Marketing & Communications

Ugh. Again I get into the office and am checking the emails that have come in since I checked my emails before I left my house. I have trained my lawyers well, they know to ask, when that special congratulatory email arrives in their in-box:

Is this bogus?

I want to scream back:

YES! It’s crap. All they are doing is trying to sell advertising (or a plaque) by circumventing the marketing department and going straight for your ego.

Usually I just say, “Yeah, ignore. They’re just trying to sell you advertising.”

So how do we decide which ones are valuable and worth our time and money?

  • They are being run by a legitimate legal or industry trade publication
  • You have to actually submit information on your work and practice
  • They are selective. They don’t take everyone, and just because you got in one year doesn’t mean you’ll get in the next

I give a pass to Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers; other publications (US News & World Report, local newspapers) use their data to compile their “best” lists.

So, when in doubt, call your marketing department. If you don’t have a marketing department, go to Twitter and ask a legal marketer by using the hashtag #LMAMKT. But beware of these emails.

next big thing Today’s the day. Dot LAW (.law) is released. Should you run out and spend $200+ to reserve your firm’s spot? Guest poster Igor Ilyinsky breaks it down for us.

Igor Ilyinsky
Igor Ilyinsky, Founder, FirmWise
Have you ever felt like you missed the big wave on some business opportunity? For me, as a techy, that’s a daily feeling as I watch kids become billionaires off of silly apps and websites. This all started for me when I was a kid myself, in 1997, a junior in college with nothing but time. As the internet geek I was, I used to spend that time trying to look up random domain names on Network Solutions to see if they were available for purchase (not that I actually had the thirty five bucks per year to register them). I recall stumbling on the availability of “” thinking it was a meaningless domain name (this is 1997 mind you). Imagine my dismay when I learned that someone who purchased it only a few months later flipped it for $7.5 Million in just two years. Still, the business of squatting on a domain seemed very seedy for me to get involved (at least that’s what I told myself). Fast forward to 2015. The ICANN (look it up) has announced that the “.law” gTLD (again, Google it) will be available for sale, throwing lawyers and legal marketers all over the world into a frenzy. Do we buy a domain? Is this the next internet gold rush? Not so fast! Gone are the days when it cost $35 to buy a domain (actually they were free before 1995, then they started charging at $50/yr, then dropped to $35 two years later, and now they are pretty much free again with the hosting of a website). These days getting in early on a premium gTLD can cost you tens of thousands of dollars, plus a lot of headaches as the new registration system works itself out. Specifically, according to Minds + Machines, the company that owns the “.law” extension, you’ll need to pay a premium of $12,500 per domain to get first dibs (source: However, if you’re willing to wait a few days, the price will go down. After 5 days, the cost for access is only $125, and if you wait one whole week, there is no additional price beyond the actual yearly registration of the domain. Oh, you thought the $12,500 includes the registration fees? Silly! Those vary depending on who you choose as your registrar, and what their “cut” will be. You see, in order to get that highly coveted domain you want, your registrar must be the first to request it the exact moment it goes on sale (Noon ET on Monday the 12th). In order to assure that someone will be at the ready to do this for you, your paperwork must be prepared well in advance, and it’ll cost you a pretty penny. One registrar I spoke to tacked on almost $3000 in additional fees for a Monday request. What if you don’t get the domain you want? No worries, you get your money back, minus a “we tried our best” fee which in most cases was only $50-$100. There’s a list of accredited registrars, not including their pricing, on this page: (note: the “Sunrise” period already ended last month, Monday opens the “General Availability” period, also known as the landrush). So is it worth it? Continue Reading Thinking of buying a .LAW domain today? Think again.

For those who do not know me, or do not know me well, I must warn you, I process externally. If you happen to sit outside my door, or down the hall, you have been warned and know what to expect when I have “that” look in my eye.

One of the reasons I started this blog is that I had just left Pillsbury for a much, much smaller boutique. What I didn’t count on was losing my peers, especially my office administrator who had such great wisdom to share. This blog allowed me a place to refine my ideas.

At heart, I am a writer and a communicator. My head is constantly filled with words and ideas moving at great speeds. Without the ability to refine my ideas I cannot craft messages, and forget sounding credible.

