Lawyers, Does It Really Matter What Other Law Firms Do?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Content Marketing, Law Firms, Lawyer Marketing, Lawyers, Legal Marketers, Legal Marketing, Marketing Strategy Leave a Comment

Lawyers, Does It Really Matter What Other Law Firms Do?

If you truly want your practice or your law firm to grow, there is one question you’re going to have to stop asking and three questions you’re going to need to start asking.

I hear this one question regularly. It takes various forms, which I’ll discuss in a bit. It tends to come up every year right about this time because we have budgets and planning on our minds.

What Are Other Firms Doing About This?

Recently a professional I respect a great deal shared that the firm is thinking about building out a room that will be equipped for podcasting and video, but the attorneys in the firm want to know if there are any other firms doing this and, if so, were those firms experiencing positive ROI as a result?

As I mentioned, this type of question surfaces in other ways, such as:

  • Should we sponsor X Y or Z event? Some firms will say I don’t know, let’s see what the others are doing.
  • Should we advertise in this space? I don’t know. Are the others doing it? Oh, the other firms are doing it? Yeah, then I think we’d better be there, too.
  • Are other firms and lawyers using social media? I don’t know, but I think we need to see if they are before we jump in and waste our time.

Or maybe…

  • They’re starting a podcast.
  • They’re doing video.
  • They’re writing a blog post on a specific hot topic.
  • They’re hosting their blogs on other platforms.
  • They’re curating them in other places.

Oftentimes the thought process is reduced to: “If we find out these other firms are doing these things we’re curious about then, by golly, we should, too!”

Is The Goal To Safely Fit In?

Stand Out or Fit InI just listened to an episode of GaryVeeTV on YouTube. As you may know, GaryVee is Gary Vaynerchuk, and the guest that Gary had on this show, Chase Jarvis, Co-Founder of Creative Live, put the answer to these questions so succinctly and so perfectly, much better than I could have, that I thought I needed to share this with you right after I heard it.

What he said is:

“You cannot stand out and fit in at the same time.”

That bears repeating.

“You cannot stand out and fit in at the same time.”

What Does This Have To Do With Legal Marketing?

 Let’s think about that in the context of legal marketing. If we continue to ask the questions:

  • What are others doing?
  • Have you experienced positive ROI as a result of this?
  • What is it doing for other firms?
  • Does this work in legal marketing?
  • We’ve seen somebody do it before and it doesn’t look like it was successful, so we won’t do it either.
  • We’ve seen somebody do it before and it looked pretty successful, so let’s do it, too!

But that word too, we’re going to do it or not do it, too, is what is going to get you in trouble because if you continue to copy and do what other lawyers and other firms are doing just because they are doing it then you are never going to stand out. You are only going to fit in.

What does fitting in do for any of us? It doesn’t help us stand out to our clients and our potential clients, our referral sources, or media we hope will write about what we’re doing, does it?

No, it doesn’t.

3 Questions You Need To Start Asking InsteadLawyers, I Have 3 Questions For You

I have three questions for you to start asking instead.

The first question is: How do I want to tell my story? I am a lawyer. I am with this firm. How do I want to tell that story? How do I talk about what I do?

The second question is: What do I want to do with this marketing effort? What is it I am trying to achieve? Who am I trying to talk to? What messages am I trying to convey? Who am I trying to help? What do I want to do?

The third question is: What makes me me? What makes me different? What is my personal brand all about and how am I going to uniquely convey what that brand is regardless of what other firms are doing?

It Doesn’t Matter

It doesn’t matter if another firm is putting out videos or creating podcasts, or you’re hearing stories about ROI or the lack thereof.

It doesn’t matter.

Let’s look at this from a different angle. Let’s use me as an example. If another legal marketing professional heard that I was doing an Alexa Flash Briefing on Amazon and said “Oh, then I need to do that, too!” that does absolutely nothing for that legal marketer.

But if that legal marketer said “You know what? I’m going to do this because I want to stand out and I want to send my message in my own way. I don’t care what Nancy Myrland is doing. I need to do what’s right for me and my law firm clients.”

The same example goes for you. It does not matter if another lawyer or another law firm is doing something. Sure, you can find case studies about how other firms are doing just about anything but it has nothing to do with how you are going to do it, or how you should do it because you need to tell your story with the tools that are best for you.

You don’t need to tell a story that looks just like theirs.

If you are trying to decide whether or not you should outfit a room in your office for podcasting and video, the answer is absolutely you should, but not because other firms are doing it.

You should do it because what matters is that the reality and the trends that speak to that practice tell you it is a smart idea. You don’t have to go very far to find out that the numbers of people listening via audio and watching via video are escalating at a very rapid pace. They’re also watching video with captions because they are consuming it in quiet places where their mobile device is on silent.

You Decide

In summary, what you need to do is:

  1. Decide how you want to tell your story.
  2. Decide what you want to do based on what you are trying to accomplish.
  3. Decide what makes you different.

What will help consumers of your content think…oh yes, this is characteristically him! I really value what he publishes and I look forward to reading, watching, or listening to it.

Then Go Do It

Once you have made those decisions, then you need to set about doing those things you were considering regardless of whether other firms are doing them or have done them. You don’t know their circumstances or their commitment to the long haul of that marketing tactic, or their willingness to try something a little outside the traditional law firm box.

You need to put these activities into your marketing and business development plans and stop asking what other firms are doing.

The only time it makes sense for you to ask those questions is if you ask if another firm is sponsoring an event that you’ve been approached to sponsor as well.

It has always been my contention that if you cannot stand out and you cannot be above or different in some way and negotiate a package that is a better marketing and promotions package for you at a higher level, do not just blend in. Do not melt into the rest of the logos in the program, banner, or website so that you look just like everybody else. Find a way to make your sponsorship stand out.

Don’t Forget

Don’t forget what Chase Jarvis said: You cannot stand out and fit in at the same time.

  • Be better than that.
  • Be more strategic.
  • Stop asking if other firms are doing it.
  • Don’t forget to trust your legal marketing professional’s opinion when making a recommendation.

Start asking the three questions discussed above:

  1. How do you want to tell your story?
  2. What do you want to do?
  3. What makes you different?

Please do me a favor and let me know your thoughts about this topic.

My Goal For You

My goal for you is that you will look at this comparison game differently going forward.

I want you to stand out. I don’t want you to just fit in.

My clients don’t just fit in, so I don’t want you to just fit in either.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with bloggingpodcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.

6 Keys To A Successful Law Practice

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business Development/Sales, Client Service and Retention, Content Marketing Leave a Comment

6 Keys To A Successful Law Practice with Nancy Myrland

In this blog post and podcast, I’ll discuss one way to tell if your practice is going to be successful, then I’ll offer 6 keys to building a successful law practice.

How To Tell If Your Practice Is Going To Be Successful

The success of your legal practice is going to depend on several things but one of the most important is how you show up in those moments when you are not getting ready to send a bill.

