3 reasons lawyers should “post” to LinkedIn

LinkedIn recently rolled out their new “publishing” feature. It’s pretty interesting, and definitely something to explore. It is not designed to take the place of blogging, but can be a great middle-ground for those not quite ready to launch a blog, but have something to say, or those trying to expand their reach.

For lawyers blogging on their firm’s blogs, I highly suggest publishing to LinkedIn as well, using the “post” feature for several reasons:

  1. It will provide you more traffic to your profile.
  2. As a “post” it will remain static on your LinkedIn profile, while “updates” disappear.
  3. If you should leave your firm, the marketing department will either delete your content, or cleanse your name from your blog posts. Publishing them to LinkedIn will provide you an archive of your content.

For those currently blogging on their own sites, such as The Legal Watercooler, publishing a post on LinkedIn is another stream for your content. A stream with a large reach, lots of eyes, and analytics.

Robert Algeri over at Great Jakes recently tested it and liked the analytics: LinkedIn’s new blogging platform = massive traffic.

We’d been hearing a lot of buzz about LinkedIn’s new “Long Form Posts” blogging platform – so we decided to do a test. We uploaded a blog post entitled  The Disappearing Homepage, which had previously been published to our own blog. And within 24 hours of posting the piece, we saw massive traffic:

  • 5,400 pageviews
  • 131 LinkedIn “likes”
  • 25 comments on LinkedIn
  • Over 500 shares on LinkedIn
  • >Over 1,300 people were now “following” our content on LinkedIn
  • 21 tweets (on Twitter, an entirely separate social media platform)
  • 30 Facebook shares (again, a separate social media platform)
  • 12 Google+ shares (again, a separate social media platform)

Convinced yet? Hopefully yes.

So where is this feature located?

It’s right there on your profile page. Hidden in the “update” section.

LinkedIn Publish 1

Click on the “Create a Post” pencil, and the publishing platform with launch.

LinkedIn Publish 2

If you know how to use Word, or use any blog platform, it’s as intuitive as it can be: Just type, highlight, hyperlink, ad a graphic, and publish. It’s really that simple.

I do have one WARNING: Do not publish every post. Right now, every time someone in my network of more than 1200 connections publishes a post, I get a notification. As of today, there is no way to turn these notifications off … so until you can, you don’t want to overwhelm and annoy your connections.

So go publish a post or two, and let me know how it works for you.

 

UPDATE: LinkedIn is still rolling this out. If you don’t have the pencil, go here to sign up for an early release.

Leadership’s Lessons: Energy Replenishment

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Keith Wewe and I are participating in the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute lead by Henry Givray. It’s a six month program with five in-person sessions, and a lot of reading.

We’ve had three in-person sessions so far, and I am just starting to notice how much I have absorbed, so expect several posts over the next few months on the lessons I have learned, and how I am applying them to my life today.

One of our recent homework assignments was on time v. energy, and included reading the Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal (learn more at The Energy Project).

The authors had me at their first principle:

Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.”

Continue reading

Two tips to revolutionize your time and project management

busy-ladyI know I am not alone in always trying to manage my time and projects. Truth be told, I do this better on some days then on others.

When things get out of hand, and my in-box starts to overwhelm me, I know it is time to get back to basics. I need to declutter, toss and delete, file, create action lists, and hopefully find a couple new tools or tips along the way to aid my efforts.

So here are two tips I will be living today as I clean out my in-boxes. Yes, plural: Work. Personal. Girl Scouts. Not to mention all the piles of paper on my desk.

  1. If it takes two minutes or less, do it now.
  2. Begin your project/action items with a verb. (this one is new)

Both tips are courtesy of David Allen, the go-to guru for productivity. I also liked this article today from HBR, How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day.

And for those wondering, I’m still loving the Get it Done app to manage my projects and lists. I just have to do it more.

 

 

Legal marketing lessons from the NBA playoffs

I was reading a debate on the NBA playoffs where the commentators were wondering how an older team could beat the better players? And not just beat them, but crush them.

Very simply stated, the San Antonio Spurs played as a cohesive team, competing with the Miami Heat for the title; while the Miami Heat players competed against one another for the ball.

How often do we see this in the law firm environment?

Lawyers down the hall, or in other offices, competing against one another for work, then wondering why the smaller, less prestigious, or more expensive firm got the business?

