I have been very outspoken on the LMA Board of Director’s decision to cancel three popular recognition programs within our association. Considering that many of these people are my personal friends (and not just Facebook friends), it sucked at times.

Today the Board announced that it is reinstating the three programs for 2018, and will be collecting both formal and informal feedback, including the introduction of member surveys, to help guide them in making a decision moving forward as to “recognize excellence in the LMA.”

Please join me in thanking the Board for listening and taking action on the feedback that they have received. I know there was an enormous amount of discussions and emails going back and forth over this issue and what to do. I am certain it was not an easy decision to make, but it was the right thing to do.

Thank you.

A little over a week ago a conversation began about the use of the term “non-lawyer” in the context of referring to business executives in law firms.

It started with the American Lawyer‘s coverage of Husch Blackwell‘s new CEO: Husch Blackwell’s Next Leader is a Newly Employed Non-Lawyer (subs. req).

When Paul Eberle assumes the top leadership role at Husch Blackwell in February 2018, the non-lawyer manager will have spent less than two years working at the firm he presides over.

Sadly, the American Lawyer failed to give credit to Mr. Eberle’s for his 20 years of executive experience as a CEO, and that caught the eyes of the legal marketing community. Continue Reading The use of “non-lawyer” is destructive to the business of law

Dear American Lawyer, the leading trade publication for our profession:

Those of us who have dedicated our careers as legal industry professionals would like you to understand that the term “non-lawyer” is offensive, and does a disservice to all of the firms that are being run as businesses.

Your August 17, 2017, headline: Husch Blackwell’s Next Leader is a Newly Employed Non-Lawyer caught the eye of the LME on Facebook. One of our members wrote the author today: Continue Reading Husch Blackwell’s incoming CEO is a professional, not a “non-lawyer”

As I wrote about the other day, the Board of the Legal Marketing Association has voted to “sunset” three awards and recognition programs: Hall of Fame, Your Honor Awards, and Rising Star. Our website highlights these programs under the banner of “Celebrate.”

So my questions to the LMA Board are these:

  1. Why is it no longer part of the mission or strategy of LMA to “celebrate” our members and our achievements?
  2. When was this decision made, and why were key stake holders not consulted or informed, including the committee chairs, regional and local presidents in advance? Only the HOFers were informed the evening before the member announcement.
  3. What research has been done to support the decision?
  4. Why is this taking place immediately?
  5. Why no opportunity for members to weigh in?
  6. Do you consider your process a best practice that legal marketers should emulate in their firms and companies?

Between my various in-boxes and the number of hits to my website and LinkedIn posts, not to mention the several threads in the LME Group on Facebook, this is a topic that LMA members care about and we deserve answers. I have received dozens of requests to join LME since yesterday morning (please send me your Facebook email address with your request). This is not going to go away.

What I want to know next is this: Where are the official voices?

Continue Reading Silence is not always golden. Transparency is.

I need to apologize to the LMA membership. I was being recruited by several senior (all Hall of Fame) members of our beloved association to run for president this year. I even had a member of our PR community working on message points … it was that important to this group to change the leadership course of LMA.

After a long deliberation, and many phone calls, I declined.

I declined because I felt that my voice would be better suited for outside the leadership vacuum of LMA.

And today I was proven so right.

The LMA board, without input from it’s members, has decided to do away with three programs: Your Honor Awards, Hall of Fame, and Rising Stars. I only know this as the information started leaking to me last night. As I type this, I still haven’t received my official notification from LMA.

I am posting everything that is being forwarded to me to the LME Group. If you’re not a member, send me a direct message on Facebook.

Today I am calling for:

TRANSPARENCY from the LMA leadership. Who came up with this? ACI? SmithBucklin? What was the timeline for this? Where is the market research in support of this? Where is this “strategic plan”?

MEMBER SURVEYS to actually find out what the needs of the membership are. Enough already.

AN END TO THE SLATE. We need open elections, or at least the ability to have competition and a diversity of voices. The pathway to leadership is a roadblock. I won’t even share my personal experience.

ACCOUNTABILITY for whomever is making these decisions.

RESTORATION to the MEANING behind our tagline: “The Authority for Legal Marketing.”

