Standing Out in a Sea of Content: A Webinar Recap

Yesterday, the LMA Social Media SIG group was treated to a wonderful webinar, which focused on the 2014 State of Digital and Content Marketing Strategy survey done by Greentarget, Zeughauser Group, and ALM. The webinar featured John Corey (@jecorey), the president and founder of Greentarget, and Mary K. Young (@MaryKYoungZG), a partner at Zeughauser Group. 

But more than just discussing the survey itself, Mary and John talked about how law firms can get noticed in a sea of content.  We're operating in an era of information overload, and it doesn't look like that's going to change any time soon, so this is incredibly important. 

They laid the foundation for their later discussions by taking a look at the 2014 survey.  The survey focused on in-house counsel for the fourth year in a row, but also added in a law firm CMO/marketer element this year.  They had 189 in-house respondents, which include GCs, Deputy GCs, etc, and 79 law firm CMO/marketer responses, from the top 350 firms. 

For the GCs, they wanted to drill down to find out how they are using social media, and what content they find most valuable. For the CMOs, they asked more about how they are approaching content at their firms. 

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Bringing Law Firms "Back to The Future" of Social Media

Only one thing could bring me in from my vacation, and that was the Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Shared Interest Group's webinar with Peter Shankman (@petershankman) and Jasmine Trillos-Decarie (@jasminedecarie), entitled "Bringing Law Firms 'Back to The Future' of Social Media."

I wasn't alone in thinking that, if the tweetstream was any indication - valuable tidbits from the conversation were flying over on Twitter! We even had a legal marketer join the LMA just to be able to attend the webinar, and she said it was well worth it! 

LMA members can access the full recording over on the website, but for everyone else, I'll share some of the valuable information that came out of the presentation.

Jasmine kicked it off from the law firm perspective - she's got more than 20 years of experience in legal marketing with AmLaw 50, 100, and 200 firms, so she knows what she's talking about! 

 

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Navigating the New Normal - Where to Start

The final session I attended at the P3 conference was TyMetrix's "Navigating the New Normal - Where to Start." The panel was moderated by John Strange of Baker Botts, and included Holly Montalvo, TyMetrix, Peter Eilhauer, Elevate Services, and Toby Brown, Akin Gump. 

The attendee guide reads: 

As law firms navigate in the new normal they are being asked by corporate clients to deliver their services in a more predictable and transparent fashion. Join our panel of experts in a collaborative discussion on 'Where to Start' on this path to deliver a more efficient and effective legal service deliverable while demonstrating value to your client in a transparent way."

As we've seen, there is a corporate appetite for more data to analyze what companies are spending on legal services. But where are we today in terms of understanding "big data?" The panelists say "in between a rock and a hard place." 

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Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Borrowing Lessons in Pricing and Metrics

I may be out on vacation this week, but I'm still bringing you some content! 

My first session at the P3 conference on Friday was titled "Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Borrowing Lessons in Pricing and Metrics from Other Industries." If you've been reading Zen for any length of time, you'll know that I'm a big fan of looking to other industries for new ideas. And in P3 that's especially helpful, since we're not reinventing the wheel here - a lot of the challenges firms face have been seen in some other way somewhere else. 

The program description states: 

As the legal services industry continues to define what works and what does not in the opaque world of pricing, efficiency and process innovation, one can't help but notice that other industries have been doing these things for quite some time, and not without success."

'Borrowing' best practices from others is a business best practice itself, and this panel of pricing professionals from non-legal organizations will share their methodologies, observations and recommendations that will provide both law firm and corporate legal department executives with food for thought on methods for addressing some of the challenges they face and finding effective solutions to conquer them."

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Anatomy of a Business Case - Integrating P3 Discipline into Law Firm Business Strategy

We had high hopes for the final session on the first day of P3, with my friends Tim Corcoran (@tcorcoran), John Byrne (@johnmbyrne), Catherine MacDonagh (@CathMacDonagh) and Amy Hrehovcik (@hRovingChik) presenting - and we weren't disappointed! 

As per the attendee guide: 

We will examine a typical corporate business case and how it incorporates internal and external factors such as market demand, competitive pricing, cost of production, cost of delivery, client mix, channel strategy, profit targets and resource allocation to make a go/no-go decision for a new initiative. By contrast, law firms have traditionally taken a less rigorous approach to quantifying new initiatives, relying instead on each practice group or even each partner to drive business decisions."

We'll illustrate how a law firm fully embracing an integrated P3 mindset can dramatically improve its approach to business strategy, improve financial performance and maximize its resources and capabilities. We'll demonstrate how law firms can embrace data, process, tools and incentives to make better business decisions." 

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Law Firm Partner and Client Discussion: Creating the Win-Win

After lunch on the first day of the P3 Conference, we had the opportunity to listen to a client discussion - which, if you read Zen regularly, you know is a favorite of mine!  Moderator Vince Cordo (@vcordo), the Global Director of Client Value at Reed Smith led a panel that included Nick Bagiatis, the COO of Reed Smith, Lesley Garafola (@plgarafola) of Duke Energy, Gonzalo Frias of Duke Energy, and Kimberly Levinson of PNC. 

The delegate packet told us: 

Tracking and reporting on the value and the cost of legal services had become top priority. Value promotes the adoption of management practices that allow all participants to achieve their key objectives. This session is a discussion on how clients are working with firms to track spend by a law department with a focus [on] measuring value. Until you can get that data, you[r] best option is to keep pushing for lower costs. Comprehensive performance management programs are being introduced by corporations in ever economic sector. Most include key performance indicators (KPIs). These indicators and the programs they support are comprehensive because they are much more far-ranging than budget and other financial indicators. Clients want programs which reduce waste and which encourage all resources to be dedicated to the top priorities set by executive leadership. It reflects the transition of the legal function from a classic position of support to one which is likelier to add value." 

 

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Driving Profitability through Pricing and Client Value

The second breakout session that I attended on Thursday morning at the P3 conference was "A Case Study on Profitability through Pricing and Client Value," presented by Redwood. 

The program told us: 

For years the legal profession's main focus with respect to 'profit' has been on driving productivity and revenue. Well before the boom in alternative fees this perception had changed drastically. Now in a new world with heavier client demands, budgeting needs, alternative pricing, and changing structures the true drivers of profitability have come under additional scrutiny."

Attendees of this session will learn about the components and changes within the drivers of profitability. In addition they will engage in a case study using real data under a pseudonym to analyze trends, identify wayward pricing strategy, and hone in on alternative ways to look at a firms' [sic] profitability." 

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Value-Based Pricing, Legal Project Management and the New Value Proposition

The first breakout session that I attended at P3 was "Value-Based Pricing, Legal Project Management and the New Value Proposition."  The session was presented by Doug Woods (Strategic Pricing Manager Ogletree, @dougwoodsCPA), Jim McGrew (Chief Marketing Officer, Ogletree), Ashley Tenney (Business Development Manager - Corporate Department, McKenna Long, @latenney), and Crissy Wolfe (Attorney, McKenna Long). 

LMA gave us the key takeaways right in the program, so I'll list those upfront before we get into the full recap! 

  1. What are the common "value drivers" of clients, and how can legal marketers help attorneys have a deeper conversation about what is valued by the client?
  2. Which pricing arrangements are most (and least) appropriate for various client value drivers?
  3. How do legal marketers market, and assist in developing, pricing arrangements and project management?
  4. How do pricing and LPM complement each other and what role should legal marketers play?
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P3: Project Management, Pricing & Process Improvement - An Open Discussion

Weather seemed to factor into almost everyone's travel into Chicago last week for the P3 conference, and unfortunately, it resulted in the cancellation of our keynote speaker for the morning. Instead, we were treated to an open and interactive discussion - as one of the speakers joked "We wouldn't be business leaders if we didn't know how to adapt." 

And adapt they did - had we not known the schedule in advance, you never would have guessed that the session wasn't well-thought out and planned. 

Challenges for the People of the Three P's

The main challenge to pricing is the obvious one: overcoming culture and history to make these changes within our firms. Setting a price and managing costs are two different things, but both of them have this same challenge of getting lawyers on board.  Lawyers want to press an "easy button," but it's more complex than that. 

Wrapped up in this challenge is another one - that of being able to empower our attorneys to say "no." Firms don't have to agree to pitch everything that comes in the door (and shouldn't). But there must be sound business reasoning behind these decisions. 

