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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Legal Marketing Tech Conference Teaches How to Chart a Course

 

By Michael Bond, Blattel Communications

 

The Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Chapter Technology Conference West is an annual opportunity for marketers, lawyers and service providers to pause and consider some of the latest technology tools and trends. As is in life, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Rather, individuals and firms must choose from a buffet of options, each with benefits and drawbacks.

The program began with a keynote 30,000-foot view of technology from some of the true belles of any legal marketing event – in-house counsel members. The panel of GCs featured, among others, Jason Romrell, president and chief legal officer of Budget Van Lines. In a spirited discussion on the usefulness of law firms employing technology and social media, Romrell summed up his displeasure at interacting with technological neophytes, “I don’t want to pay $600 an hour to have to explain what a DM (Direct Message on Twitter) is.” The panel stressed that while technology has real benefits, it also can be overwhelming. They encouraged law firms to be smart in their use.

The day featured numerous break-out sessions, including “LMA Top Chef: Innovation in Websites” where four website designers detailed how they would create a cutting-edge site. Kalev Peekna managing director of strategy at One North Interactive noted that presenting law firm decision makers with the sites of their clients is often effective when pushing for broad changes. Jeff Yerkey, web + interactive director at Right Hat made the point that corporate stylebooks – a key guidepost for designing websites and collateral material in general – are frequently woefully out of date. Together, the team cobbled together a fictional law firm site that featured bios far richer than on most sites today and that included innovations such as a one-click method of pulling up text for reading a la the “Reader” function on the iPad.

One of the day’s final sessions was “Video for Law Firms.” This program featured a marketing director, an active attorney marketer and two service providers who gave tips on how to effectively employ video on law firm websites. Ed Adams, multimedia editor at Bloomberg Law, encouraged attendees to “experiment relentlessly” with video. He, along with the other presenters, showed numerous videos that varied in quality but all drove home the message of the importance of video for search and for effectively messaging in a 24/7 world.

Given the ever-looming “next big thing” and the impending designed-obsolesce of technology, the event was a much needed opportunity to slow down, get some air and chart a course.

 


Michael Bond is the vice-chair of the Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Chapter Program Committee and a senior account executive at Blattel Communications. He can be reached at michael@blattel.com.

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