover:

  • Top business-generating techniques of rainmakers.
  • Getting quality contacts at social functions.
  • Networking with a purpose.
  • Easily connecting with people.
  • Your 30-second commercial.
  • Creating a crowd where everybody knows your name.
  • Getting referrals from clients.
  • Getting referrals from professionals.
  • Being active in an organization.
  • How to get on the Board of Directors.
  • How public speaking generates new business.
  • Follow-up faux pas.

Watch the recording at:  https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/8873050430818621707


Learn from an expert

Are you marketing more these days and getting less in return? Then you are the perfect attorney to watch our free webinar that reveals the most effective in-person marketing techniques that reliably produce new business.

Many attorneys are frustrated because they devote effort and money to grow their law firms, and they get the feeling that some or all of it is wasted. For answers, you’ll want to hear from attorney Larry Bodine.

Larry, who is the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers website and Sr. Legal Marketing Strategist of LawLytics, has been advising lawyers on business development since the 1990s. He will cover the face-to-face methods that reliably produce new files and new clients.

In-person marketing is essential to growing a law firm. Larry will present the best of tried-and-true plus shiny-and-new business development techniques that will work for you.

We’ll cover where clients come from, the 4 tactics that rainmakers use to get new business, networking with a purpose, elements of a 30-second commercial and getting referrals.


Larry Bodine

Larry Bodine

About our presenter:

Larry Bodine is a marketing writer and editor who helps law firms get more customers and generate more revenue with content marketing. An attorney, journalist and marketer, he brings the skills to business messaging that produce results.

He is the Editor of The National Trial lawyers website and Editor of the soon-to-be launched News.law website

Bodine is the Senior Legal Marketing Strategist for LawLytics, the #1 choice for websites for small law firms.

Recent projects include:

  • Law Tigers association of motorcycle attorneys: 28-page
    downloadable e-book on niche marketing
    , and two email marketing
    campaigns with 10 messages per campaign.
  • LawLytics Legal Marketing Suite: Developed the web strategy for a local Maryland law firm to become the national source of information about Taxotere mass tort litigation. see https://www.gilmanbedigian.com/taxotere
  • Mass Tort Nexus: wrote daily blog posts for an educational company about product liability cases involving dangerous drugs and medical devices. See https://goo.gl/RwKnsi
  • Larry Bodine Marketing Blog: author of a legal marketing blog for more than 15 years on business development for attorneys. https://www.larrybodine.com/blog
  • Lawyers.com: served as editor-in-chief of consumer website for LexisNexis for three years.

Since he launched his consulting practice in 2000, Larry has advised more than 250 law firms — as large as a 3,000-lawyer global law firm and as small as a husband-wife litigation boutique – on their business development strategies and tactics, and Web
sites. For more information, see www.LarryBodine.com. He is a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University Law School and Amherst College.

 

When mistakes lead to unfair trials

courtroom witnessA Louisiana district attorney has decided not to defend before the Supreme Court the conviction of an intellectually disabled teenage boy charged with robbery and murder. The Washington Post reports that prosecutors in the case failed to provide the teen’s attorneys with recorded witness statements that could have undermined prosecution witnesses, including the only person who claimed to be a witness to the shooting. The Post reports that the recorded statements suggested that the teen may have been set up. Mary McCord and Douglas Letter, two litigators and visiting professors at Georgetown University Law Center, examine the ramifications of prosecutorial mistakes and withholding evidence in this analysis at The Post.