I got back from a conference called TRIBE in Toronto a few weeks ago and one of the speakers was Amy Porterfield. I know Amy well. I have purchased and taken a handful of her online courses on how to repurpose what I do in-person in my legal marketing consulting business, which is helping lawyers and legal marketers with marketing, business development, content, social and digital media, and to also offer that training online for lawyers and legal marketers.

Yesterday, Stu McLaren, who is the owner of the TRIBE brand, conference, and online course and community, sent out a replay of Amy’s session to everyone who attended. While listening, I was reminded how much I liked what she said.

It Is My Job To Translate For You

Before we start, I want to first remind you that just because someone teaches in a space that doesn’t sound like it is remotely connected to the legal profession, I always encourage you to keep an open mind. It is my job is to take concepts that are useful outside of legal marketing and help you apply them to your practice, and into growing your practice.

How To Tell If Your Business Is Going To Be Successful

One of Amy’s most important quotes was:

“I can tell how successful someone’s business is going to be by how they show up when they’re not launching.”

Here I Am…Then Crickets

Let me provide a little bit of explanation. If you haven’t purchased online courses before, or if you’re not as familiar with this space as I am as I have been studying it for years, you might not know there are times during the year when online course creators will launch a course or a membership site, which causes a promotional flurry of online communication and activity around that time. We hear from those course creators a lot during these launches. When I launch my LinkedIn course, you will see a lot of that activity from me, too.

The unfortunate truth is that some of these course creators are known for only showing up online to put themselves in front of us when they are leading up to a launch. It’s crickets every other time of the year.

That’s not a good way to do business because this sends the wrong message. It can be interpreted to mean they don’t care about their clients and potential clients all the time, just when it’s good for them as course creators.

How To Do It Right

There are also some people in this online space who are very good at showing up all year. Amy Porterfield, the one whose quote I’m using and who inspired me to publish this, is one of those people. I am in a couple of Amy’s groups on Facebook. I’m on her email list, and I follow her on Instagram.

I follow her a lot because I want to soak up her knowledge, and because I like her. She’s a business professional I see all year. She shares her knowledge and her wisdom with her audiences regularly, so it’s not irritating when she comes close to an online course launch and we start to hear from her about a course she is going to be launching online.

That’s how it should be done.

How Does This Translate To The Legal Profession?

Here’s how this translates to you. Don’t let the only time that your clients hear from you be when you’re getting ready to send a bill or an invoice.

Don’t let it be when you know your project is on the line and you’re thinking “Oh, I haven’t been in touch with them lately. I better at least say something, and I need to be really pleasant because I don’t want them to be shocked when the invoice comes.”

What I don’t want to happen is for you to be that lawyer who shows up only at the most important times when you have a stake in the outcome.

What I want you to do is to rethink how you show up when it’s not time for you to sell, and it’s not time for business development, and definitely not only when it’s time to send a bill. 

6 Keys To A Successful Law Practice

How can you show up at the right times?

I’m so glad you asked!

I’m going to break it down into six C words. If you want to write this down or print this out, that would be great.

  1. Communicate: This entire discussion is about communicating and communicating regularly. Don’t be that lawyer that only comes around once every so often when it’s good for you.
  2. Content: Make sure you are publishing regular content. I have several blog posts on the Myrland Marketing Minute Blog about content if you’d like to get up to speed. Content is really just strategically spilling out the contents of your brain, your wisdom, and your brilliance in any number of ways.
      • It can be written.
      • It can be online.
      • It can be a blog.
      • It can be a podcast.
      • It can be video.
  1. Calls: Some might call this old school. I don’t care if calls are old school, they can be extremely effective. When you are making these calls make sure it is only because you’re checking in. Also, make sure you don’t do this at a time when you’re getting ready to bill or sell something. This is a call just to check in with somebody to see how they’re doing.

If you know something about them, put notes into your CRM, or maybe just on a piece of paper, or a sticky note, or in your Google or Outlook calendar. Make a note about something going on with that person, which can even be a wonderful memory you share with him/her. Use these notes as reminders to mention something unique to them when you make this call. Show you were and are paying attention.

If you’re thinking you don’t have time to do this, spread them out. These people are one of the most important parts of your business, and you need to make time for them. They are your clients or potential clients. Remember that if you can’t or won’t show these people how much you care, someone else will.

To make it easier, put one or two of these names and reminders in your calendar once a week to make two five-minute phone calls. Be specific with the name of the person, not just “call a client,” but “call Bill Gates.” Chances are he is not going to answer because he is busy, so you can just leave your kind words on voicemail, which means it won’t even take 5 minutes. You can do this!

  1. Caring: I always want you to show how much you care. What I described above in number 3 under Calls was that you’re just calling to say hello.

Show clients you care. Show them you have empathy. Ask them what’s going on in their business or their lives that you need to be aware of. Find out what they and their colleagues are finding the most challenging in their business right now. 

  1. Consistency: Do all of this with consistency. This is one of the biggest challenges for all of us who have businesses. Your law practice is your business. My company is my business.

When putting out content, or calling someone, or showing that we care, the consistency is absolutely critical because, in peoples’ minds, you are there, and when you are there regularly and the day comes when they need you, then hopefully you’ll be top of mind. Publishing content consistently puts you in front of people when they need you, not just when you need them.

  1. Connection: Find ways to make a connection. Don’t be so robotic or so programmed or so scheduled with your communication that people don’t feel like they’re able to connect with a real human being. Use inflection. Let them see and feel your personality.

Your Thoughts?

Do me a favor and let me know your thoughts about this topic and about these 6 Cs. If you have a moment, leave a comment below and share your keys to a successful law practice. I would love to hear from you.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming.

If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here

Lawyers, This Approach Can Backfire On You

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Podcasting, Video Marketing Leave a Comment

Lawyers, This Approach On Podcasts or Video Can Backfire On You

Be very careful. If this is not your style, then suddenly adapting it because you think everyone else is doing it is going to backfire on you.

Lately, I have seen some people produce content that has them jumping at the camera and using bigger sounds and more drama in their audio. I am all for adding one’s personality to whatever the content is, but doing it the wrong way can hurt more than help.

Let’s talk about a few examples.

More Inflection and Gestures

In writing, we have the added responsibility of putting our personality into our words so they punch a little bit and so that people can picture us when they’re reading our words. You want them to picture you when they read your words, don’t you?

You don’t want them to become bored when they read what you write. That is why you will continue to see so many suggestions about writing conversationally and to incorporate storytelling when writing or speaking. These practices help your words come to life, which is what you want.

In audio, we also have to use a little bit more personality, or what might be interpreted as inflection. Some are naturally a little bit more dramatic when they speak. Dramatic isn’t even a good word; rather they tend to use a little bit more personality when they speak. They don’t have to worry about adding that much additional inflection.

Then there’s video. What I’m seeing lately really concerns me. This isn’t with everybody, but I think this is happening with more people because they are watching Gary V., or Gary Vaynerchuk. You may have heard of him. Gary can be pretty animated. He can also be low key. He and other video marketers or video producers have a lot of high-energy practices they incorporate into their content. They jump at the camera, and they suddenly use elevated motions and sounds. Gary does this naturally and has done it so long that it is natural and effective…for him.

