I have a favorite band, The Airborne Toxic Event. They’ve achieved fame and a lot of airplay for their song, Sometime Around Midnight. They’ve performed on Letteman and Jimmy Kimmel Live. They have more than 38,000 fans on Facebook (yes, I’m still calling them “fans”). The Sports Dude and I saw them perform a few months back at the Disney Concert Hall, where lead-singer Mikel Jollett kicked the night off on the BIG organ. There was a marching band from a local high school, along with Mariachis and dancers. We watched in admiration at the band’s awe looking around, absorbing where they were. How did they go from local band in Echo Park, to performing to a sold-out crowd at the Disney Concert Hall? Better yet, as the band prepares to release their second album, they have in no way lost sight of their roots and who they, as individuals and a band, are. Last night the Sports Dude and I attended a fundraiser for THEIR Neda Project. Neda Agha Soltan, you might remember, was the young woman whose murder on the streets of Tehran was captured on YouTube last year. The venue for the night’s fundraiser wasn’t the Disney Concert Hall, or The Nokia Theatre. It was held at The Echo, the club where the band played their first gig. A little joint, with no marquee, on West Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. It’s the kind of neighborhood where the local parking is $2.50 a DAY, not $2.00 an hour for the meters. This night was about their cause, their passion, that THEY brought to Amnesty International, the granddaddy of human rights organizations. The band saw the video of Neda’s death, and, like so many of us, were moved. They, however, put their movement into action. Before the show, Mikel was mingling amongst us in the audience, talking to fans, snapping pictures, discussing his passion, encouraging us to get more involved. From the stage he was humbled and moved. He was impassioned and grateful. I have to say, this has been my experience EVERY time I have seen the band play. They are humbled and grateful. How refreshing. So, what does this have to do with legal marketing? It reminds me of the story in Outliers about the founding of Skadden Arps:
In the beginning, it was just Marshall Skadden, Leslie Arps – both of whom had just been turned down for partner at a major Wall Street law firm – and John Slate, who had worked for Pan Am airlines. Flom [who did not receive any offers during hiring season] was their associate …. “What kind of law did we do?” Flom says, laughing. “Whatever came in the door!” Outliers, p. 118
I summed up my “experience” with the Skadden chapter:
So, what’s the point of the story? I think there are many, but you’ll have to read the book to find the ones that resonate with you.I, for one, forget sometimes that so many of our firms have been built on the humble backs of hard working men and women. Go through the framed degrees on the walls of your founding partners and you will find amongst the Harvard and Yale degrees, Brooklyn Law School, Seton Hall University, Pepperdine University, University of San Diego, and Southwestern University School of Law.While it is admirable to aspire to the reputation of Skadden Arps, it is just as admirable to aspire to the tenaciousness of Marshall Skadden, Leslie Arps, John Slate and Joe Flom.