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.

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

generations in workplace Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I were asked to contribute our thoughts on the generations at work for the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrator’s magazine. While our initial research and conversations in regards to the generational divide in law firms dealt with lawyers and their clients, our focus in this turns internal in regards to how law firms manage the different generations, recruit and retail lawyers, AND continue to build vibrant practices.

For the first time in history, there are four generations in the workforce—Silent, Boomer, GenX and GenY. The different mentalities, preferences, and motivations among the generations has introduced some unchartered opportunities and challenges. According to a recent Altman Weil study entitled Law Firms in Transitions, “Effectively planning the retirement of Baby Boomer partners is critical and must be resolved in the next 3 to 5 years. The timing is not flexible, and, if unaddressed, the cost in lost revenue and client relationships could be devastating.” Savvy legal administrators who understand the different generational markers and who customize their responses accordingly will benefit from a harmonious and successful working environment. A lack of generational understanding results in internal strife, increased turnover and loss of business.

READ MORE

Dilbert-60-hours My post from the weekend, Rambling thoughts from 30,000 feet in the air, is about the BUSINESS of law (moving law firms from good to great; the metrics we’re measuring for success). Tim Corcoran‘s latest post, Working Smarter, Not Harder, is about the BUSINESS of law (h/t for the Dilbert). Kevin O’Keefe, Nancy Myrland, Gina Rubel (and colleagues), Ed PollSteven Harper, Greg Lambert (and colleagues), Cheryl Bame, Cordell Parvin, Patrick Lamb, Jonathan Fitzgarrald, Adrian Lurssen, Adrian Dayton, and one of my absolute favs Ed Reeser — and the list can go on and on and on — are ALL talking, writing and/or blogging about the BUSINESS of law. My apologies for not listing everyone. Check out my Twitter lists for more names to follow, and please suggest more in the comments below.  As we continue to elevate the conversation of the business of law, I would suggest that we all create a “Business of Law” tag or category on our blogs, if we haven’t done so already; and that we use the same hashtag (#bizoflaw) on Twitter. LinkedIn, unfortunately, does not recognize the “Business of Law” as a tag for our posts, but if we all create an “skill endorsement” of “Business of Law” and add it to our headlines, then perhaps we can create a movement. And, please, endorse me for “Business of Law” and “Leadership” on LinkedIn. I just added both to my skills list. What it comes down to is that we are all talking to one another on a weekly or daily basis about the BUSINESS of law, and we all basically agree with our messages. We need to strategically broaden this conversation to more and more people (attorneys in key leadership positions, other c-level legal professionals, influencers — conference organizers and the legal media) who SHOULD be recognizing, listening, participating, and joining us in this conversation. So who is with me? #bizoflaw #leadership #lawyers #lmamkt

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.

Don’t camouflage your Twitter address if you want attribution

We had an interesting conversation at the LMA Annual Conference about attribution while live-Tweeting at a conference. Nancy Myrland very nicely captures the discussion in her post, Who Said That? How to Live Tweet a Conference.

To aid attendees at our session on Generational Marketing: Strategies and tactics for engagement with Boomers, Gen Xers and Millenials, Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I deliberately included our Twitter addresses not only on the opening slide, but in the footers. (Click here for the slides)

If we wanted the attribution, we didn’t want to make you work for it.  And it worked. The Twitter thread was incredible, lots of attribution to us both. Lots of feedback. And many new followers.

I just realized today, however, that for those reading this blog and wanting to share it on Twitter, it’s not as easy to find my Twitter address for attribution.

It hit me because I was reading a post from Lloyd Pearson while on my commute this morning, Chambers USA 2014-15: Get Organized via my reader. The post was easy for me to share from my iPhone, but his Twitter address didn’t auto fill. I was about to hit the tunnel, so I sent it off without attribution. Not really like me.

I have become so accustomed when using Bitly or Tweetdeck for the app to auto fill the name, but it doesn’t do so always, making it difficult to attribute on the fly unless you already know the person’s Twitter address, or are really determined.

To make things easier, I just updated my blog image that you see on the desktop to hyperlink to my Twitter profile, and added my address in the caption, and I urge you to do the same.

And when you do the update, check your mobile app version. My image doesn’t show up, so I have updated the subtitle of my blog to include it as well.

Not as pretty, but this is about engagement, conversation, and attribution.

