How Divorce Has Changed in the COVID-19 Era

The divorce rate in the United States sits at nearly 50%… and the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened to send that number even higher.

With couples forced to spend even more time together, many experts are predicting a surge in divorce filings once the pandemic begins to fade away.

But what if couples don’t want to wait that long? Divorce procedures – and court procedures, generally – have certainly changed significantly since the onset of the virus, and couples looking to file for divorce will have to adapt to a whole new set of considerations and protocols.

  1. Divorce Processes
    Just because many traditional proceedings have moved online, it doesn’t mean that divorce can’t happen. It just might look a little bit different.

    For example, while many offices are still functioning, their work has moved online (all or mostly). Where in-person court dates and proceedings may not be an option, Zoom conferences, phone meetings, and others may be a viable plan.

    However, it’s important to consider that due to large backlogs from early quarantine’s lockdown, there may be significant delays in scheduling any meetings or services.

  2. Custody Agreements
    In general, quarantine has kept family members, friends, and others apart. But what do divorced parents do about custody agreements for their kids when they’re separated between two locations?

    It certainly makes for a tricky situation, and its one that requires plenty of thought.

    While courts will most likely continue to rule on custody based on statutory best interest, many parents will likely have to agree on special provisions considering the nature of the pandemic.

    For example, parents may choose to utilize more virtual time over apps like FaceTime and Zoom.

  3. Financial Agreements
    COVID-19 has been hard on thousands of working Americans, many of whom have lost their jobs due to the economic fallout of the pandemic.

    For divorcing couples, this type of financial hardship becomes even more complicated.

    Couples facing these types of hardships will likely have to make special considerations when going through their divorce case.

    Issues like spousal or child support may need to be modified or revised in the interim while either or both parties seek stable employment and income.

Divorce in any case is a complex and painful issue; however, COVID-19 has only amplified them. To determine how to market your services during these difficult times, please contact Paul Herrmann at or at 410-703-4993.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – Champion of American Workers has died at the age of 87

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg championed the rights of everyone who struggled for equality – women, yes, as well as minorities, the marginalized, and workers.

As a young lawyer, Ginsburg herself was discriminated in the workplace. Although she graduated at the top of her law school class at Columbia, employers repeatedly rejected her. As Ginsburg later mused, “Not a law firm in the entire city of New York would employ me…. I struck out on three grounds: I was Jewish, a woman and a mother.”

This experience let to Ginsburg’s her early work with the ACLU. In a landmark case, Ginsburg successfully argued to the Supreme Court ruling that discrimination in the workplace on the basis of gender is unconstitutional — a revolutionary concept at the time.

After assuming the bench, both her opinions and her dissents shaped the lives of American workers in fundamental ways.

While it’s extremely difficult to choose exactly which cases were the most influential, here are three cases that demonstrate well Justice Ginsburg’s passion for the American people.

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. led Congress to pass of one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in the past twenty years.

As she read her dissent in Ledbetter from the bench, Justice Ginsburg called on Congress to act. Her passionate call for justice resulted in the passage of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to allow more time for workers who have faced pay discrimination to file complaints.
The Ledbetter case demonstrates that even Justice Ginsburg’s dissents had profound implications for American workers.

Shelby County v. Holder

Ledbetter was one of Justice Ginsburg’s many landmark cases… and in fact, some of her most notable opinions were dissents.

In the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder case, Alabama’s Shelby county challenged Section 4b of the 1965 Voting Rights Act – a section that required states with a history of voter suppression to receive attorney general approval before making any voting law changes (otherwise known as “preclearance”)

This section of the voting rights act was intended to stop voting discrimination across the country, but especially in states like Alabama and Texas.

However, Shelby County argued that section 4b was outdated and unconstitutional in the 21st century – and a weak 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court agreed with them.

In a scathing dissent, Justice Ginsburg wrote that “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

Obergefell v. Hodges

The landmark 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges gave same-sex couple the right to marry in all 50 states.

