I am attending the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women’s Summit. Our firm is a sponsor, and our partner Karina Sterman was a panelist.

Image of LABJ's Women's Council & AwardsFor the legal marketers reading this post: get out of the office and attend the events you sponsor. I am always “too busy” to attend, but I am reminded once again today why it’s so important.

First of all, I now understand this event, the nuances, and how to market this event within our firm. Even if our table is filled, the “sales” side of the program will always makes space for you to stop by and “get a personal feel” for the event.

Secondly, Karina and I were able to brainstorm some strategies in the back of the room and we are going to create a program for our clients based on some information we heard.

Beyond seeing how our firm can be a better sponsor and take advantage of the program, I’m gleaming good information for ME.

It’s a professional women’s summit. The panels are all about our careers. With 20 years invested in my legal marketing career, there is always more I can learn, and pass along. Continue Reading Free advice on a Friday afternoon

I see so many programs on “How to launch a perfect website.” Well, let me tell you my truth: My website redesign process was less than perfect, and Robert Algeri and I are talking about doing a program about the truths behind a law firm website roll out.

But we launched our website on Monday, and, I can honestly say, the website came out perfect. It speaks to our brand, our history, and our future. And isn’t that the goal when branding, to actually reflect the culture of the entity/product/service?

Welcome to the New GreenbergGlusker.com:

It’s a big difference from our old site.

Some thinking behind the design

We needed a logo that was fresh, clean, and could be used in a social environment. As we were thinking about our future, we had designs that moved us away from the “Goosh” (that’s what we call our stylized “G”). However, we found out quickly that the Goosh has become part of the firm’s identity internally, so we went back and redesigned the logo to incorporate it. Continue Reading My lessons from a less than perfect website redesign process

Dilbert-60-hours My post from the weekend, Rambling thoughts from 30,000 feet in the air, is about the BUSINESS of law (moving law firms from good to great; the metrics we’re measuring for success). Tim Corcoran‘s latest post, Working Smarter, Not Harder, is about the BUSINESS of law (h/t for the Dilbert). Kevin O’Keefe, Nancy Myrland, Gina Rubel (and colleagues), Ed PollSteven Harper, Greg Lambert (and colleagues), Cheryl Bame, Cordell Parvin, Patrick Lamb, Jonathan Fitzgarrald, Adrian Lurssen, Adrian Dayton, and one of my absolute favs Ed Reeser — and the list can go on and on and on — are ALL talking, writing and/or blogging about the BUSINESS of law. My apologies for not listing everyone. Check out my Twitter lists for more names to follow, and please suggest more in the comments below.  As we continue to elevate the conversation of the business of law, I would suggest that we all create a “Business of Law” tag or category on our blogs, if we haven’t done so already; and that we use the same hashtag (#bizoflaw) on Twitter. LinkedIn, unfortunately, does not recognize the “Business of Law” as a tag for our posts, but if we all create an “skill endorsement” of “Business of Law” and add it to our headlines, then perhaps we can create a movement. And, please, endorse me for “Business of Law” and “Leadership” on LinkedIn. I just added both to my skills list. What it comes down to is that we are all talking to one another on a weekly or daily basis about the BUSINESS of law, and we all basically agree with our messages. We need to strategically broaden this conversation to more and more people (attorneys in key leadership positions, other c-level legal professionals, influencers — conference organizers and the legal media) who SHOULD be recognizing, listening, participating, and joining us in this conversation. So who is with me? #bizoflaw #leadership #lawyers #lmamkt

For those who attended the Legal Marketing Association‘s annual conference in Orlando last week, it was an incredible few days of education, networking and camaraderie. Perhaps it was the location, or maybe there is truly a sense of “recovery” from the recession, but the mood was light, up beat, ENERGETIC. Many of us took to our Twitter accounts to document our experiences. You can still read those here. And then there were the LMA Bloggers. Here’s a quick recap of our posts to date.

