Today Is Launch Day For My New Podcast!

Nancy Myrland Podcasts & Recordings, The Legal Marketing Event Podcast by Nancy Myrland Leave a Comment

I’m Happy To Announce The Legal Marketing Event Podcast!


The Legal Marketing Event Podcast by Nancy Myrland

The Legal Marketing Event Podcast1

Welcome to the launch of my new podcast, The Legal Marketing Event Podcast. I have big plans for us!

This is my new marketing and business development podcast for lawyers and legal marketers.

Podcasting is, once again, a growing phenomenon, and one I could not ignore.

I will be interviewing keynote speakers, presenters, attendees, organizers, legal trade publications, and other experts at legal marketing and business development conferences and events.

My goal is to find out what is going on in their world so you can apply it to your world!

You will always be able to find my podcasts here on my website, soon at the Podcasts page, and you will also be able to subscribe to it in iTunes and on Stitcher Radio. It is already published on Soundcloud, so you can also go there to find it if you’d like.

In the mean time, here is my introductory episode where I talk about what I have planned for this podcast, and what brought me to this point. I’d love to have your feedback and ideas, so please leave them if you have a moment.

Thanks for being here! I’ve been in deep study about this for quite some time, so it’s rewarding to finally see it come together.

Breaking News: I am very excited because, as I was writing this post, I got “the email” from iTunes, telling me my podcast has been approved! Trust me, that’s an exciting day in the life of a podcaster. They tell me that I can expect to see it in the iTunes Store within the next few hours. When it’s available, you will be able to access it in iTunes with this URL, or via a search of my name or the podcast’s name. Thanks for letting me share the exciting steps that have to happen along the way!

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LinkedIn Profiles Can Be Very Boring

Nancy Myrland LinkedIn, Social Media Leave a Comment

LinkedIn Profiles Can Be Boring

Let’s face it. LinkedIn profiles are extremely important because they are what people see when they check out your qualifications, your experience, the updates you’ve posted, where you went to school, and so much more. The problem is they can be very dry and boring.

Remember that you only have a few seconds to catch a visitor’s attention before they decide they’ve had enough and leave, or they discover they like what they see and stay for more.


In May of 2013, LinkedIn gave us a feature I really like, which is the ability to add Rich Media, or a Professional Gallery, to our Profile.

Think of it as a way to not only add something visually appealing to your otherwise copy-heavy profile, but also as a way to reinforce topics that are important to you, as well as those areas of concentration in your business or practice, without violating ethics’ codes by listing your specialties. We get to kill at least two birds with one stone by doing this, right? I like that.

You might be thinking…What’s wrong with you, Nancy? I don’t have a portfolio or gallery to add to my profile!

Sure you do!

Think of this portfolio as a place where you can gather some of the work you’ve already been doing in other places. You can upload any number of items, such as:

  • Your blog posts, whether on your own blog or someone else’s blog
  • Videos from YouTube
  • Presentations that you first place in Slideshare, or are on Scribd, Prezi or others that have a public URL
  • Links to your latest podcast
  • Awards you have been given
  • Screenshots of you making presentations
  • Books you have published
  • Articles others have written about you
  • A gallery of images
  • …and many more

You can add rich media to 3 sections of your profile. The way I like to remember them is by using the acronym S.E.E., which is a visual term, and which stands for these sections that you are going to make more visual:

  1. Summary
  2. Education
  3. Expertise

I wouldn’t throw everything but the kitchen sink into this section of your profile as you want it to be content that helps you tell your story.


Let’s take a look at how easy it is to do this.