The ability to communicate and communicate well is the foundation of my livelihood. It is my reputation. It is what differentiates me from you.

Coming from a gal who reads grammar books for fun, I am never satisfied; I can always learn more, and refine my craft.

One of the few newsletters that actually comes to my inbox is WordRake‘s Writing Tips. And I actually read it.

Today’s tip was a reminder to watch for ins and ofs and I wanted to share it with you:

… ins and ofs prance through our writing, dosey doe in and out of our sentences, then duck and hide among gatherings of words that mean nothing. They are drawn to the absurd and unnecessary, and we hardly notice them nestled there.

There are great examples throughout the post, so definitely click and read on the tip.

Ins and ofs, for the most part, are fillers and add no real value to what you are trying to convey. In a world where words are real estate, and the currency is the reader’s time, we need to edit, edit, edit.

In short, watch your ps and qs, and your ins and ofs.

In a week where the news has been so bleak, it was heartening to see Stephen Fairley‘s short post, Federal Appeals Court Rules Attorneys Have Right to Publish Praise from Judges pop up in my Feedly today:

A federal appeals court issued a ruling yesterday that attorneys have a First Amendment right to publish ads that quote judges praising them ….

I have to confess, of all the amendments, the First Amendment is my favorite. The freedom it provides us Americans is unique to any other country or culture in our world. I love that the First Amendment, when properly employed, protects the speech I like and ascribe to, and, even more importantly, the speech I do not like and might abhor. How beautiful is that?

Which makes me wonder what the hell these bar associations, run by lawyers, are doing banning free speech? You can’t use the word “expert;” you can’t use client testimonials; you can’t … you can’t … you can’t ….

Yes, I know, private organizations v. the government, but come on … nothing like a bunch of lawyers doing the whole “do as I say, not as I do” routine. It’s getting old and tired.

So thank you, Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. And to all the attorneys in the jurisdiction, praise away. Just make sure to properly site it, and link to the decisions.

I began my discussion of generational marketing with Talking ’bout My Generation:

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.

I immediately got an email from my friend and legal marketing peer, David Bruns. He recommended I download and read “I Would Die 4 U:  Why Prince Became an Icon,” by Touré.

In short, the book discusses how Prince, a Baby Boomer, became such a huge icon for Generation X.

No icon is so talented that they don’t need the right generation to receive their message. Of course, some icons transcend their time, but that’s nearly impossible without first connecting deeply with the generation that’s consuming culture when you’re at your peak. The difference between being famous and becoming an icon is, in part, having the good fortune to have a generation that’s interested in your message. Pg. 17

It’s the Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers, theory of 10,000 hours of experience to achieve mastery, plus the luck of timing when that knowledge/skill is needed, the audience is ready, as in the case of Prince.

The author goes on to discuss Prince’s less than welcoming response when he opened for the Rolling Stones on October 9 & 11, 1981, here in Los Angeles. He was pelted with garbage and drinks, and literally booed off the stage. Twice. (FYI. The Sports Dude and I were at that concert. He even saved the ticket stubs).

Controversy was just too controversial for the crowd of hippies and boomers. We up and coming Gen Xers got it, though … we were waiting and ready for the Purple Revolution that was about to come out with “1999.” And we were really confused why the adults in the crowd didn’t get it.

So what does Prince have to do with legal marketing and generational marketing? It’s all in how we interpret his experience to our industry. Continue Reading Prince, A Revolution, and Legal Marketing

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.

Continue Reading Talking ’bout my generation

(Image:Matthias Clamer/Stone+/Getty)

I broke out of my legal marketing industry bubble this week and have been attending the Chief Marketing Officer Institute in Vegas. For fun and comfort, I dragged along Adam Stock and Jonathan Fitzgarrald.

The CMO Institute has been a small and intimate, yet high-level and well-crafted event. Sure, there have been some misses from the podium, but, for the most part, my Curious George has been satisfied.

It’s been amazing, invigorating, eduational, and fun.

It’s encouraging,validating, and a bit frightening to realize we laugh at the same jokes: “Who’s department is seen as a cost center,” hahaha.

