Legal Marketing Association

The Legal Marketing Association just released the slate of candidates for the 2018 International Board of Directors, and I plan to vote against ratification of the slate.

It has nothing to do with any of the individuals nominated, or any member of the nominations committee, but rather, it’s time for the slate to go. Or to at least be modified to allow for some direct voting of candidates (members-at-large, for instance).

We need diversity of thought and experience on the board. Recent decisions and actions show that there is something not quite right with our current process, and it’s not that the people on the Board are anything but great members of LMA and great people, not to mention good friends. However, together, the diversity of thought and thought process is lacking.

Teamability over individuality

In the spirit of Teamability–an assessment test I took when I was on the board last–we need a variety of personalities to make an effective team.

Teamability is a great assessment because it is not about “Heather, as an individual” but “What does Heather bring to the table as a member of a team?” The diagnostic breaks the personality types down, and actually pairs you with your counterpart: Continue Reading Why I plan to vote against ratifying the LMA slate

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.

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.

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.