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Summary of Israel’s 1st Legal Marketing Conference

Last June, the Tel-Aviv District of the Israel Bar Association organized a one day conference – for the 1st time in Israel – dealing with Legal Marketing and Business Development for law firms

It was the 1st time such a conference was held in Israel, and the Israeli well known company of Robus Legal Marketing was proud to lead and organize this unique conference. A full report of the conference panels and lectures – in this post


For the complete schedule of the conference (in Hebrew) click here

Academic organizers of the conference

A) Adv. Zohar Fisher, Founder of Robus – Legal Marketing and consulting services

B) Adv. Eddie Sobari, promotion and marketing of lawyers on the internet; CEO of legal forum LawForums

C) Adv. Saar Siklai, director of the new media and social networking of the Tel-Aviv District of Israel Bar Association

Adv. Efi Nave, Head of the Tel-Aviv district of Israel Bar Association, opened the event by sharing his personal experience. He described the importance of marketing and branding of a law firm, something that he learned when heading his own law firm

Robus Legal Marketing is honored to present you with a summary of the conference, including lecture notes and various panels


Opening Words of Adv. Efi Nave

Following the words of gratitude to the organizers, Adv. Nave reminded the crowd that in addition to his service as the head of the Tel-Aviv District of Israel Bar Association, he has been the owner of a law firm for over 15 years

“What has changed in the last decade and a half in the practice of law in Israel?” “A lot”, Adv. Nave confessed. While in the past opening  a law firm didn’t require a website, a Facebook page and a newsletter, nowadays these tools have become essential, especially for new and small firms

Media and PR consultants were ‘dirty words’ to the lawyers’ ear, but today, in the highly competitive market of Israel, these have became very important for lawyers

“However, do not lose hope!” said Adv. Nave. He believes that there is still hope to survive as an independent lawyer or a boutique.  Like any other profession, there is always room for good, outstanding, determined and creative students. But now more than ever, it require understanding that the rules have changed, and the combination of tough competition with the advancement of technology makes legal marketing a central topic of all lawyers


A) Panel- Business Development for Law Firms

Moderator: Adv. Zohar Fisher, founder of Robus- Legal Marketing Israel


Adv. Amnon Epstein, Epstein Rozenblum Maoz -ERM

Adv. Adi Nahmias Twina, Firm Manager, Gorniztky & Co

Adv. Gil Shahaf, Shahaf & Co

Mrs. Efrat Shegav, manager, Duns 100, Dun & Bradstreet

Mr. Idan Nishlish, business development manager, Herzog Fox Neeman

Mr. Motti Danus, communications and media advisor, “Hapraklitim” magazine

First topic of the conference was business development. The panel moderator, Mr. Zohar Fisher, Founder of Robus Legal Marketing and organizer of the conference, led an interesting panel with the objective to cover the topic from various points of view. The participants came from a variation of backgrounds:  representatives of the offices of all sizes, as well as members of the media, research and business development

The first speaker was Mr. Amnon Epstein, founder of the law firm of ERM. He took his law firm through a very unconventional road into the Israeli market. Mr. Epstein answered the moderator’s question stating that marketing and business development was and remains the guiding light of ERM, and it has been a strong contribution to the firm’s success

Mr. Epstein summarized his strategy into 4 tactics: (1) specialization in a small number of disciplines and distancing from the One Stop Shop approach; (2) emphasis on an international approach, reflected in the recruitment of new customers from the USA and UK and advice to Israeli clients in their international activities; (3) strategic marketing and branding, reflected, for example, in the unusual name of the firm – ERM; (4) competitive fees – cheaper than the cost of a UK or a large Israeli law firm

Gil Shahaf, Founder Shahaf & Co., a law firm specializing in Family Law, has also taken a unique approach. During his first years as head of a small independent office, Mr. Shahaf had a limited budget for marketing. However, he understood the importance of the subject and created a unique method of marketing. He consciously chose to take part of the Legal Aid Bureau and represented clients that approach the organization

Although the fees are minimal and often do not cover the expenses, Adv. Gil‘s outstanding service was appreciated by his clients, who became his “marketing soldiers”. Consequently, every client became an important contribution to bringing new clients

Adv. Adi Nahmias, firm manager of Gornitzky Co., spoke about business development from the point of view of a large Israeli law firm. In her opinion, every lawyer of the firm becomes a business development consultant, due to their constant efforts to keep the clients happy

A common challenge of large law firms is when a big client of the firm decides to expand its operations to other areas of practice. It is essential that the firm will be ready and capable to provide the necessary services in order to keep the client

Adv. Adi Nahmias shared with audience the pricing strategy of her firm – to take consciously unprofitable cases in order to gain the trust of the client and take care of the rest of its future issues