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Generational Marketing: Strategies & Tactics from Heather Morse & Jonathan Fitzgarrald

Today, I'm bringing you my final recap from LMA14 - and while it's last, it's certainly NOT least! We'll be looking at one of my favorite sessions from the conference, "Generational Marketing: Strategies and Tactics for Engaging Different Generations." Heather Morse (@heather_morse) of Barger & Wolen and Jonathan Fitzgarrald (@jrfitzgarrald) of Greenberg Glusker started talking several months ago about how there were four generations currently in the workplace, but no one was really looking at how that affects our external business development activities and efforts or our internal challenges. 

So they did. 

And in this well-researched, thoughtful and thought-provoking presentation, they got many of us thinking and talking about it as well. 

For me, it brought a number of "a HA!" moments, as I recognized some of the very issues among some of the attorneys I work with that Heather and Jonathan were referring to. Their presentation gave me not only a lot to think about, but a lot of tools to use moving forward. 

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Playing the Relationship Game with One North Interactive

Today, I'm bringing you another recap from LMA's 2014 Annual Conference, from an excellent session I attended on the first morning, called "Playing the Relationship Game in Today's Connected World." 

Kalev Peekna (@kpeekna) and John Simpson (@onenorth) of One North Interactive ran a great interactive session. According to the conference materials: 

For relationship-based businesses like law firms, the connections that firms make with their clients - and the connections these clients have with each other - have a profound effect on the amount of ongoing business and new opportunities they'll win. Thanks to the ever-connected world we live in, it is now essential that firms align their digital marketing and business development efforts along what we like to call The Relationship Cycle."

In this session, we'll provide examples of how businesses are using interactive marketing to reach their clients at every point in the decision-making experience, establish trust and create advocates that help drive new business opportunities with current and prospective clients. As this is The Relationship Game, a handful of contestants from the audience will participate game-show style to help us identify key interactive trends, reveal best practices for building digital relationships and uncover key findings from our latest General Counsel Survey." 

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Cinnamon Buns & Leadership - Lessons for Legal Marketers & Lawyers

Ask anyone what they thought the most memorable session of the recent LMA conference was, and I'm sure they'll tell you, "Kat Cole's keynote."

Kat (@KatColeATL) is the President of Cinnabon, Inc., and although more than one person was heard to ask, "what do cinnamon buns have to do with lawyers?" (only before the session, not after!) we all learned lesson after valuable lesson during her speech. 

If you're still not sure what Kat's words had to do with legal marketing, take a look at my comments after last year's Zappos session here and here. And read on. Also, take a look at Chelsie Givan's recap of the session

Before I dive into the session itself, let's talk a little bit about Kat. 

Kat Cole is the president of Cinnabon, Inc. where [she] is accountable for leading, evolving and building the team and multi-channel brand. Ms. Cole is also a member of the leadership team within Cinnabon's parent company, FOCUS Brands Inc...Prior to her role with FOCUS Brands at Cinnabon Inc., Ms. Cole was Vice President of Training and Development for Hooters of America, Inc."

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LinkedIn or Left Out - A Recap

I'm bringing you another recap from LMA14 today - this one focused on "LinkedIn...or Left Out? An Opportunity to Big for Smart Firms to Ignore." The session description reads: 

LinkedIn is radically changing the way General Counsel evaluates outside firms. Greentarget's 2013 social media survey found that two-thirds of in-house counsel use LinkedIn on a weekly basis. LinkedIn threatens to sideline firms who ignore its impact, and presents an opportunity for firms who mobilize their partnerships to embrace social business. In this panel, we'll explore how leading firms are using LinkedIn to burnish their brands, enhance attorney reputations, and continuously engage clients with thought leadership." 

The panel featured Patrick Baynes (@patrickbaynes) of PeopleLinx, John Corey of Greentarget (@greentarget), Lindsay Gotwald (@lindsayweb) of Faegre Baker Daniels, Megan McKeon (@meganmckeon) of Katten Muchin Rosenman, and Michelle Woodyear (@mwoodyear) of Orrick. 

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US General Counsel: Global Needs for Outside Counsel

On Friday morning, LMA delegates gathered to hear the annual general counsel panel, "U.S. General Counsel Discuss Global Needs for Outside Counsel: Is Your Firm on Their Short List?" produced by Inside Counsel and Lloyd Johnson.

The program description read: 

This panel of general counsel will discuss high priority needs, challenges and concerns related to managing a large law department.  In addition, the panel will discuss the complexities...related to managing a remote professional staff who work outside the United States. Topics covered will include: 

  • How law firms can help meet the needs of today's law department challenges; 
  • What today's law department leaders see as potential future challenges
  • How firms' managing partners may engage in shared insight discussions with law department leader/counterparts
  • How is value received for fees paid assessed by the corporations today? 
  • What is most useful about a year-end review, aka client feedback meeting?
  • Last call: number one need on the law department side: from the relationship standpoint? From the substantive legal needs standpoint?"
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Takeaways from "Quick Fixes: Innovative Solutions in Law Firm Business Development"

On Friday, we had an excellent, excellent panel following lunch with some truly brilliant people - moderator Nancy Mangan of Wicker Park Group chatted with Paul Malanowski (@pmalanowski) of Saul Ewing, Melanie Green (@melaniegreen) of Faegre Baker Daniels, and Dave Bruns (@dbruns) of Farella Braun + Martel about some of the innovative things they do to combat the most prevalent problems in business development. 

Whether you're at a large firm, or a small firm (or a service provider), there were a lot of tips in here that we can use to better drive business development. 

Key Takeaway: Talk to your Clients

When I use the word "clients" here, it has different meanings for different people: 

  • For attorneys, it's your clients. 
  • For marketers, it's your attorneys. 
  • For service providers, it's your clients. 

 

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Key Takeaways from "Can the C-Suite Lead the Social Media Law Firm?"

The very last session I went to before our wrap up at LMA14 was "Can the C-Suite Lead the Social Media Law Firm?" with presenters Deborah Grabein (@dgrabein) of Andrews Kurth and Michael Hertz (@michaelhertz) of White & Case and moderator Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe) of LexBlog. 

The description of the session in the conference book reads:

While Fortune 500 executives are beginning to leverage social media, law firm executives are lagging." 

Two C-Level decision makers (not practicing lawyers) in Am Law 200 firms made the decision in the fall of 2013 to start using social media, personally . They wished to experience how their use of social media could help change the perceptions of their brand, better equip them to lead their marketing and business development teams, and help them guide individual lawyers in their use of social." 

With five months of strategic consulting and coaching, these executives became active content creators and social media contributors on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+."

Learn about the personal and firm wide challenges and rewards these law firm executives experienced, and will continue to experience in their personal use of social media." 

 

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LinkedIn 2.0: Efficient Strategies for Busy Lawyers - A Webinar Recap (Part II)

Yesterday, we discussed the first part of the excellent webinar with David Ackert & Jonathan Fitzgarrald on LinkedIn 2.0. When chatting last night with my fellow SIG leaders, Nancy asked me why it was I considered this to be the best session we'd had. She wondered if it was because they got into the "how" of using LinkedIn as opposed to the "why." 

My answer to her was that it was the 2.0 nature of it - it's safe to assume that those participating in a social media group like ours would be those most likely to have already bought into the idea of social media, and are more focused on how to sell it to their attorneys and its practical use. Even more than that, pretty much everyone has a LinkedIn profile these days - but the idea of setting objectives and fine tuning your strategy to meet those objectives is something that's really useful to both attorneys, and the marketing professionals trying to get them to use LinkedIn for business development.  

It also doesn't hurt that Jonathan and David are not only excellent presenters, but also extremely knowledgeable - both when it comes to using LinkedIn and working with attorneys. 

So, if you're a part of the LMA and have the opportunity to see the recording of the session once it's circulated, make sure that you do so! Now let's get into Part II...

 

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LinkedIn 2.0: Efficient Strategies for Busy Lawyers - A Webinar Recap (Part I)

Apparently, this is the week for excellent webinars, because I had the privilege of attending another amazing one this afternoon. The LMA's Social Media Shared Interest Group offered LinkedIn 2.0: Efficient Strategies for Busy Lawyers, featuring presenters David Ackert (@DavidAckert) of The Ackert Advisory and Jonathan Fitzgarrald (@JRFitzgarrald) of Greenberg Glusker, moderated by our own Nancy Myrland (@nancymyrland) of Myrland Marketing & Social Media. 