Heather Morse, The Legal Watercooler

The Legal WatercoolerHeather Morse

Jonathan Fitzgarrald - Bad for the Brand

Bad for the Brand, Jonathan Fitzgarrald

Laura Gutierrez - Duets Blog

Duets Blog, Laura Gutierrez

The Hubbard Perspective, Hubbard One

Larry Bodine - LawMarketing Blog

LawMarketing Blog, Larry Bodine

Cheryl Bame - Legal PR Advice

Legal PR Advice, Cheryl Bame

Tom Matte - The Matte Pad

The Matte Pad, Tom Matte

Nancy Myrland - Myrland Marketing

Myrland Marketing, Nancy Myrland

Russell Lawson - Progressive Marketing Blog

Progressive Marketing Blog, Russell Lawson

Kevin O

Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Kevin O’Keefe

Lindsay Griffiths - Zen and the Art of Legal Networking

Zen & The Art of Legal Networks, Lindsay Griffiths

Maggie Watkins, Jonathan Fitzgarrald, Cheryl Bam
Break’s over, and PR is up with Cheryl Bame from Bame PR. Of course, I got caught up catching up with the folks in Masterminds, so running a few minutes behind. Cheryl is going over the standards of PR with lawyers, where to develop ideas (case wins, transactions/deals, amicus briefs, New laws/legislation, pro bono). She has some great nuggets:

  • Reporters don’t want to talk to the firm, they want to talk to the experts.
  • Breaking news leaves no time for a news release for maximum coverage. You have to pitch it.
  • “No Comment” to a reporter means handing them the proverbial middle finger (quote from someone in the audience). If your attorney CANNOT talk (client says no), at least have a referral for them. You don’t not want to respond.
  • Old news is not news
  • Before writing a client alert ask yourself this (from client’s perspective): Why should I care?

But this is me blogging … I want to hear how social media is changing the landscape of legal marketing PR. Distribution is now going social, so you need to take advantage of it.

  • Add news releases/client alerts to your website
  • Put links to news releases in the LinkedIn status update
  • Have firm Twitter, Facebook the links
  • Media relations is moving faster because of social media, you need to keep up with it
  • More targeted pitches (no longer spamming fax machines with press releases)
  • Follow the key reporters/publications
  • Pitches are happening over Twitter (see reporter/pub is writing on a subject, contact them to offer background expertise)
  • Deadlines are moving: A blogger’s deadline is right now.

Maggie Watkins and Jonathan Fitzgarrald
Ok. I’m awake. I didn’t make the first program, but I’m here at the LMA Annual Conference’s Quick Start program. Kudos to Maggie Watkins, Best Best and Krieger and Jonathan Fitzgarrald, Greenberg Glusker for putting together a standing room only program! Nat Slavin from Wicker Park Group is talking about business development and client surveys. Cheryl Bame from Bame PR is sitting to my right, reviewing some of her notes for her PR presentation. I could use a cup of coffee, but other than that, I’m excited to finally be in the middle of the conference.
Nat Slavin
So, here we go with the first nugget: Our job is to make these “average” lawyers special to their clients. That’s what legal marketing is all about in a nutshell. My elevator speech is: “My job is to make lawyers look good.” And what “good” is changes from day-to-day, lawyer-to-lawyer, project-to-project. Marketing hasn’t been about brochures for YEARS. It’s more than PR, or business development. It’s about everything that makes a lawyer look good from the moment they walk into the doors of your firm, to the internal communications, and external encounters with clients, the public, the press, their peers. It’s about everything along the chain that helps to promote that attorney, to highlight their expertise, to get them ink, and, land that new client or enhance that relationship.

The power of speech. The power of a speech. When you couple a speech, with a microphone and an audience with access to the social web,  you have a powerful tool of communication and an opportunity to reach the world. And with this power of the social web comes the END of anonymity. The END of control. The END of censorship. And the beginning of personal responsibility for what you say, Tweet or post. As a member of the Legal Marketing Association’s Los Angeles Chapter, Cheryl Bame (and all of us) have learned an important lesson. The boundaries of retroactive censorship have moved, and are perhaps erased forever:

What is the difference between a pen and paper, an audio recording device or a Flip video camera?  That is the question that came to me when I learned not all of the panelists from yesterday’s LMA-LA program would allow me to post the video I shot online or on my blog. (skip) Despite the private event, the panelists were speaking in a public forum.  What if someone in attendance took notes, quoted all of the panelists, Tweeted, wrote a blog or article and also posted to other social networking sites?  Why is there a difference between those forms of communication and my Flip video?

Cheryl is right. The ability to take notes and share information is not new, only the medium of social media (and YouTube specifically here) is. Now, we just need to let all the speakers know this. Social media is a powerful tool. Cheryl knows this, and so should every conference organizer and speaker:

Being a student of social media I know that video is a powerful PR tool, not just for my blog, but for the Legal Marketing Association chapter which would have gained a lot of exposure if the video went viral and was seen by hundreds if not thousands of people in the legal industry around the world.

