The Chambers and Partners USA rankings were released last week and I had a great talk with one of the deputy editors to really go over our results, especially the why and where we could improve on our end. This is a call I make every year, and I always glean new information that helps me to better understand not just our Chambers rankings, but our attorneys and the work that they do.

1. Follow the damn template.

Several times we were praised on following the template, and making it easy for the researchers to get an understanding of what happened in the practice that year. Lots of bullet points. No marketing speak. They are reviewing thousands of submissions, so make it easy for them to find the information they are looking for.

Tip: Start now. The templates are available, so why wait? Pull your case and matter lists for the year. Start updating the general information at the beginning of the submission. Chambers isn’t something you can phone in, and if it’s important to the attorney’s practice, they will appreciate the extra time and assistance you can provide.

2. It’s all about the referees.


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Good morning LMA. The General Counsel Panel has now begun. Yes, this is important. These are the clients. Talking about what’s important to them. If there is only one panel you can attend, this would be it. (plus all the others, but, this is the information you need to bring back to your firms.

Who are the Decision Makers?

This is not a one answer fits all question. Smaller companies, GCs are usually the decision makers. Preferred vendor lists. Teams. Chambers to verify (no find).

Question to ask your clients:

  • How do you make the decision on how you hire outside counsel

Tip: Show your subject matter expertise. 

  • CLE
  • e-alerts that are succinct
  • Websites
    • Deeper dive into the subject matter (articles)

Where do you go to research potential clients?


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Enough happiness, time for some reality from our friends at Peer Monitor (data based on billable information):

Sucks to be in the AmLaw 200 right now. But WTH with productivity v. lawyer growth. Sorry, 1Ls, there are too many lawyers out there.

And who is engaged?

And the hours …

And

One of the unintended consequences I found when I started blogging is that I become connected to the legal community, and inspired to blog, via the content produced by others.

Reading and experiencing what others share inspires me to want to add my voice to the conversation.

I have not been inspired of late.

It is so ugly out there in content land. My Facebook, Twitter, and news feeds have been taken over by politics. I was hoping it would die down after the election. It didn’t. I was hoping the new year would give way to new hope. It hasn’t. I have some friends who 100% of the time that they post, it’s political, and negative. Even Above the Law is bringing me down.

I want more puppies.

I want to live vicariously through your vacation pictures.

I want to discuss AI in law firms and be inspired to blog my thoughts about it.

In a Facebook group today we were discussing pay-to-play when it comes to speaking at conferences. I find it sad to say, but this was the most robust business-of-law related conversation I’ve participated in in a long time; one that got me thinking and inspired to the point of wanting to write.

Almost.

Your Facebook feed is not reality.


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Confession time. I’m crazed. Crazy busy at work. A thousand moving pieces. Eighty six internal clients today (and two more joining on Monday). Then there is home. My personal life. Spiritual life. Still haven’t made it to the market. It’s crazy. Nothing has fallen through the cracks, but we’ve gotten close a few too many

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A theme I heard, or just picked up on, at the 2016 LMA Annual Conference is that our role, as legal marketers, is as a service provider to our clients … the lawyers we serve. Yet, sometimes, the relationship seems much more adversarial than it has to be.

Yes, our “job” is to increase the top line, but very few of us are true sales people heading out to bring in new clients to the firm. And it takes finesse to be successful in our roles.

For the most part, our job is to help identify opportunities both internally and externally. To coach and train lawyers. To prepare for the sale. To provide the infrastructure. Too many lawyers want to abdicate (or blame) marketing if they do not have a steady stream of new business. The rainmakers get it. The service partner (which are becoming a dying breed in law firms) do not.

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Directories and submissions multiply faster than Tribbles.

So where am I going here? The disdain for a function of our jobs — submissions — has to stop. And the attitude change has to come from us.

Yes. Directories and submissions seem to breed new directories and submissions faster than Tribbles, but can you not see the value? And I’m not talking about pointing to new revenue. The ROI for each of our functions is not necessarily new revenue, and I will argue that directory and submissions do more for us than they do for the lawyers.

Here’s how I came to appreciate the Chambers and Partners submission process, as well as Best Lawyers, and yes, Super Lawyers:

It’s not about bringing in new business.

It’s about the service provider/client relationship we share with the lawyers.

I believe the Chambers/Super Lawyers panel has surpassed the General Counsel panel as one of my favorites at the LMA Annual Conference. Why? Because my CLIENTS, the lawyers, value these and learn something new each time that allows me to serve my clients better.

I wrote about my change of heart here last year in I’m changing my tune on surveys. Once I stopped thinking about how these submissions are a waste of time and don’t bring in any new business, and started to recognize WHY the attorneys value them, I was then able to see how they allow ME to build a better relationship with my CLIENT. At that moment I began to not only  appreciate the submissions and directories, but look forward to them.

Why?
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Photo credit: Kelly Mackinnon

I caught Kevin O’Keefe‘s recent piece challenging law school leaders in an Above the Law piece, Law Schools Are Not Exposing Students To Real World Business Development

If you’re a law school leader, ask yourself if you truly understand what students need for the road ahead. Have you spoken with the business development people in law firms who are charged with helping lawyers become a lawyer with a book of business? Are you helping law students who want to work in small and medium-size firms distinguish themselves? And for those grads wanting to go solo, are you exposing them as to how to get business today?

It’s amazing to me that law schools produce a product (law students) without understanding how the business of law operates. The leaders might understand how the ultimate end user uses the service, but not how the factory works.

Kevin is challenging the law school leaders in his piece, I’m challenging my peers who work in the business of law in mine.

Perhaps it’s time that we take a lesson from our general counsel peers:
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small fish bigger bowl It’s been an interesting year. Law firm merger. Sports dude started doing his thing for a local radio station. My oldest kid began driver’s training. The youngest turned 13. And I changed jobs. We’re juggling new schedules, new attitudes, and new expectations. I’ve had a new culture, new people, and new personalities to which I’ve had to acclimate. And now the holidays are in full swing. This has brought on a lot of stress, and it was a tough few weeks for me on all fronts: work, family, HOA, and those pesky Girl Scouts (and we’re still a month away from the beginning of Girl Scout Cookie season). Thank goodness for good friends and good colleagues. I’m pretty much on the other side, and now I can reflect on it all. I’ve been doing this legal marketing thing for a long time. It will soon be 18 years since I was hired at JMBM (when the last M stood for Marmaro). I’d already been in the work force for 10 years, and my skill set fit what Frank Moon was looking for in an assistant manager, and I excelled. I’ve had a “few” legal marketing jobs since then. I have had many opportunities for growth from within these firms, and through my service positions in LMA. Life has also provided me many opportunities to grow. This has just been one of those growing years. 
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