LMA17 has kicked off with Zoe B. Chance (@zoebchance ‏) speaking on how the brain is wired to be influenced. As my buddy Jon Holden said,

Go read the Twitter feed at #LMA17. In short, we need to make it easy to say yes, make it easier to take action, at the moment of “truth.”

Which flowed PERFECTLY in to the kick off of the AI track. I am just in love with this topic, and YES, my 2017-2018 Marketing Plan for the Marketing Department at my firm is to CLEAN UP MY DATA!

My favorite slide is the one that brings it all together:

IMG_2228[1]

Bringing all of our data together to tell the story is the future, and the future is here. AI should be on the minds of all legal professionals. The impacts will drive client relationships, engagement, and the delivery of legal services. It will drive how law firms (and cases) are managed.

For those with their heads in the sand, you have to realize: YOUR CLIENTS ARE DOING THIS. They are automating, and they are in control of the demand. WE are the business professionals. We need to be fluent in this conversation.

BRAVO to the SEXIEST panel at #LMA17. Follow them:

IMG_2236[1]

IMG_2238[1]

As 1200 legal marketers start to gather in Las Vegas for the annual LMA Annual Conference, I am reminded WHY I am a member of this community: We have a deep passion for what we do.

But can we care too much?

And when I say “we,” I include all of us on the business side of the law firm from the managing partner, through the C-Suite, and all of the pathways that lead to office services, reception, and hospitality.

Come June, I will celebrate 19 years as a legal marketer. And when I say celebrate, I mean it. I am proud of my career, and love what I do. But I cannot care more than the attorneys I work with, either as individuals or as a collective.

Being a legal professional has its challenges, but the rewards are far greater. Watching a law firm grow and evolve. Seeing the lights go on when an attorney gets it. Having your ideas embraced and implemented.

Yet the turnover in legal marketing continues. Not just turnover from firm to firm, but from firm to firm to out of the industry.

It takes a certain personality to work in-house. I have several close friends and colleagues who could never be successful in-house, yet as consultants they are in the perfect position to balance what it is that we do.

Yes, in many ways we still pay $5000 $10,000 to have a consultant tell the lawyers something we could have told them for free, but as long as we are not personally attached to that $5,000 $10,000, we’re fine.

From my morning meditation earlier this week:
care too much

Simply stated, we need to detach from the results. Over the course of the next few days, we legal marketers will be sponges. We will walk away with new ideas and initiatives we know we have to implement. We will have a new-found energy and sense of ourselves. And then we’ll return to the office where some of these ideas will be well-received, but few implemented. NOW.

That’s the key word: NOW.

Keep talking about what you learn. Keep sharing the new ideas and concepts. Start to implement what you can. Continue to reinforce good business concepts.

Changing culture can take 5-10 years. And that’s without lawyers in the mix.

When I think back on the 19 years of my legal marketing career, I cannot believe how far we’ve come. But it’s been a very, very slow and steady trudge.

Don’t give up. Use the next few days to fill up and energize. Know that you are with your “people,” that we’ve all been there, and have done that.

And never stop caring, just detach from the results.

It used to be that the worst things that could happen to a premium practice was for it to become commoditized. During the course of my nearly 20 years in legal marketing, I have seen in time and again.

Now the worst thing that can happen is disruptive technology. And when it happens, it happens overnight with the drop of a press release.

First came LegalZoom, now comes COIN.

Financial services attorneys (oh, hell, all attorneys) need to be shaking in their boots from this headline: Continue Reading Another premium legal practice bites the dust

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