12-Hour Armed Hostage Standoff Ended By LCA Fellow Ross Fishman


Ross Fishman is holding the certificate, with Mayor Nancy Rotering to the left and Chief Lou Jogmen to the right, surrounded by some of the other police officers who were on site that day. © 2022 Breaking Media, Inc.

The original article, "12-Hour Armed Hostage Standoff Ended By Legal Marketer. Wait... what?" by Joe Patrice, was originally published on December 16, 2022 at 3:02 PM on Above The Law. © 2022 Breaking Media, Inc.

Has your firm ever bypassed hiring a professional legal marketer because you and your partners are positive you can sell the world on the idea of paying you hundreds of dollars for a two-hour “internal meeting”? Before you get so cocky about your persuasive skills, this legal marketer JUST NEGOTIATED THE END OF AN ARMED STANDOFF!

Ross Fishman of Fishman Marketing works with law firms from the Am Law 50 down to firms with fewer than 50 attorneys. A few days ago, he earned the “Citizen Citation for Meritorious Service” from Highland Park, Illinois, for his efforts ending an armed hostage situation.

Three months ago, a man barricaded himself inside his home with another local resident and an unknown number of weapons. From 10 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., over 50 police and SWAT personnel tried to end the standoff. The hostage left the house, but the resident was still locked in the home and neither the SWAT negotiator nor the man’s mother or brother could talk him out.

“At 10:30 p.m. I persuaded the Chief of Police that being a lawyer I might be able to help with some of the issues, and, having run out of options, he let me try,” Fishman said. Fishman emailed and called the resident and, “I was able to talk the perpetrator out safely within 15 minutes.”

FIFTEEN MINUTES. No lawyer ever gets results in less than 2.7 hours.

The specific citation bestowed upon Fishman is “awarded to a private citizen for an act which involves uncommon risk to the citizen when providing assistance to the Police Department, or for an act which results in the saving of a life or attempted saving of a life in which extraordinary efforts were used and uncommon risk to the citizen was involved.” Among a gathering of cops in tactical gear armed with assault rifles, Fishman was wearing a blue blazer. Because a hostage situation is not an excuse to overlook style.

“I never envisioned myself as a hostage negotiator, but my litigation and negotiating training (that I use regularly when pitching marketing campaigns to law firm marketing committees) certainly came in handy that night!” That’s an understatement.

Thankfully everyone turned out safe. But to bring this back around to the legal industry, marketing just isn’t something firms should be winging and definitely isn’t a hat you should be wearing while simultaneously trying to practice. The professionals who devote themselves to this job understand how to convince people.

Though as far as we know, Fishman is the only one capable of ending an armed standoff.

Called “one of the country’s leading experts on law firm marketing” by Lawyers Weekly USA, Ross Fishman is known as one of the legal profession’s most innovative marketers and strategists. As CEO of Fishman Marketing, Inc., he has helped over 250 law firms on six continents (including many LCA Fellows’ firms), generate countless millions of dollars in new revenue, increase client retention, and enhance lateral hiring.

Ross develops powerful branding campaigns and effective websites to enhance firms’ profiles and credibility and uses the latest business-development tools to help lawyers bring in the work. For firms without strategic in-house marketing support, he serves as outside marketing director/CMO, offering individual lawyers and firms high-level advice on an hourly or daily rate. A popular presenter, Ross has conducted or keynoted more than 300 firm retreats, training programs, and CLE/ethics presentations in 25 countries. After practicing as a commercial litigator, Ross became marketing director and marketing partner of two prominent Chicago-based firms before launching Fishman Marketing.

Known as “the creative mind behind a host of law firm campaigns that have redefined the field,” his marketing efforts have received countless international awards, including the Legal Marketing Association’s (LMA) grand prize, the “Best in Show” award, five times. Recipient of a peer- selected LMA “Lifetime Achievement Award,” he was the very first legal marketer inducted into the LMA’s Hall of Fame. As a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, Ross has written over 500 bylined articles and ten books. A 1986 member of the Federal Trial Bar (N.D., Illinois), he received his B.A. in Speech Communications from the University of Illinois and his J.D. from Emory University School of Law.

Fishman Marketing is a Diversity Partner of the Litigation Counsel of America.