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.

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

 

#LMA19 Conference Blog Posts by Nancy MyrlandConference 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.

Don’t Dread It. Do It!

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Motivation Leave a Comment

Don't Dread It. Do It. As I write this, it’s Monday.

By the time you read this, it could be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It really doesn’t matter.

What I want to ask you about is today.

Are you going to DREAD it, or are you going to DO it?

*[Note: If you prefer seeing the video format of this post, I will post a link to it at the end of this post.]

I’m Not Looking Forward To Today

I know Mondays are hard for a lot of people. Some of you had a relaxing weekend and you don’t want to give that up. You spent time with family and you’d like to do more of that. Some of you have not had enough of that time, or you had to work over the weekend, and what you’re thinking is, “Gosh, it’s Monday. Do I really have to do this? I’m not looking forward to it.”

You know what? That kind of dread is just going to set us up for even more negative feelings.

I know it’s easy to think that way, and I empathize with you, but I think what we have to decide is that we’re just going to do it. We have to tell ourselves, “It’s Monday, bring it on!” After all, our feelings aren’t going to make it go away. It’s not to suddenly be Tuesday. It’s just going to be a rotten Monday unless we decide it’s going to be otherwise.

Build Moments Into Your Day

Every day, it helps to have something to look forward to. If we don’t have anything to look forward to in our workday, then that’s an issue. We have to create a few moments that we look forward to.

If we know that when we go into the firm there are going to be difficult people to deal with, or there are issues that are difficult to deal with, then we need to think about those in advance and think about how we might choose to react to them.

Is there somebody who gets under your skin? I get that there are people who get under your skin and who really enjoy getting under your skin. You know what? They’re probably not going to change. Maybe they will, but don’t count on it.

So what do you do?

You have to decide in advance how you are going to deal with that person. You know what? Take the wind out of their sails. If they’re going to be nasty to you, how are you going to react today? Are you going to smile at them? Are you going to kill them with kindness and leave them wondering, “what the heck was that all about? I didn’t get under their skin this time. Boy, that really gets under my skin when that happens.”

Try saying “Yes, I understand you’re frustrated. Alright, what are we going to do about it?”

If you don’t have any of these opportunities, then I suggest you schedule a few things into your day that you can actually look forward to and that will break up your day.

For example, I don’t have to travel today, so do you see these guys?

Mike and Nick Myrland

I build them into my day by going outside and spending a few minutes with them every so often, letting them be in the sun, which they absolutely love to do, no matter how hot it is, and just doing a little work out here, talking to you, spending a little time with you. That’s something I can look forward to that is a breath of fresh air.

We’re All Busy

I know that when I go back into my office, I have a lot on my plate. I know you do, too. I’m probably no more busy than you are. You know what? We’re all very busy and sometimes people say:

“Oh, there is no one busier than I am.”

Well, don’t count on it. I’m running my own business. Yes, I have for 16 years. I do my own IT. I do my own marketing. I do my own business development and sales. I do my own fulfillment and implementation of my work product, and much more. That’s my choice.

It’s Our Choice

You know what? We’re all busy, but it’s how we choose to approach this life. It’s how we choose to approach this day.

Are we going to DREAD it, or are we doing to DO it? If we’re going to do it, then just get in there and do it!

Try to do it with a positive attitude, a happy heart, and spread some joy around. Those are the kinds of things that will help break up your day so you don’t dread what lies ahead.

Do something nice for somebody else. Catherine MacDonagh called me a couple of weeks ago and left a message…a sweet, sweet message with some very personal, kind, wonderful thoughts.

Do you know how much that made my day? It did…more than you know.

Find those moments in your day, then create them so you don’t dread your days. Days are too short to spend them in agony over your situation. Decide you are going to do something about making the day ahead better.

I want you to do it alright?

Let me know what you think.

Tell me what you do when you’re dreading something or someone, or when you’re dreading your day.

How do you decide that it’s going to be better before it even happens?

If you find this blog post worthy, I would love it if you would share it with your community. Thank you!

*If you prefer watching this blog post, you can watch it here.

 

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan 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 understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and 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, 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 be reached via email here.

 

Survey Says: Lawyers, Your Social and Digital Content Needs To Improve 

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Content Marketing, Research, Social Media Leave a Comment

Greentarget Zeughauser Survey Says Lawyers Your Social and Digital Content Needs To ImproveCongratulations to Greentarget and Zeughauser Group for the release of The 2018 State of Digital and Content Marketing Survey, a refresh on their survey that serves to inform lawyers and legal marketers about the behaviors of in-house legal departments when it comes to their consumption of social, digital, and content marketing.

I like and respect this survey and always reference it when asked to present on these topics.

This survey goes the extra mile by matching strategy to the numbers. Numbers are important, but it’s what we do with them that makes the difference. Much like creating a marketing or business development plan that then collects dust in virtual or actual vaults and is not acted upon, creating a survey that contains numbers but no strategy is not as effective as it could be.

Like in-house counsel, all of you are busy. I have attempted to summarize what Greentarget discovered in this year’s survey.