During oral arguments, Justice Ginsburg eviscerated her opponents, arguing against Justices John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy’s notion that same-sex marriage would weaken the institution of marriage.

She said, “All of the incentives, all of the benefits that marriage affords would still be available. So, you’re not taking away anything from heterosexual couples. They would have the very same incentive to marry, all the benefits that come with marriage that they do now.”

Justice Ginsburg’s work as a litigator, as well as her outspoken support for LGBTQ+ rights, paved the way for this case.

Ultimately, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Every American worker – indeed, every person in this country — has benefitted from Justice Ginsburg’s work to ensure equality for all.

For more information, please contact Paul Herrrmann at or at 410-703-4993

Is Your Law Firm Set Up for Success in 2021? How to Survive – and Thrive – This Year and Beyond

There’s no denying that COVID-19 has completely shaken up the law firm landscape. Since the beginning of this crisis, law firm revenues have fallen 30%, greatly impacting profitability, partner profits, and overall, the ability to keep the lights on.

Those are scary statistics. And after Labor Day, Law Firm Leaders and Executive Committees across the country will meet to discuss exactly what needs to be done to keep their businesses running. They’ll realize that in these times, they need more than just great lawyering. They’ll realize they need a strategic business plan to succeed.
The whiteboard is clean right now. On January 1, 2021, firms will start from ground zero. Fall 2020 is the time to get a business plan in place to secure your spot as a winner in 2021.

What is a Strategic Business Plan?

A strategic business plan is a comprehensive outline of specific tactics to realize your firm’s goals. It has four key characteristics:

  1. It is strategic and it is in writing.
  2. It is actionable.
  3. It is accountable.
  4. It is measurable.

    Getting through this crisis and beyond will require a well-balanced strategy by leaders and management to create systems and infrastructure now that will help you both survive and thrive into the future. Launching a successful strategy requires planning and executing specific tactics to realize your firm’s goals.

Your new whiteboard must address several crucial and specific elements that combine strategic research and business planning. Your business plan needs to cover the intersection of management, marketing, mergers, technology and client service.

The Foundation You Need for Success

A strategic business plan is extremely comprehensive and requires dedicated time to researching your needs and your goals in order to set yourself up effectively for the future. The research guides the foundation of the business plan, but there are specific questions you must answer to be successful. These are the answers you need to get from an effective research analysis:

  1. What is the reality of your current situation and position?
  2. What are your goals? You need to truly articulate these.
  3. What is your brand?
  4. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?
  5. How can you increase your competitive edge? This involves knowing your competition.
  6. How can you improve your client relations? And how can you integrate new elements of client service? A handshake needs to be replaced with a phone call and emails.
  7. What do your markets look like? Your prospects? Business development tactics?
  8. Do you have a plan for recruiting and/or mergers?
  9. Do you have a plan in place for leadership succession?
  10. Have you integrated technology into your business?
  11. How does your website look and perform?
  12. Have you performed an administrative and infrastructural analysis?
  13. What do your budgets look like? Do you know what line items are needed? Do you know how much to allocate? Do you know why and what to look for?
  14. What metrics should you track: daily, weekly, monthly?
  15. What is your timeline for completing these changes?
  16. What are your criteria for success?

This may sound like a lot, but every single one of these questions and answers are critical. Most of your goals will require strategic planning and on-going execution of activities and are not specific project or product related at this point in time. Therefore, most of the heavy lifting is upfront with research, getting to know you and building the infrastructure, planning and budgeting. In essence, your research objectives should answer all of the above questions and more. It truly involves starting from “ground zero.”

Structuring Your Strategic Business Plan

Mergers, Acquisitions and Recruiting: You need to be on the right side of the shake-out. Commit yourself to actively pursuing new business and staffing opportunities right now. In essence, you need to be a leader, or be a technician.

Branding, Marketing, Business Development and Lead Generation: It’s not just about posting a status update on Facebook and LinkedIn anymore. It takes sophisticated marketing plans to truly survive and thrive in a crisis. In the new virtual world your brand and knowledge of your brand will be everything.

