FDA Shares New Plan for most Medical Devices to have Unique Identification Numbers

Posted by on Jul 5, 2012 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

New FDA Plan to Give Medical Devices and Implants Serial Numbers for Easy Public Tracking

Medical Device Products Liability Lawyers

Featured image courtesy of pinksherbet licensed under creative commons.

The FDA has unveiled a new plan to give medical devices, such as hip implants, unique identification numbers. The idea is that a cohesive and publicly accessible database of medical devices can save lives and avoid serious injury. As of now, there is really no way for a manufacturer or doctor to know which devices are dangerous. Furthermore, in cases where there is a problem with a device, it is difficult for anyone to figure out if the problem is constrained to a specific manufacturing batch or if it is widespread. The new system would allow open access to a database of the devices, with information such as the manufacturing date, batch number, and expiration date.

Access to this database would be essential for patients, doctors, manufacturers, and lawyers. Patients would now have the ability to monitor their device’s specific serial number for recalls and advisories. Doctors and hospitals could run a check on any device before it is used or implanted to make sure that no problems had been found with that device in general or that batch specifically. Manufacturers would better be able to track their devices, leading to more efficient recalls and better monitoring over time. Lawyers would be able to use batch information to show that there was a manufacturing defect with a group of devices, or that a hospital could have known that a device was faulty before surgery.

This system will now go into a phase of public scrutiny and comment, where all parties can share their concerns. If and when it is approved, it will be phased in over the course of years, with the riskiest devices being addresses first. Anything sold over the counter is likely to be excluded. No patient information will be included in the database, rather, the identification numbers would be stored in each patient’s individual medical records.

The FDA has published a full Rule Proposal as well as a Press Release. The public comment period will last 120 days. While the estimated cost of implementing the program could approach $70 million per year, there could eventually be a large reduction in the number of products liability lawsuits, which, at least for the companies being sued, would help offset this cost. Hospitals may feel the stress of having one more thing to monitor, but they will be lowering their chances of being sued every time they check the database.

Other legal ramifications of this system are yet to be seen. We would love to hear your thoughts on how this database could affect products liability law or medical malpractice law. Share your comments below.


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10 Social Media and Marketing Gurus that Your Law Firm Should Follow on Twitter

Posted by on Mar 15, 2012 in Social Media | 0 comments

10 Social Media and Marketing Gurus that Your Law Firm Should Follow on Twitter

Featured image courtesy of Rosaura Ochoa licensed under creative commons.

If your law firm is on Twitter, and it should be, there are many useful feeds to follow. We are interested in the ones that will help your law firm market itself. To that end, we have compiled a list of useful Twitter accounts focused on marketing and social media. We have mentioned some of these earlier in an article about legal Twitter feeds, but we feel that anything repeated was worth repeating. Although very few of us went into law school thinking of law as a business, it is. These Twitter feeds help us out with some of the stuff we missed when we were taking pre-law liberal arts classes.