TL;DR – Look For The Green

There is a lot to consume. I have studied the entire survey and suggest you download and spend time with it, too, as you will find it interesting and valuable.

Note: Throughout this post, you will notice sections or words in green. Those are where I have summarized Greentarget’s suggestions about how to execute based on the survey results.

Note: Also, where I can find the same survey results from prior years, I have included those in parenthesis next to this year’s numbers. Some of the questions and categories have changed, so I was not able to compare all numbers.

Who Answered This Survey?Greentarget Zeughauser Digital and Content Usage Survey

First, let’s acknowledge that not all of your clients are in-house counsel. To get the most accurate snapshot for your target audience’s use of content, social, & digital, it is important to blend this data with data that represents those target audiences.

When presenting, I typically add numbers from CEO surveys, as well as other surveys that speak to lawyers overall. I’m happy that Greentarget is adding a C-suite section to this year’s survey, which will be released in July.

This survey of in-house counsel was answered by the following:

  • 85 corporate counsel, with 51% from companies with 2017 revenue of $10 billion or more
  • 72% work for companies with 5,000 or more employees.
  • 17% work for companies with 1,000-5,000 employees.
  • 6% work for companies with 500-1,000 employees.
  • 4% work for companies with 100-500 employees.
  • 1% work for companies with 0-100 employees.
  • 34% are from companies in the Northeastern United States.
  • 23% from the West
  • 18% from the Midwest
  • 17% from the South
  • 6% indicated their headquarters are not in the U.S.

The Purpose Is To Provide Clarity

Greentarget tells us that:

“…in an era when content is fire and digital publishing technology is gasoline, we delve into what makes effective content stand out from the noise: the formats, attributes, preferences and other variables that in-house counsel find most valuable in the content they consume.”  

Greentarget’s goal is to provide the clarity that is needed to create the digital and content strategy that serves the audiences you care about. Greentarget’s suggestions in this research can help provide that clarity in your strategy.

A few top findings and observations from the survey:

  • One of the first concerns cited is that in-house counsel say the quality of content created by law firms hasn’t improved much, if at all, in recent years. More on that in a bit.
  • Time-constrained in-house counsel are still consuming and finding immense value from many forms of content, including firm-generated content, while placing greater trust and confidence in traditional media as sources of news and information.

Content Characteristics That Broke ThroughGreentarget Zeughauser Survey Blog Post Content That Breaks Through

Much like any of us, in-house counsel hunger for information that will help them do their jobs. The following is how they categorized content characteristics that attract them most frequently:

  1. Utility/Usefulness: 77% of in-house counsel say that utility, above all other attributes, attracts them to the content they consume most frequently.
  2. Timeliness: 68%
  3. Source: 56%
  4. Headline/Subject Line: 51%
  5. Length (short): 31%
  6. Author: 20%
  7. Graphics: 7%
  8. Visual appeal: 7%
  9. Length (long): 5%
  10. A Strong point of view: 4%, although, as Greentarget points out, this characteristic is an important element in utility (#1) and often a key driver of strong headlines and subject lines (#4)
  11. Popularity (likes, shares, social proof): 1%

How To Execute:

  • Create compelling headlines and subject lines.

The survey suggests speaking directly to the audience and telling them how, which promises utility.

The example they gave us is:

“How exporters will be impacted by the US withdrawal from the Iranian Nuclear Deal”

[Who = Exporters | How (which impacts utility) = Understanding the business impact of withdrawal | Point of view = suggesting the content will interpret the withdrawal]

  • Be brief, quick and efficient.

31% indicated they like short length, vs. 5% who value long content.

Greentarget Founding Partner and CEO John Corey suggests that content creators owe it to audiences to quickly and efficiently tell them what happened, why they should care, and what they should do about it.

  • Create and distribute content while the topic is hot.

Speaking to the strength of agile marketing, the survey reminds us that a good piece of content today is better than a fantastic piece three days from now. The ability to execute timely content speaks directly to content creators’ and marketers’ efficiency and, often, to their content strategy. 

What Types of Content Should You Produce?

Even though we don’t know what quality of visual content in-house counsel have been exposed to in order to vote the way they did, they reacted favorably in this order to these formats in the survey:
Greentarget Zeughauser Survey Content & Digital Breaking News

  1. Articles: 77%
  2. Alerts: 70% (87% in 2017, 77% in 2015, 63% in 2014)
  3. Newsletters: 59% (67% in 2017, 76% in 2015, 77% in 2014)
  4. In-person (presentations, conferences, etc): 63%
  5. Research Reports
  6. Interactive Charts
  7. Infographics
  8. Website Content
  9. Podcasts: 27%
  10. Video: 19%

How To Execute: What Is Important For Each Type of Content?