Technology: Remote work will characterize the legal landscape for a while. How can you actively communicate with and listen to clients, virtual staff, prospects, other law firms and the courts? What systems do you need to put in place to make sure your connections are secure, and you can have seamless business continuity?

Client Service: You need to differentiate your delivery of client services in a virtual world, while still providing the same quality of care and service as always.

Market Analytics: You should obtain sophisticated data on your clients to know what they’re thinking, how you can help, and market data on what your competition is doing. You need to have these deep dive analytics right at your fingertips.

Website: In 2021, your website will be the most important tool in your toolbox. Is it currently set up for success? Does it achieve your firm’s goals? Your message? Does it promote your brand?

Compensation Planning: Thinner profit margins will require you to take a hard look at your compensation matrices. Do you feel that your current matrix effectively motivates your partners to bring in more business?

Based on my recent research, it is obvious to me that many of your competitors have already forfeited this fight. Now is your time to take the lead and take advantage of the competitive landscape. But doing this will require a mixture of management, marketing, mergers/recruiting, technology and client service… all of which should work in tandem to ensure that you thrive during the current situation and beyond.

I’m Here to Help You

I’m reaching out to offer a hand in helping, advising, and carrying some of the workload that comes with making the inevitable changes brought on by this crisis. I am a law firm consultant with over 25 years of experience in business planning, marketing, business development, website development, technology, coaching, succession planning, recruiting, and mergers. I work with small-to-midsized law firms to help them not only survive, but thrive, through the most volatile situations – including the current COVID-19 pandemic that has shaken up the legal landscape in significant ways. You may have noticed my placements and articles in The Maryland Daily Record. I offer a cost-effective service, with fees based on success and ROI results.

I value and respect your time, and all it will take is a quick phone call to see if there is a fit. You can contact me at 410-703-4993 or to determine if I can work with your team to develop, create and implement a strategy that will push you through the current situation and into the future.


Paul Herrmann

HerrmannLAW launches new site for Shavitz Law Group

HerrmannLAW is excited to announce the launch of a new website for Shavitz Law Group, a law firm focused exclusively on employee rights and emphasizing class action and wage and hour litigation. The Florida and New York based firm which represents clients nationally, reached out to HerrmannLAW for help developing their website design, security, and marketing strategies to inform clients on how exactly the firm can help them stand up for their right to be fairly compensated. HerrmannLAW worked with the team from Shavitz for months to develop a site that combines user-friendly and secure features for their clients, alongside state-of-the-art digital tools to promote their business model and aspirations for years to come. You can check out the new site here.

Are you looking to increase your firm’s marketing dollars to promote your business model, build on your aspirations and see a return on your marketing investment? With more than 25 years of experience, HerrmannLAW will help you combined branding, technology and analytics to push your marketing to the best it can be. Contact us today for a marketing consultation.

Thriving Through The Crisis

The Intersection of Marketing, Mergers, Technology and Client Service

There’s no denying that the necessary measures taken by organizations to remain functional during the COVID-19 pandemic will alter the way the world operates.  The same is true for law firms, who now face several new challenges. To continue practicing great law, firms will now have to adapt to new ways of listening to increasing concerns of clients during this global pandemic. Furthermore, firms will need to emphasize building their brand, making a presence in a new virtual environment and getting used to a new business model outside of the traditional brick-and-mortar way of doing things.

These new challenges mean that law firms now have an obligation to accommodate new world standards into how they conduct their business to remain relevant. Most importantly, law firms will need to think like start-ups and reimagine their future. You will need to embrace change or disappear. Your competition has already forfeited!

In essence, the whiteboard has been wiped clean. The new whiteboard shows a well balanced strategy by leaders and management to create systems and infrastructure now that will help you not just survive but thrive through this crisis and beyond.