Last, Mr. Nahmias highlighted the importance of a futuristic approach to law. The trick is to find new areas of specialization, to find a new niche. In the past, it was the high-tech industry and lawyers who specialized early in the area are now very successful

At this point, Mr. Nishlis, director of business development at Herzog Fox & Neeman, provided a number of insights into business development. First, it is important to create differentiation from other law firms. He claims that most of the law firms are very similar. To create the right differentiation, Mr. Nishlish recommended a plan of action: first, identify and characterize the potential group of clients of the firm and build a marketing strategy appropriate to their needs – social networking websites, LinkedIn, conferences and events, personal relationships, etc

Second, formulate three marketing messages that distinguish your firm from the others. The messages should fit the reality. For example messages such as “international specialization” or other niche areas, “only the best lawyer”, etc. Thirdly, create a tangible form of a marketing infrastructure to accommodate the marketing messages, such as website, firm’s brochure, profile and office

Fourth, clear and measurable goals should be set in relation to the marketing and business development of the firm. Only after completing these steps, which create strategic and tactical infrastructure firm office, you can start a marketing campaign

As a natural continuation to the issue of marketing tools, Ms. Efrat Segev, Director of Dun’s 100 at Dun & Bradstreet, join the discussion. If anyone had a doubt about the use of guides rating as a marketing tool, the words of Efrat vanished those doubts into thin air

Efrat spoke about the huge increase in the number of applications submitted to Dun’s 100, both by new law firms that were never rated in the past, and ranked law firms which extend their submission to other areas

Efrat explained the criteria of ranking:  the volume of cases, customer size, volume of transactions and recommendations. In response to a question from the audience, Efrat stressed that submission and ranking are absolutely free and are not influenced by the publication – that costs money

Mr. Fisher recommended, as the founder of a company that helps firms prepare for these ratings, to submit anyway. In his opinion, mere submission puts the firm on the rating map and prepares the ground for the future

Last, Mr. Moti Danus, communications consultant and editor of the magazine ‘Hapraklitim”, stressed the importance of the Media and Communications. In an era in which Israel has the higher number of lawyers per capita, and where competition among law firms and private attorneys reaches new heights, Media and Communications becomes an essential tool for the individual lawyer

The main point to have in mind, from the perspective of a lawyer who wishes to gain media exposure, is the creation of targeted and refined marketing messages. Moti said that media exposure is a marketing tool less measurable than others, but nevertheless vital and influential that if works can increase significantly his clientele


B) Lecture by Mr. Alon Gal – think outside the box

Mr. Alon Gal is the founder of TUT – Couching Company. He is a trainer with 18 years of experience and author of several books related to couching. In addition, he participated in multiple motivation and empowerment conferences and appeared in many TV programs

In his lecture, Mr. Gal tried to display the conceptual roots that we all become accustomed to from a young age, and which prevent us from fulfillment. Mr. Gal described the ethical and social principles programmed deep within each and every one of us, and offered creative solutions by presenting a different worldview

The reality derives from an expression that is embedded deep within Israeli society: “Try, maximum you will fail”. There is a logical inference from the failure of the very attempt to achieve a goal. In other words, a man trying and failing – is captured as a loser

This social, emotional and conscious stigma makes professionals to avoid situations in which they may feel some rejection. We avoid all risks that could create a situation win which we may experience the emotion described as – unpleasant feeling in the stomach

If we do not try, says Gal, the only thing we guarantee is failing to advance. Non-action is an admission of our failure in advance, and through this way we guarantee in advance one outcome – the lack of result. To prove his point, Mr. Gal spoke about a research carried out in nursing homes. The result was amazing: “No one regrets the things he did in his life, but only the things you never dared to do” said Mr. Gal. This sheds light on the root of the problem – the fear of rejection prevents us from running

Mr. Gal offers a variety of ways to overcome the non-rational sensation of stagnation. Using colorful and entertaining examples, Mr. Gal explain us, the audience, that we need to break out from “our self square frame” – a metaphor to the social outlook to which we are subject to. We must challenge our traditional thinking about ourselves as professionals, and push the boundaries of convention

According to him, the first step is to give up the ego and accept that we are different and there is nothing wrong with that. Second, we must realize and understand that statistically, the more we try, the more times we fail in the face of the amount of times that we succeed. In other words, tilt the balance will continue to tilt toward the lack of success – “This is how statistics works.” The only way to remain at 100 percent of success is to try to improve once we have luck and succeed. From that moment, the probability would always be against us

Ultimately, each of us has to decide which events he wants to highlight in the metaphorical line of his success and which he wants to delete

To illustrate his arguments, Mr. Gal uses the example of Michael Jordan, the player who statistically failed more in the history of the NBA, alongside the Former President of Israel, Shimon Peres, who for many years was seen as the “loser “of Israeli politics. These examples illustrate the absurdity of labeling trail against failure. Alon calls the audience to fight an all-out war against this tagging, what will eventually allow us to break free from the chains that prevent us from succeeding