Before I get into the meat of the session (and boy, was it meaty!), I want to make sure to note that if you'd like to join the Legal Marketing Association, you can take a look at the options and categories for membership over here

And if you're already a member of the LMA, and want to join the Social Media SIG (we're cool, I promise!), you can join through the LMA website here. LMA members can also join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups (whether or not you officially belong to the SIG). 

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Top Five Reasons to Blog - A Webinar Recap

When I heard that Kevin McKeown (@kevinmckeown) of LexBlog and Marketing Brain Fodder's Eric Fletcher (@ericfletcher) would be giving a webinar together, I knew I couldn't miss it. So despite battling a low-grade migraine today, I tuned in, and definitely wasn't disappointed. 

Their presentation focused on the top reasons to blog, and if you want to see the tweet stream that came out of the session, take a look at #LexBlogTop5

Not only did their presentation break down five reasons to blog, but it was broken into five sections: 

  • "Old school" networking
  • Networking is the "new normal"
  • Top 5 reasons lawyers should blog
  • Your call to action
  • Questions
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Daily Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers - A Webinar Recap

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending LexBlog's webinar "Daily Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers" with Kevin O'Keefe (@kevinokeefe). Kevin kicked off the session by saying that there is no perfect way to blog, but that over the past ten years, he'd develop some habits that work for him. 

The session covered: 

  • Essence of blogging
  • Listening tools
  • Posting
  • Complementary Social Media
  • Habits of LexBloggers
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Is Anybody Going to Click on That? Getting Clients to Read Law Firm Content, A Webinar Recap

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting in on another of the LMA's Social Media Shared Interest Group's webinars, this time with Adrian Lurssen of JD Supra. Adrian talked about some best practices for getting clients to read a law firm's online content, using a case study to walk us through. 

As I've noted before, I won't give away everything from the webinar, since it's an LMA membership benefit, but there was some great advice that Adrian shared with us. 

His case study focused on the discussions surrounding the America Invents Act, for which JD Supra saw 82 firms producing content.  Of these firms, only one stood out, Pepper Hamilton. Adrian delved into the "why" of the popularity of their post, as well as defining the goals we should be pursuing as we produce content. 

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Law Firm Websites - Best Practices

One of the ILN's member firms, Fogler Rubinoff, recently launched a new website, focused on responsive design and definitely very cutting edge for the legal profession. We invited Michael Slan to present on the site during our 2013 Annual Meeting, and Michael had some great best practices for law firms on redesigning their websites, which I'd like to share. 

Michael began by addressing some of the issues that they had with their current site, which had last been redesigned in 2005. The site itself was fine, but it had some issues: 

  • Looked like everyone else's 
  • Required too many clicks
  • Too much scrolling
  • Inefficient layout of content
  • Text-heavy and lacked visual content
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GC Focus - an LMA Annual Conference Recap

At this year's LMA, we were fortunate enough to have not one, but TWO sessions with General Counsel. This one took place at the end of the first day, and included a procurement guy - a first for the LMA. The session was titled "GC Focus: Project Management. Position Your Firm in Alignment With the Unique Challenges Faced by In-house Counsel." 

Panelists included Keith Isgett, the Managing Attorney-General - Global External Legal Relations, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Justin Ergler, Sourcing Group Manager, Legal Services Procurement, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nat Slavin, Founder and Partner of Wicker Park Group, along with Moderator Alicia Brown, Director of Strategic Relationships for Bloomberg Law. 

After their introductions, Isgett kicked it off by saying that he wants to receive the best representation for the best price, and part of the "best representation" is having a good relationship with the law firm. The procurement team is there to make sure that what they're paying for is what they receive, and that there is value there. Isgett noted that "People are still talking about discounted hourly rates, which means we're not as far along as I'd like us to be." 

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General Counsel Panel: Separate from the Pack - a Recap Part II

In yesterday's post, we learned that building relationships is still of primary importance to clients - and some of the ways to do this including figuring out what benefits the client the most, and focusing on what business solutions will make them look good. 

The panelists agreed that the role of their lawyers needs to be that of strategic partners, and for their part, they need to inform outside counsel about what they need. But outside counsel can also be proactive to learn more about their clients. The panelists suggested that attorneys read company filings and public documents before they meet with them. They emphasized that outside counsel should understand their customer before asking them to be their customer. Post-matter debriefings, at no cost, are also helpful.

 

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General Counsel Panel: Separate from the Pack - a Recap Part I

Another of my all-time favorite conference sessions at LMA is always the client panel.  For me, the panel always makes the investment in the conference worth it, because I can impart what I learn from the GCs there to my lawyers, to help them to understand their own clients better, and that adds value for everyone. 

This year's client panel didn't disappoint. It focused on best practices for building and maintaining your law firm's relationship with in-house counsel and featured Megan Belcher, the VP and Chief Employment Counsel for ConAgra, Kevin Schubert, the Associate General Counsel, Transactions for LV Sands Corporation, Simon Manoucherian, the Assistance General Counsel/Director of Litigation GRIFOLS, and Karen Cottle, Senior Counsel for Sidley Austin and former in-house counsel. The panel was moderated by Inside Counsel magazine. 

The panelists said that they would discuss the role of social media for general counsel, the challenges that they see over the next five years, and the change in inside/outside counsel relationships since 2008.  Since the economic downturn, GCs have changed the way that they evaluate outside counsel, and the process by which trust is built. 

 

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"Delivering Happiness" - A Zappos Session Recap

So if you've been hiding under a rock instead of reading my blog posts, you may not already know that my favorite session from LMA13 was "Delivering Happiness: Fresh Ideas for Service-Driven Brands Deploying Social Media Tactics, Seeking ROI" with Graham Kahr, Social Scientist for Zappos and Jayne Navarre of Law Gravity LLC

Rather than a typical session, Jayne and Graham let us know right away that it would be different when they introduced themselves in the third person. Their session took on the tone of more of a conversation, which also included those of us in the audience. 

They began their conversation by saying that they wouldn't be talking about social media per se, but really focusing instead on creating experiences for clients (which is something we could all identify with). Graham said that Zappos doesn't push their own brand stories - they want their customers to tell the brand story for them.

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Identify, Don't Compare - Lessons from Zappos for the Legal Industry

A lesson I learned several years ago that has been invaluable to me is that of "identify, don't compare." When you compare, you're looking to match your situation exactly to that of someone else's - and when we do that, we're always going to come up different (and that can paralyze us).

But when we identify, we're looking for those elements that run through a situation that are the same as ours - and this gives us the inspiration to keep moving forward, instead of giving up because we think we'll never be the same. That lesson comes in handy when I'm sitting in a session like the Zappos one from the LMA Annual Conference.  Although it's easy to try to compare Zappos to legal marketing and come up lacking because they're a consumer-driven business, when I identify instead, I find many parallels which allow me to take the lessons that Graham was sharing with us and apply them to my own situation.

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Integrated Approaches to Law Firm Marketing & Public Relations

Last week, we had the pleasure of welcoming my friend, Gina Rubel, of Furia Rubel, as our webinar presenter for the ILN's marketing group. Gina had a fabulous presentation dedicated to the topic of integrated approaches to law firm marketing and public relations, and the attendees agreed that it was excellent. 

I won't do my usual lengthy recap here, because Gina will be using some of the same insights in her upcoming panel presentation at the LMA's 2013 Annual Conference (and I'm attending her session, so I'll recap it then).  But I do want to give all of you a taste of what's to come, to encourage everyone who'll be at LMA13 to see Gina's panel at 11am on Tuesday, April 9th. (ILN members and marketers can email me directly for a copy of the presentation)

Gina noted early in the presentation that when marketing a law firm, there are several fundamental questions to answer, regardless of the size of the firm - these surround topics such as goals, audience, messaging, tactics and ROI. 

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Combating the Internal Politics - How to Sell Social Media to Your Lawyers

The Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Special Interest Group is at it again - this afternoon, they brought members an excellent webinar focused on combating internal politics - how to sell social media to your lawyers. 

Featured on the panel were moderator and LMA SIG leader, Gail Lamarche, of Henderson Franklin, an employment law attorney and social media maven from her firm, Suzanne Boy, and legal marketing expert, Jill Rako with Ohio-based Bricker & Eckler. 

Since these webinars are an LMA member benefit, I'm not going to delve as deeply into the recap as I traditionally would, but I do want to hit the highlights! 