Once you step foot on a dais, you, as a speaker and an organziation, lose all control. Your “official” scribe and videographer might be controllable, but then there’s the audience. Have you looked out into an audience lately? Almost everyone is out there tapping away on a smart phone which came loaded with Twitter, Facebook, and a WordPress applications, along with a camera and video. With an Internet connection, content from the stage is posted to the social web with only seconds of delay. Our industry is not the first to come to realize that you cannot control content. We are all caretakers of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. We are all reporters. We are all producers of content. We are all distribution channels. We, as a collective, cannot be censored. So what is a speaker to do? As a speaker you need to take care in what you say in private, and most definitely in public. Just ask Prince and Kim Kardashian who keep trying to pull YouTube videos off the Internet, but they keep popping back up. Or the NFL, NBA or NCAA who are trying to keeps sports stars off Twitter (good luck). Or the government of Egypt who lost the revolution, thanks in great part to social media. And now there are some who are trying to ban Twitter in U.S. politics? Double good luck there. You can try and ban social media all you want, but you won’t get too far. Once you step foot on that dais, everything you say can and should be recorded, Tweeted and shared. The problem here isn’t social media, the problem is that you can no longer take back something you say. You can’t erase it, spin it or whitewash it. Post a picture on Facebook, you can expect it to go public. Send out a poorly worded/thought out/stupid or insensitive Tweet and it can ruin your career. As for yesterday’s LMA-LA program, Cheryl mentioned that the program was private. It was not. It was a speech given to an audience of a professional association in a hotel conference room. ANYONE could have RSVPd to the event and attended.That’s about as public as you can get. The speakers all knew this. However, one said something during the program that he later regretted, and is refusing to give approval to posting the video. So, no, the YouTube video will not be posted. The official article will not mention the unmentionable. It’s going to be up to a social media savvy attendee to get out the news, and, unfortunately, it won’t me me. I had chosen to sit in the back of the room yesterday and listen to the program. I took some notes, but nothing intensive. I knew that Cheryl was recording the event and that it would be posted to YouTube. I guess not.

I read with shock a recent article in an industry publication (which shall remain nameless) on how social media, while really neat and cool, is only a “value add” to traditional PR which is going strong. I call BULLSHIT (it’s my blog, I can do that). We all know traditional PR. You hire a PR agency to help you create your message and get the word out. They get your attorney quoted in a newspaper, or help you place an article, or get on the right industry panel. They make lots of phone calls, coordinate a reporter calling you back, and bill by the hour, or are on a monthly retainer. That’s starting to change. I spoke to fellow LMA member, and PR professional, Cheryl Bame from Bame Public Relations about this topic:

The goal of public relations is to promote our clients, their businesses and services and to use the media as an avenue to do this. Social media offers us more opportunities to meet our goals. I don’t discount it, but celebrate the increasing number of avenues beyond traditional media outlets to help clients raise their profiles and hopefully, bring in more business.

Cheryl, who recently launched her own blog, www.LegalPRAdvice.com, is already promoting her clients using social media:

I have several examples where non-traditional media, such as blogs, have generated more attention than a traditional news print article. In fact, there are times when a news print article has gone farther than I ever expected as a result of social media.  I have one client who’s popular entertainment industry blog has led to several writing and blogging opportunities for both traditional and non-traditional media outlets. As a PR professional, I now have to stay on top of the changing media landscape so that I can identify which opportunities are best for my clients and their goals, and that my include LinkedIn, Twitter, LegalOnRamp, Wiki, and possibly launching a blog.

So how can traditional PR remain the “go to” medium when journalism itself is evolving? Hmmm, just like legal marketing and business development are evolving. The status quo doesn’t work for legal marketing, and it won’t work for PR either. Period. (It’s my blog and I can have that definitive position). So, what am I doing? I’m watching legal PR specialists who ROCKED it with traditional PR, evolve to the next level. Jennifer Klein, Executive Vice President with Blattel Communications is one of the leaders I’m watching, and she’s weighing in on the topic as well:

There is an entire generation – our future decision makers – that know of no other form of communication.  They have been “born and raised” on social and online media as their primary form of receiving communication.  They don’t know a world without it.  It’s clearly more than “value added.”