How often are client “teams” built based on “protecting” an individual partner’s relationship (origination credit), rather than deepening the client’s relationship within the firm?

Working together as a team across a firm allows a law firm to pool the strengths of the individual attorneys, endure challenges, make it through rough patches, and regroup to try again and do a better job, based on the lessons learned, the next time a similar opportunity arises.

Competing against one another only pits rainmaker against rainmaker, practice against practice, and office against office.

While on paper the firm might be the better firm for the work, have the more experienced partners, and a wider variety of practices to provide better service, but gather them together and the group does not function as a team. In these “best player” firms, there is often a lack of communication, sharing of work, and, worst of all, a lack of trust.

I urge us all to learn the lesson from the older, not as fast or agile players of the San Antonio Spurs, and come together as a team at all times.

However, players alone did not win the 2014 NBA Championship. The strong leadership of Coach Popovich cannot be overlooked nor minimized. Without his leadership we might have another three-peat on our hands.

Without a strong leader, to whom all the players, or, in our place of business, all the “some partners are more equal than other” partners will answer and take direction, we will never achieve true success. We might make it to the final rounds, we might win some great matters, but we won’t have the longevity of a dynasty team … or firm.

I don’t follow egg-heads or empty blue boxes on Twitter

If you haven’t been on Twitter lately (Snort. Not even going there with you if you haven’t), you might not realize that they have made a few changes. Like many social networking sites, Twitter is becoming more and more graphically driven.

Not necessarily your individual tweets, but your profile and how people see you on the different applications.

I was on the main site today to add new followers, sort them into lists, etc. And this is what I saw:

twitter followers

People. Followers. Don’t be an egg-head, or an empty box.

Pick an avatar, and stick with it. When going through a stream on Twitter, or Tweetdeck, I will notice and connect with your avatar before your username. Change your avatar and you, as well as your message and value, might get lost in the stream of tweets.

Same goes with your cover photo. Make it something personal that says something about you. Right now, I have the infield heroes from my childhood:

Twitter Profile

Why does this matter?

I am going through the new followers I have. As I don’t use a manual accept every follower, I have to decide whether or not to follow you. As I consider who I follow to be valuable, I read your profile description. What does it say? Are you in legal? Marketing? Why are you following me?

If I know you, it’s easy. If I don’t, it’s a judgment call.

Then I have to decide if I am going to add you to a list or not. Perhaps you make my close Top LMA Peeps, or you make the Legal Marketing folder. If you’re a law firm, I may or may not add you to that list. A lot of times your description, avatar, and cover photo will be the determiner.

So pick a cover photo that speaks to who you are. It might be a picture of your city, or family, or dog.

However, unless you are Doctor Who, it better not be a blue box.

Ooooh, I might have to change my cover photo.

 

Exceptions don’t make the rule. The business model is broken.

2372626568_63f6b8c069_oGreat debate starting to take place in the legal marketing/business of law world.

Is the business model broken?

At the Legal Marketing Association‘s annual conference, I attended a moderated roundtable discussion on Disruptive Legal Trends. While it began as a discussion of the Axioms of the world, the conversation quickly shifted to the business model itself. The summary of that session, along with the Big Data session, can be found in LMA Think Tank Live Summary prepared by Shift Central.

I was in the room when Toby Brown spoke his now immortal words, summarized in his post, The Business Model is Not Broken, and he is right, all eyes in the room “turned and gave me [him] the ‘who farted’ look.”

I must admit, I am one who believes that the model, in general, is broken. And while there are exceptions out there, such as Toby’s firm, Akin Gump, who are leaders in the change management, there are too many firms out there refusing to evolve.

The leverage pyramid of partner to associate is gone. The billable hour is losing popularity and faith. Alternative fees are not discounts at $1 million billed.  And merger to grow (or survive) is not a strategy.

Clients are more and more in tune with cost and price to value propositions, and lawyers, the service provider, need to evolve and meet their clients on their plane (and I am not talking the kind with first class seating to be billed out as a necessary expense).

I have heard attorneys say, when presented with new processes and procedures that will save time, “Don’t they know how I make my money?”

And that’s what’s broken. The profession of law has evolved into the business of law and not all lawyers and law firms have drunk the Kool-aid and evolved.

Firms and attorneys that truly understand the nuance between profession and business will survive. Those that don’t will fade away. Sadly, most of those firms will fade away with little fanfare.

