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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Happy New Year!

Let me be the first to burst your bubble: Your resolutions are going to fail.

Why? Because resolutions almost always fail because they are based on fixing something or achieving a specific outcome that is most likely unachievable otherwise you’d already have done it.

Yes, it’s time for my annual “set intentions, not resolutions” post:

You get the idea.

Too often we set ourselves up for failure, not success, which is why I coach not to set resolutions, but intentions, and I am not alone in this practice.

From the Daily Calm meditation this morning:

With intentions we are not focused on what we need to fix, but what we want to create.

Or this from Russell Brand:

How did he become such a spiritual guru? I know … he set an intention to do just that.

My Intentions for 2019

I have two intentions for 2019: 1) Clean my life and 2) have more fun. 
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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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Here I am in Boston to attend the College of Law Practice Management‘s Futures Conference; set to be inducted as a Fellow this evening. Being welcomed as a Fellow in this organization is a reflection of my career, my contributions to the legal industry, and an incredible honor. I look around the room, and read about my fellow Fellows, and I am humbled. I also wonder: “Do they know who they just confirmed?”

Is My Impostor Syndrome Showing?

Cabo 2018
Family posing on vacation – Cabo 2018

It’s not a secret that I am a recovering alcoholic. I’ve been sober for more than 30 years (ugh … that’s a long time).

I’m also married to my high school sweetheart.

I have two great kids.

We take great vacations and have stuff.

From the outside looking in, for all intents and purposes, I have a sweet life. And I do.

And yet, I still compare my insides to your outsides and struggle with insecurities.

I have friends on Facebook who live lives I wish I lived:

  • They are stay-at-home moms who have had the privilege of raising their children (I had a nanny)
  • They have beautiful homes (I am stuck in my condo, FOREVER, because I am priced out of both upgrading and down-sizing in the crazy LA market)
  • They are celebrating 25+ years of marriage (let’s just say I have trust issues that have impacted my relationships through the years)
  • They take the most exotic vacations (we go where the time-share will take us)
  • They have impressive college and post-baccalaureate credentials (If I knew how great my college was I’d never have applied …. and with that GPA, there was no way I was getting into a Tier-1 law school)
  • Their careers seem to be spectacular (legal marketing … how’d that happen??)


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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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It’s morning in Cabo. Not early morning, but morning enough. Day three of vacation. It hasn’t gone perfectly. We’re changing rooms later today. But so far so good. Everyone is getting along, and a tan has begun.

So why am I blogging? Why am I not down at the spa, or packing a bag for

My peer and colleague, Leigh Dance, just posted this article in the LME group:

Turf war: Law firm bosses see Big Four as ‘threat’ as they aggressively expand into legal sector.

I’m leaving it in big, bold print because it is one of the most important things you can read today.

This is a pivotal moment in the legal industry, and I can already hear the lawyers doing what they were trained to do and do best: pick away at the argument and why it doesn’t or won’t apply to them:

Why is it important? We don’t have offices in London.

My clients don’t care about AI.

Well, if that’s the future, I’m outta here. 

How’s this for a response:

Cornelius Grossmann, Ernst & Young’s global law leader, said in a press release that the acquisition “underlines the position of EY as a leading disruptor of legal services.” EY says the company will help it cut the costs of routine legal activities.

EY’s global legal leader Cornelius Grossman said: “We have a plan for the next five years where we will aggressively grow the legal business.”

“The Big Four will have a very large impact on the mid market. They have got such a strong client base and they are so good at integrating business services into their offering,” he said.


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I’m not sure about you, but I receive dozens of emails, e-newsletters, links, and posts of items I should be reading, today. I could spend the first two+ hours of my day just sorting through all the things I should know, or at least should be aware of in, and still not make a dent. I keep sorting it, trying to manage it all, and currently I have:

  • a folder dedicated to daily newsletters that I rarely visit, but at least they don’t hit my in-box;
  • a folder filled with webinars I missed, but really need to watch;
  • a host of “saved” posts on LinkedIn that I plan to read, later today, but most likely won’t.

It’s too overwhelming. But I know I need to stay on top of these trends, and news stories, and happenings within my industry that will make me better at what I do.

One a day. But what?

The only solution I can think of right now is that once a day I can find the time to stop and read one thing, and share that with the world.

What’s the one thing that stood out, caught my attention (usually with a great headline), and inspired me in some way?

The best way I have found to find these articles is by having a select group on Twitter (haven’t figured out how to cull that list on Facebook or LinkedIn yet) where I will pause when they post.

They are leaders in the legal industry. Leaders in business. Certain reporters and publications. Personal colleagues and friends. I let them do some of the heavy sorting for me. What are THEY reading today? If they’re sharing it, there might be something there.

Today the “If you read only one thing today, read this” winner is Jordan Furlong and a post of his that caught my eye on LinkedIn:

Why THIS post, and not yours?


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Legal Market Landscape ReportForget a hero, the legal industry needs a game changer. We’re continuing to operate like it’s still 1999, and, let’s face it, the world has moved on, yet our business model is still, fundamentally, unchanged.

In my 20 years as a legal marketing executive, as well as a very vocal member of the law firm and business of law ecosystems, I have watched as the different disruptors have risen, only to see the skeptical lawyer mindset argue away its value and potential impact. All the while, market share is slipping away, for both the lawyers who represent “PeopleLaw” and the corporate firms who represent “Organizational Clients” (AKA “consumer lawyers” and “AmLaw 100” firms).

Yesterday, in the LME group, peer and colleague Dave Bruns shared Bill Henderson‘s “Legal Market Landscape Report,” which was commissioned by the State Bar of California. It is an important read. So important that I will share here with you a highlighted copy with my first-round of notes.
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