  1. Kevin O’Keefe – Kevin always provides useful articles and observations about the intersection of social media and law. His tweets are often also about technology in general. We find ourselves wanting to re-tweet him a few times a day. If you plan on using social media as part of your law firm’s marketing plan, following Kevin is a great way to start.
  2. Jeff Bullas – When it comes to creating content about using social media for business, Jeff Bullas may be king. Although his feed contains little legal content, it is essential if you are trying to get a leg up in the world of social media. Jeff Bullas is the very definition of a guru.
  3. Lilach Bullock – She specializes in internet marketing and posts useful articles. More importantly, she is really nice and has written us a personalized comment every time we have re-tweeted her.
  4. TweetSmarter – Twitter may be an absolutely horrifying platform, especially for new users, but the conversation happening there is essential to the future of legal practice. TweetSmarter posts tips that make Twitter a litte less scary.
  5. Buffer – Nothing does a better job of making Twitter manageable for us than Buffer. Buffer allows you to plan out your tweets for the day so that you aren’t faced with the choice of posting many things at once or remembering to go on Twitter multiple times each day to space out your posts. Buffer also integrates with most browsers so that you can simply add tweets to your queue. We promise the app is worth playing around with. Their Twitter feed is useful as well.
  6. Marieke Hensel – Lots of great posts here. She also re-posts lots of useful information from other Twitter users.
  7. John Lichtenberger – He helps attorneys advertise and understands both legal advertising and the laws of advertising.
  8. SEO web pro – This company posts lots of great articles about optimizing your website to get great search engine results as well as other useful articles about marketing. Their links take you to a landing page, but generally you will find that the articles were worth the extra click to get to.
  9. HubSpot Platform – HubSpot is a company that specializes in inbound marketing software. They do a great job of posting useful information about technology for small businesses. Their posts are often related to social media, but cover a larger and more interesting range than that. HubSpot is definitely worth a follow.
  10. DotCO Law Marketing – If you somehow are not already following us, we invite you to start. We wouldn’t actually call ourselves gurus, but you are welcome to. We try to provide a mix of useful original content, like this blog post, as well as an aggregation of great content from other Twitter users and websites. Our focus is always on lawyers at small to medium sized law firms and providing information that makes their lives easier.
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Which Social Media Networks are Right for Your Law Firm?

Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in Marketing, Reputation Management, Social Media | 0 comments


Featured image courtesy of kat m research licensed under creative commons.

Which Social Networks Should My Law Firm Join?

Social Networking seems to be growing exponentially. Nearly every week, we get an invitation for a new network. At first it was just LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Google+, Pinterest, and many others have since sprouted up. How do you know if your firm needs a YouTube page? Should you be on Flickr? In this post we will do our best to help you decide which networks are right for your law firm.

First, we need to establish that your firm should be using social media at all. Is there really a reason to invest so much time and effort into something that does not provide clear results? Yes. Here are three of the most important reasons why:

  1. If someone is using social media to find a lawyer, your firm has to be there or else it won’t be found.
  2. If all of your competitors and colleagues are using social media, but you aren’t, your firm may appear less cutting edge and up to date.
  3. Social media, when used correctly, is a conversation. It is a way to make connections and learn.

Once you have decided to establish social media accounts for your firm, you must decide which networks make the most sense for you. First, I will deal with the no-brainers.

Networks Your Firm Must Join


When you first log on to Twitter, it appears to be a jumbled chaotic mess full of spammers and self-proclaimed experts. However, after a little exploring, it becomes apparent that Twitter is the largest conversation that has ever existed. Part of that conversation is about the practice of law, and, as it has often been said, that conversation will happen whether you participate or not. The decision to not only use Twitter, but to participate in that conversation, drives learning, networking, and the practice of law. Twitter is also the place many people go to complain (or rave) about businesses and services. Monitoring Twitter regularly allows you to see what people are saying about you. We have previously published a post that can help you figure out who to follow on Twitter if you are just getting started. (Follow DotCO Law Marketing on Twitter)


LinkedIn is a place for professionals to meet. It is a bit like Facebook, but more business oriented. Every lawyer should be on LinkedIn individually and every firm should also have a page. LinkedIn helps lawyers cultivate and maintain professional relationships made offline while allowing for introductions and networking online. Built-in groups features help you plan events and have discussions. Job search features can help you find new employees. (Find us on LinkedIn)


By now, you probably know what Facebook is and how it works. The important question is whether your firm belongs there. It does. Believe it or not, there are people who will look for a lawyer on Facebook. Just being there might get you a client at some point. Law firms should not expect to get the same reaction from their pages that major corporations get. There is no reason why your law firm should ever have thousands or “likes” or fans. Facebook does allow you to easily share links, contact information, and other relevant news without keeping a window open all day. Your firm’s Facebook page will not need constant monitoring, as almost no one will visit it. If you are investing time on social media, it is worth a few hours to create a Facebook page, but do not let it drain your time or resources after that. (Visit DotCO Law Marketing on Facebook)

