What do Martindale-Hubbell, Debbie Harry and Legal Marketing have in common?

Blondie_-_Parallel_Lines

Yesterday was Debbie Harry’s 70th birthday. I’m not sure if this made me feel really old (I had Parallel Lines on 8-track, you can now listen to the whole album on YouTube), or feeling young, as I am still 20 years younger than her. Either way, I was sitting at lunch yesterday chatting about Ms. Harry’s birthday, and I noticed that an associate (and a senior associate at that) had a blank look on his face and then he said: “I have no idea who Debbie Harry is.”

GASP.

Debbie Harry. Lead singer for Blondie. Former Playboy Playmate. Queen of CBGB and Studio 54. Debbie Harry, come on! What next? The Sex Pistols selling out to Visa??

To answer my question, “What do Debbie Harry and Martindale-Hubbell have in common?” easy peasy: People under a certain age have no idea who or what they are. And, if they do have a slight impression of who or what they are, they don’t understand or appreciate the relevance. Continue reading

Levels of Hell for This ENTJ

test patternIt’s me. You do not need adjust your settings. My posts haven’t fallen through the cracks. You have not inadvertently unsubscribed yourself from this blog and all my wit and insights. I’ve been busy. The kind of busy where my laundry doesn’t get done, and quality time with the Sports Dude is listening to the radio show he produces.

I am starting to come out of it … perhaps it’s the summer lull that comes with everyone else taking a vacation. It could be that I’m just burning out waiting for my vacation and have returned to my old and faithful keyboard for comfort and inspiration. Either way, hi there. It’s been too long.

I was inspired this morning to write a brilliant post after reading Tim Corcoran’s What’s your RSTLNE? I was starting to research different ways legal marketers can help lawyers think about differentiating themselves, and …

squirrel

However, in my case it was the The Definition Of Hell For Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type. I’m an ENTJ and this fits me perfectly:

ENTJ – Somebody is wrong, and they’re directing a large group of people! You can’t do anything about it and will have to obey whatever inefficient policies they decide to implement.

Continue reading

What do you do with good advice?

Like everyone reading this blog post, I am busy. I have too much on my plate. I can’t get to all the things I need to do today. I feel guilty for the I cannot get to. I panic over what I am missing, or what has fallen through the cracks. I wish I had more time. When I have more time I don’t want to be doing business development. I need a vacation. I’m afraid of a vacation and leaving the office (actually, my in-box).

I get it. But here’s my problem: I am supposed to coach you on how to work your way through this, while I am living the same problem.  Continue reading

Have you Googled your headshot lately?

When conducting a social media training I always ask the audience to Google their name and if they don’t like the results we can do something about it. It’s always an eye-opener.

Gina Rubel posted this week about online impersonation via your headshot. Apparently, disreputable companies will grab your image online and utilize it when selling their wares. Why is this important? It’s YOUR reputation and brand.

What I Found After I Googled My Headshot

My name is Gina Rubel and I am the CEO of Furia Rubel Communications, Inc. Therefore, I am not Melinda on Twitter at I Create Millionaires (all one word but I don’t want to repeat it here), or Patricia Briggs who blogs about debt forgiveness, or Arpita Thakur or Sarah Zhan from India on LinkedIn. I have never played black jack so I would never post on maclackjack.blogspot.com and I am not Xavier Steyaert on YouTube.

Please take a few moments to read the full post by Gina, Have you Googled your headshot lately? Reporting Impersonation, and to follow her instructions if you should find that your headshot has been hijacked.

As for the companies who have hijacked Gina’s image, you have definitely messed with the wrong person. I look forward to reading the follow up posts to Gina’s saga.

What’s it like to fill Jonathan Fitzgarrald’s shoes? Lessons from my first 90 days.

Shoes

Jonathan Fitzgarrald and me headed to Phoenix LMA

I get asked this question a lot these days, “What’s it like to fill Jonathan Fitzgarrald’s shoes?”

I just reply back honestly, “I don’t know. I brought my own.”

“Filling the shoes,” so to speak, of another person is challenging. Filling the shoes of half your dog & pony show can be daunting.

Like myself prior to joining this firm, Jonathan was in his position for nearly eight years. He had seen through a culture change and shift. He saw through the passing of the baton from one generation of law firm leaders to the next. He was witness as the old guard of rainmakers retired, and the new guard took root. The firm Jonathan left is much different than the firm he joined.