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ILN Marketing Webinar: In-House Marketers' Guide to Motivating Attorneys to Rainmaking Success

It's been a festival of webinars over here lately, so I've got one more recap for you this year! Yesterday, we hosted Jaimie Field, esq. of Marketing Field, who presented on the in-house marketers' guide to motivating your attorneys to rainmaking success. 

Jaimie kicked off by saying that the short version of her presentation is that you can't motivate them. It's not possible to motivate someone else - they have to motivate themselves. But what the in-house marketers or marketing partners CAN do is to provide the attorneys at their firm with the tools they need to help them to motivate themselves to rainmaking success. 

While Jaimie didn't address specific tactics, she did identify what attorneys need from their in-house marketers in terms of their marketing genius and motivating prowess. 

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ILN Webinar Series - Contract Lawyers & Outsourcing Part III

Today, we're wrapping up our last post from Tim Corcoran's webinar series on the business of law! Check out part I and part II of the Contract Lawyers and Outsourcing session. 

In speaking about outsourcing, Kevin commented that he feels like he's overstating the point on a lot of these things, because he's been involved in this arena for so long. He added that evaluating a company to handle outsourcing is like evaluating any business partner - think about the challenges of hiring a third party that you've never worked with before, to work on something that might end up in your clients' hands. 

Going back to the PR side, Kevin said there are firms out of the UK who are very involved in the legal outsourcing space, and they do it in two steps - they handle some work themselves, but they also help the client understand why that's good for them. It's more than just the cost, it's connected to value and the client wanting to use them over and over again. So firms should do their due diligence, understand these points and be able to articulate them to your clients. You want to be able to say that it's not that you want to be cheaper, but you're outsourcing because it's the right strategy for the client. 

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ILN Webinar Series - Contract Lawyers & Outsourcing Part II

Yesterday, we began our recap of the Contract Lawyers & Outsourcing webinar with Tim Corcoran and Kevin Colangelo. Today, we continue the discussion. 

Who is Doing this Successfully, and How?

Tim said that one of the challenges he's heard from law firms about outsourcing is that their work is unique, their firm is unique, and as such, their work is hard to routinize and find a common way to deliver the services. So he asked Kevin to comment on how others who have done this have found that there are practices that can be improved through this approach - and not just the low-end, simple document reviews, but some high end work as well. 

Kevin said that they analyze the tasks going on within a law firm, legal department our sourcing department to see what can be disaggregated. Those that they've been able to disaggregate, they rebuild in a very process-heavy, documented environment. This extends outside of just outsourcing - firms can understand both how they get their work done and improve the way they're doing it with the people that they're using. This blends into not only the way that clients want their firms to do the work, but also how the firm itself wants to be operating. 

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ILN Webinar Series - Contract Lawyers & Outsourcing Part I

Last week, we had the final session in our Business of Law Series, on the topic of contract lawyers and outsourcing. This time, Tim Corcoran brought in a co-presenter, Kevin Colangelo of Yuson & Irvine. 

Tim began with a few minutes to recap some of the topics we'd discussed in the first two webinars, so that the audience could understand the main drivers behind these changes.  For those full recaps, please take a look at Legal Project Management Part I and Part II and Alternative Fee Arrangements Part I and Part II

Outsourcing - Love it or Hate it? 

Following this, he jumped into a discussion with Kevin about outsourcing. He began by saying that outsourcing is not a popular topic with law firms, but from a corporation standpoint, they already outsource their legal needs to their legal departments, who, in turn, outsource it to their law firm, so they're very comfortable with it. 

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ILN Webinar Series - Alternative Fee Arrangements Part II

Yesterday, we began with the first part of Tim Corcoran's webinar on the strategic role of alternative fee arrangements. After Tim's elephant analogy, he gave the attendees a short economics lesson. Using a graph with two parallel arrows, Tim said that essentially, we charge a rate that is higher than our cost to deliver. Price needs to be higher than the cost, and profit is derived from the difference between the cost and the price. 

But law firms do a poor job of calculating costs - other than their overhead and real estate, they don't know the cost of the delivery of their legal services. 

So the challenge is, as we saw in the recent downturn when there was downward price pressure, because we haven't fundamentally changed our delivery costs, our profit turns to loss. In the first part of the webinar, Tim had talked about the inevitable movement from premium and strategic to commodity, meaning that clients will pay less for something over time. That's what we're seeing - clients are refusing to pay for work that they believe doesn't have the same value it once had, but law firms who have not adapted their cost structure for this are experiencing loss. 

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ILN Webinar Series - Alternative Fee Arrangements Part I

Part II of our Business of Law webinar series with Tim Corcoran took place in November, but things have been so hectic with travel and hurricanes and holidays that I'm only just getting to the recap! So without further ado...

The topic of the second webinar was the strategic role of alternative fee arrangements, which was a natural sequel to the first session on legal project management. Tim re-emphasized that the industry has changed, and we need to adapt to the changing times. 

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Blogging: Greater Returns with Less Effort - A LexBlog Webinar

Despite being a long-time blogger and follower of Kevin O'Keefe on social media, I always learn something new when I attend one of his webinars.  Today, I was able to participate in "Blogging: Greater Returns with Less Effort," which was excellent and I'd like to share my recap with you. A full recording of the webinar will be available in the coming days on LexBlog's YouTube channel.

Usual Starting Point

Kevin began at the beginning, so to speak, with the questions that he normally gets at the outset of a firm or attorney beginning their foray into blogging: 

  • How frequently should lawyers blog? 
  • Should we have a group blog to take the weight off of one person? 
  • Should we have an associate write the blog? 
  • Should we have a ghostwriter? 
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ILN Webinar Series - An Introduction to Legal Project Management Part II

Last week, we had the first part of our recap from Tim Corcoran's excellent webinar on Legal Project Management. Today, I bring you the second half, which covers: 

  • Legal Project Management (LPM): Concepts - should they be embraced or avoided? Is LPM a friend, an enemy or a frenemy?
  • Process improvement versus LPM: Two different disciplines, though they are related.
  • LPM 2.0: The advanced level of LPM. 

 

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ILN Webinar Series - An Introduction to Legal Project Management Part I

This week, we kicked off our three-part webinar series with Tim Corcoran, of the Corcoran Consulting Group. Tim's first webinar addressed an Introduction to Legal Project Management, which is a fascinating topic, which I'll recap in two parts. 

Tim offered his best practices, based on years of experience, and condensed what is normally a half day session into an hour - so there's a lot of information in this webinar!

The themes for the part of the session covered in today's recap: 

  • What happened to our ecosystem? The wonderful world where clients paid handsomely for good legal work is gone - something changed, and now clients are pushing back more on rates, talking about whether they'll pay by the hour or not, the kinds of attorneys that will service various matters, and alternative providers of services. There is also competition from other sized firms, including big firms that are becoming more savvy about pricing. 

 

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ALM's Cross Border Litigation Forum

Last Wednesday, I attended ALM's Cross-Border Litigation Forum. After the opening remarks, whose theme was that the complexity of cross-border litigation has (unsurprisingly) increased with globalization, we had a keynote address from Franco Ferrari, the Executive Director for the Center for Transnational Litigation and Commercial Law at New York University School of Law. His keynote focuses on Enforcing US Money Judgments Abroad: Debunking a Myth.

 

Enforcing US Money Judgments Abroad: Debunking a Myth

Ferrari wanted to correct the misconception of what happens to US judgments abroad, and he said that the idea that it's difficult is "nonsense." Some people believe that you shouldn't even try to enforce judgments because it's costly, time-consuming, and foreign courts are corrupt, but Ferrari said that this was also nonsense. 

 

 

 
 
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ALM's Cross Border M&A Forum

One of the initiatives we undertake here at the ILN is marketing partnerships, where we arrange for an in-kind trade of services for various events in the legal industry. When the events are fairly local to me, I'll go in person to "woman" the table with our materials, answer any questions that might arise, and also sit in on the sessions. 

Last week, I was fortunate enough to participate in two such events. The first of these was American Lawyer Media's Cross Border M&A Forum - right up our alley, since much of the work that happens in the ILN is cross-border. 

I'll re-cap a couple of the sessions, along with those from the following day's conference, ALM's Cross-Border Litigation Forum. 

 
 
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Blogging for Clients: How Online Relationships Lead to Real-World Clients (A Re-cap) Part III

After sharing all of their valuable content with us, Kevin and Lee were happy to answer some questions from the audience. 