Come to think of it, I think Gary’s use of these motions has decreased over the years. Let me know in the comments if you have observed this, too. His style has evolved.

Some who are attempting to adapt his more animated style as their own make it appear as though they are saying “OH MY GOSH, everything is the BEST and the GREATEST, and I’m going to yell at the camera, or I am going to incorporate a jump cut here and a jump cut there.”

Jump cuts are very interesting. If you don’t know what a jump cut is, you see it all the sudden when you’re in the middle of a video and the video stops and jumps to the person’s next move or phrase. It deliberately cuts out space in between sentences. That is a jump cut.

Don’t Copy If It’s Not You 

I’ve seen a few people I know who use this very effectively, but I’m also seeing some people try to copy some of these practices and going a bit overboard. Do you know what the problem is? The problem is that this is not them at all. I click on one of their videos or one of their messages and I last about two or three seconds and I’m gone…if I even open it… because they’ve begun to get a reputation for being overly dramatic and over-the-top. I’m someone that finds it challenging to watch or listen to people who are not being themselves or not being authentic in their delivery.

This Is Why It Happens

I know when we’re producing something like audio or video and even writing, we get into the mode of thinking we have to deliver something a little bit more than what we normally would in regular conversation because we’re in a marketing mode. We know we need to stand out from others by not being the same.

Instead, what we need to do is to practice regularly so we get to the point where we are just being ourselves and letting our personalities shine, letting our personalities enter the conversation, and using inflection when we normally would. Of course, if you don’t use any inflection, find a way to work it in naturally, or work with someone who can help you do that.

My Suggestion To You

  • What I want you to do is to watch those people who are using these practices authentically and where it seems natural. That is the practice that is going to be most effective for you, not emulating actions that don’t match your personality or your brand.
  • Show your passion and excitement, but don’t stretch it to the point that it is unnatural or not in agreement with who you are when others meet you offline.
  • Don’t incorporate practices just because someone told you that was the latest and greatest editing practice, or because you think you have to jump out of the screen to get everyone’s attention.
  • Please don’t start raising your voice because you think I am going to listen to you because that is likely not going to happen…at least not a second time.

Bottom Line

This can really hurt you in the long run. If this is not your personality, then nobody’s going to listen, read, or watch. Then what have you accomplished?

Well, absolutely nothing but turning people away.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that hereShe can also be reached via email here.

#LMA19 – My LMA Annual Conference Recordings and Interviews

Nancy Myrland #LMA19, All Posts, Crisis Management, Podcasts & Recordings Leave a Comment

#LMA19 Conference Flash Briefing with Nancy Myrland

Welcome!

This is the page where I will post Alexa Flash Briefings with interviews and updates I create during the 2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference, affectionately referred to by its hashtag, #LMA19. I couldn’t wait, so the first one is already posted below in the pretty purple audio player with the green button. You can’t miss it!

I’ll Add New Updates & Interviews To This Post, So Please Check Back

Each time I record an update about a session or interview a speaker, service provider, or anyone else about the conference, I will post it within this blog post. I will post each as a separate entry, with the most recent update showing at the top of the purple players below so you can find new ones fast. If you’d like to share any of them, you will find options when you hover over the 3 dots on the right side of the purple player.

I will be posting regularly throughout the days during the conference, so let me know if there is a particular subject you’d like me to cover or someone you’d like me to talk to, okay? You can let me know in the comments or, if we are connected, message me on social. You can also subscribe to these flash briefings on your Alexa-enabled devices or mobile apps right here. You can also search for Legal Marketing Minutes on your favorite podcast player, too. So many choices!

By the way, in case you missed it, and how could you have because I’ve been shouting it from the rooftops (well, maybe not the rooftops because that would be dangerous, wouldn’t it?), I am once again curating content created by everyone over here in this blog post.

#LMA19 Interviews and Recordings

#LMA19 Flash Briefing: Episode #2 – What To Do and What Not To Do On Social Media During A Crisis with Gina Rubel

#LMA19 Flash Briefing: Episode #01 – Heads Up About Conference Interviews and Recordings

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Planning Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers grow their practices by making their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can also be reached via email here.

Are Lawyers The Only Ones Qualified To Manage Law Firms?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business of Law, Law Firms, Management Leave a Comment

Are Lawyers The Only Ones Qualified To Manage Law Firms?It is not a prerequisite, nor should it be, for law firm CEOs to be lawyers.

The exception to this is when, as mentioned in this article in the ABA Journal, specific words in titles are not allowed. The example given was in May 2014 in Texas when the Texas bar’s ethics committee issued Opinion No. 642, deciding Texas firms couldn’t use the title CEO because the title implies power over the lawyers. They couldn’t use the term “chief” in any title.

Use Of The Word Officer For Those Who Don’t Practice Law

When this ruling came down, the ABA Journal summarized the ruling by saying:

“The ethics opinion says firms shouldn’t use ‘officer’ in nonlawyer titles because the word indicates the person has the power to control either the entire law firm or significant areas of the firm’s operations. Nor can law firms use the word ‘principal’ to describe nonlawyer managers because the word implies the employee has an interest in the firm involving control or ownership.”

They went on to say that:

“Firms that follow this rule but nonetheless give nonlawyers the title of ‘officer’ or ‘principal’ are communicating in a false or misleading way, according to the opinion.”

At the heart of this restriction are Rules 5.04(d)(2) and 5.04(d)(3), which prohibit lawyers from practicing law with such an organization if a non-lawyer functions as a corporate director or officer or if a non-lawyer is given the right to direct or control the professional judgment of a lawyer in the organization.  In the case of a law firm organized as a partnership, the conclusion is the same:  a non-lawyer may not control a partnership’s provision of legal services. Rule 5.04(b) prohibits a lawyer from forming “a partnership with a non-lawyer if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.”

You Can Lead The Firm As Long As You Have No Control Over The Practice

After dozens of Texas firms voiced their dissenting opinion, the committee revised their opinion, adding these titles and words may be used ”but only if firms make clear they do not have control over the firm’s legal practice,” meaning they have no control over the practice of law.

Lawyers Are Trained To Be Lawyers

One example given in the ABA Journal is business professional Angela Hickey, CEO of Levenfield Pearlstein. She was named CEO after serving the firm as executive director for four years.

Angela summed it up by saying that:

“Lawyers are trained to be lawyers and not to be businesspeople.”

In the article, she goes on to say:

“It was and remains a sound business model to engage business professionals to run the firm—the pace and change and the breadth of knowledge required to stay relevant and competitive in the legal industry demands full energy and focus of business professionals.”

The article also mentions other business professionals leading firms, such as

  • Paul Eberle, CEO of Husch Blackwell, former entrepreneur and business owner, College of the Holy Cross graduate
  • Scott Green, Global Chief Operating and Financial Officer, former CEO of Pepper Hamilton, Harvard graduate and CPA
  • Justin Kan, CEO of Atrium, Internet entrepreneur and investor, Yale graduate

Are Lawyers Good Businesspeople?

Having studied business in college, then working in sales, then as a marketing manager, I started in legal marketing as a senior in-house marketer in 1997.