It’s been rewarding as I sat and brainstormed a challenge I had with CMOs from different industries and sectors and realized they had fresh solutions for me, and at other times validated my assumptions.

It’s been eye-opening to speak with my counterparts in the companies that my firm represents. Hello? Bueller? Bueller??? Makes sense. Right?? Enough GC Roundtables. I want to see CMO Rountables.

Not only did I make some new friends (Steve, Heather, you know I am talking about you), I found a new blog to follow Common Sense of Business.

Along with a couple products that I think could migrate easily into legal, Domo and Marketo, I also have some great content swirling around my head just waiting to be turned into blog posts, (must.write.before.I.forget).

I still have a few more sessions today before heading out to Chicago for the LMA Board meeting, where it’s supposed to be a high of 61* today, and a high of 19* on Thursday. What the hell is THAT??

I think I will bring a better me to Chicago (still bitching about the weather). A more passionate me (you guys are warned, lol). A more engaged me.

For my personal “marketing me,” I will continue to add non-legal marketing programs like the Chief Marketing Officer Institute, to my mix.

The intimacy of the event allowed me to quickly meet new colleagues, and have some insightful, funny and memorable conversations and experiences, bring back new ideas to help me do my job better, and some new friends.

Can’t beat that. Except for the LMA Annual Conference coming up in April.

Jonathan and I have been tweeting at #CMOInstitute if you’d like to follow along today, or get an idea of what we’ve been experiencing and capturing over the past couple days.

It’s summer. People are on vacation, and for those of us who are not, we have either taken advantage of the quiet, or are panicking and wondering “will the phone ever ring again?” The news is not good out there. Markets are crashing. Questions about double-dipping recessions. Riots in the streets. Didn’t we just get through all of this? Wasn’t the economic outlook looking up as of late? Now is not the time to pull the covers up over your head. Now is the time for those who are “panicking” to take advantage of those who are, well, taking advantage of the quiet and might have a calmer perspective and outlook. But where to begin? As Dorothy was shown in the Wizard of Oz, every path has a beginning, and when it comes to legal marketing and business development I like to begin with brainstorming. Brainstorming is great. It’s fun. There are no wrong answers. You get to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. You get to come up with 30 ideas, knowing you’ll only implement one or two. There’s nothing better to pull you out of the morass of what cannot be then thinking about all the things that can be. Brainstorming can entail the hiring of a consultant, and the use of the large conference room for the day. Or it can be on-the-fly with a friend. And everything in between. I had a great brainstorming session with my college roommate yesterday. While back in college our brainstorming was most likely limited to which club we should start our hopping at, yesterday we spent an hour discussing her legal practice, the economy and where she can make an impact for her firm. Husbands, kids and families were a footnote. She now gets to take what she got out of our brainstorming session back to her partners and look really smart. She has ideas. She has a perspective. She has the beginning of a marketing plan. She has some spaghetti. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with a brainstorming session with a friend on the phone, or walk down the hall to a trusted colleague and shut the door. Then go and brainstorm with someone outside your practice area, perhaps a colleague on a different floor. Then brainstorm with your colleagues within your practice. Partners. Associates. The, ahem, marketing liaison for your practice group. Varying opinions count. Outside perspectives are valuable. Write things down. When the right “ideas” come together, you have the beginning of a plan. Put some “to dos” and deadlines next to those ideas, with measurable outcomes, and you have a marketing plan. If nothing else comes out of this, you’ve pulled those covers back and had a peek at what’s going on outside of your realm. And while it might appear scary and uncertain, you now have some actions you can take to control your destiny (until the next holiday break).