And I am now having my own unique experience. I will get to witness the firm I joined on February 23, 2015, evolve into something different. I will hopefully have the ability to influence and help shape things where I can. But that’s not what this blog post is about.

So what is this post about? I suppose my first 90 days (yes, it’s been 90 days), the things that I have noticed, and things that I would share with anyone walking into a new position. Continue reading

Do you have what it takes?

Photo credit: Gina Rubel. #LMA15

In my spiritual community we talk about doing things “for fun and for free.” Apparently, doing for others brings back more reward than doing for yourself.

The same is true in my professional association, The Legal Marketing Association.

My first boss in legal marketing, Frank Moon, saw something in my non-profit, political, and event management experience that he thought would lateral in well to legal. And it has.

He also threw me head first into LMA’s local chapter here in Los Angeles. I could plan a better event. I could bring better ideas to the table. And so my LMA “career” began, somewhere in 1997.

Fast forward almost two decades, and I have done a couple tours of duty on my local board, served as my local chapter president, joined a national committee to get to know Merry Neitlich better, and became good friends with John Byrne as we worked on a Membership Dues Restructuring task-force together (where our recommendations were adopted … 10 years later, lol).

At some point, Diane Hamlin encouraged me to run for the national board, but I didn’t make it (this was back when we had contested elections).  Nathalie Daum told me not to be discouraged and invited me to participate on a national committee and try again the next year. I did and I made it. I also made great friends with Jayne Navarre, and met all these LMA luminaries, who turned out to be legal marketers just like me. Continue reading

I’m changing my tune on surveys

It’s no secret that I (along with most legal marketing professionals) have never been a fan of surveys, and have always done the minimal I need to do, push off the rest, and ignore even more of the survey requests, and subsequent requests to purchase an ad or a plaque.

Somewhere at LMA’s annual conference last week I heard someone say something that changed my mind, attitude, and thought on strategy surrounding these surveys:

It’s the only time I am recognized.

– anonymous lawyer

Sure, attorneys get paid well. Extremely well. But, when you think about it, lawyers really aren’t thanked too often. And that is what they personally get from these accolades. Recognition.

It turns out that getting a “head’s up” from Chambers, a “that-a-boy/girl” from Best or Super Lawyers, or a “you deserve it” from ALM is appreciated.

The attorneys in my firm are my clients. As their strategic partner in all things business development, marketing, and visibility, I have to take into account what motivates them when I am making strategic decisions; visceral reactions won’t cut it.

As legal marketers we are all so focused on the bottom line as a measurement, that sometimes we can lose sight of some of those softer measurements.

Attorneys know (or should know) that these surveys and awards will not bring in a new client. Legal marketers absolutely know that being ranked will not add anything to the bottom line, and will most likely cause chaos and disruption in a department around the deadlines.

But I am changing my tune here. Rather than do the bare minimal, I will set up a strategic plan with each practice group on which surveys we will participate in the following year. We will calendar, plan, and partner together to complete these. We might even buy some ads around the more industry-specific and prestigious awards.

This isn’t an all-out surrender to the lists and surveys, but an openness to see where they do provide value, and sometimes that value is soft.

UPDATE: The mystery storyteller was Cheryl Bame.

My father became a solo practitioner 50 years ago. I asked him what had changed in the years since he became a lawyer and why now so many lawyers want to get on the rankings/awards lists. He said lawyers are in a thankless job and do not get many accolades for their work, so the awards give them that recognition.

The spirit and energy that connects us all

Photo credit Debbie Marcinkowski

Vic in Serta. Photo credit Debbie Marcinkowski

My morning meditation was overtaken today by thoughts of my friend Vic Anderson. Vic has been very ill for a while, but the end is near and I do believe that his energy is increasing as he prepares to say goodbye. And while I am not “that” kind of crunchy, granola kind of gal, I do believe that we are all connected by an energy, and that energy is overwhelming me today.

What I am also very sensitive to are the other pockets of energy where I am connected to others.

Over on the #LMA15 threads I am a member of I am seeing that same spirit and energy connecting us in conversations and experiences. The chatter, which is just an indication of our attachment to one another, continues.

A part of me wanted to exit those threads this morning. I initially saw them as an interruption, as noise, when it was really energy. In the true spirit of Vic, who would never kill a fly, and was known to release crickets into neighborhoods, who am I to remove myself from a circle of energy?