  1. You will see that interesting little box with a + sign in the upper-right side of your Summary, Expertise and Education (S.E.E.) sections of your profile.
  2. When you click on that box, you will see a place to insert a URL if that is where your post or content is housed.
  3. If you simply want to upload a document or presentation, then click on Upload a file. Click on Continue. Adding Your Professional Portfolio to Your LinkedIn Profile
  4. A window will pop up that will auto-populate the title of whatever you are uploading. Important: If you don’t like the title, or it isn’t to the point about what you are sharing, then simply change it.
  5. The description can be treated the same way. In my case, this auto-populated with the description I wrote when I wrote my blog post. If you don’t like what you see, then change it.
  6. Click on Add to profile, and it will be in your new portfolio!Adding Your Professional Portfolio to Your LinkedIn Profile
  7. If you want to move it to another section, click on the little pencil, which you probably know as the universal edit icon.Adding Rich Media To Your LinkedIn Profile
  8. You will then see your Title and Description fields again, but this time we have a new option titled Move this media to.
  9. Once you click on the drop-down menu under Move this media to, you will then see a list of those sections that already exist in these 3 sections of your profile.Adding Rich Media To Your LinkedIn Profile
  10. Simply choose the one that is perfect for what you are uploading, and click Save.Adding Rich Media to Your Professional Portfolio on LinkedIn
  11. If you don’t like where it is placed relative to your other items in the Portfolio, simply click on its photo, then drag it up to a more current spot, which, in this case, was the number one spot as it is a recent blog post that I wanted to make sure was visible to my visitors. Remember that, unless they click on See More, your visitors will only see your first 6 entries in your Portfolio, so make sure you place the most important ones first.
  12. You’re done, and you have added Rich Media to your Professional Portfolio on LinkedIn. Congratulations!
  13. Let’s summarize below this photo, shall we….Adding Rich Media to Your Professional Portfolio on LinkedIn


  1. Profiles can be boring. Help your reader out by breaking it up by adding a Professional Portfolio filled with Rich Media.
  2. Help the reader discover your areas of expertise by showing your areas of interest and work.
  3. Help your work stand out. This is a way of soft-selling your expertise.
  4. Shine the spotlight on you and build your brand.
  5. Always use a photo for each item you are adding.
  6. Add Rich Media to Summary, Expertise and Education sections of your profile.
  7. It’s easy to do!

Let me know if you have any questions okay?








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Lawyers, Are You Winning The Battle?

Nancy Myrland Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Battle for The Position of The Mind

You’re fighting a battle.

I’m fighting a battle.

The firm next door is fighting this same battle.

In fact, everyone is fighting the same battle, but with a different goal in mind.

How Can That Be?

Everything you say and do in your business has a purpose, or at least a result. Your marketing and communication, whether spoken, written, digital or otherwise, serves to create an impression of you in others’ minds, whether that is negative, positive or neutral.

What is important is that you have first decided what you want that impression to be in the minds of your clients and prospects.

Ask These Questions
  1. How do you want them to think of you when they come across you or your work?
  2. What words do you want to come to their minds when they hear your voice?
  3. What feelings do you want them to have when they see your profile on LinkedIn?
  4. How do you want them to react when they have work to refer?
  5. What sense of urgency to contact you do you want them to have when they have an issue with which they need help?

For example, do you:

  • Want them to think that you are the number one firm in the area of insurance defense, M & A work, or in grassroots and government affairs issues?
  • Want them to think that you are the cost-effective, nimble alternative when it comes to IP, real estate or social media law?
  • Want them to think you are the nicest group of lawyers on the planet?
  • Want them to think you are the most flippant yet aggressive counsel when it comes to medical malpractice issues?
  • Want them to think you are the stealth-like, up-and-comer firm that should not be taken lightly in biotech?

These are just examples of the kinds of questions you need to ask yourselves before you embark on any marketing and communications effort, whether that be social or digital media, speaking at conferences, client pitches, redesigning your office space, deciding how to dress for each client, training your administrative staff, and so many more situations that all have an impact on what others think when they see, hear or read you.

What Does This Have To Do With Fighting A Battle? 

Every question and suggestion above has to do with defining the position you wish to take in your clients’ and prospects’ minds. You need to take some time and have these conversations. You need to ask the questions I asked above, and more, then take time to fit your answers into each of the marketing and communication channels just mentioned, which are…

  • Social
  • Digital
  • Speaking at conferences
  • Client pitches
  • Redesigning your office space
  • The design of everything that represents you
  • How you dress for each client
  • Training your administrative staff
  • …and others

When you have completed that task, you then need to do this for every practice area or business unit in your firm; then every attorney, as well as every client-facing professional.