Soon after I started, I made a comment one day to my predecessor, a wonderful marketer, lawyer, and businessperson, that I was surprised a particular concept we were discussing wasn’t being done at the firm because it was just good business.

I also remember thinking it was also a common sense principle.

This person said:

“You need to remember that lawyers aren’t necessarily good businesspeople.”

Isn’t This Philosophy A Bit Shortsighted?

I read articles like this so many years later and find it unfortunate but not surprising that these thoughts continue.

To assume a business professional is unprepared to lead a group of anything, whether lawyers, doctors, architects, or financial consultants, is absolutely shortsighted.

It is also shortsighted to assume that every lawyer doesn’t bring business skills to the job. When I was in-house, I worked with many lawyers who came from the business world with serious business skills that set them apart from their peers.

Prerequisites For Managing A Law Firm

The skills that are important to being the leader of a law firm revolve around that person’s business acumen, as well as his/her ability to:

  • Learn
  • Listen
  • Lead
  • Interpret
  • Motivate
  • Have vision
  • Create strategy
  • Take appropriate risks
  • Build consensus
  • Interpret actions and trends and act accordingly
  • Negotiate
  • Understand the business of law, and
  • Honestly and ethically direct the business of law

Lawyers Don’t Have To Have Experienced The Crisis They Are Trying To Solve

A lawyer can effectively counsel clients going through mergers even if she has never gone through one.

He can lead clients through labor negotiations even if he has never been a labor leader or a member of a union.

She can defend insurance companies through litigation even if she has never worked for an insurance company, been sued, been denied, or been treated unfairly…and on and on.

Why? Because they are smart, educated, and experienced, and have learned the skills needed through many years of study, practice, and living.

What Really Prepares Us For Leadership

I have a business degree but wouldn’t have been prepared to run a business or manage people or advise lawyers had I not first:

  • Learned how to learn (the school part)
  • Been put through the paces countless times when selling (weeks of training before ever being released to talk to clients)
  • Spent time planning and managing promotions and advertising campaigns
  • Worked with agencies
  • Made mistakes, or
  • Been thrown into the zero-based budget creation process I experienced in corporate

Those are what prepared me for working with lawyers, managing the marketing and community affairs functions at a law firm…not having practiced law.

Judge Skills Not Degrees

Everyone has their own skill set that prepares them for managing a firm or working with lawyers. Being a lawyer is not one of those prerequisites. It would be nice to have both skillsets, but it is not the only way.

Non-Lawyers and Non-Marketers

Lawyers, while I have you here, you should be aware that many business professionals and lawyers dislike the term non-lawyer.

In any profession or industry, preceding any title with “non” can imply the person is less than…you know, as in they aren’t the real thing.

We don’t hear of non-doctors, non-accountants, non-architects, or non-scientists, do we? I’ll answer that. No, we don’t.

I know, I know. It’s an easy term, and what else would we call them?

Just as they would never think to call you non-marketers, may I suggest you call them what they are, which is business professionals? They will continue calling you lawyers and legal professionals. Everyone will then be referred to using titles that are professional and that show respect.

I know that not everyone is bothered by this term, but as long as many are, why not call people what they are, vs. what they are not?

That’s good business.

Are Lawyers The Only Ones Qualified To Manage Law Firms?

Nancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Planning Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers grow their practices by making their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can also be reached via email here.

 

From Michael Avenatti To Frank Aquila: Control Yourself On Social Media

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Social Media Leave a Comment

Michael Avenatti Lashes Out On Twitter

We have issues with behavior on the Internet, and on social media specifically. Some people just don’t think before posting, or they don’t care and they go for it, not thinking about the ramifications.

3 recent instances brought this to mind for me.

Is It Okay To Publicly Call People Out on Social Media?

The 1st was in a group on Facebook. It doesn’t matter which one. Someone who taught a certain discipline was concerned because another teacher of that same subject matter was producing faulty instruction to his viewers.

He was curious about how best to react.

Lots of suggestions were offered about how to make a statement, including commenting on this other person’s “faulty” instruction, creating content that blatantly called out these faulty practices being displayed, and more.

My suggestion to him was:

Just keep creating good videos and don’t worry about this other person. I see weak marketing and social media advice regularly, but that tells me I have an opportunity to publish content that is even better.

Frank Aquila Attacks Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The 2nd example was one I covered a while back on this blog titled You Damage More Than Your Own Personal Brand With Bad Online Behavior.

It was about Sullivan & Cromwell’s high-profile partner, Francis “Frank” Aquila, who chose to lash out publicly on Twitter at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I will spare you the foul language and cursing, but long story short, on Twitter, he told Ms, Sanders to rot in somewhere very hot you b-i-t-c-h.

Nice, huh?

Michael Avenatti Lashes Out On Twitter

The 3rd example is specific to the legal profession and involves lawyers acting out on Twitter.

On February 4, New York attorney Diego Aranda Teixeira began by airing his grievances against California attorney Michael Avenatti, tweeting, “OMG, Michael Avenatti CALLED ME AND HE’S CRAZY.”

Michael Avenatti Lashes Out On Twitter 3

The post prompted a reply from Avenatti, who labeled Teixeira “a terrible lawyer.”

Do you see how rich this is? One lawyer attacking another lawyer for attacking him on Twitter when he is now doing the same. I needed a bucket of popcorn for this one!

Michael Avenatti Lashes Out On Twitter

The confrontation continued with Teixeira questioned Avenatti:

Michael Avenatti Lashes Out On Twitter 3

Let’s Not Reduce Aquila, Avenatti, and Teixeira To “Chatty” Lawyers

Michael Avenatti Lashes Out On Twitter

The author of the article above on Delaware Law Weekly, which is where I first discovered this story, Raychel Lean, said:

“With the era of chatty lawyers in full swing, tweeters and non-tweeters render their verdict on whether the platform helps or hinders the legal realm.”

I don’t care for the term chatty lawyers as I think it’s misguided. It’s not being chatty that gets people in trouble. It is not using enough common sense to understand how to act in public.

The article mentions my social media friend, Brian Cuban, Texas lawyer, author, speaker and activist, who said that “Legal Twitter” as he called it, is a powerful factor — and it comes with many positives.

I agree.

What Happened To Common Sense and Decency?

It is amazing to me that common sense flies out the door in these situations. Even labeling the post “chatty” is misidentifying the real issue, which is really about lawyers or anyone using the platform in inappropriate, disrespectful, inflammatory ways.

Michigan Judge Qiana Lillard, who is known to Tweet regularlywas quoted at the end of the article

“Lawyers should know that we can disagree respectfully. That’s the beauty of the legal profession,” she said. “People on opposite sides of an issue using the same law and facts to argue their respective position. It’s important in all arenas, especially social media, that (this) be done with decency and professional decorum.”

You’re Making My Job Too Easy

Stop making my job so easy by providing yet more examples to add to my presentations about ethics and/or how best to use (or not use) social media.