What's the correlation of a strong brand with online lead generation? 

Lee clarified the essence of the question as being "how is your brand going to impact your lead generation and online presence?" Kevin said that he wanted to say that larger brands would have more impact, but he wasn't sure that this was true. He used Coca Cola as an example, saying that if they didn't form the right strategy online with the people who want to drink Coca Cola, they're not going to go anywhere. 

In a lot of ways, the internet is the great equalizer (I say this to my attorneys all the time). If you take the time to craft a good strategy, understand what makes you unique, and demonstrate what your value is, you're going to be effective and your brand will become stronger. You may even develop a stronger brand as an upstart than an old traditional company. 

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Blogging for Clients: How Online Relationships Lead to Real-World Clients (A Re-cap) Part II

On Tuesday, we jumped into the first half of Kevin McKeown and Lee Frederiksen's webinar on Blogging for Clients. Today, we're looking at the second half! 

Developing your Strategy and Tools

Lee said that when you look at online marketing at a macro level, there's not one technique that says "this is the one to use." There are a whole bunch of techniques. So how do these fit together - how do you make sense out of this about what you need to do, and when you need to do it? 

He showed us a slide with the content marketing model, which shows how the various techniques fit together. It was a series of steps, with escalating levels of interaction and trust with the client - it goes from the point where they've never heard of you all the way to they're a client. Lee said that marketers may look at this as their marketing funnel, and business developers as their pipeline. 

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Blogging for Clients: How Online Relationships Lead to Real-World Clients (A Re-cap) Part I

Recently, I had the chance to sit in on a webinar with Kevin McKeown of LexBlog and Lee Frederiksen of Hinge Marketing, as they discussed the topic of blogging for clients, focusing on how online relationships can lead to real-world clients. 

Since this is a meaty topic, I'll be breaking this up into multiple posts.

The speakers started by letting us know what the planned to cover in the webinar: 

  • The economic case for online marketing
  • How trust is developed online
  • Developing your strategy and tools
  • Implementing your plan
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SCOTUS Decision on the PPACA - Implications for Healthcare Industry Sectors Part II

In our final post of the series, we'll cover the implications of the SCOTUS decision on health care industry sectors, including providers and service providers. 

Providers - Hospitals

Lynn suggested that the panelists start with the hospital industry first. Mark said that he thinks this is a segmented analysis also. For those systems that have already resolved to take steps to deal with value-based purchasing and accountable care environments with their governmental and commercial customers, the SCOTUS decision is likely to be seen as affirming the activities of their boards to date and their initial efforts. For individual hospitals that have not yet designed a strategic plan with value-based purchasing and other accountable-based assumptions baked into that plan, the decision is likely to propel them to get to work in designing such a plan. 

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SCOTUS Decision on the PPACA - Implications for Healthcare Industry Sectors Part I

Yesterday, we talked about the impact of the election on the PPACA, as well as the implications of the PPACA for employers. Today, we'll delve into the implications for healthcare industry sectors with our final post in the series. 

Lynn kicked it off by saying that before we go into each sector individually, she wanted to make an introductory comment. There are people who have asked why did the stock market reach bullish about healthcare stocks following the decision, but then not bullish about it, and whether anything can be read into this. Lynn said that whenever she reads these kinds of articles, she has to laugh, because each company is in their own relationship with entitlement programs and private health insurance, and they have different starting points and are in different states. 

She said there is the number one issue - what she calls the "elephant in the room" - which is whether the penalty is strong enough to get people to buy health insurance, in which case, you'll have a different set of winners and losers, versus whether the penalty does not. Will employers drop people into the exchange, or will they stay self-funded and keep the insurance that they have? 

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SCOTUS Decision on the PPACA - Impact of the Upcoming Election & Implications for Employers

Our series recapping the Epstein Becker & Green webinar on the Supreme Court's Decision regarding Obamacare continues! Today, we'll be talking about the impact of the upcoming election on the plan, as well as the implications for employers. 

Impact of the Upcoming Election

Lynn asked the panelists to comment on the Presidential election and the swing states, saying that there wasn't even agreement among the panelists as to which states are the swing states. Bill agreed, and said that both political parties count different states as swing states. He thinks that the six states that both parties agree on as swing states are Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania. 

Some Republicans think other swing states include Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire, while Democrats think Arizona and North Carolina are swing states. Bill said that if you look at the six, and you look at what the various parties and independent organizations are doing, they've centered on these states, and that's where almost all of the money is currently being spent. 

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SCOTUS Decision on the PPACA - Potential Congressional Response

Last week, we talked about the implications of the Supreme Court's decision for the states. Today, we'll look at the potential Congressional response.

Lynn began by suggesting the panelists speak about the federal level, as she's cynical about the 90% and 100% matching, when we're going into a period of austerity. She said she would like them to talk about entitlement reform and deficit reduction, and asked whether the decision to expand Medicaid has a lot to do with people's confidences that the 100% and 90% matching money will remain the law of the land at the federal level.  

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PPACA - Implications for the States - A Recap

Yesterday, we talked about the overview and analysis of the SCOTUS decision about the PPACA, and today, we'll begin with talking about the implications for the states.

Lynn said that she wanted to build off of Stuart's point about federalism, and discuss what's going to happen at the state level. The state is going to have to decide whether to expand its Medicaid program, whether to do an exchange or not. States, like the federal government, also have an executive and legislative branch. The ACA requires the establishment of exchanges in each state, and if a state does not do it, there will be a federal exchange. Lynn said we've seen movement by the Obama administration for perhaps a hybrid exchange, where the feds come in where the states need extra capabilities. 

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Overview and Analysis of the SCOTUS PPACA Decision - A Recap

After our 2012 Annual Meeting, I recapped a session from the conference that had focused on the topic of healthcare reform (See here, here and here). Once the Supreme Court announced their decision, Epstein Becker & Green's healthcare experts once again came out to help us understand what's in, what's out and what's next with their webinar on July 2nd. 

Since it's always good to hear from the experts, I thought I'd recap the webinar here for you, again, breaking it up into manageable bites (so to speak). 

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How to Get Your Firm Blogging - A Webinar Re-cap

Today, while everyone is posting about the SCOTUS decision to uphold the PPACA, I thought I'd talk about Adrian Dayton's webinar to the Legal Marketing Association's Social Media Special Interest Group

Adrian's webinar focused on "how to get your firm blogging," and the invitation to the SIG members described the session as: 

Drawing from the bestselling book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and from over a dozen case studies within law firms, join us for 60 minutes on the 22nd of June as Adrian Dayton, author of Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition (2012, 2nd printing) and LinkedIn & Blogs for Lawyers (West 2012, co-authored by Amy Knapp) shares three keys to moving lawyers from neophites to habitual bloggers and social media users.

Included in this webcast you will learn:

  • How to persuade your lawyers to start blogging
  • Helping overcome common objections to blogging
  • Three steps to forming habits
  • Internal implementation strategies
  • Case studies from medium to large law firms
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Teachable Moments from Dewey - An LMANJ Recap

Last week, I attended the LMANJ city group's session on "Teachable Moments from Dewey," a presentation taking place in New York that we were remotely accessing. Our speakers were Bruce MacEwen, founder and President of Adam Smith, Esq and Sara Randazzo, a reporter with American Lawyer. 

While I've been watching the Dewey coverage with interest, I haven't gotten as involved as some in the details, so it was a fascinating presentation. Bruce said that it's been a topic of near obsession among his readers for the last few months - he started writing an analysis of this in March. 

As Bruce and Sara spoke, I took notes all over the handouts that we'd been given, so I'll try to make sense of them here! 

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Is the Mandate Constitutional - US National Health Care Act - a Presentation by Stuart Gerson

Following Doug's comments on the case for payment and delivery reform in the United States, Stuart Gerson was next to the podium to discuss whether the mandate is constitutional. 

Stuart began by saying that it's important to understand one thing - this discussion, besides the quality and efficiency issues, is about health insurance and not about healthcare itself. This is one of the real pitfalls of the US system - we provide healthcare to almost everyone, but it's done through a series of cost-shifting and inefficiencies, and that's what these programs are trying to address. 