Don’t get overwhelmed with that last statement. Just start with the firm and see what comes up. You will be surprised at what you will uncover, and what you will decide as a result of this process.

The rest of it will then be much easier, I promise!

Only after you have decided the position you want to have in your clients’ and prospects’ minds can your firm then begin to communicate effectively.

Yes, this is the battle for what position you want to have in their minds because your competitors are also in the middle of staking a position there as well. Why not be deliberate about what you want your position to be?

You know I am always here if you have questions.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes, okay?

Thanks to best-selling author, Al Ries, for opening my eyes early in my career to the concept of battling for position when I read his classic, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

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What Is Inbound Marketing For Lawyers?

Nancy Myrland Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Strategy Leave a Comment

What Is Inbound Marketing, Lawyers, Law Firms, Legal Marketing, HubspotI was reading an article on Inbound Marketing Myths by Michael Reynolds on Hubspot this morning that made me realize that some terms marketers use these days might be a little confusing. One of these terms is Inbound Marketing. We’re going to spend a few minutes on it today because I think it is important.

Michael simply defines Inbound Marketing like this:

“Inbound marketing is the holistic practice of earning traffic, turning that traffic into leads, and turning leads into sales.”

Don’t let all this talk of traffic, leads and sales turn you off. I know we haven’t historically used such in-your-face terms in legal marketing, but the practices behind these words are what are important, and definitely have their place in the marketing of your firm and practice.


Holistic is not a new concept in the legal profession. When representing a client, how do you decide what the best course of action is in order to help, protect or defend your client?

Among other things…

  • You look at the big picture.
  • You look in every corner to find the facts necessary to make an informed decision or recommendation.
  • You ask lots of questions so that you don’t miss anything important to the matter.

In other words, you are looking at your client’s situation holistically, meaning you are taking every factor you can find into consideration in order to recommend the best course of action. You are looking at the entire, or the whole, situation in order to make a proper diagnosis.

A holistic practice of marketing is similar. When you market your practice and your firm, you need to take your whole situation into account in order to decide what the best, most efficient, most strategic plan of action is.


A holistic approach to marketing your practice means looking at the entire situation before making any decisions.

Among other things, it means we need to look at and answer…

  • What are your goals for your firm or practice?
  • Who are your target audiences?
  • Where do they spend time, both physically and virtually?
  • What information are they searching for on a daily basis in order to make good decisions?
  • What is happening in their businesses that is on their minds night and day?
  • What part of the above can you help with?
  • What part can others you know help with?
  • What is their decision-making process?
  • What information, delivered in order, might be extremely helpful to them?
  • When would the delivery of this information be helpful to them?
  • What formats can this information be produced in so that our clients and potential clients can consume it in a way that is easiest for them?
  • …and so on.

This is a holistic approach to earning leads. They will come when you’ve given them a reason to come, and not a second before.


Earning traffic is next in Michael’s definition of Inbound Marketing above, and it simply means that you have to earn the traffic, or the visitors, to your digital real estate…your website, your blog, your LinkedIn posts, your Facebook Page, your Twitter account, etc. It is rarely true that if you build it, they will just come. You have to help them along a bit.


What you do with your visitors after that is the second half of Hubspot’s definition, which is…

“…turning that traffic into leads, and turning leads into sales.”

We’ll deal with that part next time, okay? For now, I want you to commit to looking at everything you do to market your practice and your firm holistically. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t do a good job of that before now. What does matter is that you have another chance to start planning for growth and service to clients from this much more strategic approach.

I’ll see you here next time to discuss leads and that horrid s word…sales. Don’t worry, we can call it something else if you’d like.

If you’d like to make sure you receive the next and every blog post in your inbox, please subscribe to The Myrland Marketing Minute Blog…thanks!

Enjoy the rest of your day!