  • The survey suggests:
    • Articles should be educational, timely, and relevant.
    • Alerts should be timely, relevant and brief. When writing about breaking news, as well as all forms of content except for research reports, brevity is valued. If it is breaking, be brief and fast. Alerts have a shorter shelf life and should be published as often and as quickly as possible.
    • When producing newsletters, John Matthew Upton, Greentarget’s Director of Digital Strategy & Analytics, recommends using bulleted lists, or short blurbs with links to longer-form content. He said that data suggests it is better to err on the side of “more curated” versus “more inclusive” when trying to decide how many stories to reference.
    • In-person events, such as presentations and conferences, are opportunities to provide news, messages, and insights before, during and after the events.
    • Research reports should be educational and deep. Use research to drive weighty, meaty conversations around important issues.
    • Podcasts are showing signs of strength. Consider producing them for your most important practice and industry areas as this format speaks to the busy lifestyles and need for consumption of information in an efficient and personal manner that exists today. I agree with Greentarget that quality production value and engaging content are critical for podcasts to be effective. If you want to dip your toes into the medium, I have found producing an Alexa Flash Briefing to be a good way to start.

What Sources of Content Are Most Valued?

Greentarget’s results this year found that in-house counsel continue to use and value traditional media above other content sources.Greentarget Zeughauser Survey Content From Traditional Media

Daily Usage: Here are the numbers:

  1. Traditional Media (e.g. The Wall Street Journal): 54%
  2. Email Notifications: 40%
  3. Social Media: 30%
  4. Industry Association Publications & Websites (e.g. ACC Docket): 23%
  5. Trade Publications (e.g. Corporate Counsel): 18%
  6. Outside Counsel/Vendor Websites: 17%
  7. Industry Thought Leaders’ Websites/Blogs: 7%
  8. Lawyer Listing Services (e.g. Chambers, Super-Lawyers): 2%

Value vs. Usage/Frequency:

Greentarget found interesting dichotomies between usage and perceived value in a few of these sources.

  • Traditional media usage and value remain consistent in that in-house counsel consume it on a daily basis and indicate it is valuable. In other words, value matches perception.
  • Industry association content is highly valued but less than a quarter consume it daily.
  • Trade publications and industry thought leaders’ websites and blogs are also ranked higher in value when compared to frequency consumed.
  • Social media is visited daily by about a third of respondents, but only 11% say they find it “very valuable” as a source for legal, business and industry news and information. [Note: I wouldn’t necessarily take this as a negative statement about social media, but rather as an opportunity to find more effective ways to use it.]

How To Execute:

  • If in-house counsel value traditional media so highly, Greentarget reminds us that earned media remains important to showing up in that space.
  • Firms can do a better job of curating content from many sources via social media. Although “curating” and “many sources” appear to be redundant or overlapping terms, I list both because many firms tend to only share their own content, thus missing an opportunity to be viewed as the source of the most valuable knowledge by curating and sharing content from others in their space.
  • Even when analytics don’t show frequent usage, continue to produce high-value content because creating the perception of value goes a long way toward building that valued position in GC minds, which is important to building and reinforcing your brand.

Social Media

How are they using social media?

Engagement appeared to take a bit of a hit in 2018, but don’t let this cause you to think it is a bad strategy as listening can mean discovery of you and your content.

Greentarget Zeughauser Survey Curate Content

Listen & Engage:

  • 2018: 23%
  • 2017: 27%
  • 2015: 22%
  • 2014: 29%
  • 2013: 26%
  • 2012: 32%


Listen Only:

  • 2018: 77%
  • 2017: 73%
  • 2015: 78%
  • 2014: 71%
  • 2013: 74%
  • 2012: 68%

What Influences In-House Counsel When Hiring Outside Lawyers & Law Firms

In terms of being “very” or “somewhat important” in helping to research outside lawyers and law firms for potential hire, here is how these sources stacked up:

(Note: I’ve added a few 2017 and 2015 numbers for comparison. This year, every category except for recommendations took a significant hit in terms of its influence in vetting and researching outside counsel. Recommendations only noticed a 2% reduction, where others were more drastic.)

  1. Recommendations from sources you trust: 94% (96% in 2017, 98% in 2015)
  2. Bios on the firm’s website: 69% (90% in 2017, 89% in 2015)
  3. Articles and speeches lawyers have authored: 57% (91% in 2017, 83% in 2015)
  4. Blogs published by lawyers on topics relevant to your business: 58% (77% in 2017, 66% in 2015)
  5. LinkedIn profile: 52% (71% in 2017, 74% in 2015)
  6. Peer-driven ranking and directories (Chamber, US News-Best Lawyers, etc.): 41% (67% in 2017, 59% in 2015)
  7. Connections/endorsements on LinkedIn: 37% (58% in 2017, 52% in 2015)
  8. Sharing of a lawyer’s content on social platforms, such as blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook: 28% (53% in 2017, 51% in 2015)
  9. Quotes by lawyers in relevant media outlets: 18% (44% in 2017, 34% in 2015)
  10. Twitter feeds from lawyers: 10% (16% in 2017, 13% in 2015)
  11. Wikipedia: 9% (29% in 2017, 32% in 2015)

Additional Findings & Suggestions From the Survey About General Counsel Use of Content, Social and Digital MediaGreentarget Zeughauser Survey Blog Post - Additional Findings

Content: 

Although in-house counsel haven’t changed their perception of the quality of law firm content in the past year (52% said good to excellent in 2018 and 2017, vs. 43% in 2015), similar percentages in both surveys (3% in 2018, 7% in 2017, 4% in 2015)  rated law firm content as less than satisfactory.