My dear friend Nanea Reeves, wife to Vic, wrote a poignant post this morning, Work/Life Balance and What That Means When Things Fall Apart. I’ve known Nanea and Vic since Nanea was a struggling actress and artist, and Vic was the big cheese on the movie sets in charge of transportation.

I was there when they bought their home that they are now remodeling. And Nanea lead the revolt of my bridesmaids when I chose a blue velvet dress for them to wear, and Nanea was having none of it.

Nanea is now a tech exec, and Vic formed a charity to change the world one kitchen, orphanage, and school at a time.

For the past month or two there have been chants around the world for Vic. When you are in the middle of an energy like that, and truly present, it is impossible to not see how the universe brings us together.

A partner just stopped me in the hall and mentioned I looked sad. I explained that my friend is going to die very soon. He offered to tell me a joke, so we walked into his office. The joke did not lift my spirits, but the furniture and art did. They were all Chinese, which ties back to Vic’s love and passion for Tibet.

Today, there are no coincidences.

Please join me, and just take a moment to offer Vic up in light and love; and enter this circle of energy with us.

LMA – Let the Conference Begin in 1-3-5

us at LMAYes, I’ve been in San Diego since Saturday for the “pre-prom” get togethers. In LMA I have met some of my dearest friends, mentors, colleagues, bosses, inspirations. LMA has allowed me to grow and develop my craft, while maintaining my sanity.

I know the Twitter hashtag (@LMA15) has been blowing up for days, the pictures in the LME Facebook groups are flowing, but the conference actually just kicked off with a great timeline video (Happy 30th Conference Anniversary, LMA).

Dan Pink is our keynote. Were going to learn a 1-3-5 … so let us begin: Continue reading

What happened to pride in service? Can it be found in a law firm?

Many years ago I was vacationing on Dominica and stayed at a hotel that was built out of the original fort. Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets Black Sails.

The dining room was not always clean. The white table clothes were slightly stained with wine spills from the prior diners. However, the service was impeccable. The pride and care the staff took in the most mundane activity of pouring a glass of water is so memorable that almost two decades later I could easily write 500 words to describe it. I hadn’t realized it at time, but noticed it that day, but service in restaurants in the States had really gone downhill since the days of Chasen’s and Scandia.

The art of service — the pride in service — is so rare that when you experience it, you realize how lacking it is around you; whether in a restaurant, behind the meat counter at the supermarket, at Starbucks, or at work.

Which brings me to this week.

I bade farewell to one of my assistants this week, Kaye Heller. I knew and worked with Kaye for a whole month and a week, yet I know one thing for certain: Her attention to detail and pride in her work will be missed at the firm, within my department, and by me.

Whether ordering a lunch service, processing a sponsorship request, or circulating an e-mail touting the firm in the news for the week, nothing was done by Kaye without purpose and care, along with pride and attention to detail.

How rare is this today?

I am the first to admit that my care to detail, while great, is not perfect. I have been known to “phone it in” when I could have dropped everything and given it my all. And, yes, sometimes good enough is good enough for me. In fact, I have been known to have typos in my blog posts; and I’m okay with that.

Not so with Kaye, and the Kayes of the world out there. To these rare souls, I salute you. And to all of us who are service providers, we need to take stock and inventory of our personal service standards and shake off that cloak of complacency. Don’t our clients deserve that?

We talk about client service standards, but how often are they designed around us rather than the client?

A client this week sent one of our partners a birthday cake. I had to take a peek at what the cake looked like. Was it phoned in from Costco? Expensive and fancy from one of the top L.A. bakeries? What caught my attention were the personal details that only the client (not the personal assistant) would know. No Happy Birthday was necessary. The cake reflected the passions of the partner.

In a presentation we did together last year, Dave Bruns talked about the client relationship cycle (which I have completely stolen, by the way). When properly moved along, a client not only becomes loyal, but becomes an advocate of the service provider (works both for lawyers and legal marketers), referring them business.

I’m beginning to see that there is a higher level as well.

At a certain point, the client becomes a true fan of the service provider. The client will go just as far for the service provider as the service provider goes for them. The relationship becomes balanced in this way. A true partnership. I’m sure I’ll find a nice and memorable term for this level of client/service provider symbiotic relationship, so if you have any ideas, post them in the comments and I’ll give you credit in the footnotes of my slides if I use it.

In the meantime, Kaye, we will miss you. We’ll stumble. We’ll be fine. And thank you.