He added that he hoped to make his presentation interesting for non-Americans, many of whom live in systems with national health programs supplemented by private insurance. These countries feel that they have all the answers, and in some senses they do, with many of the countries providing a reasonable quality of healthcare at a vastly lower percentage of the GDP than what the US is doing. Although the US has some high end medicine, we also have a lot of inefficiency. 

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The Case for Payment and Delivery Reform in the US - A Presentation from Doug Hastings

Rumor has it that SCOTUS might announce their decision on the PPACA today, so there's no more appropriate time to continue our discussion of health care reform! Today, I'm bringing you a recap of Doug Hasting's presentation during the ILN's 24th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. 

Doug said he would touch a little bit on the context that the health reform law provides or relates to in connection with the way that the healthcare delivery system in the US is evolving. He said that there are interesting interconnections there that lead into implications for how the Supreme Court ruling, whichever way it comes down, might affect that system. 

The healthcare delivery system - doctors, hospitals, long-term healthcare companies, laboratories - in the US is overwhelmingly private. There is a little bit of veterans' care, and some state universities have partial relationships with university medical centers, but otherwise, it's overwhelmingly private. From a payment standpoint, it's about 50% private, but when you add in all of the different components of Federal and state payment (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.), there is still a significant amount of private health plans paying for healthcare. 

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Overview of Health Reform Activities in the US - A Presentation from Lynn Shapiro Snyder

During our 2012 Annual Meeting in May, we were fortunate to have an excellent presentation from a panel of health care law experts from Epstein Becker & Green. First up, we had Lynn Shapiro Snyder, who spoke about health reform at the federal and state levels, as well as private parties achieving health reform. 

Lynn has a long background in the healthcare field, and has been with Epstein Becker & Green almost since it was founded. She began by saying that many people think of "healthcare" as being about doctors and hospitals. But it's also pharmaceutical companies, private equity firms, and banks - because, for all of us, healthcare and life sciences represent such a major portion of our economy. 

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Are you Thinking...Alternatively?

Now, as I mentioned in my summary of the GC Panel at the LMA Conference this year, Jeff Carr says he's banned the word "alternative," because there should be nothing alternative about alternative fees.

But, for the sake of this recap, we're going to use it, as that's what the session focused on.  Tim Corcoran shared with us the salient points from the alternative fees session that he attended at LMA (and often speaks on himself). 

  • Most law firms are reactive when it comes to offering alternative fees because they're concerned that they're dilutive to profits. But the firms that have figured this out and are acting proactively are seeing business development opportunities and more work. 
     
  • There's a correlation between value and charging - lawyers need to understand this. 
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Mentoring Associates in Business Development

There were so many good tidbits that came out of our LMA New Jersey meeting last week! Amy Adams shared her comments on the session she attended about mentoring associates in business development.

Amy's comments were particularly helpful, because she's speaking from the perspective of an in-house marketer, so she's implementing the advice from the Annual Meeting in her daily activities. Using a phrase from the SMORS session, Amy said she's deploying a pilot program for mentoring - she's identified a couple of partners who work well with associates, and using the formula of one partner to four associates. 

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Should We Be Using Video?

One of the other sessions that we covered during our LMA recap was about using video. There aren't many law firms doing it right now (or doing it well, for that matter), and is it really just another fad?

Tim Corcoran says no - video is on the rise, not just on your PCs, but on other devices as well. Buyers are making purchasing decisions emotionally, and then justify these decisions using logic afterwards. Video helps people to connect with you and gives them a sense of loyalty.

A lot of times, we, as marketers, don't distinguish between marketing and demonstrating expertise. Video can demonstrate this expertise. 

Important things to remember include: 

  • Keep it short: people only want quick snippets. There can be some value in recording your hour long seminar and posting it online, but for the most part, people's attention will only be held by videos under five minutes (and ideally no more than three).
  • Create a video CV that you use as an addendum to your posts or client alerts (or even in your email signatures!). 
  • You can use video across multiple platforms.
  • Although little cameras these days have come a long way, and can take some great video, there is something to be said for doing video right - get the right people, the right lighting and the right sound for a dynamite finished product. 

Is your firm using video yet? 

SMORS - They're Not Just for Campfires Anymore

I've been so excited that the LMA has formed a NJ city group of the NY chapter, and it's been wonderful to connect in person with other legal marketing colleagues outside of the Annual Conference. Last night, we met up again to re-cap the LMA conference for those in the group that hadn't been able to attend.  I added my experiences, but was able to learn a lot from Wilentz's Amy Adams and Corcoran Consulting Group's Tim Corcoran, who shared about sessions that I had missed. 

One of the sessions that Amy re-capped was taken from the pre-conference SMORS session - Smart Marketing on (Limited) Resources. She focused mostly on the presentation on managing your workload and gave us some valuable tips: 

  • Understand your firm's culture - this can take time. 
  • Know who the influencers at your firm are - even the discontented ones (especially the discontented ones).
  • Identify where you can delegate your workflow, even outside of the marketing department. 
  • Put in face-time with your clients - email is not always sufficient. 
  • Use the words "pilot program" to launch something new - attorneys are more comfortable if it sounds like the firm won't be overly invested. 
  • Use checklists and shared calendar reminders to communicate what you're doing to the partners. 
  • Uncover the true motivation behind why a partner wants to do something to find out where your time is best spent. 
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Use Editorial Focus & Insights to Create Content that Gets Noticed - A Webinar Recap Part III

Things have been a wee bit hectic around here, so I'm late in getting the final installment of my re-cap of Adrian Lurssen and John Hellerman's excellent webinar published.  But better late than never, right? 

The last section of the webinar was dedicated to the topic "Follow the Numbers." What does that mean? Well, you can tell by looking at analytics what people are interested in. (And good titles help encourage people's interest). 

Topics that show high readership can be leveraged elsewhere by firms - they can pitch news stories on them, create roundtables, and put together recurring article series.   If something is hot, you should do multiple pieces of content around it. 

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Think Like an Editor - A Webinar Recap

In Monday’s post recapping Adrian Lurssen & John Hellerman’s recent webinar, we talked about their advice to see the world from your audience’s point of view. Today, we’ll look at their next point, to think like an editor.

Adrian kicked off this section with a quote from Barger & Wolen’s Heather Morse:

What are your competitors writing about? What new cases have been decided? What news articles are trending? What are the other bloggers saying? Any new legislative actions? I subscribe to numerous RSS feeds and have them all categorized so I can quickly scan to see what's happening in our industry sectors. I can then relay story ideas to our team of bloggers.”

This is excellent, excellent advice. Heather is suggesting that you use various sources to stay on top of what’s happening in the marketplaces that your attorneys work in, and then filter through to them the story ideas that they can write about. You can then send them follow up topics.

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Use Editorial Focus & Insights to Create Content that Gets Noticed - A Webinar Recap

There are some truly brilliant people in our industry, and the week before last, I was fortunate to hear two of them present in a webinar:  JD Supra's Adrian Lurssen and Hellerman Baretz Communication's John Hellerman.  The webinar addressed the topic of using editorial focus and insights to create content that gets noticed. 

They kicked off the webinar with the advice that we should be looking at the world from our audience's point of view. Since there's a lot of meaty information in the webinar recap, I'll break the post up. 

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Unpacking and Mapping Your Career Business Plan - An LMA Re-Cap

As I was leaving the LMA 2012 conference, I learned that what many of us had been hoping for was coming true - we were starting up a LMANJ city group! Although New York and New Jersey are close together, getting in and out of the city can be less than ideal, particularly on a work night, so those of us working in New Jersey are happy to be piggy-backing off of the NY programs and doing our own networking. 

Our first session took place last Thursday, and after some initial networking among ourselves, we tapped into the NY session via Skype, which was dedicated to the topic of "Unpacking and Mapping Your Career Business Plan." The session was presented by Kelly Hoey, Business Network Strategist, and Jennifer Johnson, J.Johnson Executive Search, Inc. 

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The Evolution of the Law Firm Brand - an LMA 2012 Re-Cap

My final session of the first day of the conference was “The Evolution of the Law Firm Brand: How to Promote the Individual Attorneys within the Parameters of the Firm’s Brand.” Panelists included Aden Dauchess, the Director of Digital Media with Womble Carlyle, Robert Algeri, Partner of Great Jakes Marketing, Joe Calve, the CMO for Morrison & Foerster, and Peter Winzig, the Director of Marketing and Corporate Development for Weltman, Weinberg & Reis. The panel was moderated by Adrian Dayton, CEO of Adrian Dayton & Associates.