And legal marketers aren’t alone. Mashable (which EVERYONE who reads this blog should subscribe to) has an incredible article that you should read and bookmark, The Future of Social Media in Journalism. It breaks down very easily how journalism is changing, and how social media is fueling the news.

… social tools are inspiring readers to become citizen journalists by enabling them to easily publish and share information on a greater scale. The future journalist will be more embedded with the community than ever, and news outlets will build their newsrooms to focus on utilizing the community and enabling its members to be enrolled as correspondents. Bloggers will no longer be just bloggers, but be relied upon as more credible sources.

And all of this is fine and dandy, but we work with lawyers, and one thing we know about lawyers is that they are skeptical and they like stats. Jennifer has compiled some great ones:

From a media standpoint,

  • 64 percent of all journalists follow one or more blogs for research/story generation;
  • more than 75 percent use social media to research stories;
  • 51 percent use Google News/32 percent use Yahoo news to stay abreast of trends.

I suspect,” Jennifer continues,” these stats will continue to increase with the decline of traditional media and shrinking newsrooms.

Bazinga!! I don’t know about you, but articles like this get me excited. We are all living on the cusp of a revolution. It might be more accurate to say that we’re already in it. Really, what other invention in the past couple hundred years has changed HOW we communicate, AND how we conduct our business, at the same time, more-so than the Internet? So, traditional PR. Of course, that personal interaction is important. But, I will argue that it is soon to be the value-add to the social journalism revolution. What say you, Coolerites??

Kudos and thanks to Jonathan Fitzgarrald and Cheryl Bame for gathering together some of our colleagues to produce: Law Firm Marketing Leaders: Tips from a Collection of Experts,” (pdf). Enjoy the “5 Tips” on the following topics from some of legal marketing’s finest:

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” It had me thinking about my life and how happy I am. Like many people, that hasn’t always been the case, so I started wondering, in the light of Eleanor Roosevelt’s sentiments, what have I done to generate this much happiness? To begin with, my life is full. A couple years ago I took a Sharpie to my life and cleared my calendar of useless activities, especially useless television, and began to fill it with activities worthy of my time, and with valued relationships.

  • Some of these relationships are virtual, we’ve never met, but we share online all the time.
  • Some of these were old relationships renewed.
  • Some of these were professional relationships that became personal.
  • Some of these were personal relationships that became intimate.

And then there are the activities. There’s The Legal Watercooler, which has not only branded my personally, but has allowed me to participate in a conversation with people around the world. It has led to speaking opportunities, and has opened a passion for social media and social networking. Then there’s the Girl Scouts, where I serve as troop leader for a multi-level troop  which includes both my daughters. Yes, I moan and groan the first and third Tuesday of the month, and don’t get me started on the cases of cookies that are stacked in my hallway for a month every year, but by the time I am done getting hugged and loved by 12 girls ranging in age from 5-9, I can’t help but feel blessed. There’s my daily meditation, weekly yoga, and daily visits to the gym at lunch time. Happiness does begin with our core being. But a lot of my “extra” time these past couple week s has been spent filling out my supplemental application to become a commissioner for California’s first Citizens Redistricting Commission:

Every 10 years, after the federal census, California and every state in the country, must redraw the boundaries of its legislative and other political districts to reflect the new population data. How these boundaries are drawn affects how people are represented. In California, the process of redrawing the boundaries—redistricting—was a duty of state elected officials. But when voters passed Proposition 11 (the Voters FIRST Act) in the November 2008 general election, responsibility for redrawing the legislative and Board of Equalization district lines transferred to the people in the form of a new Citizens Redistricting Commission. What is the Citizens Redistricting Commission? California’s first Citizens Redistricting Commission (Commission) is a new 14-member Commission charged with redrawing California’s Senate, Assembly and State Board of Equalization districts based on information gathered during the 2010 census. The Commission must draw the districts in conformity with strict, nonpartisan rules designed to create districts of relatively equal population that will provide fair representation for all Californians.

I don’t know if I’ll make the commission, but I took the “why not me” attitude and completed my application to the best of my ability, which included the solicitation of letters of recommendation. I would like to take this moment to express my gratitude to the following people who wrote me letters of recommendation: Steve Barrett, Jayne Navarre, Nat Slavin, Cheryl Bame and Russell Lawson. I thank you for your kind words, but, more importantly, I thank you for your examples as professionals within our industry, your mentorship, and your valued friendships! So, Coolerites, where does your slice of happiness rest?