Thursday, September 28, 2006

Marketing From The "Other Side"

Law firm Web sites are the single most effective marketing tool employed by corporate, transactional and defense firms, according to a national survey by Alyn-Weiss & Associates, Inc. of Denver. Go here. Thanks to Mr. Bodine for the post.

The sample of the results from a prior market survey conducted with firms that have a contingent fee practice can be found in PDF format here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Saints Are Coming

I just returned from New Orleans, where on Monday Night the USA was watching. The game scored the 2nd highest rating in cable history. I was there. You can read a bit more about that night on Ernie's site; I can add this:

The people from Louisiana I met were sky high to be back. What it did to their psychological well being cannot be stated enough. I've been to more than 250 football games (college and pro), and this was more electric than any Super Bowl.

The day was crystal clear, the weather had a fall tinge to it (if you live in the South, that is), and the hotels seemed full. Smiles abounded.

Game time neared and the dome was alive. From the first strains of the Rebirth Band to the blocked punt, it was a set of loud and proud moments. After the game, I had a chance to see Coco Robicheaux in the Marigny area of the City.

The song played by Green Day and U2 was a cover of a Skids' punk rock song, "The Saints Are Coming." If you listen closely to the words of this song, you hear the anger, the defiance (typical of punk songs, of course) and of what happened to the City. Very much unlike the other benefit song, "In The Sun." While the hook "the saints are coming" is hammered home in the tune, Bono asks mid-song "how long now?" He then sings, "living like birds in magnolia trees, how long now?" and shouts "a child on a rooftop, a mother on her knees, her sign reads "Please ... I am an American!!"

The crowd goes nuts at that point, but most missed that Bono was crying it out, not thumping his chest. It was a recounting of that unbelievable time post-storm where Americans were anguishing and dying in the flooded city. Perhaps the tone was more in the tone of "I am an American damn it, and this can't be happening to Americans."

Make sure to listen to the lyrics early in the song:

A drowning sorrow floods the deepest grief--How long now?
Until a weather change condemns belief--The stone says

You can see the Green Day/U2 performance here, and see if I am wrong in what I heard and now hear:

The refrain:

The saints are coming, the saints are coming
No matter how I try, I realise there's no reply
The saints are coming, the saints are coming

For many, the "Saints" could have been the governments that promised they would come, but did - too late.

Vioxx: What was Counsel Thinking?

It was an impossible case to win going in," said Chris Seeger, referring to the process of selecting which lawsuits go to trial, according to the Merck zero verdict rendered yesterday in New Orleans. Go here for the quote source.

Why was that said? It makes almost no sense to make a remark like that. Most rational people would ask counsel who filed this case: 1)Why did you accept that case? 2)Why did you file it in Court? and 3)Why in the world did you tee it up in Court?

Friday, September 22, 2006

EJustice Tips for Google Ads:

Thanks to Landon @ for providing me with this information. I'm very pleased with the company, who has designed sites for my office, including

This is taken from an email of this morning ...

Google’s share of the U.S. searches performed reached 49% in March of this year, while Yahoo’s total search share was 22% and MSN received 11% of total search volume.

Can you remember back to the late 90’s when Google was a baby and Yahoo, Lycos, Hotbot, AOL, AltaVista, Excite and several others were well entrenched players? How did Google, who entered a fiercely competitive industry late in the game, garner such a dominant market share?

Google was able to earn hordes of converts, build deep loyalty and eventually become a household name (“Google it” is now part of our lexicon) because they made our lives easier by bringing us the information we were seeking quickly and efficiently. Their mission has always been providing us the information that is most relevant to our keyword search. Their success in doing so makes them the number one option in search.&nb! sp;

To see an illustration of Google’s dedication to improving your search for information, compare the home pages of Google, Yahoo and MSN. contains the search bar, logo and some relevant links. Other than that, it is a blank page! It is obvious what they want you to do: search. The Yahoo and MSN homepages are filled with ads, entertainment gossip, news stories, sports updates, weather information and more clutter that begs for your attention. Your eye has to search for the search bar. Google has the disciplined focus of getting people the relevant information they seek.

Google solved a huge problem we had with other engines. If you can recall the early days of search, you will probably remember times that you tried a few different keyword searches and dug through several pages of results before finding any useful information. Google became the only search engine we needed because they! were the best at matching our search query with the content o! f websit es. The keywords we type tell Google what information we desire. They search their enormous database of websites for matches and rank the sites based on relevance.

Since Google’s algorithm for ranking websites is based on relevance, you need to make your website relevant if you want people to find you. Two of the key factors Google uses in determining your relevance are the links that point to your website and the content (text) on your web pages. Links tell Google that your site is probably important and helpful because other websites about similar topics consider your site an authority. Content is the information you provide your readers. Google’s robots are programmed to read your website’s content. The data it collects is processed through Google’s algorithm.

