In a Pryor Cashman conference room, 40 floors above the bustle of Times Square, Ellen Grauer and Ellen Grauer Court Reporting’s Director of New Business and Media Content, Jenn Grauer, sat down with Philip Hoffman, one of Ellen’s most loyal clients. They met in 1996 when Ellen requested a meeting and brought Phil his transcript on the latest technology at the time, an ASCII disk. A veteran trial lawyer with over three decades litigating high profile cases across industries, Phil was joined by Michael Mellor; Head of Marketing, and Christine DiCrocco; Communications Specialist at Pryor Cashman to discuss how social media and new technology are changing the way attorneys practice law.
JG: Marketing has become such a big part of Pryor Cashman’s culture. What are some of the changes you’ve seen that have impacted the firm?
PH: When we first started marketing in 2004, our website looked like a postage stamp. In 2007, we revamped the entire website and came up with a marketing tool that we were all very proud of. In October 2015, when our new marketing group came in, all of our marketing activities were taken to a new level beyond anything we ever had before.
I work closely with the marketing team and am privy to the influx of emails that have poured in since we developed our new initiatives. People are doing the marketing here like they’ve never done it before. There is a stream of traffic from attorneys realizing what we’ve got and how to use it. It’s really expanded the way we work and connect.
We’re actually doing on-campus interviews now for law schools for next summer. I’m learning that people are talking to our interviewers about materials they received from Pryor Cashman, which drove them to our website. We’ve never had marketing involved like they are now, raising the interest and engagement of potential hires.
JG: “We are creators, supporters, protectors, and connectors. We see the world beyond law.” This is Pryor Cashman’s motto on the website. As the landscape of media evolves and our culture is more connected than ever, what is the firm doing on its marketing end to carry out this belief?
MM: As far as social media, it’s really about developing a unique selling proposition and perpetuating our message through every channel. We recently won the Venture Capital 2:1 ranking nationally for working with smaller organizations through out their life cycle; everything from their formation to licensing to litigation. Everything we do is embraced in our motto, whether that’s through on-campus interviews, recruiting, or our relationships with media.
JG: Tell us about some of Pryor Cashman’s marketing initiatives and social media best practices.
MM: Doing the homework to understand what people are responding to is really important to us – making sure there’s social listening imbedded within what we’re doing, having a human voice, asking questions like “what’s driving engagement,” and doing A/B testing. We’ve changed our tone to see what works, and we’re using software like Buffer to figure out best timing for when people are reading and responding to particular tweets. We’re doing one to two LinkedIn posts a day because that’s what the science is telling us. We’re doing four to five tweets a day, scheduled at different times, testing that, trying not to overburden people, and also realizing where our company sits as a law firm.
We’re up 400% in @PryorCashman twitter impressions in 6 months, 40% in twitter followers, 26% in LinkedIn followers, 50% in profile views. So we’re listening to what people are telling us and tweeting accordingly. Again, its about process and consistency.
PH: What’s amazing with these numbers is you might just think off-hand, “well that’s because of the people we represent.” But for the most part, those people don’t allow us to post anything about them. We win these cases for *******, for example, and it’s all over the press, but we can’t report it.
We’re also starting to post all the different social events at Pryor Cashman. All that gets reported now, which is great to show internally because people take pride in how the firm is engaging.
CD: Our attorneys are active in so many speaking engagements and noteworthy organizations. This is a big part of what we like to talk about through our marketing channels. It’s a great platform to expand our audience.
EG: Do you find that the older attorneys, who might not be tweeting on their own behalf, are getting a feel for this? Are you able to train them?
MM: That’s a great question and will be the biggest game changer. Employee advocacy is a high priority for us. If you can get 80 of your attorneys on board, the magnifying effect is amazing. We can’t enterprise and push out our agenda, so we engage the attorneys individually. We set up times to help people with their LinkedIn profiles to teach them how to mine business development and understand the benefits. We’re a small organization, so reporting little victories goes a long way. We’re starting to get more people picking up the phone and reaching out to us.
JG: It sounds like your initiatives and strategies have helped build further comradery within the firm and also higher visibility in the public eye.
MM: That’s the hope – it’s contagious. People see a process that works and they trust it.
JG: I read about one of Pryor Cashman’s newest partners, Thomas Vidal, in a recent article the firm posted on LinkedIn. It looks like he’s really harnessing his background as a software developer to put some very innovative systems in place at the firm. How else is the firm using digital solutions to further their practices?
MM: There’s a lot of information sharing at Pryor Cashman when it comes to innovative ideas – we have the ability to move really quickly without bureaucracy. It’s a culture where a lot happens organically. We’re able to be at the forefront and really adapt to new technologies.
PH: Before it would take six hours to process all the paperwork when filing an appeal. Now you can go onto the court website, download every document and shoot it directly. That time-consuming process now takes me 15 minutes.
The firm also just put in a new document management system called iManage. I’ve always prided myself on being organized, so I was hesitant about what would happen to all my folders. I went and coded all my documents, and now this system automatically puts your documents into folders and stores all your emails. So it’s making the disorganized more organized, and someone like me, I’m off the charts now! [Laughs] I think that’s going to have a real impact on our time and the way we practice law. The whole way we work is changing.
Ellen Grauer, Philip Hoffman, Michael Mellor, Christine DiCrocco
Jenn Grauer, Philip Hoffman, Christine DiCrocco, Michael Mellor