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?

Shoes
Jonathan Fitzgarrald and me headed to Phoenix LMA

I get asked this question a lot these days, “What’s it like to fill Jonathan Fitzgarrald’s shoes?”

I just reply back honestly, “I don’t know. I brought my own.” “Filling the shoes,” so to speak, of another person is challenging. Filling the shoes of half your dog & pony show can be daunting. Like myself prior to joining this firm, Jonathan was in his position for nearly eight years. He had seen through a culture change and shift. He saw through the passing of the baton from one generation of law firm leaders to the next. He was witness as the old guard of rainmakers retired, and the new guard took root. The firm Jonathan left is much different than the firm he joined. And I am now having my own unique experience. I will get to witness the firm I joined on February 23, 2015, evolve into something different. I will hopefully have the ability to influence and help shape things where I can. But that’s not what this blog post is about. So what is this post about? I suppose my first 90 days (yes, it’s been 90 days), the things that I have noticed, and things that I would share with anyone walking into a new position. Continue Reading What’s it like to fill Jonathan Fitzgarrald’s shoes? Lessons from my first 90 days.

Photo credit: Gina Rubel. #LMA15 In my spiritual community we talk about doing things “for fun and for free.” Apparently, doing for others brings back more reward than doing for yourself. The same is true in my professional association, The Legal Marketing Association. My first boss in legal marketing, Frank Moon, saw something in my non-profit, political, and event management experience that he thought would lateral in well to legal. And it has. He also threw me head first into LMA’s local chapter here in Los Angeles. I could plan a better event. I could bring better ideas to the table. And so my LMA “career” began, somewhere in 1997. Fast forward almost two decades, and I have done a couple tours of duty on my local board, served as my local chapter president, joined a national committee to get to know Merry Neitlich better, and became good friends with John Byrne as we worked on a Membership Dues Restructuring task-force together (where our recommendations were adopted … 10 years later, lol). At some point, Diane Hamlin encouraged me to run for the national board, but I didn’t make it (this was back when we had contested elections).  Nathalie Daum told me not to be discouraged and invited me to participate on a national committee and try again the next year. I did and I made it. I also made great friends with Jayne Navarre, and met all these LMA luminaries, who turned out to be legal marketers just like me. Continue Reading Do you have what it takes?

Many years ago I was vacationing on Dominica and stayed at a hotel that was built out of the original fort. Think Pirates of the Caribbean meets Black Sails. The dining room was not always clean. The white table clothes were slightly stained with wine spills from the prior diners. However, the service was impeccable. The pride and care the staff took in the most mundane activity of pouring a glass of water is so memorable that almost two decades later I could easily write 500 words to describe it. I hadn’t realized it at time, but noticed it that day, but service in restaurants in the States had really gone downhill since the days of Chasen’s and Scandia. The art of service — the pride in service — is so rare that when you experience it, you realize how lacking it is around you; whether in a restaurant, behind the meat counter at the supermarket, at Starbucks, or at work. Which brings me to this week. I bade farewell to one of my assistants this week, Kaye Heller. I knew and worked with Kaye for a whole month and a week, yet I know one thing for certain: Her attention to detail and pride in her work will be missed at the firm, within my department, and by me. Whether ordering a lunch service, processing a sponsorship request, or circulating an e-mail touting the firm in the news for the week, nothing was done by Kaye without purpose and care, along with pride and attention to detail. How rare is this today? I am the first to admit that my care to detail, while great, is not perfect. I have been known to “phone it in” when I could have dropped everything and given it my all. And, yes, sometimes good enough is good enough for me. In fact, I have been known to have typos in my blog posts; and I’m okay with that. Not so with Kaye, and the Kayes of the world out there. To these rare souls, I salute you. And to all of us who are service providers, we need to take stock and inventory of our personal service standards and shake off that cloak of complacency. Don’t our clients deserve that? We talk about client service standards, but how often are they designed around us rather than the client? A client this week sent one of our partners a birthday cake. I had to take a peek at what the cake looked like. Was it phoned in from Costco? Expensive and fancy from one of the top L.A. bakeries? What caught my attention were the personal details that only the client (not the personal assistant) would know. No Happy Birthday was necessary. The cake reflected the passions of the partner. In a presentation we did together last year, Dave Bruns talked about the client relationship cycle (which I have completely stolen, by the way). When properly moved along, a client not only becomes loyal, but becomes an advocate of the service provider (works both for lawyers and legal marketers), referring them business. I’m beginning to see that there is a higher level as well. At a certain point, the client becomes a true fan of the service provider. The client will go just as far for the service provider as the service provider goes for them. The relationship becomes balanced in this way. A true partnership. I’m sure I’ll find a nice and memorable term for this level of client/service provider symbiotic relationship, so if you have any ideas, post them in the comments and I’ll give you credit in the footnotes of my slides if I use it. In the meantime, Kaye, we will miss you. We’ll stumble. We’ll be fine. And thank you.