 

If we’re friends on Facebook you know that I had an encounter last night that ended in a very awkward moment for the other person. It probably wasn’t the most spiritual thing I could do to post about it, but what can I say? I saw a lesson there … for me. When I lead with my ego I ALWAYS learn a lesson. The hard way. I am ALWAYS right-sided. My ego is smashed. I have found out that if I lead with my ego, I will find humility through the ensuing humiliation. So what does this have to do with legal marketing? Everything. In a profession where I am often referred to by the lawyers, lumped together with every other staffer, from the copy room to the C-Suite, as a “non-lawyer,” I have had to learn how to find my place. It is such a fine balance. In other businesses, the marketing and sales team are seen as revenue drivers, strategic team members, leaders. In many a law firm we are seen as nothing more than a cost center and a annoying, and pricy, necessity. On average, in most companies, the marketing budget is 10% of revenue. In a law firm, yeah, not so much. As in 2-5%. If you’re lucky. I’ve been in legal marketing for 16 years and that percentage has stayed consistent. I have had three situations, one as recent as last week, that have been a personal evolution and a reminder that when I think I am hot shit, I will be reminded by some force in the universe that I am not. My humility (and ego) must rest in that I do this (writing this blog, volunteer service and speaking in LMA) for fun and for free. And, in return, I have found that I learn more about myself, legal marketing, business, and leadership than I realize. Continue Reading Am I leading with my ego?

Well, it’s that time of year. The legal marketing community is headed off to the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference. The conferences keep getting bigger and better. Pretty soon we’ll be saying goodbye to conference hotels, and hello convention centers. A few things to note:

  1. Whether or not you are attending the conference, or have a Twitter account, the hashtag to follow is #LMA14.
  2. I am still looking for anyone who would like to help blog on sessions. Just send me a message on Twitter @heather_morse.
  3. I know EVERYONE reading this will be in my session on Generational Marketing with Jonathan Fitzgarrald on Thursday. It’s a competitive time slot, so I will forgive you if you attend any of the other sessions. Especially if you write a recap for this blog. LMA Session
  4. Don’t just bring your business cards. Immediately connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Half the conference is about networking and building relationships. Don’t miss out on that.
  5. Start making your connections now. The conversation and connections have already begun on Twitter.
  6. The LMA Technology Committee will have a couple tables set up at the Friday Networking Lunch. I’ll be there, along with my co-chair, Laura Toledo. Stop by and say hi. We’ll even buy you lunch :D.
  7. Wear comfortable shoes.
  8. Oh, and rumor has it that a group of us are staying over on Friday to get our social time in with friends. You’re welcome to join us.

I’ll see you at the kick-off reception Wednesday night. Looking forward to the #Swag and Passport to Prizes.  

Thanks to the folks at Spark Media Solutions for doing a great round of post-session interviews after our presentation, Generational Marketing: Strategies and tactics for engagement with Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.They really picked up on the main themes of our session, and provides a great recap of our session.

Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I appreciate the feedback we received, and look forward to presenting next week in Orlando at the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference.

Last month came the news that another law firm is closing its doors. This time north of the 49th parallel.

One of Canada’s largest firms seemingly collapsed overnight. But, like most law firm failures, the collapse was a long time coming.

Canada’s online legal magazine, SLAW, sums it up well in this post, Requiem for Heenan Blakie:

Heenan Blaikie died from a combination of greed, poor management and failed leadership wrapped together in an antiquated business structure ill-suited to “more for less” client demands in a marketplace gradually filling with non-traditional competitors.

As I have said repeatedly, the Canadian legal profession is now entering the most disruptive period of time in its history. It has never faced such strong client demands for value and efficiency. It has never faced competition from non-traditional legal providers.

These are structural changes that never go away; they amplify.

And all of this in an environment of flat legal services demand, over capacity and legal tech entrepreneurs!

Layer in partners who are more loyal to themselves than to the firm and one can see that Heenan Blaikie (like every other law firm in Canada) was a house built on sand, not bedrock.

I fear that many of us can insert “name of American law firm” in place of Heenan Blaikie and tell the same story.

Yes, we’re chatting about this in my circles. What does this mean? Why? What will it take to change law firm culture and business models?

Some argue for the ability of non-lawyers to co-own law firms, thereby giving more control of the actual business function to the true professional business people.

Some argue we need true business development and sales people. Lawyers are not necessarily cut out for this.

Some argue that the services themselves need to be repackaged and sold (think AFAs).

Some argue that the growth through lateral hiring binge is unsustainable and a leading cause of law firm failure.

It’s the compensation plans. No, it’s the commoditization of legal services.

And then there are those lawyers who just want things to go back to the way things were. Institutional clients. None of this business development crap.

There are no single right answers. And there are no single wrong ones here either. These are all contributing factors, leading to a perfect storm that will continue to result in the roller coaster of growth through acquisition, and big law failures, along with a lot of mid-sized failures as well.

I’d like to add another layer to the conversation of change and disruption in the legal industry: There is a generational shift taking place and very few people are talking about it, nor the impact it is having on our sales culture, nor our business culture.

Continue Reading Why the generational shift in leadership is impacting the legal industry