Therefore, if you want people interested in “defective widgets that cause spinal injury” to find your website when they search Google, you had better create page(s) of content specifically discussing defective widgets that cause spinal injury. It is not good enough to simply discuss that your practices helps people who’ve suffered injuries in one section, and that you handle defective product lawsuits in another section. Create content giving helpful information for the exact problem you can help people address. The more specific you are about defective widget spinal injuries, the more relevant you are to people with that problem. The more relevant you are the higher Google will rank you, meaning that more people will find you when they search for information on the topic. Figure out what specific type of clients you would like to earn, and create pages of content tailored to helping them.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

GA Workers Compensation Report

Report slams Georgia laws on Workers' Comp, from the AJC:

Injured workers in Georgia face some of the toughest obstacles in the nation to getting financial relief for their suffering, according to a study released Wednesday by a national consumer rights group.

"Georgia is extremely problematic," said Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice & Democracy, a New York-based nonprofit that defends consumers' legal rights.

"It's certainly a state where workers have not fared very well in recent years."

Among the problems cited in the report:

•Georgia workers, who on average earn about $700 per week, receive the nation's lowest workers' comp pay – a maximum of $450 a week. Most states set the maximum rate at 75 percent to 100 percent of the state's average weekly wage.

•Georgia workers also have the shortest time to file a claim. The statute of limitations in Georgia is a year, vs. two to three for most other states.

•Georgia workers are cut off from weekly indemnity benefits — roughly two-thirds of their regular pay — after about 400 weeks, or just under eight years, with few exceptions such as catastrophic injury. Though they receive lifetime medical benefits, most workers aren't compensated for lost wages, physical or mental ability after 400 weeks, according to the report.

Go here for more.

Wyeth Wins First HRT Trial

A U.S. jury in the first trial against Wyeth's hormone replacement drug Prempro found that the company was not negligent and did adequately warn patients and doctors of the risk of cancer.

Analysts say also say Plaintiffs' lawyers will have a tougher time proving a disease link to Premarin and Prempro than they did with the diet drugs and a tougher time proving that Wyeth failed to inform patients and doctors' about potential risks for the hormone drugs.

For more, go here.

Vioxx Litigation Score Card

Well done and thorough article, link below which informs:

In the homestretch leading up to the latest trial in New Orleans, the score in the Vioxx litigation was 5 to 4 in favor of Merck. However, in mid-August, 2006, a New Jersey victory for Merck was thrown out reversing the score to 5 to 4 in favor of plaintiffs.

Go here for more.

Ortho Evra: New Warnings

Ortho Evra contraceptive patch will come with a new warning about a study suggesting users could face twice the risks of blood clots compared with birth control pills.

The label instructions for Ortho Evra also will carry results from another study that found the chances of blood clots were equal with the patch and a birth control pill.
The patch, which is replaced once a week, is viewed as more convenient than daily pills.

Scientists have known for years that the estrogen used in contraceptives raises the risks of blood clots, which can cause heart attacks or strokes. Women who use Ortho Evra are exposed to about 60 percent more estrogen than pill users.

For more, go here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Music Friday: U2 Debuts New Song @ Superdome 9/25

I'm in Atlanta, and the Falcons play the Saints 9/25 - in New Orleans. New Orleans is my favorite city and it's been a while since I have been. In today's news, it is being reported that U2 will now play at halftime and debut a benefit single, "The Saints are Coming:"

U2 and Green Day will debut their charity cover version of 'The Saints Are Coming' by Scottish punk band The Skids with a live performance on US television later this month.

Billboard reports that the bands will perform the song live at the re-opening of the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on 25 September, where American Football team the New Orleans Saints will play the Atlanta Falcons in a televised game.

Proceeds from the release of 'The Saints Are Coming' will go to Music Rising, an initiative co-founded by The Edge which helps musicians who lost their instruments during Hurricane Katrina.

For more, go here.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Vioxx in JAMA: More Bad News

From the JAMA edition set to go October 4th:

CONCLUSIONS: In this comprehensive analysis of 114 randomized trials with 116,094 participants, rofecoxib (Vioxx) was associated with increased renal and arrhythmia risks. A COX-2 inhibitor class effect was not evident. Future safety monitoring is warranted and may benefit from an active and continuous cumulative surveillance system.

More could have been done to ferret out Vioxx's harmful side effects before any real damage was done. Also, heart-attack risk rose as the dose of Vioxx increased. This risk was most pronounced in the first month after users started taking the drug.

There's a lot of blame to go around -- starting with Merck, according to Dr. Graham. He also cast some blame on the FDA. "In this case, they knew before the drug came on the market that Vioxx increased the risk of heart attack,." Link.

I will slog through it, but you can read it here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Vioxx: Case Gets Murkier

Get it? CNBC news video discusses fact that JAMA study shows no class effect ...