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I Might Have To Smack You If You Do This On LinkedIn

Nancy Myrland LinkedIn, Social Media, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

I Might Have To Smack You If You Do This On LinkedInI’m not naive. I’ve seen my share of rotten business practices, along with many good ones, some even great. I’ve witnessed people who try to do good, and plenty who seem to specialize in doing the opposite.

Teaching marketing, and social and digital media for the past umpteen years, I’ve seen plenty of people try to find the easiest and quickest shortcuts around doing actual work to grow their business. In rare cases, this type of efficiency can be good. Others, not so good.

I was reminded of one of the not so good practices the other day while catching up on my Google Alerts for LinkedIn. I ran across a post from “Stephen,” a guy who wrote about his experiences buying LinkedIn connections. Yes, I said buying LinkedIn connections…{{sigh}}.

I read the entire post to try to wrap my arms around why anyone would feel the need to do this. I know it happens on Twitter, as well as buying Likes on Facebook Pages. I don’t endorse those, but LinkedIn? C’mon! 

From Michael [any spelling or grammatical mistakes are his]:

“I needed a taste of rapid growth. So I did it. Purchased the package of 1000 LinkedIn connections for ten dollar. And I got what I paid for.”

Michael experienced some kind of euphoria resulting from a sudden outpouring of what he thought to be quality connections:

“A couple hours later, my connections skyrocketed. Yep. As all the preceding buyers on this particular offering said. It was for real. In about two hours, I went from around 100 to 600. Passing by two centuries in a blink. I had done it. I had connections that are new, and I was flying.”

Oh my…..Michael, really?

Suddenly this adrenalin rush of new connections wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

“And they come fast. I am thinking there are either a ton of accounts owned by one person (yea, dishonest), or some type of enthusiast network where people agree to connect for each other. Either way will probably never think of me and these folks do not have any real interest in me. They deceived me as all the connections turned out to be fake. Linkedin will dilute your image if you buy fake connections.”

I could have almost hugged him when he wrote this.

“There are currently over 85 million-business professionals who use LinkedIn as their favored social networking platform. LinkedIn offers business owners the chance to tap into this vast network of professionals, many of which may become sales and leads.”

Preach it Michael!! C’mon now…tell us more!!

“It enables you to specifically target people with particular interests, granting you access to one of the biggest databases of business people. Online business owner, successful entrepreneur and every top executive is using LinkedIn to connect with other like-minded people and to seek out products and businesses, which they want.”

Then Michael broke my heart again.

“If you want LinkedIn connections, the best thing is to go for real LinkedIn Connections from a respectable company who will offer you real connections.”

Michael. Michael. Michael.

My point is this. The point of spending time on LinkedIn is to turn contacts into connections. It takes time.

It takes a few minutes every day, or every other day to:

    • Find your current contacts on LinkedIn.
    • Find new contacts who are in the target audiences you have defined.
    • Share others’ updates.
    • Comment on others’ updates.
    • Send a note of congratulations when you see your contact has a new job.
    • Join a group or two that makes sense for your practice.
    • …and more.

Don’t Buy Contacts on LinkedIn.

If your practice is based on ethically building relationships and reputation, then you need to do what I suggested in this post over 4 years ago:

“There is a process to developing relationships with those with whom we would like to do business, or those we would simply like to call friends. It’s called building trust. The steps to building trust aren’t the same for everyone, or for every two people, but what I do know is that it takes time. We must earn it.”

I said that 4 years ago, and still believe it today.

Would you ever buy LinkedIn contacts? Why or why not?

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Lawyers: One Of The Most Important Questions You Can Ask Your Clients

Nancy Myrland Business Development/Sales, Training in Client Service and Business Development/Sal, Uncategorized 2 Comments

One Of The Most Important Questions You Can Ask Your ClientsI was just reading an email from WordPress expert Chris Lema about his recent search for a new job. He was discussing what made him choose one employer over another. Something he said stuck with me because it could help you as you begin working with your clients, and as you continue working with current clients. Chris shared:

“Karim’s [Chris’s new employer] focus, however, wasn’t on title or salary. His question was very similar to the question my current CEO regularly asks – and the reason I stayed at Emphasys for over 8 years.” “How do we keep you here for the long haul?”