Last, Mr. Gal identified with the audience and said: “You and I are both parts of very competitive market. I have an insight to tell you … it’s not going to change.” He assured us that there will always be people, including friends, colleagues and even ourselves, who will say that we are acting in a strange way, not a way lawyers should behave

In his opinion, we can’t be successful without people talking of us. The only way they will not talk is when we are small and insignificant. Now all we have left is to decide who we want to be


C) Panel #2- Legal Marketing in Social Media

Moderator: Adv. Saar Siklai


Mr. Eliav Alaluf, social media mentor

Mrs. Limor Poran, networking and business development in Social Media

Adv. Tomer Bechar, active in social media, Tomer Bechar law firm

Mr. Or Fialkov, founder of Fialkov Digital

Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Most of us are familiar with and use these social networks. But do we how to use them properly and for the benefit of the marketing of our firm? The participants of the panel came up with a long list of tips for an effective use of social networks, in addition to a list of what not to do

The purpose of the panel was to shed light on the new tools provided by the social networks and learn how to operate them correctly. The panel discussed the importance of using correctly and effectively social networks as a marketing tool for lawyers

The moderator, Mr. Saar Siklai, opened the panel by presenting the Facebook page of Adv. Gil Bendel, a military lawyer. Mr. Siklai believes Adv. Bendel’s page is an example of a successful use of Facebook: A short and to the point ‘About us’ directed to the relevant audience, the soldiers

His post have an extra value (for example, he provides useful tips to soldiers), and on his Facebook page he shows not only professional knowledge as a lawyer – but also demonstrates social awareness, that is – he is not only a lawyer but also a person

Adv. Siklai added that social networking is an essential tool for marketing law firms – but many Israeli lawyers doesn’t know how to use them correctly. He finished this statement with a call all the lawyers in Israel not do not be afraid to use social networks and to invest time and money to promote themselves through this channel. Adv. Siklai believes that social networks are a great and effective way to connect with potential clients and attract new customers

Mr. Eliav Alaluf believes that most of our decisions are made ​​in a split of a second, and according to our gut feelings. So when we come to sell our services, it is important to know how to tell our story the way we will conquer the hearts of our customers. If we can do this, our customers will become the best marketing tool. Success will be creating a story different others in the market, an exceptional and unique story. According to Mr. Alaluf, each and every one of us has a special story that makes us different, we only to discover it

Mrs. Limor Poran emphasized the importance of a proper management of reputation online. And what she meant by online ‘Reputation Management’? For example, the creation of digital content that our targeted audience is looking for and want, and not any content that is possible for us to produce

Mrs. Poran believes that today the main approach is “Human to Human” – the more personal and human our story is, the more we are liked and others talk about us more. In addition, Mrs. Poran provided us with four important strategies to use LinkedIn

A) Use of serious and professional pictures- leave the pictures with the children and sunglasses for Facebook

B) Detailed and professional profile

C) Building relevant connections and refraining from accepting random people- Pick Them Wisely! Others see your connectios

D) Take an active part in groups in which your future partners or clients are part of

Mr. Tomer Bechar argues that Facebook is designed more from branding than for marketing. The right branding will bring a “well cooked” client, with no need of persuasion, and which have already started to build a relationship of trust with you through the Internet – even without personally knowing you

Mr. Bechar noted that the use of Facebook is used to ‘fresh up’ from daily routine, and as a result you should avoid overloading your clients with very formal, heavy, and with complicated language posts

Mr. Bechar advised to write professional posts, but emotional – adding your own personal stamp. In addition, do not be afraid to create viral posts that will “burn the network”, it creates an outstanding exposure but of course – it is not easy to do

Finally, Mr. Fialkov introduced the new tools offered by Facebook for marketing businesses. The segments and the possibility to choose specific audiences – are almost endless

First, you can select the targeted audience of your business by gender, age, language, location, marital status, interests, areas of work and more. Additionally, you can choose according to special events (“Birthdays Next Week”, engagement), or the person’s activity on the network (for example, online shopping). Second, Facebook offers to target new audience group that is similar to your current targeted audience

According to Mr. Fialkov, the new tools of Facebook have many benefits

A) You can target relevant interest groups

B) You can create targeted ads for your pre-set marketing goals

C) Facebook is changing the advertising post, making them bigger and less like an ad

D) The cost of advertising on Facebook is flexible depending on the need of the advertiser, which decides how much he wants to pay

E) Advertising on Facebook is statistically proven to be very efficient


D) Lecture: Hot Trends of Legal Marketing in the Internet / Adv. Eddie Sobari

Advertising is no longer a dirty word for lawyers, who have realized that advertising in the internet hasn’t cheapened the profession – on the contrary. The internet has become an integral part the marketing of many law firms in Israel

