Mark this day down on your calendars, kids. We will one day look back on November 18, 2014, as the first day in the long anticipated end to the dreaded billable hour.

From today’s American Lawyer:

Law firms have been calling for the end of the billable hour for decades. And since the 2008 recession, they have increasingly offered cost-conscious clients alternative fee arrangements.

Now Jackson Lewis says it wants to take the next step in the evolutionary process of alternative fee arrangements by eliminating the billable hour as an evaluative tool for its 293 associates. As of Jan. 1, associates at the labor and employment firm will be assessed on efficiency, client service, responsiveness, team-orientation and pro-bono commitment in an effort to align the way Jackson Lewis “deliver[s] legal services with clients’ needs,” according to firm chair Vincent Cino. (The firm’s compensation model for partners is based on revenue rather than hours.)

“The billable hour is directly opposed to the best interest of the client and to the provider of service because by its very nature it adds an artificial barrier to the accomplishment of the only real objective, which is a quality legal product for a set and expected price,” Cino says.

Whether you agree or not that the “billable hour is directly opposed to the best interest of the client” you have had to wonder, at some point in your career, “Well, how did we get here?”


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I’m reading a new survey from ALM, New Partners Ambivalent About Rainmaking, Survey Finds, and am aghast at the naïveté of the respondents. Apparently, 49% of new partners surveyed don’t think that their ability to make rain is a deciding factor in their being promoted to partner (equity or non-equity).

Asked how important they

In my 20s I received a great piece of dating advice: Don’t answer the door on a first date wearing a wedding dress.

I would say similar advice applies to lawyers: Don’t show up for the first meeting with a potential client carrying a proposal and an engagement letter.

I am in the process of

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

question markFor quite a while now I keep telling attorneys in my firm that we need a Pete. For those of you who do not watch Mad Men, Pete Campbell is the head of accounts and a partner at Sterling, Cooper, Draper and the other guy. His job is to go out, find the business, wine and dine (and throw in a whore house or two) the clients. He is not an ad man. He’s a BD (business development) guy. Client services professional. And his role to the firm is key in their success:

  1. He finds the client.
  2. He is a bridge between the client and the creative team.
  3. He keeps the client happy and coming back for more.

Once Pete interests a client in the firm, he then introduces them to Don Draper, one of the agency’s partners and senior creative directors. Don then starts to get the potential client interested in the pizazz of what an advertising campaign run by him would look like. Once they get the green light to prepare a formal pitch, Don then brings his team together. Peggy, the head copy writer, and on her way to becoming a partner, along with the media buyers, art directors, and junior copywriters. They then work together to pull the pitch together and present to the client.

We need a Pete
Advertising Agency – New Business Flow Chart

Nothing about this flow chart is unique. Accounting and other professional services businesses are run this way. They all have a Pete.

Law firms? For the most part, we don’t have a Pete. And our flow charts for new business doesn’t look like their process at all.
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I caught a post today from Jaimie Field, one of my Legal Marketing Extraordinaires, Rainmaking Recommendation #91: The Mathematics of Time for Rainmaking where she breaks down the myth that you don’t have time to make rain. She’s right. I don’t care how busy your practice is, you can find the time to make some rain.

We are going to start with a few assumptions:

  1. That you are required to bill 2000 hours per year, and
  2. That you like to sleep.

That means you have to average 40 hours a week for 50 weeks of billable time (I’m giving you two weeks of vacation a year – am I nice or what?) or 160 hours per month. So let’s talk about just one month of time (and we aren’t even going to discuss working weekends): On average, there are 20 business days per month. 20 business days x 24 hours per day = 480 hours total hours. 480 hours – 160 hours (8 hours of sleep per night for 20 nights) = 320 hours left 320 hours – 160 hours of billable time per month = 160 hours left Even if you work out 1 hour per day for those 20 working days you have 140 hours remaining per month.  Those 140 hours per month (and remember, this is only during the working week, this does not include weekends) equals 7 hours per business day to use any way you want.

Fine. You’re busy. I get it. Plus you have to add in a commute, the gym, watching a TV show or game. But even with all that, you still have a good three hours a day in which to market, or goof off around the office, hang out on Facebook, or play video games. Which one’s going to make you money? Here are some suggestions on what to do with some of those three hours:
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I just read the following post SCOTUSblog Won Readers, Not Clients: Popular blog didn’t work as marketing tool for law firm but was a hit with readers, founders tell UGA audience.

I have to disagree.

In general, and in most cases, a corporate legal blogger might not be able to point to a particular piece of business and say, “I brought that in from writing this blog post on that date.”

However, if written correctly, the attorney can most likely point to their practice and see a correlation between their increased business and the launching of their blog.

I just don’t think the folks at SCOTUSblog are correctly measuring its value.

A corporate legal blog is NOT a business development (read SALES) tool in and of itself. It is there to provide what Nancy Myrland calls “digital breadcrumbs“:

Blogging, just as all other content scattered across the Internet, is what I always refer to as “digital breadcrumbs.” The words, thoughts and opinions we share in these spaces serve to help others find a path to us when they happen to need us, or at least when their interest in our areas of expertise is heightened.

A blog, done right, is an educational tool that will position the author and firm. Avvo‘s Josh King agrees:

Too many attorneys and firms treat them like outbound marketing vehicles, doing more overt sales pitches than information and thought leadership.

Blogs are about value, and education. They are about telling the story you want the general counsel to read as they are doing their due diligence on the attorney and the firm. They are about having the right results on page one when your name is Googled.

Getting back to the softer ROI that we’re talking about, Virtual Marketing Officer, Jayne Navarre, points out that the SCOTUSblog article contradicts itself:
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Where they Boomers got their name.

Generational marketing is a term that I picked up at the Chief Marketing Officer Institute earlier this year, and something Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I continue to toy with in terms of how this applies to legal marketing.

In short, generational marketing recognizes that the different generations make purchasing decisions in different ways from one another.

The different life phases we are in presently, coupled with our upbringing and societal norms, provide us with different perspective than those we follow, or those who follow us.

Roger Daltry is now 69. What happened to not trusting anyone over 30?

For example, I’m an earlier member of Generation X (born 1961 – 1981). I came of age during the Cold War.

I was raised by my Silent Generation parents (1925 – 1942), who came of age post-WWII. Only one of their five kids are a Baby Boomer (1943 – 1960). The rest of us are Gen-X.

And my parents were raised by their G.I. Generation parents (1901 – 1924), who grew up during, and were shaped by, the Great Depression.

One of the greatest challenges I face in the work place is working with the Millennial generation who were raised with technology at their fingertips (sometimes referred to as Gen Y; 1982 – 2000). The Baby Boomers really don’t get them at all.


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A fellow legal marketer recently brought up Avvo in my Legal Marketers Extraordinaire Group on Facebook (message me on the Legal Watercooler’s Facebook page if you would like to join).

She was wondering about the value.

Avvo has always had its distractors, but I’ve always taken a “meh” position. Why? Because I’m in corporate law.