Articles Tagged with “Pennsylvania Bar Institute”

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PBIIn the 15+ years where I’ve taught the marketing & advertising ethics CLE hour of Ethics Potpourri, this years’ program has elicited some of the most fascinating exchanges from the audience. I teach this hour live in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh every April, August and December. The coming weeks include the live presentation in Pittsburgh on August 25th and Philadelphia on August 30th. For directions and registration information, visit PBI. If you missed the program in April and can’t make August, the December dates will be here before you know it.

The deadly Amtrak train crash in Pennsylvania last May (2015) serves as the backdrop for a program that examines whether today’s ethics rules regarding solicitation and advertising are still effective in protecting victims and their families?  For an attorney who believes in the reasoning and philosophy of the Rules of Professional Conduct, does waiting out a 30 day moratorium on contact mean you’ve lost out on the lucrative race for clients? The program examines related court cases, ethics opinions and the RPC as they tie into various forms of business development for plaintiff’s attorneys that are seeking clients in a highly competitive marketplace. Some of the concepts might disgust you—but they are kosher. Some might remind you that today’s society, spurred on by a different news cycle, social media and a more cutthroat landscape means changing the way you do business, and get business.

The program flows from a column I wrote for the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine in late 2015, Content Marketing is Outpacing the Ethics Rules. That column also elicited many e-mails from colleagues on the somewhat controversial subject matter. As I witnessed the aftermath of the deadly crash at home in Philadelphia, I watched the way attorneys used newspaper articles, press conferences, e-mail, social media, press releases and other semi- or non-“advertising” means to promote themselves and position their law firms for prospective clients. It reminded me that so many of the ethics rule in place today to protect the client are simply outdated or ineffective. Judge for yourself.

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If you are a PA lawyer, and it feels like you’ve been hearing me deliver marketing ethics CLE hours for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute for more than a decade now, it is because you have. My very first ethics CLE ever was given in Philly, New York and Houston in the summer of 1997. I opened with some lame canned joke involving Morgan Lewis and domain names. Trust me, I’ve gotten better. But the even weaker handout is now a collector’s item. I still have an original (see “Hoarders” and related illnesses).

Each year, I change the focus and try to cover hot topics, and changing rules, as they relate to areas of law marketing ethics. Quite honestly, some years my “show” (as I call it) is better than others. Last year’s focus on ethics of social media was very well received. But this year’s focus on ratings, rankings and reviews might be the best one yet. I mean, really, who does not debate the value, interest and impact on the multi-zillion dollar “sell stuff to attorneys” industry?

I’ve written and spoken on the rankings & ratings subject for many years, including multiple ABA Annual Meetings, as a focus of the ABA Law Firm Marketing Strategies Conference, for PBI and in at least a half dozen publications. I’m not sure if the publishers of these companies will tell you they love me or hate me (it is probably a mix, leaning more toward the negative), but it is a market that continues to fascinate. This holds true in my marketing roles, in my ethics roles, and certainly in speaking as a leader in law practice management circles.