What a simple, but powerful question!  How can you use this with your clients? It’s easy. I’ll even suggest the words you can use for your situation.     How about:

“Thank you for allowing me to work with you. I appreciate your trust in me, and I’ll work hard to maintain that trust always. What can I do to keep you as a client for the long haul?”

After you ask that question, don’t feed your clients with too many optional answers. Many of us tend to do that to make it easier on the person we are talking to. Ask the question, let them think, then let them talk. If they struggle a bit to think about what behaviors and results it will take to keep them happy, that’s okay. Be patient.

Make a commitment to say that to all of your current and new clients starting today. Also, program a time in your calendar to ask this question to every client once a year, even if you’ve discussed it already. People change. Their jobs and goals change. Their expectations change. Competition changes.

When you ask, I’d love to hear how it goes. If you can think of additional ways to ask that same question, please share them in the comments below, or let me know at

Oh, yes, Good Luck in your new job, Chris!

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Competition Watching? Who Cares!?

Nancy Myrland Blogging, Content Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Knock Down The Competition RoadblockDuring a MarketingProfs PRO webinar with Mack Collier just now, an attendee expressed concern in the chat room about not blogging because it will show competition what she is up to.

She asked:

“What about any concerns about blogging about topics/issues that may give competitors info about your services that you may not want them to know?  My client may not want her competitors to know what she’s up to…”

This is a concern I’ve seen clients express, so I offered my thoughts, which are:

“You can’t spend your valuable time worrying about your competition. They can’t do WHAT you do HOW you do it, so you just have to put your head down and do it.  The downside to staying under the radar is too great to let it hold you back.”

You can’t go through your professional life not showing your clients and potential clients what you know because it might tip off your competition. Trust me, if your competition needs to watch your activity for ideas about how to run their business, they have other issues, so you are way ahead!

If they want to scurry around watching all of their competitors in an effort to steal their ideas, then let them try. There is no way they can do exactly what you do, and do it how you do it.

If you are working from a strategic marketing perspective, where you know who you are writing for, are writing about topics they are curious about, AND you are adding in a heavy dose of interacting and discussing these issues with them, your competition will not be able to duplicate your efforts.

Stop putting up these roadblocks to progress. That’s all they are…roadblocks. Worse yet, you’re the one putting them there, which is unnecessary and unproductive.

  • Get out there.
  • Write about what you do.
  • Write about what your clients do.
  • Write about what concerns your clients.
  • Write about what is going on in their industry that is troubling them.
  • Talk to them.
  • Let them know you are a real person, not just a keyboard.
  • Answer comments and questions.
  • Be consistent.
  • Stop hiding your skills.
  • Help your clients.

If you do at least these 11 things on a regular basis, it won’t even matter if your competition has your office bugged because they are not going to be able to put together the package that is you.

If you don’t do these things, you are not going to be worthy of competition OR clients copying or knowing what you do, and what good is that?

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Lawyers, People Don’t Want A Drill. They Want A Hole.

Nancy Myrland Marketing Strategy, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Lawyers, They Don't Want A Drill. They Want A Hole.I’m over on, watching a digital conversation called Ask Me Anything! with guest Amber Naslund. She is a Marketing, Community and Social Exec, and author of The NOW Revolution.

Something she just said applies to every industry or profession, and bears a bit of discussion here on the Myrland Marketing Minutes blog.

If you are trying to figure out how to position your practice with your clients and potential clients, they don’t care that you’re a lawyer. They care about what you can do for them.

Think about what she said:

“I’m always telling people to think three or four layers outside your brand. If you’re a plastic surgeon, maybe the discussion stems around body image, healthy lifestyles, and increasing self-esteem.

Which seems counter-intuitive perhaps, but you want to speak to the lifestyle concerns of your potential customers and the things they relate to.

As they say, people don’t want a drill, they want a hole. Figure out what underlying denominators your prospects have in common that would lead them to your product or service three or four steps down the line. THAT is the discussion you should be part of.” 