Your new whiteboard must address these crucial elements:

  • Mergers, Acquisitions, Recruiting: Be on the right side of the shake-out! Continue to be a leader.
  • Marketing, Business Development and Lead Generation. It’s not just about Facebook and LinkedIn!
  • Technology: Utilize your virtual offices and work from home!
  • How to communicate and listen to clients, virtual staff, prospects, the Courts, and other Law Firms to ensure security and business continuity.
  • Differentiate your delivery of client services in a virtual world.
  • Market Analytics: Obtain sophisticated data on your clients. Know what they are thinking, how you can help and what your competition is doing. Put deep dive analytics at your fingertips.
  • Website 2021: This will be the most important tool in your toolbox!
  • Bring New Ideas: Embrace change, but that change must “bubble up” from within, not cascade down.

Launching a successful strategy requires planning and executing specific tactics to realize your firm’s goals. Thriving is accomplished by successfully implementing these tactics. Contact Paul Herrmann to work with your team to develop and create the ideas for your new whiteboard. Let us show you how your firm can thrive through a crisis.

Marketing In A Crisis

Forget Best Practices, Engage Best Thinking

There’s no denying that the necessary measures taken by organizations to remain functional during the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially alter the way the world operates. The same is true for law firms. Several new challenges now face law firms. To continue practicing great law, firms will now have to adapt to new ways of listening to increasing concerns of clients during this global pandemic. On top of this, firms will need to emphasize building their brand, making a presence in a new virtual environment and getting used to a new business model outside of the traditional brick-and-mortar way of doing things.

These new challenges mean that law firms now have an obligation to accommodate new world standards into how they conduct their business to remain relevant. Most importantly, law firms will need to think like start-ups and reimagine their future. If you don’t, your competition will. It is crucial that law firms embrace change, but that change must “bubble up” from within, not cascade down. In essence, the whiteboard has been wiped clean.

Marketing is at the center of how to master adapting your law firm to the aftermath of this global crisis. Very few businesses that have survived crises and cut their marketing as a result look back on it as the right thing to do. So, let’s talk about how to maintain your marketing strategies and adapt them to suit these new standards. Here are some steps that your firm should be taking to ensure that you remain relevant in an ever-transforming legal landscape:

Ask yourself this: where do you want your firm to be when the crisis is over and at the start of our new reality? If you want to be considered a proactive, positive influence in the law arena, you need to start now. If you do nothing and tuck it in, you will lose tremendous momentum and credibility as a proactive firm. Marketing is not a switch-on, switch-off activity. It’s actually more costly to constantly stop and start the marketing process rather than just keeping the train moving. It will be impossible to turn the switch on fast enough once you know the crisis is over.

You can’t afford to look unprofessional. Trust your instinct to know what’s right or wrong, rather than relying on standard – and oftentimes cheesy – COVID-19 ALERTS! which can be perceived as ambulance-chasing and taking advantage of a bad situation. Structured non-threatening information is great, but scare tactics are overall just bad form.

It is important that you continue to walk and talk marketing and let your attorneys know they have outlets should the need arise. Even though on-site marketing is not viable at this time, other activities can keep the flame and infrastructure alive. Your firm needs someone who lives and breathes marketing — someone to push and bounce ideas off of, and someone available virtually 24/7. Nothing shuts down a lawyer’s great idea more than the words, “But we’re not marketing right now!” Keep the conversations alive, and you’ll keep marketing alive.

Utilize the new digital workspace to your advantage. Organize discussions with attorneys via Zoom or other online platforms to keep your marketing momentum strong. Develop and share a consistent stream of webinars, events and other activities within your firm to keep attorneys involved with marketing topics and developing new ideas. Host round table discussions to keep an open forum for everyone to voice issues that come to mind. Working together will be critical to navigating the workspace during the present crisis and beyond.

Getting out of the gate strong should consistently be at the front of your mind when thinking about strategizing in the present for when things eventually turn around. The goal in taking this approach is to ensure that you can become the proactive law leader in your market. Prioritize what’s necessary marketing-wise during this time. It is crucial to be active by taking the following steps:

• Continue to keep clients at the center of your focus. Determine one or two things that your clients need the most and jot them down. Keep that at the front of your mind and act to meet those needs. Write, post, actively help and get press.