Toby and I are not really at odds. We’re just looking at the same thing, yet our perceptions are skewed by our vantage points. He is at Big Law that is doing it right, while I am at a regional, mid-sized firm that is evolving. The conversations we have with our peers are different, because our peers are different.

Our firms are lucky. They are the exceptions. Their legal professionals are in the middle of the conversations surrounding this evolution, and helping to reshape the cultural and business model within our firms. But what about the rest?

The Patton Boggs and Orricks (are they next???) of the AmLaw 100 world get lots of press as they search for a merger partner, yet annually there are dozens of other firms of local prominence across the country that are acquired by big law with little more than a press release, or fail on their own and quietly close their doors.

As I said in the Think Tank, on the smaller platforms it is hard to hide a failing business model. It is readily apparent what is working and where things are not, and merger as a strategy, in and of itself, will not help a firm to survive. It just puts off the inevitable.

It’s a very interesting conversation and one that will continue.

Photo credit: Amanda Hatfield on Flickr

Memorial Weekend Reading: Strategic Imperatives for the Law Firm of the Future

Legal Technology Future HorizonJust in case the weather kills your plans to drink, BBQ and surf your way through the holiday weekend, I suggest you download a copy of ILTA‘s new study: Legal Technology Future Horizons, Strategic Imperatives for the Law Firm of the Future (PDF).

From the (seven page) executive summary:

At the legal industry level, they have highlighted six critical issues:

  • An accelerating pace of technology disruption and diffusion with the associated challenges of learning to manage rapid systems change and embrace the strategic potential of IT
  • Responsiveness to client needs around value, speed, innovation and security
  • Industry level forces such as intensifying competition, changing firm structures, business models, new entrants and a heightened talent agenda
  • The impacts of consumerization, commoditization, automation and the pursuit of optimal firm scale
  • Responsiveness to the opportunity and competitive challenges presented by emerging economies
  • The pursuit of differentiation in the face of continuous change

And while the report was written with the global or large firm in mind, how can any firm, of any size, in any location not take note of the following:

While IT advances are expected to permeate and transform every aspect of law firm activity, four core themes emerge:

The Client Is the Priority

We must focus IT investments on securing and enhancing customer relationships. Strategic priorities must include quality of insight and advice, speed, responsiveness, flexibility, enhancing the capability and efficiency of professional staff and the capacity for innovation. Operationally, client demand is expected to focus on clarity of progress and budget  reporting, providing real-time visibility of legal workflow, improving collaboration, integrating with client systems and building intelligence into systems to add insight and value and reduce the level of human involvement required.

Leverage Lawyers

We must enhance the productivity, strategic insight and impact of lawyers. At the most basic level, they need to perform from anywhere at any time on a range of personal devices that could emerge over time. Next, we must build intelligence into lawyer support to anticipate and provide the content they need when they need it — from analyzing critical information to presenting in court. Artificial Intelligence will play a major role in learning how lawyers work, personalizing the support and gradually automating many of the tasks historically performed by professionals.

Re-Engineer Processes

We must take a process- and project-management approach to all work undertaken. Workflows must be streamlined, broken down to discrete tasks to be allocated to the lowest cost resource that can complete them — a lawyer, outsourced service partner or intelligent system. This will accelerate the commoditization of many tasks and could reshape the legal value chain as more low value tasks are parceled out to external providers. This in turn will drive the firm to focus on developing new, value-adding higher-fee services.

Innovate to Differentiate

As a greater scope and volume of work is automated and the price gets driven down, firms must focus on using IT to generate and support client-focused innovation. This may be the development of new products and services, taking on activities traditionally performed in-house by the client and moving up the value chain into areas such as new product development. For example, as clients enter new markets with technology solutions like driverless cars, these will be highly disruptive and will require new thinking in areas such as risk and liability. Increasingly intelligent products might even have laws embedded; for example, cars could fine us for exceeding the speed limit. Law firms will need to use IT to help develop early warning systems that alert them to the emergence of such new ideas. Leaders will seek to gain a “first mover advantage” by approaching the innovators and becoming involved from the product design stage.

If you are interested in having a conversation on the study, turns out we have some June Gloom headed my way … so feel free to post in the comments below or join us over at the LME. We’re talking 140 pages of good stuff here.

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