I am of the mindset that if I am complain about something I’d better be the first to raise my hand to volunteer. And while I have not complained about access to justice, I do complain about how the business of law just isn’t getting it right, especially where legal professionals are concerned.

As a member of the California State Bar’s Task Force on Access Through Innovation of Legal Services, we have been tasked to see how (alternative) legal service providers (technology companies) can ethically operate and provide services in California.

The task, in and of itself, is challenging Rules 5.4 (fee sharing) and 5.5 (unlicensed practice of law) of the code of professional conduct, which will not only impact the delivery of legal services through technology companies, but will impact law firms by opening up fee sharing, and perhaps in time, the actual ability for legal professionals to take an ownership stake in law firms.

You see, no matter how much we legal professionals try, there is only so much we can do without that ownership stake. Our seats at the table are warm, but when push comes to shove, we don’t have the vote. And that is what keeps most law firms from innovating. 
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My apologies for being radio silent on the blog for the past month or so. For those who follow me on LinkedIn or are Facebook friends, you know I’ve had a recent job change, which includes moving from Los Angeles to New Orleans in a very short frame of time.

Say Hello

Earlier this month

Another day and another great article highlighting the issues of law firms and diversity, There’s A Diversity Problem At Law Firms – What Can Be Done?

The issues of diversity and INCLUSION at law firms is not as complex as we want to make it. We’ve been talking and writing about this forever, but talking and writing isn’t action.

We have a pipeline problem that goes back to high school, and probably middle school, yeah, elementary school as well. What are YOU doing about that? What is your FIRM doing about that?

We have a pedigree bias problem. What are you and your firm doing about that?

We have an implicit bias problem. Have you taken the test? Do you understand YOUR implicit bias?

We have an interview process and procedure problem. Has your firm revamped and retrained HOW you interview?

We have an inclusion problem. Look around your firm. Who isn’t getting invited to (fill in the blank). What clusters are clustering together and why?

I’m reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. Throughout the book she talks about her experiences growing up and her education, about getting to Princeton and Harvard Law, and then to an AmLaw 100. And she talks about what it felt like there, in the ivory tower, when she’d go home each night to her home on the south side.
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Technology changes the way we do things, and sometimes it’s really hard to let go of the way things have always been done. Add lawyers to the conversation–who have been trained that precedent is pretty much everything–and we have the next best thing since oil met water.

I want to introduce you to a term that you most likely have heard of, have an idea of what it is, and are most likely wrong. I know I was.

Access to Justice.

What pops into my mind are state appointed criminal defense attorneys. What I have discovered is that my concept of “access to justice” was really limited to the narrow definition.

I like this definition:

Access to Justice means different things to different people. In its narrowest sense, it represents only the formal ability to appear in court. Broadly speaking, it engages the wider social context of our court system, and the systemic barriers faced by different members of the community.

The barriers to the legal system are immense. It can impact access to immigration assistance, landlord tenant disputes, divorces, child custody, wills and trusts, adoptions, elder care, transgender services, and a multitude of other civil matters, not to mention criminal defense.

And this is where things are getting interesting because “Justice is about just resolution, not legal services”:
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WARNING to my Saints friends: This post will include references to the Los Angeles Rams. Please feel free to substitute Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, or the team of your choice when I reference the team.


My husband, the Sports Dude, is a Rams “super fan.” I didn’t dub him that, our local news channel did in a story that ran earlier this week. Being a sports fan led him to becoming a sports reporter. Eric a fan of the the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, and Clippers, but the Rams, they have his heart.

How does a kid born in Paris, who emigrated here with his parents and brother speaking no English, become an American sports fanatic?

Simply put, it was the team: from the owner to the coaches to the players. They taught him the game, and he learned how to love it and them in return.

The clothes made the fan

Original 1970s sketch by Henri Geller for Carroll Rosenbloomy father-in-law, 

My father-in-law, Henri Geller, was a men’s clothing designer back in the day, and he designed clothes for the Rams’ owner Carroll Rosenbloom and many of the coaches and players. My husband tells vivid stories of the players and Mr. Rosenbloom in his father’s design studio. They gave my husband his first tickets to an NFL game, which he still has in his memorabilia collection, and a fan was born, so to speak.