Adv. Sobari opened his lecture with the decision of the National Ethics Committee of the Bar Association to allow lawyers to publish professional videos. He explained how the decision of the Ethics Committee creates a unique opportunity for lawyers who understand that through videos you can reach more potential clients. In addition, it creates a stronger presence of the law firm in the search results on Google

Google search engine now displays search results of various types, not just text issues. Videos receive priority in search engine, therefore every attorney needs to have at least one video available online, says Adv. Sobari. This will leverage the search engine results and allow the potential client to have a more casual and personal first touch with the lawyer

Internet can also harm. Adv. Sobari reminded us that the internet can also hit and hurt us hard and it may happend fast. Lawyers have to be well prepared

According to Adv. Sobari, you can prevent or minimize the damage by having a number of ‘strong’ publications in the first results page of Google. In consequence, the slanderous publications will be buried far away from the first page, having a smaller impact on your name

Last, Adv. Sobari finished by discussing a disturbing new trend: Selling customer leads to lawyers. This phenomenon causes that surfers – who seek legal services and encounter these types of publications online – get a flood of calls from lawyers trying to win the customer’s attention. This severely impedes the ability to demand fair fees, and it becomes less attractive to lawyers

Adv. Sobari stated that every client comes that comes to us via the internet (through the website, Facebook page, paid leads or  Google search engine) should receive an excellent service – even if we agreed to provide the service at a relatively low fee. Excellent service ensures that your client become your marketing tool

In other words, make the clients that come to you through the internet the future ambassadors of your law firms


E) Panel – PR of lawyers and management of legal proceedings in the media

Moderator: Adv. Kinneret Barashi


Adv. Revital Swid, head of Criminal Affairs Committee, vice-chairman of Tel Aviv District

Adv. Moshe Gorali, legal writer and commentator, Calcalist newspaper

Adv. Anat Roa, legal writer and commentator, Calcalist newspaper

Mr. Motti Morell, Media consultant

To close the conference, the last panel dealt with one of the most intriguing and enigmatic issues for lawyers – the use of Media. How lawyers should use Media for their own purposes? Is every exposure is good exposure? Should the firm’s manager or an independent media consultant manage the communication strategy of the firm

Adv. Kinneret opened the debate by directing the following question to Adv. Revital Swid – Is Media exposure promotes an attorney? How? Media, answered Adv. Swid, is can significantly influence clients, colleagues and sometimes even people within the walls of the court, whether we like it or not

Should the object of coverage be the lawyer or the client? Positive media coverage is what we aspire, but do not forget that negative media coverage of a client may harm the image of his lawyer. However, media coverage does not necessarily bring clients – the lawyer has the duty to use the coverage to expand and reinforce his practice

Mr. Swid added that in criminal law she prefers to refrain from publishing about clients or cases. It can severely damage the defendant, in part to his ability to close a plea bargain

Adv. Moshe Gorali has no doubts about the importance of media and its impact on the lawyer. He offers Adv. Zion Amir as an example – after the representation of former President Katsav in the rape case he became a rising star overnight and recognized as one of Israel’s leading litigators

Another example is the Olmert case. Adv. Gorali believes that the vast coverage of the case and Olmert’s attitude in the Media, contributed to the harsh decision of the court towards him

Can we still appear in the media even if we don’t represent the former president accused of rape? Adv. Gorali says its possible but you have to use topics of interest to the media, such as large financial companies, famous criminals, unusual human story, over use of power by the authorities, etc

Mr. Motti Morell joined the discussion claiming that to enjoy the fruits of the Media, lawyers have to use Media consultants. A lawyer can contact independently the Media, but it may not be as effective and it’s not that easy. The lawyer can easily get lost in understanding to which type of writer his article may be relevant. Not all legal articles should be directed to a law reporter of a magazine

Second, in Media events, let alone Media crisis, a very fast and sharp response is required while the topic is still in the air. Media advisers know the media from inside and out, they know to prevent dangerous exposure and promote positive exposure, and know to function properly in this dynamic and complex environment

At this point, an interesting discussion started when Adv. Anat Roa (law reporter from Kalkalist) shared her view about the importance of personal relationship between a lawyer and journalist, contrary to Mr. Morells’ approach

According to her, there is no need the lawyers will be represented by a media consultant when submitting an article to publication. Sometimes the opposite is true – the law reporter can come into direct contact with the lawyer and understand better the story at hand

Adv. Swid closed the paned by stating that there may be no clear-cut answer to this question. Possibly, some lawyers that have more knowledge about the Media should work directly with the journalist, while the rest may want to hire an expert media consultant. In any case – remember to be careful from the power of communication

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