The room was quickly filled with interested attendees, and soon it was not only standing room only, but full enough to turn people away.

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Creating a Culture of Client Service Excellence - an LMA 2012 Re-cap

The final session that I attended during the LMA Conference this year was “Creating a Culture of Client Service Excellence” with Leonardo Inghilleri, the EVP and Managing Partner of West Paces Consulting.

I was a few minutes late to the session, and the energy in the room felt a bit low, so I was initially concerned I may have chosen the wrong session. But I was quickly proven wrong as Leonardo provided us with fabulous insight and an interesting perspective that proved most valuable.

As his bio on the LMA Conference website states:

"Leonardo Inghilleri is a recognized business expert and author, and an opinion leader in the area of organizational effectiveness and strategies, client service excellence, and business innovation. As one of the key architects behind the Ritz-Carlton’s two Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards, he has first-hand experience in creating a culture of client service excellence. During this session, you will learn about proven techniques that will help your firm improve the quality of the relationships with your clients. Leonardo will share the concepts and practices that will help to create and maintain the kind of client service environment that can produce strong bottom line results.”

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LMA2012 - Finding our Inspiration, Part II

Yesterday, we talked about the first half of Jim Kane's keynote presentation at the 2012 Legal Marketing Association's Annual Conference. Now, let's jump into the second part!

The Stages of Love

After discussing the various levels of relationships, Jim moved on to talk about the stages of love – the first stage is attraction, which is contextual and about recognizing something familiar in the other person. We desire what is familiar and what we aspire to. In the legal industry, this is known as “marketing.” Our job as marketers is to understand what attraction is for our various audiences – in particular, to understand that one size doesn’t fit all.

The second stage of love is passion – every new relationship needs something different than the existing relationships – they need to feel passion. Though Jim cautioned “Don’t bring technology into a relationship too soon – it makes you appear creepy."

 

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LMA2012 - Finding our Inspiration, Part I

Every year, one of the primary reasons that marketers give for attending the LMA’s Annual Conference is the sense of inspiration that they come back to the office with after the conference is over. Meeting with like-minded people, dealing with the same pressures that we all have, and finding creative solutions to meet the challenges of our clients is a surefire recipe for returning to the office with more than one good idea to implement.

As with any conference, some of the sessions will be inspiring, others will be necessary, and still others will be lacking a little something. This year, we were lucky to start out with a bang, first hearing from the LMA’s Executive Director, Betsi Roach, followed by LMA President Alycia Sutor. And the real kickoff to the conference started with James Kane’s keynote speech.

Before I get into their comments, I will say that I’m coming a bit late to the game here on the re-caps. A few people have already shared their comments about the sessions, and I’m working a bit out of order. But since I’m never one to keep my own experiences to myself, I’m hoping you’ll find value in my re-cap as well.

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Corporate Breakout Session - Anti-Corruption Laws - Around the World Part I

Following introductory comments from Alishan Naqvee, comments on the FCPA from Stuart Gerson and the UK Bribery Act from Charles Wander, the group discussed their thoughts on anti-corruption legislation in their own countries. The discussion was quite lengthy, so I've broken it up into multiple posts.

Sueli Avellar Fonseca began with comments about Brazil, which she noted is rated highly on the corruption scale. She said that all the public departments and politicians engage in corruption. The government had created a commission to investigate the existence of corruption and their conclusion was that there is no evidence. Despite this, over the last eight years of the current government, they have made approximately 20 commissions and these commissions are all paid duties to vote in favor of the government. 

Stuart commented that this is why a country like Brazil presents huge problems for outside companies doing business there.  Sueli agreed and said that the UK and US authorities don't care that it's customary in Brazil to take bribes.  She said that it's not the government receivers of the bribes who will turn you in, but your competitors. So there is risk.

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Corporate Breakout Session - Anti-Corruption Laws - UK Bribery Act

So far, we've re-capped Alishan Naqvee's introduction to anti-corruption laws, and Stuart Gerson's comments on the US's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Following Stuart's presentation, the group heard from Charles Wander of Fladgate LLP, who spoke about the new UK Bribery Act.

Charles began by saying that he would give a brief overview of what's coming on July 1, 2011 in the UK.  As he had mentioned during an earlier session, the firm has been doing some work on this with their clients, trying to understand what the issues might be.  As Stuart had said, this is going to be applied on a worldwide basis, so it will be applied to anyone with any kind of tenuous connection with the UK.  

The UK was not without anti-bribery legislation - through the end of June they would have a piece of legislation dating back to the 19th century. It was ultimately felt that this didn't have sufficient teeth.  The UK was criticized in 1997 by the OECD when the incoming Labour administration discontinued an investigation into alleged bribery by British Aerospace, as part of the Al Yamamah contracts in Saudi Arabia.  This was heavily criticized as being a decision made for political reasons.

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Corporate Breakout Session - Anti-Corruption Laws - the FCPA

Yesterday, I shared with you this post re-capping Alishan Naqvee's introduction to the topic of anti-corruption at our 2011 Annual Meeting.  To follow up on that, we'll review Stuart Gerson's (Epstein Becker & Green) comments during the session regarding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and its implications for those in the room.  

Stuart provided the attendees with both an article he and a colleague authored on the FCPA, and an overview that their healthcare group had developed.  Stuart said that as Alishan had mentioned, both the FCPA and the new UK Anti-Bribery law are extraterritorial - but not only are they applied overseas throughout the world, but they are also applied against non-US citizens, as long as the commerce that they're supporting is in the stream of interstate commerce within the US.

So non-US citizens who have never stepped food in the US are subject to the FCPA, which is a criminal statute that has long jail sentences associated with it.  Additionally, they have fines up to $2 million per offense - and an offense is an individual act, so there could be a long series of them that results in the fines adding up to immense sums.  And this is applicable all around the world.

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Corporate Breakout Session - A Re-Cap

During our  2011 Annual Meeting in Lisbon, we had specialty group breakout sessions - and lucky for you, our corporate session was recorded! The group had a roundtable discussion dedicated to the topic of "Anti-Corruption Laws and Navigating Client Businesses in Foreign Territories," which was moderated by Alishan Naqvee of LexCounsel Lawyers in India.

Alishan began with some slides to aid the discussion, saying that there is an organization in Japan called Control Risks, who conducted a survey of about 50 companies in Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.  All of them said that corruption is a major cost for international business, and at the same time, an increasing number of companies in the world, while they are not absolutely aware of the anti-corruption laws in their jurisdictions, most of their business is governed by them, even when doing business in other jurisdictions.

However, corruption brings a very different dimension in cross-border investments, because the country from where the investee is investing and the country where the investment is being made may be governed by separate parameters and laws.  These could be domestic, but at the same time, there could be laws from the country where the investment is being made.

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Actual Knowledge Necessary for Inducement, Mr. Norman Zivin, Cooper & Dunham

We kicked off the Saturday morning session with a presentation from Mr. Norman Zivin of one of the ILN's member firms in New York, Cooper & Dunham, who reported on their recent involvement in a Supreme Court case and the implications for ILN member firms, both in the US and abroad.

Norman said that the case involved a deep fryer, a product made by their client, SEB, a French company in Lyon.  A number of years ago, they brought a lawsuit against a company in Hong Kong for infringement of the patent.  The opposing side defended on the grounds that they couldn't have infringed the patent because the products were made and sold in China. They said that therefore, they don't do any business in the United States and couldn't have induced anyone to infringe, because they didn't even know that SEB had a patent.

The case was tried three or four years ago, before a jury. Norman commented that the reason that a lot of foreign companies bring cases to the US is that juries in the US tend to grant much higher damages than one would get in a case in Europe or Asia.  The jury took about 15 minutes to deliberate and came back with a judgement of $5 million in favor of their client. The case went up on appeal, and the decision was affirmed, so everyone thought the case was over.

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Modernization of the States and of the Administration - Mr. Joao Tiago Silveira

During our 2011 23rd Annual Meeting, we were fortunate to welcome the Secretary of State for Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Joao Tiago Silveira, as our speaker.  His topic, "Modernization of the States and of the Administration," covered the Portuguese government's efforts to streamline their services by putting them online and making them more efficient.

Mr. Silveira began by welcoming the delegates to Portugal, and sharing his pleasure at speaking to the group about cutting red tape and the achievements that the Portuguese government has had. He said that they're pushing forward a strong policy around cutting red tape, mainly by using two plans - the Simplex plan, a plan directly linked to reducing bureaucracy, and the Technological plan, which is a plan for using the internet and new technologies.