The Rams don’t know it, but they just created a Super Fan in Josh Garcia, the son of the team’s custodian. Watch for great things to happen for that boy.

Can law firms create Super Fans?


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I had an interesting conversation with an industry colleague yesterday. He made reference to my “super power”: The ability to shake things up. Others refer to it as being a PITA (pain in the a$$). Or bossy. Or, how’s this: a strategic thought leader unafraid of taking risks to achieve results.

I used to be afraid of my super power. I used to shy away from it, down play it, sit on the sides of the conference room table rather than in the center to not over-power a room.

If I’m going to “lean in” to anything, it’s going to be being change-agent.
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Throughout the 1970s there was a cigarette slogan, “You’ve come a long way baby.” And, according to a recent survey conducted by ALM Intelligence and Calibrate Legal Inc., we’ve got a long, long way to go.

First of all, trying to get a good compensation survey for the legal marketing and business development functions and roles in a law firm have not been easy, nor have they been consistent. The actual tool that comes with this survey allows you the ability to slice and dice a comparison of roles, regions, and titles. With more than 800 respondents, it is a good pool of data, and I look forward to the updates as more people participate.

I actually had a lot of fun comparing my role and salary to other regions, and the tool provided me with a trove of information supporting how I would like my team compensated.

Men v. Women

This survey is the most comprehensive one I have found. And while there is good news in there (download survey summary), one of the most disturbing ones has to do with pay disparity between men and women, especially at the AmLaw 100 and 200 levels. 
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Summer is over, and that means a rash of conferences will be taking place between now and the week before Thanksgiving. Calls for speakers and sponsors are starting to go out for 2019. And my budget and calendar are busted.

Needless to say, I have attended, participated, and planned numerous conferences over the course of my career, and there’s just no excuse for crap programming.

I’m spending time (days out of the office, away from my family, plus travel), money (usually my firm’s, but for my service provider colleagues, it’s their money). And for my clients (the attorneys in my firm for me, but the paying clients for my firm’s attorneys), they are losing access to their trusted adviser/service provider/attorney for those hours or days.

It’s 2018 and there’s just no excuse for bad programming. So why are you still not taking speaking or moderating at a conference seriously? You said yes for a reason. 
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Earlier this week I started seeing some of my legal marketing friends and colleagues touting their firms’ certification as Mansfield 2.0 and I was so excited. If you don’t know what the Mansfield Rule is, you can read more here. I also blogged on it earlier this year,  Women, diversity, law firms, and why are we still having this conversation?

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING ever changes in the law firm ecosystem naturally. It is by force of the client, or peer pressure/competition that we begrudgingly push ourselves to do what should be done because it is not only the right thing to do, but the best thing for the business’ success.

Cross-selling, anyone??

Why the Mansfield Rule?

Mansfield RuleSimply put, the Mansfield Rule–based on the concept of the NFL’s Rooney Rule–requires that law firms consider at least 30% women, LGBTQ+ and minority lawyers for significant leadership roles (sadly, we can’t even go 50/50 here).

Easy-peasy, right?? Not really.
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Cynthia A. McCollough

Guest post from Cynthia McCollough, Digital Marketing Strategist, University of Michigan Law School

Cyndy is senior-level marketing consultant with extensive experience at law firms and global technology organizations. Her achievements are primarily focused on implementing and managing strategic marketing environments that improve efficiencies, measure results, and drive new business. You can follow Cyndy on Twitter, where she tweets on the intersection of law and technology.


Learn how to deliver a persuasive pitch that will help get your project off the ground. Twitter #G019

ILTA Con Pitch Perfect Panel

First off, I LOVED the format of this session – 5 panelists acted as a Shark Tank review board for three different pitches. The pitches included improving conference room technology, bringing on project management as a service (PMaaS), and adding a new document composition tool to Word.

The feedback could be applied to any pitch for any product or service, and is a great reminder about how to tell your story to achieve your goals:
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