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Firm Name: Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps Location: San Diego Size: 185 attorneys Managing Partner: Robert D. Buell Does this sound familiar? When faced with a request for proposal (RFP) from a potential client, attorneys at San Francisco’s Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps knew to call marketing, but often called at the 11th hour. “We would just kind of use what we used before,” admits Maggie Watkins, the firm’s director of marketing. “To be candid, the proposals didn’t really focus on the client and what the client needed. It was more, ‘We do this, we do this….’” Watkins wanted to revamp the RFP process to focus respondents on the project at hand. That would require nudging lawyers to give her more notice. In addition, she wanted to improve communication between her four-person group and the rest of the firm, so staff and lawyers would have a better idea of what the marketing department did and whom to contact for each function. Her solution was twofold. She hired consultant Ann Lee Gibson, of El Prado, N.M., to help redesign the firm’s RFP process. Together, they created several templates to guide lawyers through the process in a more deliberate manner. Then the marketing staff created a place to post those new templates, by designing its own marketing intranet. The marketing site, which connects to a firmwide intranet already up and running, contains three templates for attorneys to choose from, depending on whether they’re planning to prepare “a full-blown proposal, or sort of a middle-of-the-road proposal, or a couple-of-page letter,” Watkins says. The forms coach lawyers on the kinds of questions to ask potential clients “because the more information you have, the more focused and tailored your proposal can be,” she notes. “The template shows the attorney a totally different format [which is] completely flipped around from focusing on the law firm, how great we are … and really forces them to focus on the client,” says Watkins. For example, instead of merely listing attorney biographies, lawyers are asked to suggest a client service team for the proposed matter. As Watkins was shepherding the new RFP process toward completion, her staff began building its intranet site. The firm had launched an intranet about a year and a half ago using Front Page, she says, so she sent one of her staff members to a two-day training class on that application. Then, each marketing staff member began designing pages that dealt with his or her areas of responsibility, including special events and seminars, press releases and photos, r�sum� and directory updates, expense reimbursements, etc. The group also put its marketing newsletter on the site, and it hopes to move away from distributing paper copies altogether. Because the firm already had an intranet in place, and Watkins had a staff member willing to learn the program, building the marketing site cost the firm nothing but manpower and training, she says. And she would have paid to revamp the RFP process with or without a new intranet site, she says. The marketing staff may be online amateurs, but if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the firm’s management information systems (MIS) department was suitably impressed, says Watkins, because once she started working with the MIS staff to get her site online, she began to notice changes to the firm’s main site. “It was very obvious to us that as we started the process, they began to upgrade their site,” she says. But the intrafirm competition was healthy, she adds, because it led to improvements in the overall intranet. Eager to roll out the new marketing section as soon as it was completed, Watkins was facing a launch date of mid-December; not the best time to grab the attention of staff and lawyers. To entice folks to visit the new site, the marketing staffers developed a scavenger hunt. They hid several icons throughout the site and challenged participants to find them all. Those who found the requisite kite, bunny, etc., participated in a drawing for prizes, such as dinner for two and a bottle of special champagne celebrating the firm’s 125th anniversary. Since the site has been launched, the marketing staff has continued to update it. The site includes a listing of all firm attorneys and which states they’re licensed to practice in, and a section describing all the organizations firm lawyers belong to. There is also a section for new attorneys that guides them through the process of, and who to contact for, getting their pictures taken, r�sum�s posted, directory listings updated and press releases drafted. For their efforts, the marketing staff became better-known not only within their firm, but throughout their industry. They recently won a first-place award from the Legal Marketing Association for use of technology.

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