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.

elvis pic3
Alex Schenk, Elvis, Brenda Christmas Marlowe (L-R)

After almost six years in legal marketing, I attended the LMA Annual Conference in Las Vegas as one of two recipients of the Midwest Region’s Presidential Scholarship.

What an experience! So many new legal marketing connections. So many good sessions. So much to think about.

Here are a few reflections as a first-timer and a small-firm marketer:

Networking is key

  • I decided to take advantage of as much as I could at the conference, so I went a day early to attend a few mixers and a pre-conference session. I also participated in a lunch networking session with the Small Firm/Solo Marketers SIG. Through the networking events, I met many people IRL who I previous only knew virtually through LME (Legal Marketers Extraordinaire on Facebook), my lifeline. These include Hall of Fame members, former board members of LMA, and conference presenters. They are approachable and willing to help other legal marketers at any time. Throughout the conference, I ran into them repeatedly and they always chatted with me to see how things were going (and they give hugs).
  • If you’re part of team who are at the conference, connect with people outside of your firm. It’s what we tell our attorneys, right?
  • Look people in the eye. Say hello. Invite others into your “groups” at mixers – don’t just leave it up to others to approach you or ask to join your group.

Continue Reading Thoughts from a First-Time LMA Attendee | Guest Post

The Legal Marketing Association‘s annual conference is just around the corner. I’ve got my flight, my hotel, my conference registration, and my custom badge ribbons ready to go. But before we all head out, there are a few things we should all be doing to prepare so that we make the most of the conference, our time, and our opportunities.

From a post last year:

We all attend professional conferences. Some are close-knit groups, such as the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference; others will have 10s of thousands in attendance, and take over a whole city (ACC Annual Meeting, CES, NRF’s Big Show).

Sometimes we will know no one attending, other times hundreds due to our level of involvement in the organization.

No matter how many people you know or don’t know, speaker or not, first time attendee or not, you need to prepare to maximize the time you will be there, and out of the office.

I start to prepare for a conference  approximately two weeks or so before my departure. When I say I do these things, I really do them, and I coach others to do so as well for one reason: They work.

YUP, gonna make you click to the original post to read more … 

Don’t be a lurker. 6 Things to Do BEFORE Attending a Conference

What it comes down to is that we’re all really busy trying to get out of the office. Many of us will be distracted at the conference by the office. But your firm is spending good money to send you. Take advantage of the opportunity. However, it’s a big conference, with a lot of people, and a homecoming with old friends. Planning today will make your experience all the better.

If you’re looking for me, here’s my schedule:

Sunday

  • Flying in with the Sports Dude and headed to the pool. Trying to gather some people for dinner and a show (DM me if interested in going).

Monday

  • CMO Summit on Monday. Then I’ll meet up with my First Time Attendee Mentees at the First Timers Reception, then we’ll head over to the full reception, and then I have dinner plans.

Tuesday

  • I’m doing the AI Track. Really looking forward that. All the breakouts for networking in the exhibit hall (looking forward to winning some prizes), and off to the reception. Playing it by ear Tuesday night.

Wednesday

  • After everyone wishes me happy birthday and bestows upon me lots of gifts, I’m headed to a couple more sessions before flying home so my kids can bestow me with gifts as well.

Thursday will be spent getting caught up in the office, sharing great content, and preparing to head out again on Sunday for the ALA Annual Conference where Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I will be presenting on Generational Marketing: Strategies and Tactics for Engaging Different Generations.

political rant

I just had to close my Facebook page. The “debate” and “commentary” of people I actually care for is getting out of hand. Two people are arguing about the George Bush video (I agree with the Atlantic on this one). Others think Ruth Bader Ginsberg is right on, while others think she needs to temper her comments considering her role on the Supreme Court. Some think Trump is the anti-Christ; others thing he is the Messiah. Hillary Rodham Clinton is either the greatest role model EVER, or the most corrupt politician since her husband (or Nixon). And voting for a third party candidate was brought to my attention as being un-American, and will ensure that the person they don’t like might make it into the White House.

Enough already.

I know when you are sitting at home, or in your office, alone, your comments seem pithy and witty. You get lots of likes from those who agree, and some debate from those who don’t, but the majority of us are rolling our eyes and wondering: Continue Reading Do you really care what I think about the elections?

personal_branding
I promise, my personal brand is not, “I’ve been too busy to blog.” I think I’m going through a process. An evolution. A “what’s next in my life” moment that has lasted for months. I have a lot to say, but I’m not sure HOW I want to say it.

You will often hear me say that deep down, at my core, I’m a writer. But that’s not my brand.

As a writer, however, I have a need to write. But the last few months have me questioning who I am at my core. Not that I am not a good communicator and writer; it’s just not my brand, and I’m trying to get to a more authentic place with who I am. And how am I going to write about anything, if I am not grounded in my core, my brand? Continue Reading My own personal branding exercise

small fish bigger bowl 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 My year of opportunities for growth

Blawg100WebBadgeHeidi Klum’s tag on her long-running show is “In fashion, one day you are in, the next you are out.” For those of us who blog on and about the legal industry and practice of law, the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 is the list to make. For the third year running my blog, The Legal Watercooler, has made the list. As a law school never-was, my parents are very thankful to the ABA for this honor. As I renewed my URL for $9.99 this morning, I couldn’t help but chuckle that my blog was certainly a lot less expensive than going to law school, and has brought my parents many more opportunities to brag about me. I would be remiss if I did not thank all my readers and fans, and to all who inspire me to take fingers to keyboard. I started this blog at the urging and encouragement of my friend Jayne Navarre, and it really brought the purpose of my professional life full circle. She was my first follow on Twitter, and I want to be just like her when I grow up. I love the legal industry and I am an opinionated person. The Legal Watercooler began as I needed a place to have a conversation. And conversations we have had, and will continue to have.

cropped-11149468_10153176009878926_9114104145154145142_n1.jpgI remember taking my first Myers-Briggs assessment way back when. I was an ENTJ. The “E” completely confused me. I hated people. I preferred to be alone. Ugh. I had to be an introvert. Right? Wrong.

Fast forward 20 years and I have completely come into my extroversion (is that a word?). I get my energy from being around others. And, more than anything, I get my work energy from the LMA Annual Conference.

Transitioning to a new firm this year has really taxed my mental energy. I have so many ideas swirling around my head every day. There are so many things to do, and many more possibilities as well. I have a great support team back in the office to help me process, wade through my ideas, help me to decide what’s a go, and what’s a no-go.

Continue Reading I don’t need to zone out, I need to zone in.

I have been listening to two friends for a while now with relationships ending. It’s sad. The attempts to keep a dying relationship alive. The things they are doing to deny that it’s really over. The last attempts they make to try and recapture what was there in the beginning. The knowing it’s time to let go and move on, but then they don’t. How they both bounced back into the relationship with a shallow promise or self-imposed idea that things would be different, only to be disappointed when that didn’t last long.

One friend is breaking up with a girlfriend. The other with their law firm.

So here’s my advice to them both: Continue Reading Advice to a friend: It’s time to let go and break up

Like everyone reading this blog post, I am busy. I have too much on my plate. I can’t get to all the things I need to do today. I feel guilty for the I cannot get to. I panic over what I am missing, or what has fallen through the cracks. I wish I had more time. When I have more time I don’t want to be doing business development. I need a vacation. I’m afraid of a vacation and leaving the office (actually, my in-box).

I get it. But here’s my problem: I am supposed to coach you on how to work your way through this, while I am living the same problem.  Continue Reading What do you do with good advice?