Archive for the ‘ Random Rant ’ Category

What are we? Chopped liver?

Monday morning and I have 30 emails (after deleting all the spam). Pretty standard.

Interestingly, there are some great legal business conferences and seminars being advertised by ARK, ACI, etc. that I would love to attend, or send some of my partners. Unfortunately, they are ALL in New York or Chicago.

What is it about the West Coast? We get NO love. Or very little love from the conference organizers.

I know that our naturally grown AmLaw 100 firms have all pretty much relocated their operations to New York in hopes of re-branding as a “national” or “global” firm, but there are still a lot of lawyers and law firms operating successfully from San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Portland, Seattle, not to forget our suburbs as well.

Might I suggest dipping a toe or ten in our waters? Host an event or two and build a following here? Might I suggest coming out in January. We have no snow, and, in L.A. and San Diego, we always have a burst of 80* weather to rub in the noses of our East Coast pals.

May I recommend Terranea as a location? L.A.’s ocean front resort? Check out the views …

The West Coast will be looking really good in a couple months. You might want to try it.

Haters, bullies, fans and secret admirers – LMA style

My daughter is in middle school. The breeding ground for haters and bullies, so it is a conversation we are constantly having in our home.

Thinking back on my middle (then junior) high school days, at the same school, and my experience as an adult, I just told her:

You’re nobody without haters.

Haters are gonna hate. Bullies are going to bully. But really, I think they are just fans and secret admirers, but their egos won’t let them say so.

Think of it this way: You must be doing something right if you are ruffling feathers.

So embrace your bullies and haters.

Over the few weeks there are several Legal Marketing Association-related conferences, in addition to the local chapter and City Group events:

Ready. Set. Let the #LMAMKT AND #LMACME trolls go!!

Oh, the attacks on the speakers. What we do. What we say.

The attacks on the content. The profession.

It won’t stop all day. And then they’ll get mad when no one engages with them.

I don’t know about you, but when I really don’t like someone or something, I just ignore it. It’s called apathy. I just don’t care.

So, just for today and tomorrow, I will remind all of you to ignore the haters and bullies. As a story teller, I have my own reasoning (ask me about it tomorrow) as to why our haters HATE legal marketers so much. Continue reading

And you call them entitled?

pointing-finger-vector1I was at a conference earlier this week, hanging out with the other exhibitors. Speaking with different marketing, business development folks from different industries.

There were seasoned professionals. Entry level sales people learning the ropes. A mixed and diverse crowd from product to service providers.

Inevitably the conversation would turn to the state of business and how we were gaining and retaining clients/customers.

I started testing out my generational marketing positions, to see if others are seeing and experiencing what I am seeing and experiencing. Is my hypothesis of the generational shift in management impacting direction all in my head, or am I on to something?

I spoke with one gentleman about 10 years older than me. A true Baby Boomer. He was being asked to do things differently than he’s been doing it for decades. He didn’t get all this marketing and outreach. What about relationships and how they used to do it? He wanted to go back “there,” wherever “there” was.

He was being challenged by the times and he was definitely outside his comfort zone.

When I referenced the Millennials, his retort was: “Is that the ‘entitled generation’ they’re always talking about?” And then he went on a mini rant.

You are running around, lamenting the advent of technology, the evolution of business practices, your resistance to change, and “Why can’t we go back to business as usual?” and you call THEM entitled??

Is it not as arrogant and entitled to expect the business world to never shift its axis because it will force you to change and evolve? To grow? Learn new things?

Is it not entitled to expect your clients to use a certain software because it will be too expensive for you, the service provider, to upgrade and train your staff? And, besides, no one in your office wants to learn how to use it anyway?

Is it not entitled to expect your clients to receive information the way YOU want to send it, not the way they want to receive it?

Is it not entitled to expect your clients to slow down because you do not want to catch up?

And when I start playing with the numbers, are not these members of this so called “entitled” generation the spawn of the Baby Boomers and older GenXers? The same ones who are now lamenting their existence?

In my program we discuss making others feel less than to make you feel better about yourself.

And is that not what you are doing every time you dismiss a Millennial as “entitled”? Are you not attempting to make yourself feel better in your own limited world by refusing to open yourself up and see where the Millennials and younger GenXers are getting it right?

Millennials put family and personal life first. They want a true work/life balance. They cherish experiences. They don’t want to waste all of the daylight hours in an office with artificial lighting. They are happy to get the work done, they just don’t see why it has to be done between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (or 8:00 p.m. to prove how “loyal” they are), or within the walls of your ivory tower rather than from their laptop at home. And they are not necessarily driven by the same dollar that you are.

While my peers bitched, moaned and complained about their Blackberrys interrupting their personal lives back in the ’90s, I embraced mine as liberating me from my desk so I could go have a life. And I never looked back.

I don’t want to go back to the “way things were” any more than my great grandparents wanted to go back to the horse & buggy days once they bought the first automobile on their block, or the telegraph v. telephones, or rail travel v. air travel, or landlines v. cellphones, or card catalogs v. Google.

Every generation will bitch and moan about the next. (Really?? Twerking??) But it’s not going to stop it from coming, changing, or the world evolving. And, yes, it’s happening at a quicker pace.

So be careful when pointing that one finger towards “they” who are “entitled.” I was taught that when you point one finger out, there are three more pointing back at you.

