Legal Marketing Association

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.

Survey-BannerFor the past few years I have been heavily involved in LMA’s Technology Committee, first as the board liaison, and for the past two years as the co-chair. My term comes to an end at the end of this year and I would like to end this round of service (because you know there will be more) by hearing from my fellow in-house legal marketers. You do not need to be an LMA member to take the survey. The Technology Committee is committed to preparing two reports based on your experiences in order to help our peers across the legal marketing industry. This isn’t about reviewing a product or vendor, but about our experience as we roll out a new marketing technology product, or how we’re starting to make sense of all that data that our firms are capturing. Continue Reading Calling All In-House Legal Marketers: Survey Says …

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?

us at LMAYes, I’ve been in San Diego since Saturday for the “pre-prom” get togethers. In LMA I have met some of my dearest friends, mentors, colleagues, bosses, inspirations. LMA has allowed me to grow and develop my craft, while maintaining my sanity. I know the Twitter hashtag (@LMA15) has been blowing up for days, the pictures in the LME Facebook groups are flowing, but the conference actually just kicked off with a great timeline video (Happy 30th Conference Anniversary, LMA). Dan Pink is our keynote. Were going to learn a 1-3-5 … so let us begin: Continue Reading LMA – Let the Conference Begin in 1-3-5

It’s Monday afternoon and I have finally cleared my e-mail, spoke to a partner, posted a session recap/guest blog post (with three more in the que), and realize I have not personally provided any major content about the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual conference last week, except for my Twitter feed. Looks like I’m skipping the gym today.

First of all, the LMA annual conference is exactly what Tim Corcoran, our president, described in his opening remarks: part educational & networking conference, part family reunion, part high school reunion. And we all know who the crazy uncle is. There are so many layers to the LMA annual conference, that when I look at the conference from each individual pair of eyes, I find that it only tells one side of the story. Family reunion: It was wonderful to see so many of my former colleagues from across my career in legal marketing. Kevin McMurdo from Perkins Coie, Ellen Musante and Corey Garver from my Pillsbury days. Not to mention all the current and former committee and task force members I have worked with throughout the years at both the local and international levels. High School reunion: Some of my closest and dearest friends I have met through LMA. While we are in constant contact via Facebook, getting to see one another live is beyond measure. We have actually started to form an “after prom” event so we can focus on our business and networking while at the conference, knowing we’ll have our personal social time once the conference ends. Scenes from an LMA Conference Education & networking: Really, there is no better place in the industry for marketing professionals to gather. We are a strange breed, and only in LMA are “competitors” so open and willing to share, help one another as we traverse this road, mentor one another, and on board new legal marketers.

One of my favorite slides, ever, from Matt Homann
One of my favorite slides, ever, from Matt Homann

This year I found the two most powerful sessions, for me, to be the first and the last I attended. Continue Reading Personally yours, from the Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference

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.

As a member of the Legal Marketing Association‘s (LMA) Board of Directors I get the inside scoop to what’s going on in our association. But sometimes I am under the “cone of silence” and can’t say a thing.

I am so excited to officially get to spill the beans on some exciting news: LMA has launched a Client Value Shared Interest Group (SIG) focused on Pricing, Project Management and Process Improvement. From our board president Aleisha Gravit‘s message to today:

The SIG is being formed under the leadership of Toby Brown, Director of Pricing and Strategic Analytics at Akin Gump, along with some of the industry’s top leaders in legal pricing, project management and process improvement, many of who will be joining the LMA community as new members. These leaders bring with them a group of nearly 150 pricing and process improvement experts from the legal and business community and we are excited about the amount of experience and perspective they will bring to our pricing discussions and other LMA topic areas.

This SIG’s focus furthers LMA’s position as a thought leader for the legal marketplace as it relates to the 5 P’s of marketing: Promotion, Placement, Pricing, Product and People. Members will share best practices and create an informed dialogue about pricing structures, project management and process improvement trends in the legal profession. LMA already provides content related to pricing considerations in the legal market; the new SIG not only extends but elevates our programs in this topic area.

