f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 21, 2004

Sipping Chakras with Scheherazade

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:37 pm

First we tout the health benefits of hot cocoa, then the mystical Scheherazade Fowler shares her secret stash of chakra-stimulating tea — seven tastes for vitality and inspiration.  Our financial investments may be neither hot nor liquid, but our health investments sure are. 

red sailboat  . . .

Being so young, and thus feeling immortal (on non-marathon days), Scheherazade is almost certainly not worried about the inferior antioxidant content of her tea.  Good chakras are, admitedly, pretty important, too.  Sure hope the teas aren’t a Chakra Con. 

  • Of course, Sherry and I are quite unlikely to divert our vinic weblawgger colleagues, the good professor and the wise fool, from their own form of healthful imbibing.

Give Online Settlement a Chance

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 9:42 pm

Responding to a post at elawyerblog by Carolyn Elefant, LawESQTech’s Glenn K. Garnes has confessed to some “mixed feelings about online settlements.”  A Crain’s New York article on an experimental online program for personal injury claims against NYC prompted the original post, and a prior one by ethicalEsq.


Glenn says:

On the one hand, I understand the value of aiding parties to get their cases settled more quickly through online offer and demand exchanges. On the other hand, I believe the use of such services minimizes the significance of why lawyers are in the equation to begin with.

After describing how a lawyer’s skills (e.g., in negotiating) can increase a plaintiff’s damage settlement, Glenn concludes:

 “I cannot endorse technologies that replace the lawyer’s vital role in the legal process while adding no real value to the client.”  (emphasis added)

Since Glenn offered to listen to other perspectives, I’m setting down a few quick points for his consideration:

  • the Crain’s article makes it clear that cases will be carefully selected (and will be low-end cases); certainly cases exist that are far too complex for such a simplified system

  • the NYC program’s facilitator will, per the article, ask for additional information, not merely a settlement offer, giving the lawyer the opportunity to marshall facts and arguments; there also doesn’t appear to be any prohibition against contacting opposing counsel by letter or phone 

  • frankly, there are many cases in which the attorney brings little if any “added value” to the claim that the plaintiff brings to the attorney (see, e.g., this law review article, at 1213) — this can happen when, inter alia, the claim is simple, the defendant readily acknowledges its responsibility, or the busy and/or lazy lawyer simply doesn’t do much

  • for many injured persons the highest forms of added value are expedition of the process and reduction of the lawyer’s fees to reflect a quickly reached settlement; online settlement can hopefully lead to both results in a significant number of cases, with very little to lose by giving the process a try.

Update (02-22-04):  Glenn Garnes has provided a thougthful response to each of the points made above.  They’re well worth a look.

O’Keefe & Giacalone on Marketing Weblawg Marketing

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:02 pm

Kevin O’Keefe’s Comments to yesterday’s post about lawyers and weblogs are worth sharing here on the front page (as is my reply!).


There are going to be blogs that do nothing to bring in clients while there are going to be blogs done well that will bring in clients. In the late 1990’s when law firms threw up sites, like Carolyn mentions, that did not work a lick to bring in clients, I had a law firm site that worked wonders in bringing in new clients and fees.

bowling strike . .

My site worked because it was focused on the niche area in which I specialized and was totally focused on profiding people practical legal information. My site came up in the search engines because it was chock full of helpful content. People comingto the site told us they liked the fact that we did not speak like lawyers they had come across and we demonstrated a sense of care for ordinary people. If lawyers want to have a blog and get up on a soap box and write a lot on a little bit of everything without publishing focused content that will help people that’s fine but that’s only evidence that they do not know how to use the Internet to attract clients. It is not evidence that blogs do not work as marketing tools.

Blogs are just Web sites built on blog software that make them easier & more effective to use than a Web site. There are thousands of lawyers in this country getting lots of good work from Web sites and related Internet marketing, which Carolyn says does not work.

Blogs, just a Web site, will generate good work for good lawyers who learn to use them or hire someone to do the work effectively.

I’ll not change your opinion but I think you are a bit short sited and off in your limited analysis.

order today

David [humble editor]:

You make some good points, Kevin, that we can agree upon, and they really make my point:  (1) weblogs are merely websites with an easy-to-use format and reverse-chronological posting; (2) if a lot of factors are well-aligned (and with a lot of luck), a weblog may be able to attract clients.
I’ve never said they can’t possibly work to bring in clients — I’ve said that merely spouting the buzz about all the added “traffic” is inherently misleading without a lot of caveats, not only because no one knows what the traffic number signify, but because no one can even point to anecdotal evidence of a significant number of weblawg success stories for bringing in clients (as opposed to ambiguous page-hits). Carolyn has apparently not heard of any, nor have I.

My problem with the weblog boosters is that they fail to inform potential buyers of their product just how little data there is about weblog success as an actual money-maker.  I think Carolyn is far closer to the truth about weblogs by pointing to the over-hype of websites for law firms a few years ago — similar to the overhype of dot.com stocks that led to the market bubble bursting — than are current weblawg vendors who point to every bit of information about weblogs generating “traffic” and being the next killer-application, without all the caveats.
wake up call When you start having prominently-placed caveats on your vendor website, I’d be very happy to use you as an example of a Model Weblawg Vendor.  Until then, I’ll plan to use my good Google-placement as a soapbox and a Caution Sign for lawyers thinking to make the considerable investment in time it takes to start and maintain a quality weblog.  [By the way: no one has ever approached me looking to hire my services, despite all the very nice things said about this weblog; that may be because I’m retired and not looking for business, but not many visitors are reading my About page to find that out.]

afterwords: See our posts “Kevin found a marketing success” and “Craig Williams shares his thoughts on weblogs” (April 19, 1004).

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