Legal Marketing Association

I received notice earlier this week that I am now a Class of 2018 Fellow-Elect with the College of Law Practice Management (COLPM). The notice is posted publicly, so I hope I am not breaking any rules or traditions by posting this.

I truly am humbled by this honor. It recognizes my overall contribution to the legal industry … not just the legal marketing slice of the pie.

Friends and Fellows

I had someone ask how/why I was selected. Truly, it has to do with my overall contributions to the business of law, not just my role in legal marketing. Along the way, however, I have met some incredible people. And many of these people have become friends, and now we’re going to be inducted into the COLPM together.

The early years and CRM

The business of law has changed over the course of my career. I was brought on board my first law firm in June 1997 to run a major conference and get out newsletters. Very quickly I ended up rolling out InterAction (which was still an InterFace product).  In fact, our firm was the first to go fully live with this CRM product. I was even featured on the cover of CRM magazine. Ironically, I have come full circle and recently redeployed InterAction at my current firm.

Early adopter and promoter of social media

I began this blog nearly 10 years ago because I had no idea what a blog was, and I wanted to understand the technology better. What I didn’t expect to find was my voice.

I eventually rolled out four blogs for my firm, and helped a practice group establish itself and create a line of business for the partner that is still overwhelming profitable today.

I was part of that group who were out there trying to figure out what Twitter was. I saw a Tweet one day from this guy, Kevin O’Keefe, wanting to know who would like to grab a beer at the hotel near my office. I ran over. I was the only one who showed up. We sat that afternoon getting to know one another and discussing blogging and Twitter. I remember having a very competitive battle with Greg Lambert over who could get the most Twitter followers over the course of a weekend (he far surpasses me today). And meeting this “kid” Adrian Dayton, who had gotten caught up in all those layoffs of associates and was building his own business around social media for lawyers.

If it were not for Twitter, blogging, and social media, I would not have these professional relationships that have all turned to personal ones. To be inducted into the COLPM with these men truly means the world to me.
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The Legal Marketing Association just released the slate of candidates for the 2018 International Board of Directors, and I plan to vote against ratification of the slate.

It has nothing to do with any of the individuals nominated, or any member of the nominations committee, but rather, it’s time for the slate to go. Or to at least be modified to allow for some direct voting of candidates (members-at-large, for instance).

We need diversity of thought and experience on the board. Recent decisions and actions show that there is something not quite right with our current process, and it’s not that the people on the Board are anything but great members of LMA and great people, not to mention good friends. However, together, the diversity of thought and thought process is lacking.

Teamability over individuality

In the spirit of Teamability–an assessment test I took when I was on the board last–we need a variety of personalities to make an effective team.

Teamability is a great assessment because it is not about “Heather, as an individual” but “What does Heather bring to the table as a member of a team?” The diagnostic breaks the personality types down, and actually pairs you with your counterpart:
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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?


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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

Survey-BannerFor the past few years I have been heavily involved in LMA’s Technology Committee, first as the board liaison, and for the past two years as the co-chair. My term comes to an end at the end of this year and I would like to end this round of service (because you know there will be more) by hearing from my fellow in-house legal marketers. You do not need to be an LMA member to take the survey. The Technology Committee is committed to preparing two reports based on your experiences in order to help our peers across the legal marketing industry. This isn’t about reviewing a product or vendor, but about our experience as we roll out a new marketing technology product, or how we’re starting to make sense of all that data that our firms are capturing.
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Photo credit: Gina Rubel. #LMA15 In my spiritual community we talk about doing things “for fun and for free.” Apparently, doing for others brings back more reward than doing for yourself. The same is true in my professional association, The Legal Marketing Association. My first boss in legal marketing, Frank Moon, saw something in my non-profit, political, and event management experience that he thought would lateral in well to legal. And it has. He also threw me head first into LMA’s local chapter here in Los Angeles. I could plan a better event. I could bring better ideas to the table. And so my LMA “career” began, somewhere in 1997. Fast forward almost two decades, and I have done a couple tours of duty on my local board, served as my local chapter president, joined a national committee to get to know Merry Neitlich better, and became good friends with John Byrne as we worked on a Membership Dues Restructuring task-force together (where our recommendations were adopted … 10 years later, lol). At some point, Diane Hamlin encouraged me to run for the national board, but I didn’t make it (this was back when we had contested elections).  Nathalie Daum told me not to be discouraged and invited me to participate on a national committee and try again the next year. I did and I made it. I also made great friends with Jayne Navarre, and met all these LMA luminaries, who turned out to be legal marketers just like me.
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us at LMAYes, I’ve been in San Diego since Saturday for the “pre-prom” get togethers. In LMA I have met some of my dearest friends, mentors, colleagues, bosses, inspirations. LMA has allowed me to grow and develop my craft, while maintaining my sanity. I know the Twitter hashtag (@LMA15) has been blowing up for days, the pictures in the LME Facebook groups are flowing, but the conference actually just kicked off with a great timeline video (Happy 30th Conference Anniversary, LMA). Dan Pink is our keynote. Were going to learn a 1-3-5 … so let us begin:
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It’s Monday afternoon and I have finally cleared my e-mail, spoke to a partner, posted a session recap/guest blog post (with three more in the que), and realize I have not personally provided any major content about the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual conference last week, except for my Twitter feed. Looks like I’m skipping the gym today.

First of all, the LMA annual conference is exactly what Tim Corcoran, our president, described in his opening remarks: part educational & networking conference, part family reunion, part high school reunion. And we all know who the crazy uncle is. There are so many layers to the LMA annual conference, that when I look at the conference from each individual pair of eyes, I find that it only tells one side of the story. Family reunion: It was wonderful to see so many of my former colleagues from across my career in legal marketing. Kevin McMurdo from Perkins Coie, Ellen Musante and Corey Garver from my Pillsbury days. Not to mention all the current and former committee and task force members I have worked with throughout the years at both the local and international levels. High School reunion: Some of my closest and dearest friends I have met through LMA. While we are in constant contact via Facebook, getting to see one another live is beyond measure. We have actually started to form an “after prom” event so we can focus on our business and networking while at the conference, knowing we’ll have our personal social time once the conference ends. Scenes from an LMA Conference Education & networking: Really, there is no better place in the industry for marketing professionals to gather. We are a strange breed, and only in LMA are “competitors” so open and willing to share, help one another as we traverse this road, mentor one another, and on board new legal marketers.

One of my favorite slides, ever, from Matt Homann
One of my favorite slides, ever, from Matt Homann

This year I found the two most powerful sessions, for me, to be the first and the last I attended.
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