Legal marketers need to take a lesson from general counsel

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Photo credit: Kelly Mackinnon

I caught Kevin O’Keefe‘s recent piece challenging law school leaders in an Above the Law piece, Law Schools Are Not Exposing Students To Real World Business Development

If you’re a law school leader, ask yourself if you truly understand what students need for the road ahead. Have you spoken with the business development people in law firms who are charged with helping lawyers become a lawyer with a book of business? Are you helping law students who want to work in small and medium-size firms distinguish themselves? And for those grads wanting to go solo, are you exposing them as to how to get business today?

It’s amazing to me that law schools produce a product (law students) without understanding how the business of law operates. The leaders might understand how the ultimate end user uses the service, but not how the factory works.

Kevin is challenging the law school leaders in his piece, I’m challenging my peers who work in the business of law in mine.

Perhaps it’s time that we take a lesson from our general counsel peers: Continue reading

Are you harnessing the power of your social media footprint?

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I’m having a fan-girl moment. Someone very high up in my industry caught wind that I will soon be visiting his city. Mr. Big sent me a LinkedIn message saying he’d love to buy me a cup of coffee so we can finally meet in person. He wants to meet me. OMG. I didn’t know he knew I existed. We’re 1st degree LinkedIn connections and all, but what does that really mean?

I haven’t said much about this upcoming trip. It’s personal to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and check out some colleges. Mr. Big could only know about the trip via a Facebook comment I made in a private group, and he then contacted me via LinkedIn messaging.

Seriously. This never would have happened before social media. I would never have been on his radar, and he certainly would never know that I was planning a trip to his fair city.

I was at lunch earlier today discussing how important our connections are in respect to an entirely different topic … my employment. Who I know is important to my job so that I can bring the right resources on any given project. Who I know is important so that I can make the right introductions to bring the right business opportunity. Who I know is important to save you money, and to make you money.Who I know is important. Period.

I manage all of my relationships these days through LinkedIn and Facebook (sorry Twitter). I provide value. I share to the point where people know me. I make connections. And it is all natural and organic to me.  In this past week I have identified, through status updates, new research and topics that will be perfect for my internal education program.

Social media is the most important and powerful business development tool I have ever come across. It does not discriminate. It works for introverts and extroverts, thinkers and feelers equally. It quickly allows you to separate the BSers from the value-adders. It saves time, and it allows me, with very minimal effort, to identify, connect, and develop new and deeper relationships.

My question to you is this: What are you missing out on by not harnessing your social media footprint? Most likely, you’ll never know.

Am I committed, or just involved?

chicken and pig quote

In my morning meditation yesterday I read a quote that stuck with me throughout the day:

The only course open to me, if I was to attain a joyous life for myself (and subsequently for those I love), was one in which I imposed on myself an effort of commitment, discipline, and responsibility.

Daily Reflections, p. 55

The first thing that popped into my head was the food program I am on. I’ve not committed to it. I committed 100% the first week, got great results, and have been doing it my way for the past two, and haven’t had positive results (go figure, right?).

I’ve been yo-yoing around with 4 lbs. the past two weeks and I am tired of it. What did I need to do to commit to this program that obviously worked when I wasn’t working it? I paused and became conscious of everything thing I ate and drank during the day. I prepared, and when tempted to do it my way, I made a conscious choice not to. I stopped participating and committed to doing this once and for all, one day at a time. This morning, I will commit to my food plan for today.

Then I rounded the corner and I thought about my job. It will be a year next week that I joined my firm. I haven’t always been joyous, so I paused and asked myself: Am I committed or am I just involved? Continue reading

For Lent I will engage more in social media

giving up for lent

Earlier this week I began to see proclamations by my friends that they were giving up social media, namely Facebook, for Lent. I don’t get it.

A social media channel is about engaging with people, news streams, and some really cheesy quizzes to figure out your favorite Girl Scout cookie based on your Zodiac sign. At this time, it’s also filled with political rants that are nothing less than offensive, from both sides of the aisle.

Sounds like a family get together to me.

Maybe I’m missing the point of Lent (which, as a culinary Jew, is quite understandable). Aren’t you supposed to give up something that is sinful? Can you explain to me how engaging with others is a sin? If you are engaging with others online to the point of excluding your family and commitments in real life,  I suppose it could be.  Continue reading

A couple of my heros have passed away

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My favorite picture of Chris Milligan. Lots of joy to remember and cherish. circa 2006

This year has gotten off to a horrible start. First David Bowie. Then Glenn Frye. And now Christine Milligan and Richards Barger

Christine Milligan was my mother-in-law. She passed away on Sunday from complications of living a very grand life. She would have been 96 in a couple weeks, and she leaves behind a family who loved and adored her.

Chris was a true lady. A gritty kind of southern belle who didn’t fit into anybody’s box or stereotype. She shocked her Alabama community by going off to college to Washington, D.C. rather than going to one of the local colleges in Tennessee or Alabama to earn her MRS.

When the war broke out, she went to work for the government. She eventually married a returning soldier, who became a doctor, and settled in Newport Beach, CA. In her late 30s and early 40s she finally had her kids. Chris was the best. She opened her beach house to not only me and my kids, when we would invade her quiet sanctity for many a weekend, but she opened her home to my family, and my sister’s family, and their friends. She was a wonderful and gracious woman, and one of the greatest honors I have is to say I was able to make her a grandmother.

