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I have a new, multiple-firm case going on right now. It’s a case with lots of parties � the kind where my assistant gets angry every time I send a pleading, because it means preparing about 68 return receipts. Anyway, the other day, I wanted some information about some of the firms involved in the case. So I did what we all do when we need to know something today: I looked the first firm up on the Web. Sure enough, within a few seconds, I had found what I needed. End of story. For information on the second, back to the Web, check of the Web site, information obtained. And so on. As I performed successive iterations of this find-the-address-and-fax-number process, I began to notice something a little bit odd. There wasn’t really much difference between all of the Web sites I was checking. No matter what 1970s refrigerator pastel they had chosen as background, no matter whether they went for walnut boardroom ornate or stark post-industrial modern, all of them really were pretty much alike. And that got me to thinking. Lawyers who read the trade press carefully know how much firms are willing to pay for Web-site design. It’s not quite as high as that nine-figure Powerball jackpot those guys in Nebraska won recently, but it would be more than enough to let me trade in my 8-year-old car and get something that didn’t need to have its oil separator replaced. I have no idea what an oil separator is or what my car’s oil needs to be separated from, but Dan the Friendly Service Guy assures me this is what I need to stop the Battle of Leyte Gulf-quality smoke screen my car has been laying down of late, so I believe him. So, in an effort to prevent neighbors from making further obscene gestures at my tailpipe, I am pleased to announce the rollout of Web-KEA, your one-stop all-inclusive Web-site design source. For a single all-inclusive fee, firms can have Web-KEA’s slightly acclaimed Web designers create a Web site marginally different enough from your competition’s site that you’ll feel like you’ve really staked out your firm’s identity in cyberspace. How does Web-KEA do this? Well, having had a daughter who worked at IKEA for a short period of time � actually, we’re pretty sure she’s still in there somewhere, having taken up residence in one of the display homes they have set up in their ginormoultramegastore � I am up-to-the-microsecond aware of the IKEA concept of modularity. Modularity means that everything fits together and that users can plug in new modules as their family or firm grows. What the Swedes provide is the right fit for customers’ needs. Modularity has worked for IKEA � although it does not explain the tubes of cod roe paste, a spread for crackers that smells like a cross between 6-week-old herring and motor oil � and it’s going to work at Web-KEA, too. Here’s how. When firms sign up for Web-KEA service, their Web-KEA design associate (only those firms paying for the premium Golden Lutefisk service will receive help from a Web-KEA design partner) will help attorneys on the marketing committee choose the Web modules they want in their Web sites from an incredible array of choices.
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After choosing their modules, the lawyers will move on to Web-KEA’s one-of-a-kind d�cor department. There, they’ll choose only the bells and whistles they need to make them think their sites are different from others firms. And there it will be: an all-inclusive modular Web-KEA Web site. Consider some of the many module choices Web-KEA offers. You could start with a choice from our popular Values Module, in which you explain to the world what your firm’s core principles are. For example, the Relaxed and Sympathetic Module positions a firm as “providing careful attention to the needs of our clients and their potted plants in a supportive, nurturing environment.” Or, for lawyers who have a different outlook on life � or a change of management consultants � they might go with the Omaha Beach Module, in which a firm “aggressively pursues the outcome our clients desire, no matter how many IEDs we have to use to do it.” Then there is the Passive-Aggressive Module, which did really well in focus groups. It tells the world that a firm “works in conjunction with others to achieve an outcome agreed on by everyone, until we don’t get what we want, and then we’ll pout until we do.” Wonderful choices, n’est-ce pas? After selecting the Values Module, consider adding a Big Deals Module. It lets firms tout their humongous deals, as well as litigation victories or settlements. For those firms that don’t really have anything big enough to make a Big Deals Module worth the price, we have the Intimate Adviser Module, which says, “We believe our firm’s size and structure is just right to give you the kind of personal attention you need to meet your real objectives expeditiously and at the right cost.” Then you’ll want to consider one of our many Office Size Modules. One of Web-KEA’s most popular is the We Have Offices Wherever Our Consultants Think We Can Make a Profit Module � “[Insert firm name here] understands the global nature of today’s economy, so we have offices strategically located from Boston to Baluchistan, Pakistan, to stay on the crest of the wave for you.” Another big hit is the No Place Like Home Module � “You’re here. That’s why we’re here, so you won’t have to pay for the overhead it costs [insert competitor's name here] to have an office in Baluchistan.” As one might expect, the No Place Like Home Module can come bundled with the Intimate Adviser Module for a firm looking for a harmonious design. These are just the beginning of the Web-KEA experience. When lawyers turn to Web-KEA, truly everything is done for them. No more sweating as the copywriters try to say something to differentiate your firm from the one on the 18th floor. Web-KEA is there, ready to give firms the plug-and-play Web sites they always wanted. Look for Web-KEA at www.fungiblefirm.com , and I’ll be able to get that oil separated once and for all. Luddite that he is, Tom Alleman, a shareholder in the insurance industry and environmental practice groups at Winstead Sechrest & Minick in Dallas, still thinks it’s more fun to look at lawyer ads in phone books in other cities than to surf the Web for information. That’s why his opinions aren’t necessarily those of the firm, its clients or Google.

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