The American Lawyer recently published In-House Lawyers to Big Law: Enough Already With the Coronavirus Webinars (25 March 2020). At least for Jackson Lewis, that turns out not to be true.

The article opens with

This might come as a shock to some Big Law firms, but in-house lawyers throughout the world are sick of the unrelenting barrage of coronavirus-related emails and webinar invitations.

Reading this I was not surprised. In the recent past, before the epidemic, I often heard in-house counsel complain that they receive too many email updates from their law firms. Or that updates are too long without clear and actionable opening summaries.

The complaints American Lawyer reports do not speak to a universal truth. Not long after I read the article, I talked to my old friend Patrick DiDomenico, Chief Innovation Officer at Jackson Lewis, about it.  He said that his firm’s COVID-19 webinars are very popular. I said that if he could provide details, I would blog about it. He put me in touch with his marketing team. I then conducted a short interview with Chief Marketing Officer Mariana Loose. She shares below some information and statistics about the firm’s webinars.

The success of Jackson Lewis webinars and the article can both be true. The key for law firms is to know their clients and what they want.

Tell me a bit about what the firm is doing and how it’s working out.

Since the Daily Briefing’s inception on March 25, we’ve had roughly 890 participants each day on average. Our highest attendance was over 1,500 people for an April 6 briefing on OSHA Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements/Respirators.

The webinars are limited to 20 minutes. Our lawyers present 10 minutes of content and then spend 10 minutes in live Q&A so that our attendees get a chance to have their direct questions answered.

All of our contacts who have signed up to receive content from the firm are invited to participate, and we record each one and make it available on our website and via social media after the live briefing.   

Part of why we believe these are working so well for our clients is that they are short and hyper-focused on a topic our clients have expressed interest in, and also because we provide ample time to listen to their questions and answer them. 

How does attendance at the COVID-19 webinars compare to what you have experienced in the past?

Our standing best practice has been to target specific practice or industry areas for our webinars, rather than invite all of our contacts to attend like we are doing with the Daily Briefing – so it’s tough to compare the numbers we’re seeing for these webinars to our typical average. However, compared to other nationally-focused webinars we’ve hosted recently, we’re seeing significantly more interest in our COVID-19 briefings.

How many questions do you receive and what then?

While we try to answer questions in real time during the program, we only have time to answer a limited number live. However, each question asked during a briefing – and we’ve typically received an average of 226 questions for each one! – reaches the appropriate contact at the firm directly, so we can ensure that the lawyer is able to reach out personally to the attendee. We use the questions to determine future topics, so we can make sure we’re always covering subject matter that is helpful to our clients and contacts.

I almost hate to ask in these times but any new matters arising from them?

We have received several new matters as a result of COVID-19 webinars, including the Daily Briefing. While that’s obviously appreciated, the intent of the Daily Briefings is really to help our clients and contacts navigate this uncharted territory.