I for one am so excited to welcome Toby and company to LMA. I plan to sit front and center, live-Tweeting his session at the LMA Annual Conference (April 10-12 | Las Vegas). I’ve even officially joined the SIG. Can’t wait for the first in-person meeting at LMA, and all the webinars to come in the near future.

This is an exciting new venture and direction for our professional association. Pricing, project management and process improvement are a PERFECT fit to where are are evolving as a group, and as an industry. We’ve come a long way since Bates v. State Bar of Arizona.

Ben Greenzweig

I’ve known Ben Greenzweig, Co-CEO, Momentum, for several years. We met through the Legal Marketing Association (LMA). Like many of my LMA friends, we started out working on an LMA project — the annual conference — moved that relationship forward, and are now personal friends.

Ben and I were recently talking about LMA and how this association, and the legal marketing profession, is different than any other. I asked Ben to write about his experience with LMA, and why, when launching his own company, he chose to remain connected to legal, legal marketing, and LMA.

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When I walked into the offices of Loeb & Loeb in 2005 little did I know how much of a life changing event that moment would be.

The meeting had no unusual purpose, as I was keen to meet with the brand new Chief Marketing Officer of a firm that I hoped to do more business with. After an intellectually intoxicating 90 minutes, I left that meeting with not only a new client, but a friend and an introduction to a network that would – in many ways – define my professional career going forward.

For those of you that ever met Jennifer Manton, you can understand when I tell you that she can be quite persuasive; a skill built on intellect and passion and honed with experience. So it should come as no shock that she successfully convinced me to join the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) and volunteer for a leadership position with the New York chapter during that very first meeting.

Over the next few years I was an active committee co-chair and then an elected board member at large. I’ll never forget my first Annual Conference in Atlanta when I was enveloped by an overwhelming sense of community, togetherness and, perhaps most importantly, a collective spirit of support that rivaled no other industry or profession that I have ever been exposed to.

As a speaker at the Annual Conference I was unsure of what reception I would receive given my relative “newbie” status, but those fears were quickly dispelled when Jennifer, my co-presenter Michelle Chaffin, and dozens of New York chapter friends made me feel as warm and welcome as can be. (Having Maya Angelou deliver one of the most inspirational keynote addresses I’ve ever heard didn’t hurt either.)

My personal “aha” moment came in the afternoon of day one when I took a moment to view the event through a conference professional’s eyes and realized that despite significant pockets of success, there was a major opportunity to enhance the value and experience for attendees at the Annual Conference. From that moment I was determined to create a better event for LMA, an event that I couldn’t wait to attend. I was a kid wanting to create a better candy store for me and my friends.

I spent the next few years sharing my vision of a more valuable Annual Conference experience with LMA leadership and during that process became introduced to an entirely new crop of former, current and future activists and leaders that provided me with limitless time, support and guidance. People like Betsi Roach, Jeanne Hammerstrom, Jim Durham, Andrea Crews, Alycia Sutor, Aleisha Gravit, Tim Corcoran, Lisa Simon, Heather Morse-Gellar, Eva Wisnik, Dawn Gertz and so many more that I would run out of space listing here.

Fast forward to 2012, after many successful years of working with LMA and driving my previous organization to record setting growth, I decided it was time to move on and forge my own path with a new endeavor, Momentum Events and Consulting, that I co-founded with my good friend and colleague, Matt Godson.

The support, encouragement and friendly advice I received from so many of my association brothers and sisters was beyond overwhelming. Good, bad or ugly, all the advice I received was genuine and fair, compassionate and educated. The one thing that remained constant throughout this journey was the feeling that the community I had become so intertwined with over 6 years was as much a part of me as I was a part of it.