Suggestion: Greentarget suggests that, because these numbers have not improved significantly over the past four years, law firms have an opportunity to stand out by doing a better job with their content.

Suggestion: Brandon Copple, former journalist, and Director of Content & Editorial Strategy for Greentarget, recommends that, as with the basic rule of business journalism, law firms should not write about companies, but about the people connected to those companies. He asks, “Would you rather read about a big, faceless organization, or about an actual person?” This goes for what you write about your firm as well as what you write about other firms and companies.  

Social Media:

46% of respondents indicated they use social media once a week. The same percentage said they never use it. (For comparison, the survey results in prior years were not shown as a category (social media) but broken out by social network. Looking at “past 24 hours” and “past week” in those surveys, LinkedIn was the highest in each, with percentages of 73% in 2017, 68% in 2015, and 62% in 2014.)

Suggestion: Find out what platforms your clients and prospects are using. Use client interviews and platform research to find out what social networks they use.

LinkedIn and blogs continue to be used more than Facebook and Twitter.

Suggestion: Continue to focus on these platforms. Don’t forget that media, influencers, and potential recruits might use networks that in-house counsel indicate they do not.

Email:

(Consistent with that is found outside of legal) Greentarget reminds us that email is valued by in-house counsel and provides the purest transaction available as there is no algorithm or intermediary standing between the publisher and reader.

Suggestion: Create subject lines and headlines that resonate with the recipient. Greentarget suggests that putting energy into this medium and its value easily justifies the investment.

Storytelling:

Greentarget suggests that omission of storytelling in legal content is the norm and that this reduces that content’s chance for success.

Suggestion: Write about people more than you write about policies, industries, or businesses. Greentarget suggests we should write content by first thinking about who is impacted, not what.

Headlines:

Busy people need to be told why they should read what you are publishing.

Suggestion: Don’t just create titles that tell readers what the news is. Create titles that tell your readers why it matters to them. Use short, active words. Test different headlines to see what resonates with your target audiences. Use analytics and data to make sure your headlines and other content are working. Start your headline or titles by addressing a person, such as this title suggested in the survey, which originates from JD Supra: “Insurers of Directors and Officers of Delaware Corporations Must Take Heed of The Superior Court’s Recent Murdock Decision,” rather than “Superior Court Releases Murdock Decision” or “Companies Must Take Heed….” Brendon Copple recommends giving your readers something to care about by giving them something useful in the headline, as well as throughout the copy.

Help With Content Creation

If you haven’t downloaded this before today, or if you have and can’t find it (I know because I do this all the time), here is a free resource I have prepared for lawyers that will help you significantly improve your content in order to reach the right people on the right topics at the right time. By the time you finish, you will have enough content ideas for the next 3 months.

Content Creation for Lawyers - Free Worksheet From Nancy Myrland

Again, I encourage you to download the Greentarget Zeughauser survey for all the details and charts for this survey, as well as to study other bodies of research to uncover trends and tendencies from clients and prospects who are not in-house counsel. Armed with well-rounded, informed research, we can all improve our content marketing efforts.

If you find this blog post worthy, I would love it if you would share it with your community. Thank you!

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan 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 understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and 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, 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 be reached via email here.

RBG: A Movie About Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

After Seeing The Movie RBG: Do We Need New Role Models?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Business of Law Leave a Comment

This post isn’t about politics as I rarely do that in public spaces, but rather about our choices of role models, and who I wish adults and children would point to more often as heroes.

I swelled with pride for the legal profession I choose to serve, as well as all kinds of other emotions last night as I watched RBG, a movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and one of the legal giants of our time.

While watching this 1 hour and 37-minute movie, I laughed, I cried, I was irritated, I was happy, I was sad, and I was proud.

As written in the New York Times,

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, but she’s probably the first justice to become a full-fledged pop-cultural phenomenon.”

That became evident as the movie unfolded, as well as when I left the theater (more about that in a moment).

A Little Background

For those who are too busy to have studied her life before now, let me help you a little bit.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born Joan Ruth Bader in Brooklyn in 1933. Her family and close friends knew her as “Kiki,” which I researched and discovered this morning was given to her by her older sister, Marylin, who died from meningitis at the age of six. Marylin said that she was “a kicky baby,” which helps explain her nickname.

When starting school, her mother asked her teacher to call her “Ruth” to help avoid confusion as there were several other girls named Joan in her class.

She earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell, which she told us during the movie was the dream of every parent who had a daughter at that time as the ratio of males to females was 4 to 1. She told us she never had a second date at Cornell until she met Martin Ginsburg, who would later become her husband and one of the most noted tax lawyers of the time.

