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. Continue Reading Calling All In-House Legal Marketers: Survey Says …

For anyone following any legal marketing stream on Twitter (#LMA13, for instance), you’ll know that we not only have our scoffers, but we have our haters.

And, honestly, looking at the spam in my filters, who can blame them.

There are a lot of bad promotional people out there targeting lawyers with their wares. But they are not necessarily “legal marketers.”

One thing I have learned from my nearly 15 years as a legal marketer is that not all legal marketers are created equally.

We all don’t do the same thing. We don’t all have the same skill set and experience. And we all don’t work for the same client base.

I work in-house for corporate lawyers. I am diligent that the marketing and business development we do complies with the legal ethics of the states in which we practice.

I know many legal marketing consultants who have worked in-house, and have struck out on their own. Once again, working with corporate lawyers, and well within the boundaries of the legal ethics in which the lawyers operate.

There are other legal marketers who work with consumer lawyers, which is a completely different beast than corporate law. B to C v. B to B.

And, like any industry, there are ne’er–do–wells who are trying to capitalize on an unsophisticated market. They see lawyers as a quick and easy target (Psst. Hey, buddy. Wanna buy a plaque?). Much like there are ne’er-do-well attorneys trying to capitalize on an unsophisticated consumer.

Those fly-by-night marketers do not represent what we do. They are not what I do. Just like ambulance-chasing lawyers are not who we represent.

My job is to help the lawyers in many areas of their business. The 5 Ps of marketing, for short.

LMA Annual Conference

Legal marketers, in general, are about business. The business of law. For some of us, that means businesses of $50 million in revenue and up. For others, at the top of the market, we’re looking at multi-billion dollar a year global operations.

It takes a sophisticated marketer to earn the respect of corporate law. To be given the keys to not only drive the strategic plan, but to create it. A seat at the table. And, better yet, a VOICE at the table.

Heaven knows it takes a thick skin and a strong personality to go toe-to-toe with many of our partners.

And while we have a few haters and scoffers, considering the booming of our profession, we have many more supporters and champions.

So, yeah, I’m Heather Morse. Legal Marketer.

Thank God the elections are over.

I survived my first camping (IN A TENT) trip with the Girl Scouts at Camporee!

Nuts & Magazine sales are on for Girl Scouts.

Not to mention the Mixed Bag Design fundraiser at our school, which ended on Monday; and the See’s Candy sale, which started on Tuesday.

Fall volleyball season is over for the girls; already signing them up for the Spring.

The Sports Dude is scheduled for his big surgery Thanksgiving week (no cooking for me this year).

Sadly, we are also dealing with a parent with terminal cancer.

Good new is, I can’t complain about having too much time on my hands.

But it is time to turn my focus back to legal marketing and The Legal Watercooler, and what better way than with Emily Post’s new rules of tech etiquette for the office.

For those of you who thought etiquette ended in the days of Downton Abbey, you are wrong.

Social norms, while in flux, still exist and we need to find our way through the haze (which is now legal in several states, I hear).

From the above linked article:

These days, employees seem to care more about connecting with their devices than with their fellow colleagues.

In fact, 4 in 10 HR managers have received a complaint about an employee’s improper use of mobile technology in the work force, according to a recent study by Intel. The most common complaints? A phone ringing during a meeting (60 percent) and using a laptop to check email or surf the Internet during a meeting (44 percent).

Does that mean you shouldn’t ever take helpful gadgets with you to meetings? No. But how we deal with these modern-day peccadilloes is constantly evolving.

Technology is here to stay, so deal with it.

I bring my iPad to meeting to take notes, read documents (have you seen what the LMA Board Book looks like??? Puts the Vogue September issue to SHAME), and, yes, keep tabs on the office. Discreetly.

I have to use my common sense, however, at all times.

When I attend a conference where I intend to live-Tweet or blog, I introduce myself to the speaker, letting him or her know that I am not tapping away to be rude, but am communicating their message to my followers.

When I am at a business event, or social functions, the iPhone is put away, unless there is an emergency that I am following (personal or professional).

To completely plagiarize from Miss Post, our smart phones are not additional utensils meant for the dinner table, and really should be kept out of sight.

Don’t get me wrong. Technology is a beautiful, beautiful thing. But it can also be more than a distraction.

At home, we are having to institute some rather strange rules, such as “no technology in bed after 10:00 p.m.”

Our punishments for the kids seem to revolve around technology: “If you hit your sister, you lose your iPod for the weekend,” and, “If you annoy your sister to the point that she hits you, no YouTube for the weekend.”

I don’t think that the final book has been written about technology and etiquette, but as we all make our way through the maze of (tech) life, I have found a few articles that might be of help:

Or, when in doubt, follow my simple rule: “Don’t be an a**hole.”

 Illustration by Ross MacDonald/Photograph by Kang Kim via RealSimple.com

TRUST. If you ask me, the first rule of our profession is trust.

Without trust we cannot do much in our firms. Without trust we cannot learn and share with one another. Without trust we cannot mentor, or be mentored, by the incredible leaders of our profession, who are still around. Which says a lot about who we are as a community.

We had a breach in trust yesterday.

I started a Facebook group for legal marketers a year or so ago. I had a question I needed to ask. I should have known the answer, but I didn’t. I didn’t want it posted in a public forum where it would live there forever. So I started a group with a dozen or so of my legal marketing friends. Not all LMA members.

I invited my friends to invite their friends, and the group has now grown to 257. I don’t even know a lot of these folks. But I still feel comfortable openly sharing. If I trust you, and you trust your friend, then I trust your friend.

Per Facebook rules, the group is “secret” so that our conversations remain completely private on our personal walls, but is open to all to join. (If you want to join the group, send me a message on Facebook).

But whether on Facebook, in an e-mail thread, at an LMA meeting, or a board meeting, we legal marketing professionals openly share with one another.

We don’t collude or plot, but we share our difficulties and frustrations that come with our jobs, and seek out solutions to our challenges from our peers.

This level of trust amongst us has allowed us to create something really, really special: friendships.

I count amongst my closest friends members of my profession and/or professional association. Some are service providers. Some are competitors. Some are true peers.

These close friendships allow me to not only do my job better, but allow me to be a better and more authentic Heather.

I trust you to see the vulnerable me. The real me.

When I am mentoring new members of our profession, I always start by telling them about this trust thingie we have going on. How you can pick up the phone and call anyone. How you can ask a stupid question.

In the past 14+ years that I have been doing this, I can honestly say that breaches in trust are few and far between, but the damage one breach can cause can be immense, and can do great harm.

However, I would caution all of us to not allow these rare breaches of trust to impair our culture of trust. It’s what makes us special. It’s what makes us a better community. It’s what makes us better legal marketers. And it’s what makes us better friends.