• Build a positive brand and build brand awareness by doing good things. What good things might this entail? Start writing and doing things that help others. Think about the things that your clients and the public might need the most right now.

• You can also provide help by communicating with your local bar associations to learn how to best help other lawyers. Communicate with law schools to mentor law students. By being a resource for others, your law firm will be a leader in the profession. All you need is one good idea to get started. Executing any idea appropriately and with the helpful intentions will provide positive brand awareness and will put you far ahead of the competition when things start to turn around.

• Be even more active with your relationships with the press. The media will be desperate for content and stories, both good and bad. Concentrate on being the face of good stories. Everything the firm does will then turn into positive content and positive media exposure, which creates compelling website content.

• This is the perfect time to start updating and nominating all attorneys for Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers for 2021. Begin nominating lawyers for Top 100 Women in local business journals, 40 Under 40, practice area awards and more. Even though you won’t see results for a while, the nomination processes will create a buzz around your firm and will get people talking about marketing.

• Push yourself and your attorneys to provide up-to–date informational content.

• Keep your website fresh. Become a go-to resource.

• Engage on social media. Clients and prospects will be spending more time indoors and on their computers. Go where the Buyers Go! They will be on social media, be there with great information for them. Posts are easy, but also think target ads to your markets!

• Think Cross Selling. Zoom the attorneys in different practice groups to discuss their specific client issues and needs relating to COVID-19 and see how they can help each other. To break the ice, follow what’s trending with COVD-19 searches and see if the topics start some discussions.

• Produce continual content to keep Search Engine Optimization (SEO) moving.

• Prioritize for website analytics. Know your keywords, research your search terms, know who comes to your site, why and where they go once they get there. It’s an eye-opener and gold-mine for future ROI marketing.

• Dip your toe into online digital advertising (PPC). There is no clutter right now; helps build your brand and make the phone ring.

• Analyze your clients’ website and marketing activities. See what’s on their mind and you will be surprised how you can help.

• Do competitive analysis. It’s easy. You’ll be motivated when you see what your competition isn’t doing!

These are just some of the simple activities you can accomplish now through effective marketing. It’s critical to write more, post more, be relevant and find ways to help clients, staff and other lawyers and communicate those messages. The list of possibilities to capitalize on building brand awareness and maintaining internal momentum for your firm through this crisis truly is endless.

Now more than ever, it is crucial for law firms to think about new ways to care for their clients’ legal needs. Law firms need to use this time to take a step back, reassess, and strategize to be of better service to their clients. At the end of this crisis, your firm will be that much stronger for the efforts that you put in now. There truly is no time like the present!

If your law firm is looking to maintain and develop your brand during the COVID-19 crisis, get in touch with HerrmannLAW today. With more than 25 years of experience in law firm marketing, business development and technology, HerrmannLAW will combine branding, technology and analytics to ensure your law firm’s marketing dollars promote your business model, aspirations and you see a return on your investment… even during the toughest of times. Contact HerrmannLAW today and learn how to turn outdated into outstanding today

HerrmannLAW launches website for premier litigation firm Ethridge Quinn

HerrmannLAW is thrilled to announce the launch of a new website for Ethridge Quinn, a dedicated litigation powerhouse located in both Frederick and Rockville, Maryland. We worked with the firm to make complex in-house site changes, including designing an entirely new website with a new
look, sophisticated technology and updated copy and photography. We are so excited to finally share this vision publicly. You can visit the site at

Is your outdated website creating a negative impression? With more than 25 years of experience, HerrmannLAW specializes in turning outdated into outstanding – all for under $20 thousand. Our robust content management systems offer responsive designs, ease-of-use, industry- leading security and facilitate updating, all while delivering cost-effective solutions for your firm’s specific website needs. Contact HerrmannLAW today for a consultation and increase your marketing dollars now!