When talking about Martin, she said:

“He was the first boy I ever knew who cared that I had a brain.”

After graduating as the highest-ranking female in her graduating class, she and Martin married soon after in 1954. Their daughter, Jane, was born in 1955, followed by James in 1965. The movie depicted their 63-year marriage as strong and wonderful, with each complementing the other’s opposite personality and disposition.

Law School: How Dare You?

In 1956, Ruth Bader Ginsburg enrolled at Harvard Law School. As one of only 9 women in a class of approximately 500 men, the Dean of Harvard Law asked Ruth and the other 8 women:

“How do you justify taking a spot from a qualified man?”

As Justice Ginsberg said during the movie:

“I became a lawyer when women were not wanted by the legal profession.”

If those comments surprise or irritate you, remember that this was not a rare approach or opinion at that time. Women and men today stand on the shoulders of giants of those who endured this antiquated and unreasonable notion.

I Remembered My Mom At This Moment In The Movie

The producers of this documentary, Betsy West and Julie Cohen, told us that, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg studied at Harvard Law School, she also had the honor of being on the Harvard Law Review. While her husband battled testicular cancer and related therapies, she helped him continue his studies as she typed notes and papers for him, all while continuing her studies and taking care of their daughter, Ruth.

I suddenly remembered my mom typing my dad’s handwritten notes from classes he was taking to earn advanced certifications in his profession. He was working full-time, and so was she as she was the amazing mother of 5 children. To this day, I wonder how she did all of that.

Her Mother’s Influence

I watched as Justice Ginsburg, thinking back on losing her mother at the age of 17, said she wished she had her longer. After learning how strict her mother was, and how she insisted that she spend a great deal of time on her studies, I think Justice Ginsburg’s career is partially what it is today because of the influence of a mother she didn’t have long enough but who was known to be her strongest advocate.

During her remarks during the hearings upon her nomination to the Supreme Court, she talked about her mother and referred to her as:

“…the bravest and strongest person I have known, who was taken from me much too soon. I pray that I may be all that she would have been had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve and daughters are cherished as much as sons.”

You’re A Woman? We Don’t Hire Women In Our Law Firm.

I ached as I listened to the stories Justice Ginsburg’s friends and colleagues told us about her not being able to find a job at a New York law firm because there weren’t many managing partners at that time who would hire a woman.

We sat by as we listened to the story about her closest male classmates going to the managing partner of their new firm to talk about someone they thought should be hired. The moment the word “she” was used, they were shut down immediately by a managing partner who made it very clear women weren’t hired by that firm.

As written in Bloomberg Law’s Big Law Business:

“…the fact that she was smart as a whip did not guarantee her success. Upon graduation from Columbia Law School with top honors in 1959, she received no job offer from any law firm in New York City, presumably because white shoe law firms were aghast that a woman, a mother and a Jew would dare think she was qualified for the job.”

A Modern Day Cultural Icon

She is affectionately known in some circles as “Notorious RBG,” after the late rapper, Notorious B.I.G., because of her powerful and notorious dissents from the bench.

Notorious RBG began as a Tumblr blog by Shana Knizhnik, then became the title of the book, Notorious RBG, The Life And Times Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A children’s edition was recently published.

RGB Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Parodied On SNL Saturday Night Live

During the movie, I had a “front row seat” as I watched her watch for the first time a hilarious portrayal of herself on Saturday Night Live with characteristics not necessarily matched to her real-life persona, yet large enough to fit the icon she has become. She was amused as she asked “Is that Saturday Night Live?”

Heroes & Role Models

It isn’t important that we choose to look up to cultural icons as famous as Justice Ginsburg. In the age of reality TV, what IS important is that we expose ourselves and our children to those who have and continue to shape who we are as human beings, what we have the right to do as human beings, how we communicate as human beings, and how we live as human beings. The Supreme Court Justices have that privilege and that power.

That is reality TV worth studying, reading, watching, and listening to on a regular basis. The reality of what the nine Supreme Court Justices do for a living is far more meaningful, and is infinitely more profound, than what can be gained by watching the dysfunctional reality that we so often choose to fill our spare time.

Sure, some like and need to escape by doing that from time-to-time, but why not mix in a magnificent dose of reality to our lives by exposing our eyes, ears, and minds to what happens in the highest court in the United States?

Trust me, this is not boring nor as mundane as you might think. The movie sure wasn’t. My opportunity to meet Chief Justice Roberts definitely was not, as I wrote about in this post.

Is It Time?

Is it time to become a little more familiar with those who are, either individually or collectively, real-life heroes and role models?

Is it time to help our friends, children, and ourselves pay more attention to those who understand and acknowledge that they owe their lives to others who paved the way, just as Justice Ginsburg stated during her nomination hearings:

“I surely would not be in this room today without the determined efforts of men and women who kept dreams alive.”

I think it’s time.

Those I observed standing outside the theater thought so, too.

I saw one woman who came to the movie dressed as Justice Ginsburg, complete with her black robe and characteristic white collar. I saw two other women who were standing together as their friend took a picture of them in their RBG t-shirts.

