Before going to law school, read this.

I would hope that before you decide to take on an average of $88,000 – $127,000 in debt you would do your due diligence. You are, after all, about to enroll yourself or your child in law school.

According to Steven J. Harper, in a recent New York Times Op Ed, Too Many Law Students, Too Few Legal Jobs:

Students now amass law school loans averaging $127,000 for private schools and $88,000 for public ones. Since 2006 alone, law student debt has surged at inflation-adjusted rates of 25 percent for private schools and 34 percent for public schools.

There are so many dirty little secrets that need to be exposed before anyone can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want to gamble with law school. And, yes, I am very deliberate to use the word gamble. And informed.  Continue reading

We’re in the BUSINESS of law, dammit. #BizOfLaw

Dilbert-60-hours

My post from the weekend, Rambling thoughts from 30,000 feet in the air, is about the BUSINESS of law (moving law firms from good to great; the metrics we’re measuring for success).

Tim Corcoran‘s latest post, Working Smarter, Not Harder, is about the BUSINESS of law (h/t for the Dilbert).

Kevin O’Keefe, Nancy Myrland, Gina Rubel (and colleagues), Ed PollSteven Harper, Greg Lambert (and colleagues), Cheryl Bame, Cordell Parvin, Patrick Lamb, Jonathan Fitzgarrald, Adrian Lurssen, Adrian Dayton, and one of my absolute favs Ed Reeser — and the list can go on and on and on — are ALL talking, writing and/or blogging about the BUSINESS of law. My apologies for not listing everyone. Check out my Twitter lists for more names to follow, and please suggest more in the comments below. 

As we continue to elevate the conversation of the business of law, I would suggest that we all create a “Business of Law” tag or category on our blogs, if we haven’t done so already; and that we use the same hashtag (#bizoflaw) on Twitter.

LinkedIn, unfortunately, does not recognize the “Business of Law” as a tag for our posts, but if we all create an “skill endorsement” of “Business of Law” and add it to our headlines, then perhaps we can create a movement. And, please, endorse me for “Business of Law” and “Leadership” on LinkedIn. I just added both to my skills list.

What it comes down to is that we are all talking to one another on a weekly or daily basis about the BUSINESS of law, and we all basically agree with our messages. We need to strategically broaden this conversation to more and more people (attorneys in key leadership positions, other c-level legal professionals, influencers — conference organizers and the legal media) who SHOULD be recognizing, listening, participating, and joining us in this conversation.

So who is with me? #bizoflaw #leadership #lawyers #lmamkt

Rambling thoughts from 30,000 feet in the air

So here I sit, on the aisle seat in row 8, headed off to a warm, tropical destination, and I’m wondering, “How do I move my firm from good to great?”

There are so many different places in Jim CollinsGood to Great where I can pause and write a blog post. Yes, the book is dated (Circuit City is one of the “great” companies), but the message is evergreen.

I’m in the Hedgehog Concept chapter and I’m looking at the notes I am taking:

  • What can we be #1 in?
  • What are we passionate about?
  • How are we measuring success?

The answers to one and two are proprietary for any of us. But when it comes to measuring success, most law firms are still measuring year-end success by PPEP and driving that point value up, which, don’t get me wrong, is incredibly important. Let’s face it. We all want to make good money, better money, and more money. But are we measuring it by the right metric? Continue reading

I’ve been judged (on Facebook). I’ll own that.

Aristotle

Yes, Virginia, there is an Internet snark out there who judged me in a passive-aggressive Facebook post. Not to worry. I’ve been judged on Twitter, in a blog post (or three), and God only knows where else as well. I can take it. As I am prone to say, if you don’t have haters, you’re not doing it right.

Of course, upon discovery of the post, my first reaction is to want to protect and defend myself, but I have been well trained in leadership and I took a step back to self-reflect.

I asked myself a few questions: Continue reading

Advice to a friend: It’s time to let go and break up

I have been listening to two friends for a while now with relationships ending. It’s sad. The attempts to keep a dying relationship alive. The things they are doing to deny that it’s really over. The last attempts they make to try and recapture what was there in the beginning. The knowing it’s time to let go and move on, but then they don’t. How they both bounced back into the relationship with a shallow promise or self-imposed idea that things would be different, only to be disappointed when that didn’t last long.

One friend is breaking up with a girlfriend. The other with their law firm.

So here’s my advice to them both: Continue reading

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