Succession Planning: A Critical Step to Secure Your Legacy

You are in charge of your firm right now, but one day, you will retire. Who will take your place and transition into your role? How can you ensure that their transition will be a smooth one? A successful transition of leadership requires a successful succession plan, the process by which you can identify and develop the new leaders of your firm who will take over when you move on.

However, succession planning is not a one-off event. You should treat it as a critical process in your firm’s business development, planning five years in advance of when you plan to retire. This way, you will be able to enjoy the retirement years that you rightfully deserve, all while maximizing the value and credit you receive for the firm you built. By treating succession planning as a long-term process, you will be able to assure that you institutionalize both your firm and your legacy. You will further establish your firm’s brand that, with proper planning, will last through generations of successors in the firm.

Succession Planning is Accomplished in Steps

Successful succession planning requires research, marketing strategy and business development. Being a part of a succession plan means that you can have a hand in institutionalizing your firm’s name and legacy, all while making sure that the person who takes your place shares your firm’s values and best interests at heart. With that said, there are a few critical steps that are necessary to consider while you’re developing your succession plan:

First, do some research. You need to learn more about your business, internal culture, target markets, goals and expectations. Your objectives should be to study items like your desired marketplace position, strengths and weaknesses, key messages, threats and opportunities, current and desired client profiles, implementation of strategic communications, image and messaging, as well as a demographic analysis of your attorneys themselves.

Your firm research needs to include an evaluation of each of your attorneys and their individual contributions to the firm and the firm’s values. A realistic valuation of your firm can help to better support your transfer of ownership plans for the future. Additionally, your research should consider a client transition plan for who will take over the firm’s most important clients when you move on. This research will provide a detailed situation analysis of your firm, which will allow you to move forward with a solid succession plan and maximize your marketing dollars.

Second, build your brand. Your brand is your most important asset which will create value for you and your firm long after you have retired. You can do this successfully by conducting a thorough Brand Analysis, which will show you what clients, prospects and recruits see and think when they encounter your various brand touch points.

In addition to a Brand Analysis, you should obtain a complete professional audit of your website and aim to build the very best website possible. For businesses, websites are one of the most important communications tools of the 21 st century. Websites provide a foundation for a firm with a big vision – a firm like yours!

Third, begin business development coaching. You should aim to coach your firm’s future leaders, including your associates. This will be the best way to show your attorneys and recruits that you
genuinely care about their growth.

Finally, handle the firm structure. Once you’ve completed steps one through three, you will be in a better place to determine partner roles, structures and responsibilities, while also developing leadership and management responsibilities. This will ensure that your firm is left in a good place once you do retire. You should also determine compensation and retirement plans, as well as transition clients that remain well-represented within your firm. It is important that you support growth for the generations of lawyers to come.

You know you have to retire eventually, but simply knowing this information is not enough. You need to develop a solid succession plan, backed by strong marketing that will reinforce your firm’s brand and continue to develop your firm’s value through the years to come.

The steps are essential: Research. Build your brand. Coach your future leaders. Determine your firm’s structure.

Don’t wait, get started today! Keep the conversation going and get started on research that will help you create an exit strategy that lets you retire proudly while achieving the rewards of the firm you have

HerrmannLAW launches new website for Tydings & Rosenberg

HerrmannLAW is thrilled to announce the launch of a new website for Tydings, a Maryland law firm that has advocated on behalf of large corporations, privately held businesses and individuals for over 80 years. We worked with the firm’s marketing director who wanted to make complex in-house site changes, and therefore needed a sophisticated Content Management System. Additionally, the firm needed failproof Internet security in place in order to ensure the safety and privacy of their information. At the end of the day, HerrmannLAW solved these issues with great design and technology and implemented a new website for 70% less than comparable law firm website costs. We are excited to share that vision publicly. You can visit the new site at

Are you looking to increase your firm’s marketing dollars to promote your business model, build on your aspirations and see a return on your marketing investment? With more than 25 years of experience, HerrmannLAW will help you combined branding, technology and analytics to push your marketing to the best it can be. Contact us today for a marketing consultation.