Justice Ginsburg recently celebrated her 85th birthday and her 25th year on the bench. She fought for and experienced a career that will have a profound impact on the history and the future of this country as she has been a tireless advocate for gender equality, not just for women, but also for men.

Again, no politics here in this discussion. We don’t even have to agree with these people to study and observe them. This is simply a reminder that this beautiful life we have been given is full of people who deserve our attention as we try to figure out how we got to where we are today and to make sense of where we are going tomorrow.

My legal marketing friends have posted about events their firms have hosted where they invited their clients to a special screening of RBG. It is logical to assume that lawyers and those close to the profession would be interested in a movie about a Supreme Court Justice, but you can be, too.

Take the time. Take a friend. Take a child. Set the example.

Be the one.

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan 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 understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and 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, 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 be reached via email here.

Photo Credit for Justice Ginsburg’s portrait: By Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States (Ruth Bader Ginsburg – The Oyez Project) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Lawyers: General Counsel Beg For Billing Changes

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Alternative Fee Arrangements, Client Service and Retention Leave a Comment

Lawyers General Counsel Beg For Billing Changes

I just finished reading an article by Kristen Rasmussen on Law.com’s Daily Report about Peter Carter, Delta’s Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary who, along with other top lawyers from Fortune 500 companies, made a plea for lawyers to figure out project-based billing.

Peter, a former partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, was on a panel at the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Southeast Regional Conference in Atlanta. His plea to lawyers to figure out project-based billing was based on his need to know that he is going to make his budget every year. He was making the point that when he gets bills that are unpredictable, and when he doesn’t know what’s going to be on them, that it doesn’t do anyone any favors.

Eye-Popping Bills Are A Disservice To You As A Lawyer

Lucy Fato, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of AIG, also on the panel, made similar comments. She said:

“Firms do a disservice to themselves when they send ‘eye-popping’ bills that include rates of up to $1,400 per hour.”

Her next comment is disturbing to me. She said:

“They would be well served to examine their rates and bills before sending them out.”

The fact that the general counsel from a company, any company, is surprised by a rate of $1,400 is disturbing. It’s not disturbing that the rate is $1,400. What’s disturbing is the fact that this was a surprise to her, which tells me the hourly rate conversation never took place.

I could be wrong in interpreting her comment to mean rates had never been discussed with her. If she truly had no idea that anyone on her legal team was going to be doing work for her at a rate of $1,400 per hour, that isn’t right, nor is it good business.

Shock Them Now or Shock Them Later?

If you’re worried about quoting that rate and shocking people, wouldn’t you rather shock them at the beginning and have them get over it, than shocking them at the end when the bills come, or shocking them mid-project or early on in your project when they discover a rate they hadn’t heard before?

She’s right. Firms do a disservice to themselves when they send eye-popping bills that include those rates because it shouldn’t be a surprise. It should never be a surprise. She also said there are some matters where fixed fees are appropriate because they’re low-dollar, high-volume.

What If You Undercharge or Overcharge?

I know this is scary to some lawyers and some law firms because the questions become:

  • How do I do that?
  • What if I charge too little?
  • What if I charge too much?

Maybe you charge too little or you charge too much, but you know what? That won’t happen very many times before you figure it out. Sometimes you’re going to be high, sometimes you’re going to be low, but you’ll learn a lesson from it. But what’s important is that your client knows it’s predictable and that there is no surprise when that bill comes.

If you are feeling claustrophobic and stuck by being committed to pricing that isn’t what it should be, and if you are thinking:

  • What if I mess up?
  • What if that doesn’t represent what we’re doing?

What Is The Best Way To Get Started?

This is where your intellect comes in. Your project management skills will help you look at previous matters that are similar so you will understand what to work into project pricing in your agreement.

Before you start, show your client what the project entails. Show them that you have priced this project based on what they’ve requested, saying:

“You’ve asked me to do X, Y, and Z. This is how I plan to staff and accomplish this. Based on what we have discussed, this is the timeframe I will target. For that, the project fee will be $500,000 (or $2,000, or whatever you have come up with).”

Then, what you can also do is to set the parameters that go outside of that project. This is where you can protect yourself and your client. This is where you can go through the learning curve with your client and say:

“Just so you know, if we happen to get into these additional areas, this is what we’ll charge for that, but let’s take the first two months to see how everything is going. If we then both find we are going outside of the scope we are discussing for this project, then we can go with my hourly rate of $950 an hour, or our associates’ rates of $350 an hour.”

This is the way you can deal with “scope creep.” If your client’s requests or your work creep outside of the original project you established, you have first dealt with that by discussing it during the initial contract discussion. It is also good to state that in writing in the agreement.

Don’t Worry

Don’t worry. This is probably going to take a little practice if you haven’t done it before. But trust me, clients are much happier. With my clients, when there is a defined project with a beginning and an end, I will quote a project fee. If there is not, and it is an ongoing project, I usually give them the choice.