3 Sensible Social Media Suggestions For Avenatti, Aquila, and All Lawyers

I have 3 suggestions for you:

  1. Think twice before firing off comments, Tweets, or replies that reflect how you feel but that do not serve any useful purpose and might serve to cause ill-will or damage to your brand, your practice, or your firm.
  2. Use common sense. If you are lacking in that, let me know because I’d be happy to coach you on what is and isn’t.
  3. Don’t always have to have the final word. At some point, decide that it serves no purpose to get into fights publicly, and it serves no purpose to one-up another person by having the final word. Sometimes radio silence when someone else is trying to get under your skin is the best choice, or even “So nice to hear from you. Have a nice day” will shut them down and make them wonder what just happened.

Some people just like to argue or fight. You don’t have to be one of those on social media. Observers will probably respect you a lot more than if you had engaged in that fight. (Of course, there are exceptions.)

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Planning Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers grow their practices by making their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can also be reached via email here.

Coverage From #LMA19, The 2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference

Nancy Myrland #LMA19, All Posts, Legal Marketing Association, LMA Leave a Comment

#LMA19 Annual Conference Blog Posts Curated by Nancy Myrland

I WILL BE ADDING NEW CONTENT TO THIS POST SO CHECK BACK OFTEN! JUST LOOK FOR THE GREEN HEADLINES BELOW NEXT TIME YOU VISIT.

Looking for new posts summarizing the #LMA19 conference? Head down to the green headings below for new content added regularly. Don’t forget to let me know if I’ve missed anything, okay? Thanks!

It’s time!

If you know me, and even if you don’t, about this time of year, I begin to get very excited. Not only do I get to see around 5,000 social and digital media friends at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego in March, but I also get to attend the largest professional family reunion of over 1500 smart marketers in April in Atlanta at the Legal Marketing Association annual conference, affectionately known by its hashtag, #LMA19.

Why Do We Attend?

I get excited because this is THE conference for all of us who care passionately about helping lawyers, legal marketers, and law firms grow and do what they do better.

Stay Tuned As I Will Be Curating Conference Content Right Here

As I have done for the past few years, in the coming weeks, I will be curating content from the conference within this blog post to provide a quick, easy place to find all of the information you might like to consume. I will link to content that is in writing, as well as audio and video. I will do this before, during, and after the conference.

Bookmark this blog post as I will continue to add content as I find it, or as you let me know you’ve found it, too!

The Content Has Begun!

I’ve already begun my video coverage of the conference by sitting down with conference co-chair Andy Laver to talk about this year’s conference.

We discussed a lot in a short amount of time, but some of the highlights included:

    • The conference planning process
    • How and why speakers were chosen this year
    • The growth in diversity and inclusion in both presenters and sessions
    • Why 75% of the speakers are new this year
    • …and why everyone should #StayUntilTheEnd

In a recent interview, Andy and Cynthia Voth, who is our current LMA President, made it clear that this year’s conference promises to match theoretical discussion with real-world examples that attendees can act on right when they return to their offices, if not before.

A Few Conference Details

Here are a few details about the conference:

  • There will be more than 1500 attendees.
  • They will be from almost all 50 states.
  • All 8 LMA governing regions will be represented.
  • There are 150+ Speakers with 20% identifying themselves as diverse.
  • 75% of our speakers this year have never presented at an annual conference.

Notable Sessions

  • I’m quite happy that one of our keynotes is Jennifer Dulsky, head of Groups & Community at Facebook. As I told her when I said hello to her via LinkedIn private message, when I saw we had invited someone from social media to keynote our conference, I was quite pleased. (Not sure if you know this, but I spend a bit of time in the strategy and integration of social and digital media into existing marketing practices for law firms.)
  • One other very interesting general session you might want to attend or follow on social media is about the controversial topic of reform of ABA Model Rule 5.4 having to do with non-lawyer ownership of law firms. This grows out of activity and discussion we see going on right now in California.
  • Diversity & Inclusion will have a large presence, mirroring the passion and effort to raise awareness and improve practices throughout all LMA member firms, including the creation of the Diversity & Inclusion SIG (Shared Interest Group).
  • Voice of Client will have an important presence. A member of CLOC, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, sits on the conference committee to make sure we are addressing the voice and needs of the client at our conference.

Get An Early Start With One of Seven Pre-Conference Programs

There are 7 pre-conference programs you might want to consider. I’m sure you can still register, and I feel fairly certain they will all provide high-quality insight and discussion that you will find useful in your career.

(I am thankful as I get to present at QuickStart with my dear long-time friend, Gail Lamarche, Director of Marketing at Henderson Franklin in Southwest Florida.)

  1. Rise of the Legal Marketing Technologist
  2. Breakthroughs in Public Relations, Content and Communications
  3. LMA QuickStart® LIVE! – Legal Marketing Essentials
  4. Applying Design Thinking Principles to Create Change   (New this year)
  5. Developing a Roadmap for Deliberate Diversity and Informed Inclusion (New this year)
  6. Impact Marketing for Small and Mid-Sized Law Firms
  7. CMO Summit 

You Really Should #StayUntilTheEnd

In case you haven’t noticed this, conference co-chair Andy Laver is responsible for the hashtag #StayUntilTheEnd. Because we have great speakers and the ever-popular wrap-up session at the end of the day Wednesday, he casually created this as his way of encouraging all attendees to book flights after the conference wraps up at 4:30 PM. Among others, I’m seeing sessions on LinkedIn Navigator (no, I’m not presenting) and a Million Dollar Bootcamp (don’t worry, no exercise is involved) at the end of the day, so those are worth it, right?!

As if the wrap-up session wasn’t worth the price of attendance, there will also be drawings for prizes.

(I’m hoping for a new car, but who knows? Maybe I’ll throw in an Amazon Dot so y’all can subscribe to my Alexa Flash Briefing! It is all about me, right?!)

Seriously, you should listen to Andy as it’s always worth it to stick around. I’m arriving Saturday and staying until Thursday so I can soak up every bit of goodness and friendship I can before and after. You should too!

Networking

#LMA19 Conference Networking WorksheetFor those of you who would like a little focus and an easy process to follow to ramp up your networking before, during, and after the conference, this year I’ve prepared a worksheet for you titled: “#LMA19 Annual Conference Networking Action Plan.

Feel free to download it and give it a try as it will make a big difference in the success of your conference experience. Effective networking at this conference also establishes friendships that will support and carry you through your entire legal marketing career. I speak from experience on this one.

Let me know what you think of it and if you would like me to make any changes to make it more valuable for you, okay?

Conference and Association Leadership

A conference like this is no small endeavor.

The muscle behind this conference is the Legal Marketing Association, or LMA, and our international board of directors.