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Dick Barger, founding partner, Barger & Wolen

The other loss this week was Richards Barger. He was the founding partner of Barger & Wolen (now a part of Hinshaw & Culbertson), one of the best law firms I have ever had the pleasure of working in. Mr. Barger was an icon in the insurance regulatory community. Every conference I attended, every event our firm sponsored, the first question everyone had was, “Is Mr. Barger here?” He had such reverence and respect for the community in which he served. Young or old, everyone knew, adored and respected Mr. Barger. Continue reading

If your firm collects ANY data, I need your help

Survey-BannerWithout a doubt, the legal marketer is moving towards a data-centric and strategic role. Whether you are a legal marketing professional in an AmLaw 100, or a department of one serving a regional boutique, talking the numbers needs to become our second language.

One thing every firm has in common, whether you are there, moving there, or wondering how to get from here to there, is that we are ALL collecting data every single day.

The LMA Technology Committee, which I had the opportunity to co-chair for two years, is preparing a report focused on how law firms are capturing and using sales and marketing — and billing and business development and industry and costs and a whole lot more — data, and we want to know what you’re doing with it all (even if the answer is “not enough”).

I would really appreciate if you would take a few minutes to complete the survey on how your firm is maintaining and manipulating big data.  Start the survey here.

Once completed, a paper will be made available for download.

On behalf of the LMA Technology Committee, thank you.

Don’t seek resolutions. Find your adventure.

2016

Happy New Year, everyone. I spent my morning sitting on my couch, watching the Rose Parade and trolling Facebook for healthy eating ideas (should I do the 100 Days of Real Food challenge, or just go with some detox?) and alternatives for the gym (Yogi’s Anonymous is leading my choices). The Sports Dude slept in before heading off to cover the Rose Bowl Game, and the kids slept at friends’ houses.

Basically, this year began like every other year. In other words, it was quiet around here. Just me, a good cup of coffee and my laptop.

I usually take the time between Christmas and New Year’s off from work as it gives me the opportunity to process, reflect, and think about the year that was, and what is to come.

I’ve written before that I do not make New Year’s Resolutions; I make daily resolutions. However, if you ask my kids, I’m a control freak and I have to have a plan. I like to have a theme for the year in order to answer the inevitable, “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” It’s much easier to live a theme on a daily basis then try and live up to the outlandish and unachievable resolutions people make.

In my struggle to find my theme for the year, I found it staring at me from across the room in HD:

Find your adventureFind Your Adventure. Photo: @RoseParade

Thank you to the 127th Tournament of Rose’s Parade for a great theme and mantra for 2016: Find Your Adventure.

Watching the parade, you can’t help but appreciate how the theme takes on different meaning for each float coming down Colorado Boulevard, just as it will mean something different for each and everyone of us. Continue reading

Generations at Work: Techniques for Leveraging Law Firm Talent at All Levels

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Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I were asked to contribute our thoughts on the generations at work for the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrator’s magazine.

While our initial research and conversations in regards to the generational divide in law firms dealt with lawyers and their clients, our focus in this turns internal in regards to how law firms manage the different generations, recruit and retail lawyers, AND continue to build vibrant practices.

For the first time in history, there are four generations in the workforce—Silent, Boomer, GenX and GenY. The different mentalities, preferences, and motivations among the generations has introduced some unchartered opportunities and challenges.

According to a recent Altman Weil study entitled Law Firms in Transitions, “Effectively planning the retirement of Baby Boomer partners is critical and must be resolved in the next 3 to 5 years. The timing is not flexible, and, if unaddressed, the cost in lost revenue and client relationships could be devastating.”

Savvy legal administrators who understand the different generational markers and who customize their responses accordingly will benefit from a harmonious and successful working environment. A lack of generational understanding results in internal strife, increased turnover and loss of business.

READ MORE

My year of opportunities for growth

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It’s been an interesting year. Law firm merger. Sports dude started doing his thing for a local radio station. My oldest kid began driver’s training. The youngest turned 13. And I changed jobs.

We’re juggling new schedules, new attitudes, and new expectations. I’ve had a new culture, new people, and new personalities to which I’ve had to acclimate.

And now the holidays are in full swing.

This has brought on a lot of stress, and it was a tough few weeks for me on all fronts: work, family, HOA, and those pesky Girl Scouts (and we’re still a month away from the beginning of Girl Scout Cookie season). Thank goodness for good friends and good colleagues. I’m pretty much on the other side, and now I can reflect on it all.

I’ve been doing this legal marketing thing for a long time. It will soon be 18 years since I was hired at JMBM (when the last M stood for Marmaro). I’d already been in the work force for 10 years, and my skill set fit what Frank Moon was looking for in an assistant manager, and I excelled.

I’ve had a “few” legal marketing jobs since then. I have had many opportunities for growth from within these firms, and through my service positions in LMA. Life has also provided me many opportunities to grow.

This has just been one of those growing years.  Continue reading

Calling All In-House Legal Marketers: Survey Says …

Survey-BannerFor the past few years I have been heavily involved in LMA’s Technology Committee, first as the board liaison, and for the past two years as the co-chair. My term comes to an end at the end of this year and I would like to end this round of service (because you know there will be more) by hearing from my fellow in-house legal marketers. You do not need to be an LMA member to take the survey.

The Technology Committee is committed to preparing two reports based on your experiences in order to help our peers across the legal marketing industry. This isn’t about reviewing a product or vendor, but about our experience as we roll out a new marketing technology product, or how we’re starting to make sense of all that data that our firms are capturing. Continue reading