If clients want to work together on an ongoing basis, I provide two choices. The first is hourly. What I usually tell my clients is that hourly is my least favorite because it can be a disincentive to them to pick up the phone and call or text, or send an email and ask me a question. I want them to use me, and I want to be their resource, and I never want that to happen.

That is what can happen with hourly billing with you, too. Some clients can think:

“Oh, I’m not going to email him with that question because that’s going to cost me money.”

I don’t ever want you to be associated with just pure dollars, vs. by the value you provide to your clients.

That is your purpose. To provide important, valuable advice to your clients that help them anticipate or solve problems.

The second choice in an ongoing relationship that doesn’t have a beginning or an end at the onset is a retainer. What you can propose to your clients is:

“If you would like to work together on an ongoing basis, then what I would suggest is a retainer. For what I’m hearing you say, this arrangement would include A, B, and C every month and that would tend to look like [this.] What we’ll do is in two or three month (pick one and document it because they will remember), we’ll review and evaluate that to see if that’s working. If the amount of work that we’re discussing today for that retainer is really what’s been happening, or if you’ve needed me more or if you’ve needed me less, than I will adjust at that point.”

As you can see, this is a learning curve. You don’t have to be perfect right off the bat. I wasn’t perfect right off the bat, and I still won’t be, when it comes to quoting project fees. Trust me, it gets easier and much more accurate each time. I might go low on one project, and I might go high on another, but you know what? That’s a lesson for me to then also add what I mentioned a moment ago by defining the scope inside and outside of our agreement.

Your Clients Will Be Much Happier

Trust me, your clients are going to be so appreciative of your honesty and your willingness to work on their guidelines and within their budget so there are no surprises. I encourage you to begin to move into this realm, this world, so that you’re making your clients happier. You will be helping your clients who have pressure put on them to make budget by helping them solve problems, to anticipate problems, and to have someone who has their back and that is representing them all the time.

#BeTheOne

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan 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 understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and 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, 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 be reached via email here.

Lawyers, Schedule Consulting Time With Nancy Myrland

An Important Message To Law Firm Management – #LMA18

Nancy Myrland #LMA18, Career Development & Education Leave a Comment

A Message To Law Firm Management - #LMA18I am writing this as I begin my evening flight home from New Orleans to Indianapolis. The Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Annual Conference just ended yesterday, which is always a bittersweet time for me as I am filled with an immense amount of inspiration, knowledge, additional perspective, and affection for the growing number of colleagues I call friends.  

I Am Conflicted 

I am conflicted because I can’t wait to get home to see John Myrland and our furry boys, Mike and Nick (4.5-year old Yellow Labs), as I haven’t seen them since last Saturday, but also sad to leave so many amazing and wonderful friends and colleagues I care for very much.   

We Share A Common Goal 

We share much in common, not the least of which is a love of all things marketing, strategy, business, the legal profession that we serve and strive to make better via the knowledge we brought to the conference, combined with the knowledge gained while we were here, and the sincere desire to become the best version of ourselves we can be in order to help you become the best you can be.  

Never Underestimate The Importance 

That is what we need to talk about today…legal marketing professionals becoming the best and the smartest they can be. I was happy to be invited to speak about Social & Digital Media Ethics for Lawyers and Legal Marketers at the Quick Start pre-conference program on Monday. As my slides were being loaded by our LMA program liaison, I took a moment to share this thought with the legal marketers in the room: 

“Thank you so much for being here. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of your presence at this conference. The fact that you are sitting here in this room for 8 hours before the conference officially begins is amazing because that means you are here to become better at what you do…and when you become better at what you do, legal marketing as an industry becomes better, and when legal marketing becomes better, those we serve, our lawyers and law firms, then become better.” 

The Ripple Effect Is Profound 

Think about my last sentence. What your marketing and communications professionals do at these and other conferences has the ultimate effect of making your lawyers and law firms better. They don’t come just because it’s a chance to get out of the office. They come to make themselves better so they can help you serve your clients better.   

When all of us attend these conferences, we become better at what we do, which helps lawyers by: 

  • Strengthening our understanding of how lawyers can best deliver services to clients 
  • Helping lawyers find the best way to communicate with every type of client s/he has a need to connect with 
  • Understanding how to think strategically so we can contribute to critical discussions at your firms 
  • Understanding law firm economic and business models so we can help firm management make better decisions 
  • Being able to strategically and intuitively help our lawyers discern when opportunities that are presented are worth pursuing 
  • Taking these opportunities to earn business and turning them into strategic, polished, responsive answers your clients and prospects are looking for 
  • Coaching lawyers to present themselves in the best possible light in every situation 
  • Helping to define the most sensible pricing models for firm services 
  • Learning how to best package the individual and collective intellect of your lawyers 
  • Helping lawyers and all business professionals at the firm understand the guidelines that must be followed every second of every day to comply with one of the strictest sets of ethical and communication standards that exist in the world 
  • Guiding the firm when crisis and controversy present themselves 
  • Staying ahead of the curve in digital technology so your firm stands out in the midst of a great deal of noise out there 
  • Helping manage local, regional, national, and international projects your lawyers and firms are undertaking in order to make the best and most efficient business decisions possible 
  • Gathering, organizing, coordinating, and choreographing all marketing and business development activity into an integrated marketing and communications effort for the purpose of helping to create profitable practices at your law firms 
  • …and so much more 

Embrace This Opportunity 

I could go on, but my message to you is to embrace the opportunity that lies in front of you with these conferences. Encourage your people to attend LMA and other legal marketing, business development, marketing technology, and related conferences because you are not only making an investment in their knowledge and skills, you are helping them help your lawyers and law firm become better and more profitable. 