RIP. 1870-2011
Way back when I went off to college, my mother bought me a new dictionary, a new thesaurus and a brand new Brother electric typewriter. For you younger Gen-Xers, and Millennials, we didn’t go off to college with computers, laptops or iPads. We were happy to just have a typewriter with the auto-correct tape installed. Yes, personal computers were around in the mid-80s, especially at UCSD which I attended, but they appeared to be limited to the EECS-GEEKS. We writers still used paper and pen, and tapped-tapped-tapped out our 10-page papers, double-spaced, on electric typewrites, sometimes using carbon paper to make that extra copy. It wasn’t until my senior year that one of my roommates got a home computer that appeared to be the size of HAL. No one wanted to go near the thing. It was too imposing. I don’t know what became of my Brother typewriter after college. It followed me around for a few years, but soon gave way to my first home computer. But I became a bit nostalgic yesterday to read in the elevator that only 200 typewriters remain on the factory shelves, ready to be shipped out and sold. Production ended in 2009, but it has taken until now to sell off the stock. As I rode in the elevator, I was remembering the late nights spent typing out papers. My college boyfriend and I were both writers, and we would use that time to edit one another’s writing, to discuss the themes and characters of our papers. It’s a magical memory for me. Then the elevator doors opened, and I hopped into another elevator to make my way up to my office on the 47th floor, all the while checking my e-mail, accepting a couple new LinkedIn connections, and reading some comments on my Facebook page.  I grabbed a cup of coffee, fired up my two computers and my day was off and running. I used Open Table to make lunch reservations (no need to call around and find out if the restaurant had any openings). I listened to my favorite band‘s new album that I prepurchased and downloaded via iTunes. It had dropped that morning and was waiting for me when I synced my iPhone. While drinking my coffee, I checked the delivery status of my concert tickets for said band (turns out they’re on will-call). I caught a notice on Facebook that Prince (who has no website, but that’s for a different post) has another set of tickets going on sale this morning. I checked my bank statement after a long weekend away, and transferred money from one account to another. All of which took me a few minutes … and I never picked up the phone. During my day, I confirmed the details for a client dinner, e-mailed out logos for a conference we’re sponsoring, and reviewed the design for the firm’s newest blog. The only “blast from the past” I had was getting a fax. Probably the third fax I’ve received since starting at my firm in 2007. I signed it, scanned it, and emailed it back to the original sender. I completely understand the comfort and security of old technology, and the old way of doing things, and missing the pleasantness of this or that. But it’s really nice to be able to zip through my to do list with a smart phone while on an elevator, approve documents while standing in line at Disneyland with my kids, or troubleshoot a situation on the East Coast before I take a shower in the morning. I am sure that current technologies that we are marveling at will die off as well, replaced by something newer and more advanced, and we’ll feel nostalgic for those too. Will the laptop be replaced by the tablet? Proskauer Rose is issuing iPads to all of their attorneys. I believe the business card is in the midst of an evolutionary transition. QR codes are now being introduced on law firm business cards, but will they eventually lead to the demise of the brochure or the physical business card itself? Time will tell. As I ran out for lunch yesterday, I grabbed a couple business cards. This was my first time meeting with Faith Pincus live (we “met” when I live-Tweeted a webinar she was leading for Lexblog). While dining, we realized that exchanging business cards was not necessary. We already had one another’s contact information. We connected on LinkedIn immediately upon making our original connection. This experience is becoming more common for me. I’ll still carry business cards, but I rarely need to exchange them anymore. We can hold onto the old technologies. They are safe. But as the next generation graduates college and law school and join the ranks of the business world,  eventually become the hiring client, we — the legal services provider — need to meet them in their technology comfort zones. Things that marveled me as a youth are now so obsolete that my kids have no awareness of them at all. All of this became telling to me as I yelled to my daughter to grab her Walkman as we were rushing out of the house. With a bewildered look on her face she responded, “What’s a Walkman” <<sigh>> And just last week my 8-year old brought me a cassette tape that she found in the house. She was worried that it was something incredibly important, although she didn’t know what it was. For Judgment Day, we streamed Terminator via Wii and Netflix. My 11-year old shouted out: “Is that a Walkman?” while pointing at Sarah Connor’s roommate. And while I miss the MTV of my youth (when they actually played videos), YouTube allows me to share my favorite songs and videos. From The Airborne Toxic EventChanging. [youtube=]

In this new age of Twitter and LinkedIn, I’m wondering: Is the business card dead? When I think about it, I hardly ever carry a business card these days, and, when I do, it’s usually quite purposeful (I’m going to a conference and I need cards to win prizes in the exhibit hall). Usually, when I meet someone professionally, we pull out our smartphones and connect on LinkedIn, or follow one another on Twitter. And I am not alone in this experience. Jay Shepard (@Jayshep) writes about his recent experience at the ABA Techshow on Above the Law, Small Firms, Big Lawyers: Twitter and Business Cards at the ABA TechShow.

