First off my rant: Seriously. Could LMA have given this program the smallest room available? Strategy with Jennifer Manton, Nat Slavin, and Wendy Bernero. Come on … learn your audience all ready.

Here we go:

In the past, law firms did everything, now we need to focus.

If you’re not strategizing, you have put yourself in a disadvantage in the marketplace. This is our new normal. The good ol’ days are not coming back. The client is the general contractor and you are the sub-contractor. Time to rightsize your thought process. Continue Reading #LMA18: Strategy-Are you a talent, service firm? or a hybrid?

From time to time I use this blog not to opine on legal marketing, but as a vehicle for my voice. That is what this post is about today. I am not anti-gun, I never have been. I am, however, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a wife. I cannot shake what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this week. We have a problem in this country that we continue to avoid. While others look to Congress, or the White House, or their local legislatures for change, I say the change begins with me. With you. With us. 

For those who don’t know my background, before my career in legal marketing I was a lobbyist. A gun control lobbyist. As in Handgun Control, Inc. and The Center to Prevent Gun Violence. I was a Republican, working for a Republican, trying to make a difference.

I was in the White House the day President Clinton signed The Brady Bill. I even have a personalized signed copy hanging in my office.

I was there when we got the news about Luby’s, Columbine, Waco, Ruby Ridge, 101 California. I stood alongside the California Attorney General in Sacramento as we pushed new legislation, gave testimony before the Senate and Assembly. I walked the halls in Sacramento with victims as we worked to enhance our state gun control laws. Continue Reading Before I was a legal marketer, I was a gun control lobbyist

I’m back. Did I miss anything? Nothing was going on with me except life, work, college applications (for kid #1), the holidays, and now a bathroom remodel that has to get done before our annual Super Bowl Party.

But really what it came down to is that I haven’t found much to write about these days. Perhaps it’s the noise coming out of Washington and Hollywood, or maybe it’s because I have been too busy to put fingertips to keyboard. But then THIS story caught my eye in the LME:

Male Clients Disfavor Women Partners

When you read a headline like that, do you really need to click through to read it to know the answer? Can’t you just guess? It’s what it’s always about. Relationships.

From the article:

“People give business to friends,” says a former Big Law woman partner. “So, if a client is male—as most clients are—he will often give business to his frat brothers, law school roommates, golf partners, fellow club members, etc.” The only “fix,” she adds, “is to have women rise to more positions of power as clients.” (Women make up about 23 percent of chief legal officers in corporations, reports Acritas.)

I would add that, within the law firm, there is a network of relationships at play that limits the number of women and other diverse attorneys in senior partner positions for a multitude of reasons that have been discussed ad nauseam over the years. We get it.  And we’re still sucking at it.

The study’s author suggests that the solution is quotas, but that goes against my grain, so I have a better solution. And, since we’re in the legal industry, it has already been proposed, and there are THIRTY well-regarded firms on record doing it … so your firm  can do it too.  Continue Reading Women, diversity, law firms, and why are we still having this conversation?

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.

Vacation 2017 is in the bag. Nuevo Vallarta was a blast. Everyone got along. While I did not fully “let go,” I did relax and find the relief I was seeking. I had alone time. Time with the Sports Dude. Time with each kid alone, and together. Time as a family.

Bliss.

And then, with 48-hours to go, the dread came back. Work on Monday. Board meeting with the HOA that night. Where was my joy? My enthusiasm? It was gone … a dark cloud on an otherwise sunny day.

Daily Calm BalanceAnd then today, the last day, my morning meditation was on balance.

Ahhhh. That’s it. My balance has been off most of the year. It’s been work, work, work, crazy, crazy, crazy, stress, stress, stress, both in the office, with my family, and as president of my HOA (thank goodness we’re done with Girl Scouts).

I have been thwarted and frustrated, and just not “me.” It showed, and I had no one to blame but myself.

What I came to realize (or remember) is that finding the balance in my life is a 365-day exercise; I can’t wait for my 7-night, 8-day vacation.

I have not been living a balanced life these past couple years, and I felt it. Yes, I’ve been getting to the gym regularly and eating right, but my meditation has been off. I have been feasting and fasting my way through each day.

While on vacation this week, I devoted time each morning for meditation while watching the sun rise over the nature preserve from my balcony, followed by yoga. Perhaps the greatest souvenir from our time in Mexico is the reminder to live that way daily, and to take time for myself between the hours 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday as well.

Working with lawyers is challenging, as is raising two teenagers, and managing an HOA. I’m sure your life is as busy and full as mine. Don’t forget to take the time to breath, create space, and find your personal bliss.

And thank you to all my Facebook friends. I have enjoyed your vacations, your moments. Here are a few of my favorite moments:

 

I wrote in part one of The truth behind lawyer jokes: The “business of law” is tough about the challenges facing the business of law. Namely, the people involved.

In this post, I want to turn to the solutions. Or some ideas for solutions as each firm and its challenges are different and unique to them, but not unique as a whole.

For every problem there are many solutions. Continue Reading The truth behind lawyer jokes (Part 2): The glass is leaking