Practical skills for lawyers? What a concept.

I read in today’s National Law Journal that California might, gasp, require lawyers to have practical skills training before they are licensed.

A task force of the State Bar of California has recommended that new attorneys be required to complete at least 15 hours of practical skills training and 50 hours of pro bono service before they are admitted to practice.

If adopted, California would be the first state to mandate real-world training in law schools and the second to require pro bono work of new attorneys. New York was the first state to require pro bono work and a judicial committee in New Jersey has recommended the move.

What is sad is that while a long time coming, what good will it be if we don’t continue to require such skills training once these associates join law firms or hang up their shingle?

Think about it. When the current rainmakers and managing partners were in law school there was no Internet to the degree there is now. No Blackberries. No iPhones. No social media.

There was no such thing as e-discovery. Scanning. Electronic filings.

“Real-world training” is not something you learn once and then you have it.

When I was working at a certain Am-Law 50 firm I put in to attend the Legal Marketing Association‘s annual conference. It was declined because budgets, bla bla, not fair that I go every year. I spoke with the firm-wide managing partner, who supervised our department:

So, this is it. I am as good as you will ever need me? I don’t need any new skills? I don’t need any new knowledge? You don’t need any more out of me than I am giving you?”

Her reply was “Have a great time at the conference.”

“Real-world” training HAS to be continuous. And there is only so much we can do without the support of our firms.

Unfortunately, in the “real-world” legal environment we motivate lawyers by money and hourly requirements.

If the bar associations want to make a real change and investment into the lives and success of our associates (who, by the way, are our future rainmakers and managing partners), then they need to start allowing marketing, business development, technology, and business trainings to be eligible for CLE credits.

They currently require ethics and substance abuse/addictive disorders credits, why not the “business of law” credits?

Until then, these “non-billable” “activities,” that can make or break a law firm’s business model and operations, will continuously be sent to the back burner, or ignored all together.

When you look at the latest AmLaw 100 rankings, you are looking at multi-million and multi-billion dollar a year GLOBAL operations. Yet they are loathe to turn the business operations over to “non-lawyers,” and God-forbid you actually pay them a salary that in on par with what the partners are making.

While I applaud the California Bar Association for taking this baby step, a leap is what we really need.

What’s the etiquette rule on returning unsolicited calls and emails?

I was out of the office sick on Friday (yes, I was legitimately sick, on a Friday before a 3-day weekend, thank you very much), and am slowly going through my 100+ emails.

The amount of spam is out of control. Usually I just “block” the sender and move on.

But I am noticing a new trend in here.

It’s the personal requests, that are turning into guilt, that turn into anger messages painting me as rude for not responding.

Some of these requests are so bold that they are now attaching meeting requests to drop onto my Outlook calendar.

Look, I didn’t ask you to email me. I didn’t ask for information about your product or service. And, frankly, if I responded to the emails, I think a tribble cascade would begin, so I delete. I mark as spam. I move on.

I just know if I were to reply “no thanks,” they will take that as a permission to start emailing me more. Or, worse yet, calling me and leaving messages.

So here’s my dilemma.

Sometimes I actually know these companies so I can’t block them.

Some of them are well-known service and product vendors in my industry. It might even be a product I am interested in for down the road, but I can’t let on, or the tribble cascade beings and the next thing you know it is out of hand.

I don’t think the onus should be on me to have to return an unsolicited call or email. If I don’t reply, can’t you take that as a “she’s not interested” and move on?

And don’t make me feel bad for not giving you 15 minutes of my time. Because it will never be 15 minutes. You and I both know it.

I’m not looking for an answer here. I’m just venting and justifying my deleting and blocking so many emails today.

 

Release the Kraken and Unlock that Content

Just sat in another program where the editor of legal publication said that under absolutely no circumstance will they open up their content. It is all safely tucked behind a firewall. They are in the business of selling newspapers, after all.

I disagree with you, Mr. Editor. You are in the business of distributing content.

Yes. You need to make money. But you want to make money off content that my law firm and my lawyers produce, either by writing articles, being interviewed, submitting our wins and losses, joining your submissions of best whatever.

As far as I am concerned, a publication is only as good as my hyperlinks to it.

If you lock away all of your content, you provide very little value to me and my firm.

I am not asking you to give away your content. But make it searchable. Accessible.

Include the headline, byline and first paragraph. Law360 does that. Gives me something to link to. Sure, it’s a paid service to read the content. I put (subs. req.) after the hyperlinks. But they give me something to hyperlink.

Oh, and I pay Law360 for that service, by the way. And happily so.

So release the Kraken and unlock that content. Or at least give me a little tease.

Hitler and I agree: Damn You Google

I invited JD Supra’s Adrian Lurssen to my San Francisco office to give a presentation to our lawyers up here. Fire them up to take our blogging and content to the next level. We had a full house. Great discussion. And then he broke the news to me about Google Reader being retired.

Just had a cool working lunch with @heather_morse at @bargerwolen in SF. Biggest takeaway for Heather: Google Reader is shutting down. :-)

— Adrian Lurssen (@AdrianLurssen) March 14, 2013

I had my own little tantrum. But I have to say, Hitler sums it up for me below. Enjoy. Damn you Google.

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