I heard the news yesterday and it shocked me to my core. A dear member of our Legal Marketers Extraordinaire / LMA community had passed away. Tragically, he died from suicide. His was not the first death by suicide of a man in his 50s that I knew this year.

Researchers don’t know why, but suicide rates peak for men in the 50s. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched by such a tragic loss. I wrote about suicide and our profession after Chris Cornell, an icon for we GenXers, died: Continue Reading We lost an LMA shining light

With all the talk of sexual harassment in the media these past couple weeks, I’m not sure about your office, but conversations in the hallways and in the kitchens–only between the women–have been taking place in mine.

We’ve been sharing our stories. Some from our college days, some from our early careers. But we all seem to have a story.

Here are mine:

My college professor

Call me naive. I just didn’t get it. I had a professor, much older than me. Old enough to be my dad, maybe even my grandfather. He wasn’t in shape or attractive. He drove a 1960s era VW.

I was a Lit Writing major, and I was taking his poetry classes. He took a special interest in me.

First it was conversations after class. Then in his office. He took me to dinner, which, as a poor college student, I always appreciated. He got me a gift–a Chinese coin as I was a Chinese studies minor. Then another gift–a first edition of one of my favorite books. I was being groomed.

My boyfriend Todd was really sick and I was having a hard time. Having a safe place to go and sit, having a place where I could release my emotions–which was in my writing–was so necessary for my sanity.

Seriously, I really didn’t get that he was hitting on me. Continue Reading #MeToo – My story

I write and speak frequently on the generational shifts and divides in law firms, along with my colleague Jonathan Fitzgarrald. We first started to identify generational trends and the impact on the law firm in 2013. We always mentioned the “next” generation, the “swipe” generation, but there was no data on them. Yet.

The studies are starting to come out, and if you’re worried about your Millennials, you need to start to panic about your iGen, a term coined by Dr. Jean M. Twenge. I just saw her on CNN, just read her article, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

Continue Reading Here comes the iGen: And we all need to be worried

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.

A little over a week ago a conversation began about the use of the term “non-lawyer” in the context of referring to business executives in law firms.

It started with the American Lawyer‘s coverage of Husch Blackwell‘s new CEO: Husch Blackwell’s Next Leader is a Newly Employed Non-Lawyer (subs. req).

When Paul Eberle assumes the top leadership role at Husch Blackwell in February 2018, the non-lawyer manager will have spent less than two years working at the firm he presides over.

Sadly, the American Lawyer failed to give credit to Mr. Eberle’s for his 20 years of executive experience as a CEO, and that caught the eyes of the legal marketing community. Continue Reading The use of “non-lawyer” is destructive to the business of law

Dear American Lawyer, the leading trade publication for our profession:

Those of us who have dedicated our careers as legal industry professionals would like you to understand that the term “non-lawyer” is offensive, and does a disservice to all of the firms that are being run as businesses.

Your August 17, 2017, headline: Husch Blackwell’s Next Leader is a Newly Employed Non-Lawyer caught the eye of the LME on Facebook. One of our members wrote the author today: Continue Reading Husch Blackwell’s incoming CEO is a professional, not a “non-lawyer”

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.

“Be curious, not critical,” was the advice of Peter Guber at the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission’s recent board room program on eSports. The impressive panel of industry leaders were speaking to an audience filled with impressive Los Angeles business leaders about the rise of eSports (and a brief education on what eSports is), along with how it will impact the various businesses represented.

Be Curious, Not Critical.

This was Guber’s first piece of advice that I found particularly relevant for lawyers when approaching something new, like eSports, or business development, or the idea of blogging/social media, or insert the last thing your marketing professional suggested. Continue Reading Be curious, not critical. Business advice for lawyers.