This conference could not happen without our amazing 2019 Annual Conference Advisory Committee:

Conference Co-Chairs:

Andrew Laver #LMA19

Andrew Laver

Erin Meszaros #LMA19

Erin Meszaros

  • Andrew Laver, Business Development Manager, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
  • Erin Meszaros, Chief Business Development and Client Service Office, Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP

The 2019 Annual Conference Committee Members:

Gia Altreche #LMA19

Gia N. Altreche

Jeffrey J. Berardi #LMA19

Jeffrey J. Berardi

Deborah Farone #LMA19

Deborah Farone

Kristi Gedid #LMA19

Kristi Gedid

Diana Lauritson #LMA19

Diana Lauritson

Daniel Lepine #LMA19

Daniel Lepine

Richard Marsolais #LMA19

Richard Marsolais

Lisa Simon #LMA19

Lisa Simon

Kate White #LMA19

Kate White

Cynthia Voth #LMA19

Cynthia Voth

  • Gia N. Altreche, Director of Business Development and Marketing, Newmeyer & Dillion LLP
  • Jeffrey J. Berardi, Chief Marketing Officer, K&L Gates LLP
  • Deborah Farone, Strategic Advisor, ‎Farone Advisors LLC
  • Kristi Gedid, Director, Global Legal Contract Management, Mylan Inc.
  • Diana Lauritson, Senior Manager, Business Development, Foley & Lardner LLP
  • Daniel Lépine, Chief Client Officer – Vice-President Operations – Montréal Alexa Translations
  • Richard A. Marsolais, Legal Marketing and Business Development Professional
  • Lisa Simon, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
  • Kate White, Co-Founder, Design Build Legal
  • Cynthia P. Voth, Director of Client Engagement & Innovation, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP & President of LMA

Thanks to all of you for your hard work!

Follow This List and Follow Each Other On My #LMA19 Twitter List

Every year, I create a Twitter List of all of those who are attending the annual conference. I do that so we can follow each other as we have a lot in common!

If you would like to be added, check out the list to see if you are already there, #LMA19 by Nancy Myrland, and let me know if I need to add you. Just let me know on Twitter right here at @NancyMyrland

If you would like to follow all #LMA19 Tweets in one place, you can do that here. If you don’t use a Twitter management tool like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or another, I recommend leaving the #LMA19 hashtag search page I just linked to open in your browser so you can watch the conversation before, during, and after the conference.

Bookmark This Post and Let Me Know When You See Content

Again, you might want to bookmark this post as this is where I will be curating all of the content I and others will be creating about the conference. I will also add an important links section in green below so you don’t have to search for them elsewhere.

As in past years, if you see audio, video, or written content for me to add to this post, please ping me wherever it is convenient for you:

NOTE: In the comments below, let me know if you will be attending and what you are most looking forward to.

Important Links For You

Presenting Your #LMA19 Annual Conference Content!

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandLaw Firms Need More Competitive Intelligence: A Field Report From 2019 LMA Conference by Ron Friedmann [4-24-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandA Day In The Life … Atlanta’s Media Tells It Like It Is by Michelle McCormick [4-24-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandMy First LMA Conference: Relationships Matter by Carrie Johnson [4-24-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandBuilding An Effective Sector Strategy from Acritas [4-24-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

Diversity and Inclusion from the Client Perspective by Brandice Johnson on the LMA blog [4-23-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability—Why Should Law Firms Care by Linda Hazelton on the LMA blog [4-23-29]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

Buyer-Behavior by the Numbers—A Cross-Generational Look at Decision Influences and Drivers of Engagement for Legal Buyers by Linda Hazelton on the LMA blog [4-23-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

Law Firm Branding: A New Model for Differentiation by Vanessa Petrea on the LMA blog [4-23-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

(D & I) Creative Marketing Makes Sense, But Data is Needed to Keep Them Going by Rodney Warner on the Jaffe blog [4-23-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

#LMA19 Conference Recap: Key Takeaways and Insights by Jason P. Lisi on the Legalisi blog [4-23-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

8 Key Law Firm Strategy Takeaways from the #LMA19 National Conference by Rich Bracken on JD Supra [4-23-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandHeard and Inspired: A Legal Marketing Recap from #LMA2019 in Atlanta by Roy Sexton on JD Supra [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandWhat To Do & Not To Do On Social Media When Receiving Negative Press 5-minute Legal Marketing Minutes Flash Briefing & Podcast Interview of Gina Rubel by Nancy Myrland [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandKey Takeaways from #LMA19: Lessons I Learned My First Time as a Service Provider by Jim Jarrell with Jaffe [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

4 Key Learnings From The 2019 LMA Annual Conference [Infographic] by Dan Dowling on the Introhive blog [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

GC Panel: What Can Legal Learn from Facebook, DHL, Volvo and Home Depot? More Than You Think by Ioana Good and Jill Hughes on The Legal Intelligencer [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

Highlights From The 2019 LMA Annual Conference by Best Lawyers on the Best Lawyers Blog [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

The LMA Conference Wrap-Up Session: The Conference In A Nutshell Livestream by Nancy Myrland [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

Livestream of the HOF Ceremony Livestream by Nancy Myrland [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

General Counsel Panelists to Legal Marketers: ‘You Have to Find Ways to Change With Us’ by Kristen Rasmussen on Corporate Counsel [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandKeynote: Movements and the Leadership Thread: Facebook Groups Leader Jennifer Dulski on What Makes a Movement  by Eilene Spear on National Law Journal [4-17-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandTips For Vendors To Maximize A Conference Investment by Tim Corcoran on his blog [4-6-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

How to Get the Most Out of Your 2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference Experience (and Build Your Professional Brand) by Stefanie Marrone on JD Supra [4-4-19]

 

Pre-Con Mix Tape  by Society 54 on Spotify [3-26-19]#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandNancy Myrland & Andy Laver Discuss The Upcoming Conference [Video] by Nancy Myrland on YouTube [2-22-19]

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

Conference Networking Tips From Our Legal Marketing Friends, A Timeless Post by Nancy Myrland & Friends

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy Myrland

#LMA19 Annual Conference Networking Action Plan by Nancy Myrland in The Lawyer’s Marketing Academy [February, 2019]

 

[Thanks to my good friend, Deb Dobson, Marketing Technology Manager, Fisher & Phillips LLC, for helping me choose just the right photo from her city, Atlanta!)

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Planning Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers grow their practices by making their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can also be reached via email here.

Lawyers, Protect Client Confidentiality When Using Social Media

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Social Media, Social Media Ethics & Regulations Leave a Comment

[EP. 27] Lawyers, When Using Social Media, Protect Client Confidentiality and Relationships

I hear this concern often. Lawyers, legal marketing professionals, and others in law firms tell me that lawyers remain very concerned about how to stay out of trouble when posting in social media. They don’t want to jeopardize client relationships.

I Don’t Want To Get In Trouble

When conducting social media training, a common concern I run across has to do with attorneys and staff being afraid they will post something that will get them in trouble. Consequently, they hold back from using these tools because they don’t want to say something that will jeopardize an attorney-client relationship, or say something they’ll regret later.

I get it and I appreciate and respect those concerns. These are powerful tools we have at our disposal. They aren’t going away, so we need to make sure we use them appropriately and with the right approach and attitude.

Amazing Connections

These tools have the ability to form amazing connections with those we want to be connected to, but with the wrong attitude or approach, they have the ability to damage or end relationships, and even stop relationships before they ever start.

