It’s been a horrible weekend at airports across the United States as legal residents with Green Cards, valid visas, and immigrant refugees have been shut out at the point of entry to our county. While I believe we need a better vetting process and stronger border control, pure insanity and violation of our laws should not be part of that process.

Through the insanity, I do see the beauty.

I see lawyers sitting on floors, typing out writs:

slate.com | Kathleen Cullinan

I see average Americans showing up to not just protest, but show that they have learned from history:

First they came for the muslims

And I see liberals agreeing with Dick Cheney:

Perhaps this is the place where liberals and conservatives can meet: in the laws and the constitution of the United States.

As someone who leans center-right and votes third party, I don’t want to see this degrade into finger pointing between the DNC and the GOP. Considering 40% of eligible voters didn’t show up at the polls in November, I’m thinking a good percentage of Americans agree. There’s a reason why we are where we are, and we will have to look at that closely. But not today.

NOW is the time for our lawmakers to find common ground in our constitution. If we truly are a nation of laws, then our two other branches of government need to insert their authority. In case you’ve forgotten how it all works:

For my fellow legal marketers and the lawyers reading this blog, we are amongst the people who are in a position to prove that we are good people, and we will not let evil triumph. We have the ability to go to our management committees and propose how our firms and our attorneys can get into the story of today. We legal marketers have the ability to brainstorm and can help map out what this can look like for our individual firms. The lawyers have the ability to act as pro bono counsel, or support those who are. Or we can do nothing.

I am not one who is big on New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer daily resolutions, and last year I challenged myself (and all of us) to find our adventure:

For me, finding my adventure will be subtle. There’s an introspection I am exploring. It’s about fearlessly following my path and journey, wherever it takes me. It’s about treasuring life’s journey, today. It’s about growing through adversity, not overcoming it or pushing past it. It’s about treasuring life’s journey and not the destination.

That journey was more than just subtle for me. I had an epiphany mid-year: I’m really stressed and I take it out at home.

In the spring I joined some friends in a class that really explored my spiritual program. I went a little deeper than I had in the past, and then it hit me: Every stressful moment I have “out there” I recreate in my home. I was driving the Sports Dude and my kids crazy with my control issues. But rather than confront me, it created chaos amongst them, which just stressed me out further. We were in a bad loop, and it was really up to me to correct the course.  Continue Reading Resolutions or Intentions? How are you beginning your year?

Bob Glaves, executive director for the Chicago Bar Foundation, set off quite a Twitter discussion this week with his post, A New Year’s Resolution for the Legal Profession: Stop Calling People Non-lawyers! We even carried the discussion onto my Facebook group, Legal Marketers Extraordinaire (which topped 1000 members this week!). Inspiring Bob to write the post was something he heard Jordan Furlong say:

we are the only profession who describes everyone who is not one of us as a “non.”

[Jordan’s] right. You don’t hear doctors calling everyone else in the medical field “non-doctors,” or CPAs calling their colleagues “non-CPAs.” In fact, it sounds absurd to even imagine them or any other professionals doing that. Yet that’s exactly what we do as lawyers, and I have certainly been guilty of my share of it over the years.

Continue Reading It’s time to “Ban the Nons”

Thank you, Above the Law, for your wonderful click-bait in today’s “Associates Bonus Watch” memo:

Associate Bonus Watch: A Litigation Powerhouse Announces

Some associates are pleased, but others don’t like the firm’s expanding marketing requirement

Oh, who, pray tell, could this firm be?

No need to click through. It’s Quinn Emanuel.

In the accompanying article, Quinn Emanuel’s New Marketing Initiative: An Interview With John Quinn, John B. Quinn describes the new initiative:

We’re asking every associate and counsel in the firm to participate in at least one marketing project during the course of the year. These projects might include contributing to a presentation to a prospective client about a potential new engagement, helping to write an article, doing some research on an industry, or a host of other things. The project must be approved by a partner.

emphasis added

Sounds like Quinn Emanuel just served up a big glass of legal marketing Kool-Aid to their associates, and they are not all too pleased about it.  Continue Reading Cry me a (marketing) river

Well, dear readers, today is the day I have been waiting for all year:

  • We hosted our final event this morning, to raves and great success
  • The two tables of ten next week have been filled
  • The final ads have been placed

And now there are no more firm functions scheduled on my calendar until 2017. No breakfast meetings. No seminars. No client events. The holiday gifts have been ordered. The holiday cards were delivered to the attorneys weeks ago. The e-card lists will be uploaded tomorrow, ready to be sent next week. And I can now breath a sign of relief. I survived 2016. One of the busiest work years of my career.

Sure, I still have things to keep me busy until my vacation: process the attorney business plans, submit my budget, and write my departmental business plan–all of which are overdue. Not to mention that little website project we started. In a weird way, I’m looking forward to clearing out my inbox, and all that alone time with my keyboard and monitor as I dig in.

In such a crazy year, I am so grateful for:

  • my team for their dedication and hard work
  • the support I received from my colleagues, and the cross-departmental staff at the firm
  • my marketing partner for clearing my path so I could do what needed to get done
  • the words of thanks and gratitude that kept my team going, especially during these past two months
  • my family for forgiving me for the stress that I brought home from the office night after night

The marketing function in a law firm isn’t easy. My job is to make it look effortless. So thank you to Gerson, Brandi, and Ken for being my team. Thank you to Eric, Katie, Piper, and Max for the love in our home.

