Firms Turn To Video To Tout Practice Areas

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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When attorneys in Murtha Cullina's trusts and estate practice were looking at ways to inform existing clients about changes in the tax law earlier this year, they decided to step out of their comfort zone—and in front of the camera.

The result of their Hollywood-like approach is a series of brief, educational videos called "Murtha Minutes" featuring the firm's lawyers.

Professionally shot and edited by Frontline Productions in Glastonbury, each of the five videos posted on Murtha's website highlights a different legal issue and topic of interest relating to the T&E practice. The first of the videos is called "The Basics of a Trust"; another looks at "Choosing a Trustee." Lawyers with starring roles include Elizabeth Leamon, Richard Marone, Alfred Casella and Irving Schloss.

The idea for the videos began "as a way to create more exposure and depth within the department," said Mark Korber, a Murtha attorney and chair of its trusts and estate department. Korber also appeared in some of the videos.

"While we understand and value the one-on-one in-person communication with each of our clients, we also understand that it's important to offer information in an easily accessible and easy to comprehend format," he said.

In addition to providing a service to their clients, Korber said, the videos have a public service component as well. "Through these videos, we try to touch on the estate planning issues that most families should consider addressing," he said. "We want the 'Murtha Minutes' to serve as a resource for our client base."

Many law firms are catching on to the benefits of producing informational videos to serve their clients and attract new business. In Connecticut, Willinger Willinger & Bucci in Bridgeport and Trantolo & Trantolo in Hartford are among those who have posted videos on their sites.

At this point, most law firm videos on the web are more advertisement than instructional. But according to marketing experts, there is a growing trend for law firms with deep pockets to produce more polished and substantive videos. In recognition of that trend, the American Bar Association last year created the "Golden Gavels" awards recognizing with small trophies the best videos among large, small and mid-sized firms.

Nicholas Gaffney, a partner at Infinite Public Relations in San Francisco and director of the Golden Gavels program, said firms are increasingly using videos as educational resources.

"More firms, large and small, have begun exploring how to incorporate them into their marketing mix," he said. "Law firms are producing their own videos but some are hiring outside vendors. There is a growing belief that in the competitive market for selling legal services, video can help firms distinguish themselves from others."

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