Just as the people in Amber’s comment above aren’t really shopping for a drill, they are shopping for the relief that drill can provide, meaning the hole. Your potential clients aren’t shopping for a lawyer, they are shopping for someone who can provide a specific solution to a problem, or potential problem.

Give this some thought. You’re a lawyer. Got it. But what solutions are you really providing for your clients when they work with you? This doesn’t mean a guarantee of results as you and I know we can’t talk about that, but what end results are they really shopping for when they come looking for you?

What is your client’s hole?





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Bloggers: Let Your Content and Your Readers Breathe

Nancy Myrland Blogging, Content Marketing, Uncategorized 2 Comments

Bloggers, Let Your Content & Your Readers BreatheEVERYONE IS BECOMING A PUBLISHER

We don’t have much time to grab our readers’ attention these days. They have so much on their plates, and more messages are being thrown their direction than at any time in history. More people are becoming content publishers by the minute, whether that be:

  • Blog posts like this one
  • A post on LinkedIn’s new Publisher platform
  • Updates on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook & Tumblr
  • Comments on blog posts


It is our responsibility as authors and publishers to make it as easy as possible for our readers to read what we have to offer. Remember, it isn’t their job to “stick to it,” and to spend their valuable time reading our content.

It is our job to be:

  • Readable
  • Digestible
  • Interesting, and
  • Valuable

I know, the interesting part is sometimes challenging, but we should at least give it our best shot because our readers have many other choices of what to read at the very second they have chosen to read our words.


Here are a few recommendations for helping your readers when they get to your blog posts.

  • Let your content breathe. Give your words some space. Although we know we are often writing for an intellectual audience, this doesn’t mean they like to look at words all in one big clump. Give their eyes a break. Provide white space by:
    • Using bullet points or numbers when you have a list
    • Keeping your paragraphs short, maybe even shorter than your English teacher taught you way back when
    • Breaking up your content into a few brief paragraphs so your visitors’ eyes get a break.
  • Use headlines when you are switching to a different thought. Think of them as chapters in a book.
    • Consider making them bold, and possibly even a color that matches your logo.
    • Make them larger than the rest of your post’s copy, choosing Headline 2 or Headline 3 from your toolbar.
  • Keep It Short. Whenever possible, keep your blog posts shorter than longer. Even people who love you to pieces don’t always have the time to read your long blog posts. If you find this challenging, then perhaps you could try:
    • Breaking your content into frequent paragraphs
    • Breaking your post into a series, publishing 500(ish) words a day for the next 3 days.
    • Reading your post to see if there are words or thoughts that can be eliminated
  • Use Visuals at least once in every blog post.
    • Make sure you use an image on every blog post. This gets pulled in when you share it on other sites, and gives your readers some additional context or emotion.
    • If you absolutely can’t keep your blog post short, and sometimes that makes sense if we have something really important to say, then at least break up your content with additional graphics. Wrap your text around them.

Again, it’s our job to help keep our readers engaged. I harbor no illusions that people read all of my blog posts to the end. That would be lovely, but not realistic in every case. Some scan. Some read the beginning and the end. Some might just read the headlines and the bullets. All of this is okay because I understand how busy people are, and am thankful they have chosen to spend at least a few minutes here with me.


Oh, yes, just in case you’re wondering why I didn’t mention one of the most important ways to help your readers stay engaged, here it is:

“Provide something of value to your readers. Give them a reason to want to stay on your page. Don’t just write so you can cross another day and another post off of your to-do list. It will show.”

What are your suggestions for formatting your blog posts, and for keeping your readers engaged?

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General Counsel To Lawyers: “Do You Understand AFAs?”

Nancy Myrland Alternative Fee Arrangements, Business Development/Sales, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

General Counsel To Lawyers: Do You Understand AFAs?Earlier this week, I recapped one component of the General Counsel Panel at this year’s LSSO RainDance conference I attended. It focused on a request these General Counsel had, which was for lawyers to “know our business.”