When these lawyers weren’t listening to the dozens of cutting-edge seminars or browsing the exhibitors’ booths, they were making new friends and new professional connections. But instead of exchanging business cards, many of the attendees were trading Twitter handles — their online identities that begin with the @ symbol. (I’m @jayshep.) Massachusetts lawyer Gabriel Cheong (@gabrielcheong) told me that by the end of the conference, he had collected exactly zero business cards. (I immediately gave him one of mine. #irony) Instead of accumulating two-by-three-and-a-half-inch scraps of cardstock, he typed their Twitter names directly into his iPhone. (And I doubt anyone actually said, “Uh, I’m not on the Twitter.”) Molly McDonough (@Molly_McDonough), online editor at the ABA Journal, tweeted at the end of the conference: “For first time, I didn’t collect any biz cards at #abatechshow. Just made note of names and followed on Twitter.” Others retweeted (quoted) her tweet with approval.

Ironically, Jay’s experience, and the experience of others at the ABA Techshow, is no different than what we’ve been experiencing on the marketing side of the industry. Jay:

People also used Twitter to arrange impromptu get-togethers in and around the conference. If you wanted to know where people were hanging out, a quick Twitter search told you.

This quote reminded me of a recent post by Lindsay Griffith’s (@lindsaygriffith), How I love Twitter, Let me Count the Ways. Lindsay:

Over the last three years, I’ve developed a network of LMA friends and colleagues through Twitter – our online conversations happen on a regular basis throughout the year, both about professional and personal topics …. As a result, we’re talking before the conference and making plans, we’re talking during the conference – about the sessions, about meeting for meals, about meeting those on Twitter we don’t know in person yet, about where we’re sitting, what we’re thinking, the questions we might have – and we’re talking after the conference – sharing posts, sharing articles, continuing the new and old relationships and friendships we’ve found in LMA.


And most importantly, attendees began conversations with each other, many of which are likely to develop into relationships — as professional friendships, resources, or referral sources. Instead of ending up with a pile of business cards that end up in your desk drawer along with vague aspirations of “keeping in touch,” the Twitter connections directly start that process.


Through Twitter, I’ve met marketing professionals at all different levels – some new to legal marketing, some with years of marketing experience – and they inspire me, introduce me to other people in the industry, help me on projects, ask and answer questions, and make me feel cherished and supported.


This week in Chicago, I picked up about 50 new Twitter followers, and I began following about that many as well. And it’s not about keeping score; the point isn’t having a certain number of followers. It’s about making 50 new connections: new friends with whom I ate and drank and chatted, and new potential avenues for growing my business.


So I’m grateful to Twitter for enriching my conference experience – I’ve gained professional colleagues (as someone who works alone most of the time, that is invaluable), but I’ve also gained lifelong friends. Some people may still not understand Twitter or think it valuable, but it can really enrich a conference experience, and make your membership in an organization incredibly worthwhile and rewarding.

Twitter, for me, is about identifying people in a crowded room that I want to talk to. I didn’t need to connect with 1000 legal marketing professionals last week … but I easily found the people I needed to meet, and they were usually broadcasting loud and clear via their social networks. I’ve broadened and deepened relationships I have identified on Twitter, by inviting many of these people into my inner-circle via my personal Facebook. I use the social media tools available to me to reach out and connect on a daily basis, either personally or professionally. I know to whom I can turn when I need to brainstorm an idea, get a referral, celebrate or commiserate. So, is the business card dead?? In it’s current incarnation, yes. I see the professional business card becoming a beacon to connect, a calling card inviting you to join the holders personal network. It won’t include a list of offices the holder has never visited (and that are constantly changing, and thereby requiring a new print job every few months), and the receiver doesn’t care about. But it will be personal to the user. In addition to the firm’s website and office location, it will include the user’s personal Twitter, LinkedIn, blog url, Facebook page (business or personal), email and phone number (cell phone, preferably, for texting).