Legal Research Blog
This year Fastcase was the proud sponsor of the National Association of Bar Executives Luminary awards. The Luminary awards are a way to highlight exceptional communications by bar associations nationwide. Every year the Luminary Awards Committee searches the country for top talent based on the insight and guidance of those working in the field. The winners this year were selected based on their innovative and thoughtful work that raises the bar—pun intended, in both functionality and aesthetics.
Excellence In Public Relations:
Louisville Bar Association (Small Bar)
Recognized for their rebranded campaign to reposition the bar association as a learning/resource center for the community and to reinvigorate members’ energy and excitement by taking a fresh, modern approach to a century-old organization.
From the Judges: “Great Graphic design. The materials are fresh and appealing. A 30 percent increase in public service program enrollment is impressive.”
Connecticut Bar Association (Medium Bar)
Recognized for its “Spotlight on Civics,” a yearlong civics engagement campaign.
From the Judges: “This is an exceptional example of a comprehensive public relations campaign. From research, to involving all the right players, to materials development and resulting media coverage, just an outstanding effort to increase awareness about the importance of civics education. Well done!”
Recognized for its “Spare the Child” video, which educates the public to better understand and navigate the process of family dissolution.
From the Judges: “Great job producing a video that speaks to an issue many families are facing today. The quality of the video was impressive, as was its message. Nothing lacking in this entry.“
Excellence in Marketing:
Tarrant County Bar Association Director of Communications: Pat Leak (Small Bar)
Recognized for special marketing promotion of its annual Bench Bar Conference.
From the Judges: “Very integrated branding effort; I love it when a plan comes together…EVENT SOLD OUT FOR THE FIRST TIME!”
New Hampshire Bar Association Communications Department (Medium Bar)
Recognized for its “Kickstart Your Recovery Campaign for Advertising Development.”
From the Judges: “Making money in this economy is almost a miracle and the two staffers did it. A super (and courageous) idea to cut ad prices, offer more, and then market the heck out it with good looking pieces. A winner in my book.”
Colorado Bar Association Communications & Marketing (Large Bar)
Recognized for its successful Membership Campaign.
From the Judges: “This campaign is the epitome of a well-done marketing campaign. It is extremely well thought out, designed, and effective. Facing the challenge of membership during economic hardship head-on, the bar created a model example program.”
Excellence in Website Design
Fairfax Bar Association (Small Bar)
From the Judges: “Overall the site has a very clean look to it (and just to try it, I looked at it on my iPhone & it was so easy to read & move around – great job!) and easy to navigate. Excellent use of featured content sections on the homepage to highlight services and content.”
San Diego County Bar Association (Medium Bar)
From the Judges: “Overall the website is really clean, with great use of white space, while still getting the massive amount of information that all bar associations seem to have across to the audience. I REALLY like the upcoming calendar of events on the right-hand side of the pages, and the CLE calendar is pretty integrated & it’s great that you can add the event into your outlook calendar.”
State Bar of Arizona Rick DeBruhl (Large Bar)
“Nicely organized, attractive site. Very nice handling of the site’s dual audiences —members and the public. Compelling visuals and type with an easy-to-navigate structure; has zero visual clutter, a strong hierarchy and no information overload to slow access to the content; good color contrast.”
Excellence in Electronic Publications
Contra Costa Bar Association CCCBA Communications Committee & Kerstin Firmin (Small Bar)
From the Judges: “Wow! This publication could easily hold its own with the largest bar associations. The fact that it cost $800 to produce is astounding. The design is very appealing and is a really interesting example of how to make a blog more magazine-like. This nomination truly deserves an award and it would be a benefit to the NABE community at large to see it.”
Denver Bar Association Communications & Marketing (Medium Bar)
“Nice design. They did a nice job of mixing in information beyond just bar news in the issues that I browsed. I liked the writing tips from a Hollywood scandal.”
Colorado Bar Association Communications & Marketing (Large Bar)
“This e-publication is a clear winner, and I can think of no improvements. The articles are written by lawyer volunteers (great for increasing a feeling of ownership of their bar) and of good quality. The masthead is magnificent, beautifully bridging between the solo state of mind and the big city feel of a bar association. Love the tagline: Practice as One; Connect as a Community.”
Oakland County Bar Association (Small Bar)
Recognized for the Military Veterans Speaker’s Bureau.
From the Judges: “Very worthwhile project and one that can easily expand! Great use of resources in keeping it primarily web-based. Informative, nice & clean. Good logos/colors. Easily met objectives.”
Indiana State Bar Association (Medium Bar)
Recognized for the Indiana State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section.
From the Judges: “Solid product with a lot of good information for the public. Interior has clean, easy-to-read layout. Good, helpful information and great topics — perfect for its audience.”
State Bar of Arizona Communications Staff (Large Bar)
From the Judges: “A lot of information packed into a four-page annual report. Great idea to use snapshot format —gets right to the point. Clean layout. Great job! It paints a great picture of the bar and demonstrates to members the bar’s commitments for the coming years.”
Wyoming State Bar Sharon Wilkinson (Small Bar)
From the Judges: “A very attractive publication! Great use of technology (drop shadows, etc.) and elements are extremely consistent throughout. Loved the 1st Feature pages!! Excellent effort by small staff.“
San Diego County Bar Association (Medium Bar)
Recognized for The San Diego Lawyer publication.
