I have worked at both small and large firms.  All offered associate training programs. Some were better than others. However, rarely did any program focus on the nuts and bolts of our practice. In the next few weeks, I’ll provide some helpful tips.  Today, I’ll discuss five marketing tips for associates:
  • Join a Board. It’s a great way to meet people. However, check with your general counsel to make sure that you are minimizing your individual liability and are free of conflicts. Beware of the Board trying to use you as a lawyer as you are not representing the Board. And it’s best if it’s not the Board of a client so that no one is confused about your role.
  • Don’t treat your LinkedIn account like Facebook.  LinkedIn is a great way to keep your network informed about various topics and important events. Be selective about whom you let join your network and don’t let anyone join your network unless you know them.
  • Visit your clients for free.  Visiting your clients in person is one of the best ways to effectively represent them. You often learn things that wouldn’t necessarily surface on a telephone call. By not charging for the visit, your client will appreciate your commitment to and investment in their business.
  • Always network.  Every month, make an effort to meet with someone whether for lunch or breakfast, or if not possible, via phone.  Young associates can connect with former law school classmates, who will serve as future referral sources.  
  • Be different.  You only have a limited amount of time after trying to make hours and have a life. Use your time wisely. Join a group of interest that doesn’t have lawyers or if it’s lawyer-related, try to find groups that don’t have a lot of lawyers with your specialty.  So, if you are an IP lawyer, go to a business-focused CLE as corporate lawyers are often some of the best referral sources.
Try one or more of these tactics and don’t get discouraged as marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.


It usually happens when you are in need of work. You open your e-mail and find an inquiry from someone looking to hire you. In fact, they are even willing to give you a retainer. So, you click on the e-mail only to fall prey to a phishing scam.

I must admit that I have not been paying attention and opened a few of these types of emails on my phone. Fortunately, nothing terrible has happened as most are not designed to work in an Apple OS environment.

In any event, here’s the fastest way to tell. Look at the sender’s true email address. While often spoofing someone sounding credible, the actual email address will quickly reveal the fraud. So, the next time you are contacted out the blue, hover over the email address before taking any action.


For years, pursuant to Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, the FTC has been able to pursue violators in court for permanent injunctive relief as well as restitution or disgorgement. However, a question arose as to whether Section 13(b) actually allows a federal Court to award equitable monetary relief of this nature. 

Yesterday, the Supreme Court answered the question in the case of AMG Capital Management, LLC v. FTC.  The FTC may not seek restitution or disgorgement under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act. 

While the FTC may still seek monetary relief after it has engaged in administrative proceedings and issued cease and desist orders, this ruling is a significant blow to its enforcement powers.  Administrative proceedings typically take longer and are more cumbersome.  Restitution and disgorgement under Section 13(b) were effective tools that I used at the FTC to address consumer fraud.   

It will be interesting to see how this ruling affects the FTC’s approach as to future consumer protection matters.


Sometimes, companies spend significant resources trying to develop a particular theme for an advertising campaign while ignoring even more egregious claims being made on their website.  So how does this happen? There is a disconnect between Legal and Marketing.

Legal might approve a particular ad and then Marketing decides that it can use a portion of it in another context because it has been “cleared.”  The problem is that ads are vetted based on the “net impression” that is made on consumers.  As such, taking a claim out of the context of the particular ad can cause an issue.

Often, companies list customer testimonials on their website, which contain atypical performance-related claims. They think that since they are truthful, there isn’t any sort of liability, which is untrue.  Indeed, the performance claims (e.g., saved $1000) may be even more aggressive than the claims being vetted for use in the primary ad campaign. 

Disclaimers are another area of concern. While certain disclaimers may have been approved for use in print advertising, they may not be effective when presented online because consumers can’t see them. 

Simply stated, one size does not fit all when it comes to advertising. As such, companies should take a holistic approach to ensure that claims are being properly presented in all respective media.

BlackBerry: Can It Save Its Diluted Brand?

Not long ago, the only smart phone that people knew about was the BlackBerry. Now, it’s been recently reported that BlackBerry has fallen to #4, behind Windows, Android and Apple.  What happened? Decentralization and resulting dilution. BlackBerry was experiencing tremendous growth in the marketplace.  However, rather than delivering a consistent message that leveraged off its tremendous name recognition, BlackBerry decentralized its product line, offering a host of models that appear to have cannibalized BlackBerry’s market share. To this day,  it’s hard to know the differences between the Curve, Bold, Torch, Tour and Storm models. Apple and Samsung, on the other hand, went on a marketing frenzy, bombarding consumers with more centralized messages around their iPhone and Galaxy products and reportedly spending ten times that of BlackBerry.  Armed with a new CMO, BlackBerry appears to be on the mend, focusing on regaining brand recognition. As the weeks unfold, we will see more about the BlackBerry Q5 and BlackBerry Z10.  The company is returning to the brand that put it on the map.  The question is whether it can regain its lost ground. What can be learned? If you have a strong brand, leverage it. Focus on what works and resist the temptation to diversify to the point of cannibalizing your own market share.  We’ll see if BlackBerry can regain its position as #1.