Should you have anything you would like to anonymously submit, email me.

Vacation 2017 is in the bag. Nuevo Vallarta was a blast. Everyone got along. While I did not fully “let go,” I did relax and find the relief I was seeking. I had alone time. Time with the Sports Dude. Time with each kid alone, and together. Time as a family.

Bliss.

And then, with 48-hours to go, the dread came back. Work on Monday. Board meeting with the HOA that night. Where was my joy? My enthusiasm? It was gone … a dark cloud on an otherwise sunny day.

Daily Calm BalanceAnd then today, the last day, my morning meditation was on balance.

Ahhhh. That’s it. My balance has been off most of the year. It’s been work, work, work, crazy, crazy, crazy, stress, stress, stress, both in the office, with my family, and as president of my HOA (thank goodness we’re done with Girl Scouts).

I have been thwarted and frustrated, and just not “me.” It showed, and I had no one to blame but myself.

What I came to realize (or remember) is that finding the balance in my life is a 365-day exercise; I can’t wait for my 7-night, 8-day vacation.

I have not been living a balanced life these past couple years, and I felt it. Yes, I’ve been getting to the gym regularly and eating right, but my meditation has been off. I have been feasting and fasting my way through each day.

While on vacation this week, I devoted time each morning for meditation while watching the sun rise over the nature preserve from my balcony, followed by yoga. Perhaps the greatest souvenir from our time in Mexico is the reminder to live that way daily, and to take time for myself between the hours 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday as well.

Working with lawyers is challenging, as is raising two teenagers, and managing an HOA. I’m sure your life is as busy and full as mine. Don’t forget to take the time to breath, create space, and find your personal bliss.

And thank you to all my Facebook friends. I have enjoyed your vacations, your moments. Here are a few of my favorite moments:

 

I wrote in part one of The truth behind lawyer jokes: The “business of law” is tough about the challenges facing the business of law. Namely, the people involved.

In this post, I want to turn to the solutions. Or some ideas for solutions as each firm and its challenges are different and unique to them, but not unique as a whole.

For every problem there are many solutions. Continue Reading The truth behind lawyer jokes (Part 2): The glass is leaking

There’s something to be said for self-deprecating humor; those jokes meant to clear the air, or add levity to a stressful situation. We legal professionals have been known to enjoy a good lawyer joke, or game, or two.

http://www.cubiclefugitive.com/

I tell my kids, all the time, you can’t say something mean and throw a “just joking” at the end to make what you said okay.

There’s always truth behind those “jokes” my kids make, and there is truth behind attorney jokes. But this is business, big business, and other businesses and lives are at stake. And that’s no joking matter.

Here’s the truth: the “business of law” is tough.

Working with lawyers can be challenging for legal professionals, the client, and the lawyer.

Lawyers didn’t go to law school to run a business, but that’s what they do whether they are a solo practitioner, or a partner in a firm of any size. With no business training, many lawyers find themselves at the helm of a business generating tens of millions, and in some cases, billions of dollars each year. Their training and innate personalities often times is in conflict with running a business, or counseling a client who is running a business.

Every day corporate clients look to lawyers for business solutions. Specifically, general counsel are charged with how to get their company’s products (or services) to market; to make deals happen; to make litigation go away.

While the GC is looking for certainty, they too often get back from their lawyers anything but that. Lawyers can’t help it. It’s what they learned in law school and is deeply ingrained in who they are.

I was brainstorming with a friend recently about his business and some of the challenges he’s facing in the market place. At one point in his life he was a practicing attorney, and it began to show. Long story short, his inner lawyer kept coming out to challenge my ideas: “We tried that before.” “It won’t work.” “Our competitors …”

Throughout the meeting he kept me on my toes, sharpening my ideas as I circumvented his objections. It was a bit exhausting, yet he reminded me that while working with lawyers is challenging, it is also very rewarding, and makes me a better thinker/idea generator.

I work with very smart people, every day, who don’t realize that by challenging me and trying to poke holes in EVERY idea I have, just makes me better at what I do.
Continue Reading The truth behind lawyer jokes: The “business of law” is tough (Part 1)

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 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