From the Judges: “This is a nice, creative pub — from the photo gallery pages that use volunteer photographers to the covers that creatively highlight bar members doing work that fits with Bar initiatives. Staff are obviously taking a lot of time to create such a consistently attractive magazine. It reminds me of the city itself: warm, bright and airy. Very well done. “
Pennsylvania Bar Association The Pennsylvania Lawyer Staff (Large Bar)
Recognized for The Pennsylvania Lawyer publication.
From the Judges: “This is a very attractive, colorful publication features a clean design that nicely complements its blend of advocacy articles, informational pieces and the occasional lighter feature. Not only does this excellent publication actually make a profit, it does so with a minimal number of staff members. Superior work!
Here at Fastcase we’re quite pleased with our freshly minted Cloud Printing Suite, but don’t take our word for it. Joshua Ariemma of the legal tech blog Legal Geekery has posted an informed review of the Fastcase Cloud Printing Suite Microsoft Word plug-in that captures both the utility and elegant design of our latest creation.
Here are some highlights from Tuesday’s post:
“As we’ve come to expect from Fastcase, the experience is simple, seamless, and straight-forward.”
“Just as I’ve developed a “Shut Up and Take My Money” policy with Apple products, Fastcase is approaching that level of confidence with me as a result of their consistently well-designed and highly polished apps.”
“If you still don’t have a Fastcase account, I’m strongly urging you to consider checking them out. We need progressive thinkers like these guys pushing tech development in our field.”
In my last entry, I discussed a report on law firm finances by Dan DiPietro, of Citibank’s Private Banking Group . While the report was generally positive and even optimistic regarding the stabilization and in some cases increase in law firm revenues since the onset of “the troubles,” it sounded a very serious cautionary note about profits, viz. that profits were coming under pressure because expenses were rising faster than revenue, in large part because the cuts of the last thirty months were proving unsustainable in the normal course of business: computers wear out, software must be acquired, leases have to be negotiated, etc.
Can we help? Yes, we can. We can help firms control their usage and costs on huge legal research contracts with a Fastcase subscription that can make their legal research efforts more effective and more efficient. The proactive move toward lowering legal research costs can stave off or eliminate the severity of more draconian cuts in personnel, research materials, professional development funding that will inevitably ensue—indeed, have ensued with an appalling and sometimes irrational severity—when the perception of “these costs are out of control” prevails.
Your clients, many of them, are no longer paying for research, and the ones who are resent it. A survey published by LTN in the spring examined the attitude of corporate clients toward law firm cost recovery efforts. Needless to say, legal research costs were the chief irritant. When you use Fastcase for all or part of the research on a matter, you use a resource that even the most price-sensitive client and price-conscious CFO can agree to love.
You can employ innovative Fastcase technology (sort within results, Forecite, interactive time line, etc.) to get the cases you need more quickly, in a more usable format, with backup, citation history and visualization tools. Cut your research time and costs and make the client happy.
All-inclusive, no surprise Fastcase subscriptions give certainly of billing and thus help to avoid awkward conversations with the practice group manager, CFO or COO.
It is axiomatic that the most expensive part of every legal research contract is the save/e-mail/print function. Of course, there is no charge for these functions within the Fastcase database, but we go further and offer firm-wide subscribers at no additional charge Fastcase Cloud Printing, a three-part enhancement that lets users find and save or print cases encountered in briefs, memoranda and–most usefully–on other legal research resources, e.g. Lexis and West, anything that is in your Internet Explorer browser.
It’s a tough world. Let Fastcase help make it easier on you!
Chuck Lowry handles enterprise sales for Fastcase. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.740.5941.
Answer: All of the Above
The question of law firm finances is much-discussed, especially by those who practice in, work at or sell to lawyers and law firms. Just as the country as a whole cannot decide in a comprehensive manner if things are getting better or getting worse or staying the same, the legal profession cannot consistently make sense of what can only be called mixed signals.
There are encouraging trends. Revenue is up (see generally Altman-Weil law firm finance archive). Productivity is up, and in some cases rates have risen, though there is some indication that this development may come from adjusted leverage ratios brought about by the disappearance or scarcity of young associates.
There are neutral signs, including a mixed law firm merger picture, i.e. while activity is up, some of it is because of financial distress, some of it is driven by regional factors and some of it is of the Wilmer Cutler-Hale and Dorr “let’s get together and go kick some butt” merger model (AmLaw Daily blog).
And there are distressing signs as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that legal employment in the U.S. continues to stagger along a not-quite-straight line. Another report in the AmLaw Daily blog on a bad September for legal employment offers a terse and not very encouraging summary: “After a see-saw first half of the year, the legal sector has seen a net loss of 1,500 jobs so far in 2011 and has shed 3,500 jobs since September 2010, according to the BLS report.”
Noted law firm finance expert Dan DiPietro was very optimistic at the beginning of the year about law firm profits, but by the middle of the year he was less cheerful, for a very ominous reason: law firm expenses were now rising faster than revenue, as firms found that cuts made in 2009 and 2010 could not be sustained and in some cases had to be atoned for throughout 2011.
So why does all this show up in a Fastcase blog? It’s simple. We can help. And we can help in an area of the firm to which clients are very, very sensitive: legal research costs and results. And that will be part two of our discussion. Stay tuned.
Contributed by Charles Lowry of Fastcase