Selling the GC – Lesson #1

One topic to launch on this occasional Friday is legal marketing. Selling part of this process. I’d intended to start with what I like–but then a certain email came my way.

Crafted to not clearly run afoul of CAN-SPAM, the message set off an alarm when I noticed it was addressed to “undisclosed-recipients”. Calling a potential client that hardly starts to warm a cold market. (It’s also a sign the mailing list wasn’t opt-in). That’s strike one.

Nevertheless, I read on. Apparently a software vendor and a major law firm (Am Law 100) were inviting recipients to a web seminar on e-discovery. The email went on to say:

This session provides an overview of recent case law and the business requirements for an effective internal and enterprise-class computer investigation capability. It also covers how an organization can leverage its current network infrastructure and enterprise-class technology to meet these critical business objectives.

Hmmm, does receiving spam help me to leverage network infrastructure? No. Strike two.

As my finger paused over the “delete” key, the boilerplate at the bottom came into view:

Note: The information contained in this message may be privileged and confidential and thus protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Thank you.

May be privileged? “If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient….” But the recipients are undisclosed! Either way we have strike three, yer out.

Ernie the Attorney has already knocked it out of the park on the issue of legal boilerplate; it is often a sign of over-lawyering. A firm that features it in a marketing communication should probably reassess its strategy before hitting “send” again.

So here’s Selling the GC – Lesson #1:

First impressions count; intrusive and legally incongruous ones don’t.

Update: Less than 15 minutes after posting this, a remote check of office email shows another law firm spam message coming over the transom. When I hit delete, the always-obnoxious Outlook “Request Read Receipt ” box pops up. Bad firm, no cookie. Read Lesson #1, above.