It is now 5:30 p.m. … and I am going home.

2016 will be an election studied for decades to come. Professors, politicians, pollsters, statisticians, the media, Main Street, and Wall Street will try and make sense of it all. How did everyone (except the LA Times poll) get it wrong? From Dan Schnur this morning, his tip for us all:

I suggest we bring the lessons of #Election2016 back to the law firm: How often are we ignoring the voice of the client? The voice of the differing generations? The voice of the non-equity partners, or the rising associates? The working mothers (and fathers)? Not to mention the staff?

Rarely does a client fire a law firm. They just stop giving you new matters.

Take a look at your client originations. Are they stagnant? Have the new matters slowed down? When’s the last time you had lunch to see how your client is doing? What’s new in their world? Their industry?

Here’s a freebie for you. Go to lunch and be prepared to ask the following: Continue Reading Lessons for lawyers and legal marketers from #Election2016

I don’t know the point in time when making a mistake became taboo, but we live in a pretty messed up world when perfection is expected 100% of the time.

I have been caught up in this at different times in my life, and my experience is that I retreat into caution, and not wanting to push boundaries. Making a mistake is part of learning. Making a mistake is part of pushing boundaries. Making a mistake is part of creativity.

Last Sunday was probably the worst Sunday Night Football game. Ever.

If you didn’t watch the game, it was lost in overtime when the punters kickers for both teams missed what should have been an easy field goal, giving their team the win.

How the coaches handled it showed what true leadership looks like:

In A Lesson in Leadership: 2 Football Coaches, 2 Players’ Mistakes, and 2 Very Different Reactions we gain insight into the mastery of leadership. Into how “you can you build someone up when it counts the most.” Continue Reading Why you should take the risk and make the mistake: Lessons in Leadership

Jonathan Fitzgarrald and i started speaking about the generational divide several years ago. Our primary focus was on how the law firms, by not passing on leadership rolls to the younger generations, were putting themselves at risk, as their clients had already made the generational shift.

As time passed, and we began speaking at other conferences beyond legal marketing, we began to discuss the shifts within our firms.

So. Millennials. What are we going to do about  the Millennials? Aren’t we all asking the same question?

I had my own recent experience that I want to raise to the level of a warning to us all. My marketing manager left us to work for the do-good-work start-up where she had been volunteering. She felt she could balance her corporate life by doing good outside of work. Until they offered her “enough” money to join them full-time. Continue Reading A new Millennial conundrum

As you know, I run a secret Facebook group of legal marketers with nearly 1000 members. Every few months a post pops up about this vanity directory or that submission. We snicker. We bitch. We moan. We agree this one you have to do, that one you can ignore. But we’re never happy about having to do these, because they are time consuming, and they don’t directly bring in any new business.

We can now throw all of our snickering out the window now–we’ve got our own ranking.

May I introduce you to the Top 100 Legal Consultants Strategists from our friends at Law Dragon? But let’s keep it real.

This latest list of vanity results are just that: Vanity. There are dubious persons on the list. Glaring exclusions. And a gaggle of retired or no longer focused on this sector members.

But kudos to Law Dragon for tapping into “our” vanity, and I mean that. I’m just hoping that when they come out with their Top 100 in-house legal marketers I make the list (and I really do mean that). Since I control the ad-buying budget for our firm, that would make sense, right? I have an ego. I know who is good in our industry, and who isn’t. If I see “that” person on the list, and I’m not there, well, that just can’t happen. Continue Reading Game On: Law Dragon’s 100 Leading Legal Consultants

My brain hurts. There is so much swirling around in there that I’m starting to wonder if I’m suffering from a communication concussion.

I hosted a program yesterday in our firm with Lee Broekman and Judith Gordon from Organic Communication. They were here to discuss communication blockers–I’ll blog about that later on because it’s good stuff–and one of them threw out this gem during our discussion on multitasking:

When we are multi-tasking MRIs show that our brains shrink; we actually lose 15 IQ points, reducing our cognitive levels to that of an 8-year old child.

No wonder my brain hurts.

Not only am I multitasking in the office, my brain is multitasking at all times.

Here I am writing this blog post and wondering about the industry event we’re hosting in the other room; how that new partner is on-boarding, and trying to remind myself to not forget to post that article to her bio; did I send the kid the note about her tags being expired on the car?; don’t forget to text the sports dude that I forgot to pick up lemons and limes at Trader Joe’s last night; and don’t forget to send Catherine and Ben the interview questions about the Coalition of Professional Service Providers.

Okay. I’ve identified the problem. Through experimentation I have concluded that sleep, caffeine, Advil, and eating well are not the solutions to my brain hurt.

Forbes is recommending a Power Hour that looks interesting <<<<<seriously, I expect to see lots of clicks on the link<<<<< and I’m going to take on the challenge to see how this works for me.

But the bigger problem is that I am not writing enough.

Writing, especially for this blog, is what clears my head and allows me to process ideas and concepts. So, good news for the readers of The Legal Watercooler, more blog posts from me.

All I have to do is find the time. So I am headed back to the program that has always boded well for me: David Allen’s Getting Things Done.