How To Protect Client Confidentiality

Let’s talk for a moment about client confidentiality and attorney-client relationships. In order to protect your attorney-client relationships, don’t post anything that has to do with:

  • Results
  • Mindset
  • Location
  • People involved
  • Matters
  • Fees
  • …or other details of your cases unless your clients want you to.

Even When Your Clients Agree, Be Very Careful

Even if your clients want you to, you also have to be very careful not to establish any expectations of future results. This can easily happen should you use language that implies that this is the type of result you can achieve for your clients in the future.

Always, always review legal and ethical restrictions that exist in every jurisdiction in which you and your firm practice. I want you to become familiar with every model rule pertaining to communication and what is and isn’t allowed.

My rule of thumb is that if you can’t say or do it in person, you definitely can’t say or do it online. It’s that easy.

Is It Okay To React When I Have Strong Feelings?

Every now and then, I get a question about whether lawyers should control emotional reactions on social media. A while back, someone posted this question, saying,

“How can we achieve the balance between rational and emotional thoughts?”

My interpretation of that question is “How do I control my urge to react emotionally to a topic or comment posted on social media that I feel strongly about when I know it could be controversial?” My answer? It boils down to inner strength, which you should already have in the profession that you are practicing.

You have to have inner strength and common sense and a good grasp of what is and isn’t ethical based on what we talked about a moment ago… This includes understanding the model rules of professional conduct in every jurisdiction in which you practice. This is really no different than your obligation to already have an understanding of those principles for ALL of your actions, whether in-person or online, so don’t shy away from these tools because you’re worried about saying or doing something that will harm your attorney-client relationship, or that you think will get emotional.

If you just go by these very, very simple common-sense rules, you should be just fine:

  • Don’t violate ethical rules.
  • Don’t fly off the handle like Frank Aquila did when he attacked Sara Huckabee Sanders on Twitter.
  • Use Common Sense.
  • Do what you know is smart and act like a professional.
  • If you follow these rules, trust me, you won’t get into trouble.

You don’t have to violate ethical rules or your own high standards to be interesting, controversial, or thought-provoking on social media. You need to find the right balance that doesn’t go against the rules you have at your fingertips, but that also has your personality built in. People want to get to know you, even if that means you are a little quirky, funny, sarcastic, happy, motivational, inquisitive, conversational, or a deep-thinker. These are the attributes that set you apart from others.

Bottom Line For Lawyers Who Care About Client Confidentiality When Using Social Media

Social media are amazing tools you should spend time getting to know. If not, you are missing out on some of the most powerful relationship-building tools we have been given in decades.

Don’t do the things we talked about at the beginning, and those are:

  • Don’t share your results, mindset, location, people involved, matters, fees, or other details about the cases unless your clients want you to.
  • Even when clients say they want you to share their details because there’s some strategy involved, make sure it is ethical, then get it in writing.
  • Don’t ever trust you have the permission to use their words on an indefinite basis, and that it’s okay to post all over social media.
  • Make sure you get in writing specifically what they’ve given you permission to talk about.

Let me know if you have any more questions about all of this, okay?

You’re Invited

I invite you to join my Facebook group where we discuss marketing, business development, content, social and digital media, and you can find that right here. When you do, let me know, this is how you found out about the group, okay?

Subscribe To My Podcast and/or Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing?

You might have noticed the podcast player at the beginning of this post. This blog post is also published as a podcast and an Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing. I’d love to have you subscribe to either or both! You can do that on iTunes/Apple Podcasts right here, Spotify here, Pocket Casts here, and you can subscribe to my Amazon Alexa Flash Briefing here. So many choices!

Let me know in the comments if you are a subscriber. Podcast and Flash Briefing analytics don’t show us who subscribes, so it’s always nice to know someone is listening!

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Planning Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers grow their practices by making their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can also be reached via email here.

 

You Damage More Than Your Own Personal Brand With Bad Online Behavior

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Branding, Personal Branding, Social Media Leave a Comment

Damaging Your Personal Brand OnlineFresh off of a webinar I co-hosted for the Legal Marketing Association last week titled “Personal Branding In The Age of Social & Digital Media,” where Clayton Dodds and I scratched the surface of how to define your personal brand, I was disappointed when the story broke about Sullivan & Cromwell’s high-profile partner, Francis “Frank” Aquila, who chose to lash out publicly last week on Twitter at White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

This Isn’t About Politics

Just to be clear, the reason I am writing this blog post has nothing to do with politics, although that is likely the impetus behind Frank’s widely-publicized Tweet.

It has everything to do with Mr. Aquila’s personal brand and how he chose to either reinforce it or damage it in order to prove a point. I don’t know him, so I can’t say which one of those is accurate.

That is my point. I don’t know him and neither do thousands of people who witnessed his outburst on Twitter toward Ms. Sanders, or thousands more who have learned about it since it happened.

In Social Media, Context Is A Luxury

Sullivan & Cromwell Partner Lashes Out At White House Press Secretary Personal Branding on Twitter

In the age of social and digital media, we are not always afforded the gift of context when we post. Observers might see one Tweet, post, update, video, or another short snippet of information that is shocking and at odds with what you have worked so hard to communicate to others as your personal brand. People might not know what came before or after that comment, so context is lost.

As a reminder, your personal brand is the way you do business, the way you act when you come in contact with others, and the behavior that is so consistent there is no question in others’ minds what you will be like when they see you online and offline. It is your brand. Whether you are deliberate about its definition and execution or not, you have one.

In this case, even if observers had the context of Mr. Aquila’s Tweet, I am not sure that telling someone to “Rot in Hell you B!tch” is ever appropriate. 

If you are going to step out and represent yourself that way online, you have to be pretty certain the rest of your friends, clients, and other followers are okay with that kind of approach and reaction, particularly when you choose to lash out like that in a space as public as Twitter toward a person with a podium as large as Sarah Sanders.

Innovative Use of Social Media?

ABA Journal Sullivan & Cromwell's Frank Aquila's Personal Branding Lesson

In an interesting bit of irony, the ABA Journal tells us that:

“In 2009, the ABA Journal named Aquila one of its Legal Rebels, for his innovative use of social media in his practice. ‘I’m a very social person,’ Aquila told the ABA Journal in 2009. ‘It’s just another extension of my personality.’”

Keyboards As Virtual Armor

Keyboards and screens have come to be digital shields of protection many users need to act out online.

Many of Frank’s friends and supporters may very well have expressed their support of his actions because they, too, might think the statement she made that caused his reaction was off-base and in need of correction.

He might also have built up enough social capital with the people he cares about online that they will support him no matter what, but I doubt that anyone is so popular they can muster that kind of support from everyone.

No More Twitter For Mr. AquilaShould we delete bad Tweets?

We don’t know that part of the story because his Tweet and his Twitter account are now gone, and we are not privy to all of the conversations that took place after this happened. I would imagine he and Sullivan & Cromwell decided the situation was too toxic to keep that content online.

There are no doubt some who took a screen-shot of it before it was taken down, and many others who have quoted him, which you can see in the screenshots throughout this post. It is also archived here.

Never Forget: Our online behavior is not guaranteed to go away when our accounts or Tweets are deleted.