Networks to Join for a Specific Purpose


Google+ seems to have stalled a bit since its inception. No one is quite sure what to use it for right now. Its main advantage over Facebook in its infancy was better privacy controls. However, Facebook has since adopted similar mechanisms. The biggest reason to be on Google+ is that it gives your firm the appearance of being tech-savvy. People do not accidentally find themselves on Google+, and anyone finding your firm’s page there will realize this. A firm with a Google+ page gives the appearance of staying current in technology, which may also help you convince potential clients that you are on the forefront of legal practice. Google+ does not seem the be the place where the future of legal discourse will evolve, but is probably the best social network for people interested in the advancement of technology.


If your firm has a good reason to be on YouTube, you probably already have an account. Posting videos about commonly asked legal questions is a great way to get attention while helping potential clients.  Your firm might also make videos introducing all of its employees, partners, and associates, or give a tour of your office. YouTube’s utility is somewhat limited, but a great video can be seen by thousands of people.

Networks Your Firm Can Safely Ignore


There is almost no reason why your firm would need a Flickr account. While we have previously discussed the importance of keeping a good camera around, it doesn’t make too much sense for a law firm to keep many pictures online. A gallery on your website or Facebook showing off your employees and office is fine, but you should not expect to accomplish any useful legal networking on a site like Flickr.


While Spotify has been rapidly growing as a network for music fans, it offers no real benefit to law firms. That being said, it doesn’t hurt to grab a personal account and see what your friends are listening to.


To paraphrase Disney’s Lion King:

Mufasa: Everything the light touches will be yours

Simba: What about that shadowy place?

Mufasa: That is Myspace. Lawyers must never go there, Simba.

Too Early to Know


It seems that every day, we come across multiple articles on Pinterest. Some of them are even about how lawyers can use this service. It doesn’t hurt to make a page for your firm, just to hold the name. It could turn out that Pinterest gets huge, and that lawyers flock to it, but we wouldn’t suggest spending too much time on it right now.

Does Your Law Firm Use Other Social Networks?

Have we missed any important social networks that your firm uses? Please comment and tell us what other networks make sense for your firm.

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Legal Marketing Strategies – Switch From Absolut to GEICO

Posted by on Feb 29, 2012 in DotCO, Marketing, Print Advertising, Social Media | 1 comment

Legal Marketing Strategies – Going from Absolut to GEICO by Diversifying

Featured image courtesy of teamstickergiant licensed under creative commons.

This blog has previously covered many different types of advertising strategies for law firms. We have recommended everything from billboards and newsletters to websites, radio ads, phone books and legal directories.  A core principle at DotCO Law Marketing is the belief that using multiple types of advertising simultaneously is the most crucial part of your marketing campaign. This is why we recommend that the advertising space that we sell is used to supplement other advertising strategies such as firm websites and legal directory listings.

The GEICO Model vs. The Absolut Model

For a long time, Absolut Vodka had an excellent advertising campaign. Their iconic ads by TBWA were simple, clever, and pervasive. They became part of pop culture and stayed there for years. For many people, the Absolut bottle was the first image that popped into their head when they thought of vodka. While those advertisements were top notch, they were mostly limited to print, especially magazines. As the internet became more widely used, and social media grew in popularity, Absolut did not adapt. While the brand still enjoys strong sales, today’s market would rather drink Grey Goose because it comes in a better looking bottle.

As Absolut’s marketing campaign was fizzling out, GEICO came out of nowhere, seemingly made of pure magic. Rather than having one solid line of commercials, they had many, often at the same time. GEICO commercials saturated print, billboards, television, radio, the internet, and, briefly, were the basis of a television series. On any one day, a consumer might hear a standard sounding radio commercial about 15 minutes saving them 15% on car insurance, walk past a billboard featuring a pile of money with eyes staring back, see a print ad involving a gecko, watch a television spot involving a caveman, and download a GEICO ringtone. GEICO has done an incredible job of making multiple campaigns and characters more recognizable than even a single campaign from some other insurance companies. Their advertising has paid off, and GEICO is now one of the largest insurers in the United States.