Another theme that surfaced had to do with AFAs, or Alternative Fee Arrangements, often called Value Billing and a few other names depending on how you feel about them, or how they are executed.

They are one of the primary topics of interest these days among law firm leaders, including lawyers, legal marketers and others in executive management, not to mention those clients on the receiving end of these proposed arrangements.


As this GC panel discussed AFAs, it became obvious there can sometimes be a difference between a lawyer offering such an arrangement and the lawyer’s knowledge about what this truly means.

As you can see below, I Tweeted during the conference about this challenge as the GC was discussing it:

[By the way, these are active Tweets I am embedding, which means you can reply, ReTweet or Follow just by clicking in the Tweet below.]


What does this mean? One GC on the panel made it clear he had been in at least one situation where an attorney came in to pitch work to him and, at some point in the discussion, the GC was asked if he was interested in, and willing to discuss, alternative fee arrangements or billing. The GC said “yes,” and the lawyer just stared at him, not sure how to proceed.

He said:

“We just stared at each other!”

It is obvious AFAs aren’t going away. Clients aren’t always happy with hourly billing because of the unpredictability, which leaves too much to chance based on who is working on the matter, how long it takes and other variables that are not necessarily anticipated at the beginning. One GC expressed his belief that hourly billing will never go away, and that alternative arrangements will definitely be a part of the ongoing fabric of the attorney-client relationship going forward.


We are seeing many creative arrangements that some consider a bit “out there,” but that are being received positively by clients. During one session at LSSO, presenter Susan Saltonstall Duncan, President of RainMaking Oasis, discussed an oft-cited example of a law firm thinking outside the [pricing] box.

Patrick Lamb’s firm, Valorem Law, is actually adding a Value Adjustment Line to their invoices that allows the client to decide whether it wants to adjust the agreed-upon fee initially discussed. To many firms, this seems sheer lunacy, but it has gone beyond that for Pat and his clients.

Pat’s firm discusses this practice openly on their website. You can read more about it here, but the bottom line message is this:

“On each bill, we include our agreed upon fee.  We also provide you a space to make any adjustment you feel is needed. It really is that simple.

Why do we do this?  To demonstrate our unwavering commitment to client service, and to show you that whatever fee arrangement you have chosen, we have an economic incentive to consistently put forth our best effort.

Ask the other law firms you use if they are confident enough to let you adjust their fees each month.”

As you travel down this path of incorporating alternative fee billing into the business of your firm, keep in mind that value-billing doesn’t necessarily mean you make more money. It means you are providing an alternative to the formulaic, standard, unpredictable, often-irritating hourly method of billing that firms have used for decades.


The end goal is to provide an arrangement that works for both firm and client, but mostly for the client. If you have their budget and their goals in mind, you can end up with a billing arrangement that creates client loyalty. Don’t ever forget that this is about the client, not about you. Yes, you have to be profitable to survive, but you also have to have happy, satisfied clients or you’ll never be profitable.

I also suggest you watch the long-term results of the AFA you are proposing to make sure you are true to the original intent of the “new” arrangement. Don’t do what my friend, ILN’s Director of Global Relationship Management, Lindsay Griffiths, reported hearing about at the Legal Marketing Association’s P3 (Pricing, Process Improvement and Project Management) Conference today in Chicago.


If you plan on raising your rates during the length of the agreement with your client, make sure you honor the amount of the discount you have promised. If a client discovers what goes on behind the scenes, and realizes their “special” arrangement isn’t so special at all, you may do more harm than good.

Talk about not inspiring client loyalty!

As another friend, Legal Lean Sigma Institute Founder and JD, Catherine MacDonagh, Tweeted today at the P3 conference:


It’s time to get serious. Your clients are aware firms are willing to get creative about billing, so don’t be left out. Yes, like Tim Corcoran, or @tcorcoran, was quoted as saying above, you might get it wrong before you get it right.

The most important thing you can do to get it right is to involve your clients in the discussion. Be a bit vulnerable. Ask them about their budgets. Ask them what makes this work for them. Understand what went into handling these matters before. Start learning now before it’s too late.

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