I didn’t have to search too far for any of these articles you see here. The story first appeared in a few newsletters I received from legal trade publications in my inbox. Each article seemed to link to yet another. That is another danger of an online outburst. We can’t control what happens to the evidence because information is easy to find. The snowball effect is often out of our control. 

Grandstanding On Social Media

We live in an age where many like to use social media to grandstand, and to show off their ability to take others down. When I train lawyers, I suggest that if this behavior represents their personal brand, and their online behavior matches their offline behavior, if it is good for business, AND they are comfortable with the after effects on their firm’s brand, then go for it. If they can’t tick off all of those boxes, then they need to step away from the keyboard. 

The Internal Apology

Sullivan & Cromwell Partner Frank Aquila Lashes Out At Sarah SandersWe are told that Mr. Aquila apologized to his firm, as well as mentioned an apology to Ms. Sanders.

The ABA Journal reported that:

“The publication [the New York Law Journal] later obtained an email apology from Aquila to his firm colleagues on Friday. The email read: ‘Last evening, I responded to a tweet from Sarah Sanders in an inappropriate and hurtful manner. Clearly my emotions got the best of me, but equally clearly neither Ms. Sanders nor any woman should be subjected to such animus. I take full responsibility for my ‎actions and I sincerely apologize to Ms. Sanders.’”

I’m not sure his words about not speaking to Ms. Sanders, nor any woman, in such a manner were expressed directly to her, other than in the copy of the internal email the New York Law Journal obtained.

Had I been counseling him, I would have recommended sending an apology directly to her.

The keyboard isn’t your one-size-fits-all method of communication with other human beings, particularly when you have admitted inappropriate behavior. 

Your Brand Must Be Consistent

From what I can tell of Mr. Aquila’s bio on the firm’s website, he has an amazing career of representing major brands at the highest level, is influential in all the right circles, has been named one of the top 50 lawyers in the world, and is a leader in many ways. It is important that the brand we see in one place be consistent with the brand we see in other places. If not, clients are confused or turned off when observing our actions. Confusion causes people to back away, which I am quite certain was not his intention.

The Potential Damage To Law Firms

The unfortunate consequence of the individual actions of any of the 875 lawyers at Sullivan & Cromwell, or any of the other legal and business professionals at the firm, is that a mishap like this has the potential to damage the entire firm’s reputation.

Just as a strong set of individual lawyer brands can have a positive impact on your firm’s brand and bolster its strength and integrity to those observing, so, too, can words and actions like those in this story damage, and sometimes even take down, the overall brand and integrity of your firm. 

Lawyers And Law Firms Have A Responsibility

If you are going to continue to use the tools and platforms you have at your disposal to communicate, you also have to continue to train those who are using them under the umbrella of your firm, not just once a year or every other year when you can squeeze enough time and money out of the budget to do so, but on a regular basis.

Don’t Be The Next Case Study

I understand everyone isn’t perfect, or that errors will sometimes occur online. I also understand you have a great deal of input in your firm in minimizing this kind of behavior on social media by following the bullet points above. If you don’t have that input, show this to someone who does.

As you can see from all of the screenshots I have posted, Mr. Aquila’s and Sullivan & Cromwell’s name were mentioned in each article I reviewed. His actions were attached to the firm’s name and brand. His actions had the potential to damage the firm’s brand name as well as his own. As much as we would like to think we can lead separate personal and professional digital lives, that is not reality.

Please take the time to make sure everyone in your firm plays his/her part in building a strong, positive firm brand and that the potential to tear down your firm’s good name is minimized. 

Don’t be the next case study about how one of your people blew up in public, tarnishing their name and reputation, as well as your firm’s.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, or if there is anything I can do to help you.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by understanding and integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers grow their practices by making their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here. She can also be reached via email here.

 

Lawyers, Thinking About Podcasting? I Have An Idea For You.

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Podcasts & Recordings Leave a Comment

Lawyers, Thinking About A Podcast - I Have An Idea For You by Nancy MyrlandIf we’ve spent much time together in the last few years, you know that I am bullish on voice marketing. This can come in a number of ways, but my choices at this time are podcasts and Alexa Flash Briefings. In February, I launched an Alexa Flash Briefing that can be subscribed to on Alexa-enabled devices from Amazon, and I’m enjoying the experience quite a bit. I have 18 episodes that revolve around “short bursts of legal marketing news and advice.” I will likely repurpose these Flash Briefings into a new podcast…more on that at another time.  

Early Days For Legal and Voice

I also understand that these are early days for Alexa Flash Briefings and the legal profession (or any profession or industry), so I am repurposing my audio into videos by creating waveform videos, also called audiograms, then sharing those videos across all of my social platforms.

I would love to see you create a podcast and/or Flash Briefing in the next several months. Being in the ears of those who care about your practice area is a coveted position. If you are chosen to be there, you have just accelerated your ability to nurture relationships with your listeners at a rate far greater than you might imagine. 

If this makes you a little nervous, I understand. Trust me, once you get up and running, it will be much easier and the voices of those you have chosen to host your podcast will become much more conversational and will reflect the personality of that person. That obviously means you need to choose someone who has some personality! (We can talk about that.)

I Have An Idea For A New Podcast For You

I just came across an article this morning from eMarketer that gave me an idea about how you can dip your toes into the podcasting world. Even if you already have a podcast, this might also be a good idea for you.

Knowing that recruiting and promoting your firm’s messages are extremely important to your current and future growth, why not let your Summer Associates host a podcast for the Summer? If Summer isn’t the appropriate timeframe, then you can decide the time, but this would allow you to create a “season” of podcasts that you can perfect while they are hosting it, thus allowing you to understand the medium more so that you can launch other podcasts in the future.

You Can Create A Safe, Focused Environment

In the article from eMarketer, they talked about letting their interns take over their podcast for one episode. They asked them specific questions, thus creating a safe, focused environment and episode.

You can do the same.

This whole concept might make you nervous as you can’t imagine what they might say when you set them loose in front of a microphone, but remember that you can do this in a few ways that will help you feel a little better about this.

  • The first is to do it in an interview format where you or someone else who is comfortable behind a microphone interviews them with specific questions on each episode.
  • The second way is to let your interns host it without being interviewed but give them specific topics they can address during that episode.

Remember, you get to edit the final product, so they can’t say anything you might find embarrassing or damaging because you create or approve the final edits.  

What Do You Think?

I think this could not only be educational and valuable in extending your firm’s brand, but it will also be an enjoyable experience for those involved.

Also, think what kind of message this is sending to the rest of the world that might be looking at your firm for the purposes of doing business with you, or coming to work for you, or quoting your lawyers for content they are producing.

It is innovative and sets the tone that you are willing to market and communicate on a regular basis in a creative way. It also gives a fresh perspective from a group of people who have just spent time learning from the best of the best at your firm…your lawyers.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Also, as always, please let me know if you have any questions about podcasting for your firm.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Planning Consultant, and a Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines. She is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers grow their practices by making their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online digital strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, and livestreaming. If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that hereShe can also be reached via email here.