Applying This Lesson to Your Law Firm

Very few law firms are ever going to have multiple television campaigns running at once, and even fewer will ever have apps or ringtones, but there is still plenty to be learned from what GEICO has done. No one type of advertisement will be seen by every potential customer. Furthermore, different types of advertising work on different people. When your law firm is planning advertising strategies, as many methods of advertising as possible should be used. Whether you decide to use one binding theme in all of your ads or to mix things up with a combination of serious and humorous ads, the key is to put them in more than one place. Billboards are great. So are television and radio. Advertising on the internet is essential. However, in this age, it must be remembered that the internet is not just one thing. A great website is essential, but it must be supplemented. Whether you pay a search engine for advertising space, list your firm with a directory, advertise with DotCO, or all three, saturation is key. When someone searches for a lawyer online, they can only choose your firm if they see it. The more searches that return your firm’s name, the more potential clients you will have. If your name is everywhere, it will be seen eventually.

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What Using Yelp for V-Day Taught Me about Reputation Management

Posted by on Feb 21, 2012 in Reputation Management | 2 comments

Featured image courtesy of brad.coy licensed under creative commons.

What a Great Valentine’s Day Dinner at Stella! Taught Me about Online Reputation Management on Yelp

Last week, I wrote about Online Reputation Management for Law Firms. I intended to move to a totally different topic this week, until I had a particularly interesting experience with Yelp on Valentine’s Day. Living in New Orleans, there is a near endless list of great restaurants to bring a Valentine’s date to. Being the romantic sap / foodie that I am, I wanted the best. By most accounts I had seen in recent years, Stella! was about as good as it gets, so I made a reservation. The next day, out of curiosity, I started doing more research. I spent a long time on Yelp. What I found horrified me. While Stella! had a 4-star rating, many of its recent reviews were terrible. People complained about everything from the temperature of the food and the price to the wait staff and the restaurant’s policy on cancelling reservations.

For a while, I was quite nervous, thinking that I had made a terrible decision. A closer inspection, however, revealed that I probably had no reason to worry. It turns out some people just like to complain. One reviewer gave a poor rating because the party next to them was loud. Another was upset because the amuse bouche wasn’t vegan. I decided to keep my reservations and take a chance.

From the first bite, I knew that I had made the right decision. My date and I were both extremely happy with every single thing we ordered. The service was excellent, the ambiance was amazing and we had a great time. My date told me it was the best meal she had ever eaten in New Orleans. Within a few hours, I had added my own Yelp review.

Not the most exciting story in the world, but I think all business owners and many law firms can learn from it. Even the smallest inconvenience or perceived problem can spur someone to write an angry review. Before people used the internet to voice their complaints, this wasn’t such a big problem. Everyone knows some people who like to complain about everything, and whose opinions you take with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, when it comes to the internet, it can be hard to tell which reviewers went in looking for a reason to complain and which reviewers had a good reason to be disappointed.

Customer service has always been incredibly important, and the internet has only made it more important for every business or firm to focus on the customer. Businesses should do all that they reasonably can to guarantee customers a great experience. Law firms must do their best to keep clients updated, informed and feeling important.

I made the right decision and moved past the negative reviews to find the truth for myself. Many customers won’t. It is crucial that businesses monitor review sites on a regular basis to deal with poor reviews. The most frustrating review I found on Yelp was by a woman who gave Stella! a 1-star rating without ever actually stepping inside because she was unsatisfied with the tone of the woman on the phone who helped her cancel a reservation a few hours before she was scheduled to eat. This will happen to every business or firm at some point. A non-existent or perceived fault or slight can lead to a damaging review that can be seen by thousands of potential customers and clients. In an era when a single review can have so much power, it is up to your company to keep its reputation solid and to be vigilant about monitoring Yelp and other sites.

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