Jeff Fabian, J.D.

Former lawyer, professional writer for law firms and the legal industry with interests beyond the law.

Author: jfabian (Page 1 of 2)


The Two Keys to Impactful Law Firm Web Content: Empathy and Ability

Does your website try to convince prospective clients to contact you, or does it lead them to convince themselves? When it comes to content marketing, this is a critical distinction, and one that I explore in the article that follows.

Getting Clients is About Giving Them what They Want

For law firms that are relatively new to using – and I mean really using – the Internet to grow their client base, knowing how to develop quality website and blog content can be a challenge. Even getting to this point begs the question: What does ‘quality’ really mean when it comes to online content?

To a certain extent, the answer depends on what you want to get out of your law firm’s online presence. For the sake if this article, we’ll assume that your firm is like most others, and is seeking to harness the power of the Internet to grow its book of business.

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Fast and Loose with Footnotes—Maybe Not Such a Good Idea

Do you have a tendency to rely on substantive footnotes in your briefs? If so, consider this a warning.

A Stern Warning from the Bench

It is generally advisable not to bury key points in footnotes or rely on references to other documents in briefs. But, when a tribunal says something like the following, it is definitely time to take notice:

“Incorporation by reference amounts to a self-help increase in the length of the brief and is a pointless imposition on the court’s time.  A brief must make all arguments accessible to the judges, rather than ask them to play archeologist with the record.”

These are the words of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in its recent influential decision, Cisco Sys., Inc. v. C-Cation Techs., LLC, Case IPR2014-00454 (PTAB, Aug. 29, 2014), quoting DeSilva v. DiLeonardi, 181 F.3d 865, 866-67 (7th Cir. 1999) (internal quotations omitted).

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Why Isn’t Anyone Calling?

If your law firm isn’t getting enough leads, here are some thoughts on how you can use content marketing and other tools to get prospects to pick up the phone.

Learning from Television

Ok, so this is where I admit that maybe, just maybe, in certain, limited respects, I’m a little bit behind the times. Specifically, I just finished watching the first season of Better Call Saul.

Yes, Season 2 starts next week, and no, I don’t have cable. So, yes, I waited months and months and months to watch a short, and frankly a little bit slow, season of television that most of the world watched a long, long time ago.

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Phoenix to Bozeman, via the Pacific Coast Highway: Part 1

Into the Desert

“We accept: Cash, Checks, and Pelts”

Now I knew we were getting somewhere. We were two days into our two-week road trip, on our way back from a hike that started at a trailhead seven miles from the last paved road, and I hadn’t seen the sign on the way out because it was on the east side of the building. Now we were heading back west, out of “town,” and this gem couldn’t have not caught my eye. I imagine it reflects normal commerce in this part of the country, where people get their running water from huge drums indiscriminately placed in their front yards next to rusting pick-ups that haven’t moved since who knows when, but for me this was quite literally a sign that I was off of the beaten path.

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Is this the Worst Lawyer in History?

Is this the Worst Lawyer in History?

It isn’t often in my research that I come across something that I find truly hard to believe. But, while researching an article for a law firm that represents attorneys facing disciplinary action for ethics violations, I found one recent case that would put even the most imaginative script writers to shame. In this article , I discuss a case in which an attorney gets disbarred for among many, many other things, falsely telling his opposing counsel that he was, “in a hospital room watching a loved one die of cancer.”

“The seriousness, scope, and sheer brazenness of Respondent’s misconduct is [sic] outrageous.”

While researching an article for a firm that represents attorneys facing disciplinary actions, I came across a state supreme court opinion that I have to believe (and hope) reflects one of the most egregious attorney misconduct cases in history. The opinion is dated December 1, 2015, and reflects the actions of an attorney who had been admitted to practice in the state since 2003.

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How Small Law Firms Can Use Content Marketing to Target New Clients

How Small Law Firms Can Use Content Marketing to Target New Clients

In this article , I provide an overview of the benefits of content marketing and discuss five ways that law firms can develop more-effective online content. The article targets an audience of small firm lawyers in particular–these lawyers are most likely to be trying to write their own marketing content and are also strong candidates for professional content marketing services.

If you are seeking to grow your practice, content marketing may be the way to go. Potential clients in all practice areas are turning to the Internet to find lawyers more now than ever before.

As a solo or small firm lawyer who spends some time on the Internet, you may be familiar with the concept of “content marketing.” With more and more prospects turning to the web to look for lawyers, content marketing is quickly becoming an essential tool for law firms to build their books of business.

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Can I Write About That? Ideas for Extending the Reach of Your Blawg

Can I Write About That? Ideas for Extending the Reach of Your Blawg

This article considers ways that lawyers can look outside of their core practice areas to find topics that may be of interest to their clients and prospects. Using the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, I discuss how law firms can use current events to target their intended audiences and drive more relevant traffic to their websites.

How Thinking Outside the Box Can Drive Prospects to Your Firm’s Website

Let’s face it: Most lawyers’ blogs are pretty stale. Maybe not to you or me, but to your prospects? How about an article with a title article along the lines of, “Ninth Circuit Issues Landmark Ruling in Eminent Domain Litigation.” Sounds enthralling. Right? Right? Bueller?

The reality is that the stuff that matters to lawyers just doesn’t matter to the vast majority of their clients and prospects. Yes, landmark decisions are critically important, and yes, they affect your clients’ cases. But, do your prospects really care about the appellate history or the court’s reasoning? No, they don’t. All they care about is that you can help them get what they want as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

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Did You Miss Anything? Going Beyond the Four Corners of the Document

In this article, I focus on the idea of looking beyond the contents of your contract or brief to see not what mistakes you’ve made within the document, but what you’ve overlooked completely. Too often, during the editing process, lawyers (and other people) only focus on what’s in front of them. But, in many cases the problem is not what is there; rather, the problem is what’s missing. The article starts with an example in the transactional context and then gives some practical suggestions before turning to litigation.

Providing Sound Advice Requires a Broader Perspective

As a transactional lawyer, you spend a good portion of your day writing and reviewing contracts. Whether you’re working on an eight- or nine-figure deal, preparing an NDA, or addressing a consumer relationship, providing sound advice is as much about spotting missing terms as it is about clarifying or negotiating the existing language in the agreement.

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Popular Belief Notwithstanding, The Order of Your Words is Important

The foregoing notwithstanding? Or, notwithstanding the foregoing? In my experience, most lawyers don’t give much thought to the distinction between the two. But, is there not a critical difference? Let’s look at some examples.

A Primer on the Proper Use of ‘Notwithstanding’ in Contracts

In a past life, a transactional attorney I worked for once told me that my edit to move “notwithstanding” within a contract provision was “personal preference.” Since that day I have always carefully scrutinized the use of this term in contracts. As can be demonstrated with a relatively simple example, the placement of this word—frequently in either “The foregoing notwithstanding,” or “Notwithstanding the foregoing”—can completely alter the effectiveness and enforceability of competing language in an agreement.

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Engaging Prospects with Your Law Firm Website Content

When writing for the web, law firms need to be able to see their content from their potential clients’ points of view. In this article, I discuss some key considerations for making sure that your content speaks to your intended audience.

Law Firm Website Content: It’s About Speaking to Your Potential Clientele

So, you understand that your firm’s website is a marketing tool. But, what exactly does that mean? What kind of content not only (a) draws potential clients to your website, but also (b) keeps them there and leads them to contact you for help?

The answer to a certain extent, you’ll appreciate, is “it depends.” More on that below. However, the general rule is that your website should focus less on your firm and more on its website visitors.

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