Not A Perk 

Sure, I understand that conference attendance can be a gift that is delivered to those who have been on the job a while, or to rotate so everyone gets a chance to go once every few years or so, but I challenge you to begin thinking much broader than that. Provide the budget and encouragement so there is a groundswell of knowledge that regularly builds upon itself, vs. once every few years.  

Help provide access to a forum: 

  • Where interaction and mentoring exists 
  • Where there is an environment where tough questions can be asked and answered 
  • Where high-level discussions can take place 
  • Where early-career marketers and advanced hall-of-fame professionals and past presidents can meet and network with one another, and  
  • Where knowledge is shared in a deliberate and focused fashion 

This should not be considered a perk to the marketer, but rather a benefit to the firm. 

The Firm Is The Beneficiary 

It is a benefit to the firm because the firm is the beneficiary of a smarter, more informed and intelligent business professional that can continue to grow, mature, and advance on the knowledge continuum. 

This should be considered mission-critical in order to help push your law firm to the next level. All professionals at your firm, from business to legal professionals, need to excel in order to help you excel.  

If you’re not already, I encourage you to make your firms stronger and more profitable by helping your marketing and communications professionals understand you support and expect their growth and involvement with the continuing forms of education that are there for them to take advantage of on a regular basis.  

Make This A Priority 

Let this be a priority, vs. making them wait until the last minute to see if you can squeeze a few dollars out of the firm budget for them to attend these conferences.  I wrote about this here, too. 

Make it a priority.  

The firm wins in the long run. 

This is important.  

Be the one. 

Note: Don’t miss my blog post over here where I am curating content that has been written or produced for the #LMA18 conference. If you see new content for me to add, please let me know…thanks!

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan 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 understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and 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, 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 be reached via email here.

#LMA18 GC Panel: Lawyers, Slow Down & Stick Around – Lesson #1

Nancy Myrland #LMA18, All Posts Leave a Comment

#LMA18 Lawyers, Slow Down and Stick AroundAs always, the general counsel panel at the Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference is one of the most popular. Because of that, it holds a spot as a general session so everyone can attend.

This year, the session is titled: Pushing Through the Noise – What Gets The Attention of General Counsel and Business Executives

Moderator Heather Nevitt, Editor-in-Chief, Corporate Counsel, Inside Counsel and Texas Lawyer is interviewing:

  • Kristen Albertson, Vice President Global Ethics and Compliance Administration, Walmart Stores, Inc.
  • Maria Feeley, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, University of Hartford
  • Ezgi Kaya, Corporate Counsel, Amazon
  • Mark N. Klein, General Counsel, Burford Capital
  • Alison Wisniewski, Chief Legal Officer, Epiq

This Is Important

Lawyers, when you go to conferences to speak, whether that be on a panel or by yourself, don’t be in such a rush to leave the room after you speak. Mark N. Klein, General Counsel, Burford Capital, just told a story about approaching a lawyer after attending a panel. He had business to discuss with that lawyer based on what he talked about. He said that lawyer wasn’t interested in talking and was only interested in getting back to his room.

Slow Down

If you spend the time and money to put together a presentation, and if your clients and potential clients and referral sources are in the room, don’t be in such a rush to get out of the room. If you’ve scheduled your flight too close, then don’t do that next time.

Think of the upside to sticking around to get to know people in attendance. If these people didn’t matter to your practice, then you wouldn’t have agreed to speak, right? If they aren’t important to your practice, then stop accepting those invitations to speak.

Every person on this panel indicated speakers and presentations at conferences are important to them in looking at outside counsel, so don’t underestimate your attendance, involvement, and participation in them. Don’t waste your time and resources, and, even more important, don’t waste theirs.

Kristen Albertson, WalMart shared: “If you are putting your lawyers on panels at things like ABA conferences, they can get my attention. We are there to make contacts, so it is beneficial.”

Maria Feeley, University of Hartford agreed: “When I go to conferences, I am going to find outside counsel.”

Bottom Line

Commit to being there. Slow down and stick around. Be the one.

Note: Don’t miss my blog post over here where I am curating content that has been written or produced for the #LMA18 conference. If you see new content for me to add, please let me know…thanks!

Nancy Myrland, Myrland Marketing & Social Media and LinkedIn Coach For LawyersNancy Myrland is a Marketing and Business Development Plan 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 understand how to make their marketing and business development efforts more relevant to their current and potential clients, and 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, 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 be reached via email here.