I can never repay the debt I incurred from all the support I was – and continue to be – given, but I guess I’m not supposed to because LMA is not about repayment; it’s about paying it forward. LMA is a breeding ground for success, risk-taking and advancement. It is the trapeze artist’s net, the chemist’s Bunsen burner, the automobile’s air bags. LMA will not guarantee you success or failure, but it will provide enough support, encouragement and guidance to help you make the best decision possible.

So how can I pay it forward? I can start by saying that no other professional association I have ever been exposed to has ever been as collectively focused on an individual’s personal and professional success than LMA. Many of us work for companies that compete vigorously, ruthlessly, but what remains when the clouds of the free market lift is a network of people that truly believes that a rising tide lifts all boats. To say this collaborative spirit is uncommon outside our industry would be an understatement.

Like you, I do not know what my future holds; none of us do, but I do know that no matter which path I take, I will continue to be guided  by the relationships forged within LMA and for that I will remain forever grateful.

Ben can be reached at ben@momentumevents.co.

Jonathan Fitzgarrald
For most of the week last week I was at the Legal Marketing Association‘s Board of Directors’ & Leaders’ meeting, preparing for a busy 2013 with our incoming leadership teams. As such, I missed the 10th Annual LMA-LA Continuing Marketing Education conference. And, from what I am hearing, I missed one heck of a conference. From Allen Fuqua‘s post, A TED Conference LMA-style – Part 1. Guest post by Allen Fuqua:
True innovation in the law firm industry is a rarity.  And I was fortunate to witness and be a participant in it on September 28, 2012 at the Legal Marketing Association’s Los Angeles CME event. The LA group hosted a Continuing Marketing Education event based on the TED big idea format. 23 speakers spoke for 20 minutes each on a big idea about which they felt passionate.  Actually it was 17 solo speakers and 2 panels of 3 speakers each. With an LMA Los Angeles membership of some 110 professionals, the event was at capacity with 110 people registered for attendance.  The quality of the program may have been best represented by the fact that even for the last two sessions of the day-long event, the crowd remained entranced and enthusiastic.  I had the privilege to be the last solo speaker of the day and I was impressed by the numbers, the engagement and participation of that audience that endured.

I am so sorry I missed the conference. Congrats to Jonathan Fitzgarrald, David Fish, and Nat Slavin for a great, great job well done.

I know I’ve covered this topic before, but I had another reminder this week about how you should be living your passion. And, if you don’t know what your passion is, you need to find it.

What do I mean by that?

When you love what you do, or who you do it for, it shows. People notice. It differentiates you.

If you hate your job, or are just going through the motions, people notice. It’s a turn off. Rather than exude energy, you suck it out of the room.

My friend Nancy Myrland exemplifies living her passion. As do Jayne Navarre, and Tim Corcoran. You can say the same about Catherine MacDonough, and Keith Wewe. The list can go on and on.

And all these people have something in common. The Legal Marketing Association (LMA). We are all passionate about what we do for a living, we enjoy what we do. And, we do it well.

It’s what differentiates LMA from any other professional association that I know of.

But, if stuck in an elevator, if I told a group of people that my passion was working with lawyers, they’d wonder if they’d walked into a scene out of Devil.

I get it.

A little over five years ago I worked for an AmLaw 100 law firm and I was MISERABLE. It had nothing to do with my firm; I had lost my passion.

My solution was to took some time off through that summer to try and recapture my passion and my enthusiasm.

By mid-summer I realized I loved what I did for a living. I loved the people I get to work with, especially my close friends who I have met through my professional association (LMA).

I didn’t want to leave my industry, but I needed to find a balance between my passion for legal marketing, and the passion I had for the rest of my life.

The passion I live is not limited to legal marketing.

I am passionate about being a mom, and a Girl Scout Leader.

I am passionate about music, sports, and my family.

I am passionate about the Sports Dude and still am amazed that the boy I fell in love with when I was just 16 is the man I am married to today.

My life has its ups and downs. Whose doesn’t. But without that passion to guide me through to the next day, well, I’d be sucking the life out of the world around me as well.