Go here to view it, you must have IE to view.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Third Vioxx Trial Underway: Robert Smith

In New Orleans before Judge Fallon, he has seated a jury of six women and two men was seated to hear the third federal trial involving Vioxx.

Robert Garry Smith is the Plaintiff when he had a heart attack in 2003. The case was selected by Merck as one of its choices to try early in the litigation. Smith has said he didn't realize the drug might have brought on his February 2003 heart attack until he saw a lawyer's television advertisement in 2005.

Merck says Smith was at risk for a heart attack because he was obese and had other medical problems. The company noted in a news release Monday that this is the first case to be tried in which the patient began taking Vioxx after the label was changed to say that the drug might increase the risk of a heart attack.

Smith is represented by Steve Kherkher and John Boundas from Williams Bailey in Houston and Mikal Watts.

Monday, September 11, 2006

1800+ Days Since September 11, 2001

1827. That number in particular struck me today, as it is the number of days (counting today) since that fateful day in 2001. Certainly that day will be on most folks' minds today at work, home, or school.

There are plans for a Flight 93 Memorial, and you can read about them here.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Taxus Stent - Blood Clotting Concerns

Boston Scientific is the maker of the Taxus stent, one of its blockbuster products. This week the company confirmed it had seen a statistically significant increase in such clotting n patients receiving its stent. Compared with patients getting bare-metal stents, an additional one in 200 is likely to develop a blood clot, the company said.

The clotting problem is a concern because blood clots can often be fatal. By contrast, the problem the stents are designed to fix, called restenosis, often leads to a repeat heart procedure but is not considered fatal.

Bare metal stents usually are problem free after the first thirty days.

Go here for more.

Merck Sponsored Vioxx Report: More Litigation?

The Vioxx report paid for by Merck is 179 pages in length, and also has exhibits. As I slog through it, the conclusion reached by the law firm paid $21 million by Merck to "investigate" and issue the report is that senior managers acted appropriately, but that employee actions were not up to snuff.

The report as I read it suggests that sales/marketing staff sought to "neutralize" doctors who were critical of using Vioxx-related incentives and also suggests that several Merck employees may have attempted to intimidate doctors who were critical of Vioxx.

To me the report suggests that reps used promotional materials that were incomplete as to cardiovascular information on Vioxx. The report also seems to conclude that PR reports were skimpy on the details.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Surprise Surprise! Merck Sponsored "Investigation" Exonerates Merck Vioxx Development/Marketing

From the "never saw this one coming" department, an investigation paid for by Merck and it's board has abvoled the company of wrongdoing in developing and marketing the painkiller Vioxx. The law firm that conducted this "investigation" used much of the same information used against Merck.

You can read the report by going here.

The first interesting aspect of this report is the author: "Report of The Honorable John S. Martin, Jr." even though Mr. Martin left the bench in 2003 to practice law with a law firm. It can't be that Merck is trying to use the prestige of a former judge to influence opinion is it?

The cost of the report is $21 milion. 53,000 billable hours were spent on this report, which means that another 5,000 hours were cut. If you do the math, the firm hired to issue this paper spent 300 man hours on each page. It took only seven weeks to write each page. Who says lawyers aren't getting rich from the Vioxx litigation?

The law firm that employs Mr. Martin interviewed 115 people for this paper. The link above does not, alas, have attached Exhibit 2 which lists witnesses.

Thanks to the WSJ Blog for the posting of the report and for the commentary on it. Go here.

Congress didn't give Merck a free pass. At hearings on the drug and the industry, committee members were highly critical of both the drug maker for its use of such highly misleading information and of the FDA for allowing Merck's business practices.

The end result of this ... ahem ... "report" is that it won't make more than one day's worth of news.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Garza Vioxx Trial: Juror Loaned $$$ by Plaintiff

Jose Manuel Rios, a janitor who served on the jury that found Merck liable for Leonel Garza's fatal heart attack after taking the painkiller Vioxx, testified in a post-trial deposition to borrowing up to $10,000 interest free from Garza's widow, Felicia, the plaintiff in the lawsuit against Merck. He said the loans included $2,500 that was paid off just weeks before he was selected as a juror in the case.

For more, go here.

Fragmin: Anti Blood Clot Drug - Death Risk

Twice as many patients stopped taking Pfizer's anti-blood clotting drug Fragmin because of death compared with those taking another anti-clotting treatment, FDA reps said in a report released on Tuesday.

Fragmin has been on the the U.S. market since 1994 and is approved for short-term use in patients undergoing certain types of abdominal and hip replacement surgery. The drug is also approved for long-term use in patients with certain heart conditions along with aspirin therapy.

Pfizer will ask a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel to back wider use of Fragmin for treating and preventing blood clots in cancer patients. The drug is already approved for treating blood clots in abdominal surgery patients, among others.

From Reutuers and