October 29th, 2009

mypictureLeanna Hamill

Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorney

Co-founder of Women Attorneys Network of the South Shore

Author of Massachusetts Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Today we’re tweeting with Massachusetts Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney and aspiring yogi @Leannahamill

  1. @Leannahamill thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @Leannahamill?
    She is the woman you are interviewing – Auntie, yogi, dog owner, attorney, business dev. manager, among other things.
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    I have a 4 yo estate & elder law firm in a small town south of Boston. A solo practice, but I share space w/ another attorney.
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    People who want to plan for the future, or need help dealing with a crisis.
  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    The ability to protect their choices about their health care, their family, their property, & end of life wishes.
  5. Important issues indeed. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    That they need to pay me before I start working for them. And that they made the right decision deciding to put a plan in place.
  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    One of my first clients – helped her write her estate plan, a few years later met her at the hospital when she fell…
    …helped her friend serve as health care agent & power of attorney, helped her sell her condo to pay for assisted living…
    …made sure her last wishes were honored & went to her funeral after she passed. She was an amazing woman & great client.
  7. That’s a great story. Why do your clients hire you?
    I think I make them feel comfortable, they feel confident that I know what I’m doing & usually someone suggested that they hire me.
  8. That’s a good reputation to have… What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Right now lots of guardianship matters. Not typical, but not usually something that can be put off if it’s needed…
    And lots of estate planning, which is more typical. Mostly folks nearing retirement age.
  9. How are your clients managing the crisis? Is it a matter of meeting financial needs or are consequences much greater?
    Some laid low, put off planning for a bit. Younger families held onto their money. Probate work & Medicaid planning continued….
    Most clients came through ok, although those who were saving for retirement in stocks have less than they had planned on.
  10. That’s good to hear. How do you market your practice?
    Mostly through my blog, which brings about 50% of my business. Also thru seminars, quarterly newsletter & mentions in the media…
    I also have clients who act as my own little marketing dept, telling their friends & family about me. That is my favorite way to mkt
  11. Absolutely! How do you describe what you do to people you meet at networking events?
    I don’t have an elevator pitch. I usually just say “I’m an estate planning & elder law attorney”…
    Networking events are my least favorite & least productive way to get clients. But I go to the fun ones & where my friends are.
  12. You blog at MA Estate Planning and Elder Law (http://bit.ly/nq4wv). Who do you write for? Why should they read it?
    I write for potential clients, their children, other attorneys & professional. They should read for useful information.
  13. Besides Twitter and your blog, what Web 2.0 tools do you regularly use to market your practice?
    I am on Avvo, JDSupra, Justia, Linked In. I have a Facebook Fan page: http://is.gd/4HtFg.
  14. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    I’ve gotten at least 1 client from each. Blog brings about 50% of my business & media inquiries. Twtr strengthens relationships.
  15. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Hopefully the whole time I’m at work I’m strengthening my brand…keeping my name out there & doing great work for clients.
  16. Well it seems to be working! What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    Having to adjust to clients wanting new types of billing & having to learn to market beyond yellow pages & newspaper ads…
    I think we forget that many attorneys still rely on those old ways of marketing & don’t use blogs, and other online tools.
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    smaller firms, more “virtual” services, only those people who really want to be attorneys will go to law school….
    It won’t be the “get rich quick” career it was.
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    Live in a cabin in the mountains, sew, cook, raise goats & have a couture clothing line for children.
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    As a fabulous Auntie, wonderful sister, great friend & fantastic attorney. Hopefully I won’t need to be remembered for a long time.
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Cook, knit, sew, hike, swim, read, yoga, & chant kirtan when I can find it around here. Hang out with my family.
  21. Busy…. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Don’t settle or wait for something to fall in your lap. Be proactive and market yourself, and ask for what you are worth.
  22. And our last question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Don’t worry about your friend’s study habits. Find what works for you & stick w/ it. Not everyone needs to be at the library @ 1am.

That’s very useful advice. Thank you very much for tweeting w/me today; I enjoyed learning about you and your practice

Thanks for having me!

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