The government identified three clears goals for these two programs: 

  1. To eliminate and simplify the acts and procedures, mainly in registration offices. In Portugal, civil registration, company registration, industrial property trademarks and patents, land registration and car registration are dependent on the Ministry of Justice.  So one of the government's goals is to simplify the procedures in this field.
     
  2. To de-materialize by using the internet and electronic procedures in the registration sector.  The government now uses e-filing, the internet and new technologies to achieve faster and more cost-effective registrations.
     
  3. To de-materialize judicial acts and procedures before the courts. This also incorporates the use of the internet and electronic solutions to allow lawyers and people to get more access to the courts, as well as reducing costs and saving time.
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The ILN's 23rd Annual Meeting is Underway!

 We're here in Portugal, and the ILN's 23rd Annual Meeting is underway - we had a wonderful welcome reception and dinner last night and a very informative business session this morning.  Here's a few photos for your viewing pleasure from the meeting!

 

Our Chairman and Executive Director chat before the meeting starts

We welcomed three new firms at this conference

Okland & Co in Norway

Davis & Gilbert in New York

And Davis Malm D'Agostine in Boston!

After our Administration update and a coffee break, one of our host firm's attorney's introduced our speaker, the Secretary of State for Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

Mr. Joao Tiago Silveira

We hope tomorrow's session will be just as good!

Maximized Marketing: Budget Boundaries and Successful Strategies for Small to Mid-Sized Firms

Although I did attend a morning session on Wednesday on client retention, it ended up being a bit of a vendor commercial - and not for something I felt I wanted to endorse on Zen. So instead, we're jumping right ahead to Maximized Marketing: Budget Boundaries and Successful Strategies for Small to Mid-Sized firms.

The session was a bit introductory, but with over half the room saying that they were new to legal marketing, it made sense. Plus, it was a good refresher for the rest of us, and great to hear what a Managing Partner had to add to the session.

The session included Marguerite Downey, Director of Communications & Client Services for Adduci Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP and Patricia A. Harris, Esq., Managing Partner for Zetlin & De Chiara LLP.

Not only was most of the room new to legal marketing, but the majority of the audience also served as the sole marketer at their firm.  Although this can present difficulties, as the speakers pointed out, having a committee of one isn't such a bad thing!  They also said that you can leverage limited resources efficiently with creative solutions at a smaller firm. 

Patricia introduced herself by saying that she has something in common with the marketers in the room - "No one wants us in their office." This got a laugh out of everyone before we jumped into their presentation.

 

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The Path to World Class - Exploring the Attributes that Distinguish Top-tier Legal Marketing and Business Development Teams

The last session of the day on Tuesday was "The Path to World Class - Exploring the Attributes that Distinguish Top-Tier Legal Marketing & Business Development Teams." After a long day at the conference, this session was going to have to be very interesting to hold our attention - and it was!

The panel was moderated by Joe Calve of Morrison Foerster and featured Geoffrey Goldberg of Lowenstein Sandler, Anne Malloy Tucker of Goodwin Procter, and Barbara Sessions of Winston & Strawn.

The panel was designed to be a nuts and bolts tutorial that we could put into action when we got back to the office.  The panelists suggested that rock climbing by your fingernails is an apt analogy to what marketers do, so we'd need all the help we could get.

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Using Client Feedback to Create Truly Meaningful Client Experiences and Deliver Greater Value

After lunch, I headed to "Using Client Feedback to Create Truly Meaningful Client Experiences and Deliver Greater Value" - a session that proved to have some fabulous tips. The panel was moderated by Julie Meyers of Burns White and featured Ronna Cross, from Patton Boggs, James Perkins of Procopio, Cory Hargreaves & Savitch, Jennifer Skiver, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis, and Tara Weintritt of Miles and Stockbridge.

Best Practices

The panel began by sharing their best practices for starting a client feedback program:

  • Get a promise from the firm leadership that they understand that the feedback is critical and they're willing to take action.
  • Know your firm's culture going into this - what's the best approach? 
  • Get everyone involved and figure out what success looks like.
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Lawyers - We Are Still Missing the Boat with Clients

During the LMA's opening session on Wednesday, we were treated to a great client panel on achieving greater collaboration - what you need to know to get a win-win relationship with your clients.  On the panel were Stephen Kaplan, the Senior Vice President & General Counsel for Connextions, Inc., Jeff Novak, the General Counsel for AOL Paid Services, and John Lewis Jr., the Senior Managing Counsel-Litigation for The Coca-Cola Company,

They gave us a lot of incredibly valuable feedback, which I'd like to share with you.  To qualify - at the end of the session, they did say that this wasn't to be taken as the "rules" for dealing with all general counsel.  The idea is for this to open a dialogue with your clients and get you thinking about how you can better service them.

Main Points from the GC's

  • Don't treat all clients the same - that's like being a therapist and treating all of your patients the same.
  • The GCs were amazed by how infrequently firms will come to them and ask how they are measured internally and what success looks like for them - doing this can differentiate you.
  • It's your job as lawyers to make your clients look good.
  • Find un-met needs for your clients - this is a different value proposition than that offered by your competitors
  • Realization rates can go up when you can help the in-house counsel meet their legal spending budget.
  • Client service should be very personal, tailored to the individual just as much as the institution.
  • Firms that know the secret to cost containment in their own firms should be able to help General Counsel apply those principles in their department.
  • When a client comes to your firm and you can divine that they're in need, that's an opportunity for the firm to embed a partnership.
  • Meeting their needs transcends the vendor relationship and makes you a partner.
  • Learn how to self-select - you can't be all things to all people.  It's difficult to discern any self-selection from the pitches that they get.  One of them recently got a pitch from a company that was obviously conflicted and should have self-selected.
  • There is lots of buzz around AFA's - but not everyone is positioned to do this. A value relationship is one where you have value to deliver.
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Potential Investment Opportunities in Vietnam - Electricity

The second half of Alex Larkin's presentation addressed the opportunities for foreign and domestic investors in the electricity generation sector. He began by saying that the government needs to make some good decisions to facilitate this, specifically when it comes to electrical pricing. Electricity is just too cheap at this point to attract foreign investors to come in and build power plants. They won't make any money if they're forced to sell at 5 cents per kilowatt hour.

For 2010, the anticipated demand for power was about 20,000 megawatts - by the time we get to 2025, this is estimated to quadruple to 80,000 megawatts. Alex said this information was provided by the MoIT, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, who might be a bit overly optimistic. These projections are based on the idea that electricity will remain very inexpensive, but if it does, they won't be able to meet demand because power plants won't be built.

So there's no doubt that the demand for electricity in Vietnam will increase dramatically over the coming years. The demand has doubled in the last five or six years - it was 10,000 megawatts in 2005.

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Legal Framework for Foreign Investment & Establishment of Business Entities in Vietnam with Alex Larkin

Following Mr. Thao's presentation on the Vietnamese Lawyers Federation and the history of the legal industry in Vietnam, the delegates turned their attention to Alex Larkin, who talked about the legal framework for foreign investment and the establishment of business entities in Vietnam.  Alex is a transplant from Washington State, so he had a unique perspective on the opportunities available to foreign investors.

Part 2 of this post will address Alex's comments on the energy-producing sector as a potential for foreign investment.

Alex began by saying that the government is taking action that attracts and encourages foreign direct investment (FDI)  They want to encourage the export of goods and reform the administration procedures in order to reduce bureaucratic inefficiencies.

Vietnam, because of its history, is a very bureaucratic place governmentally.  It's very slow - while you can get anything done, it will always take a long time.  So there has been a lot of effort recently to reform these procedures to make things more attractive for investors.  One such effort is "e-government" which will allow people to do things online more efficiently.

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Vietnam Lawyers Federation and Legal Practice in Vietnam with Mr. Nguyen Van Thao

During the ILN's 2011 Asia Pacific Regional Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, we had a very interesting presentation with Mr. Nguyen Van Thao, the Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Lawyers Federation.  He treated the group to a fascinating history of legal practice in Vietnam, and the current state of the legal industry.  After a welcome from our chairman, our local host lawyer, Mr. Phan Nguyen Toan, translated the presentation for us.

Mr. Thao is the current and permanent Vice Chairman for the Vietnamese Lawyers Federation, which is the national organization for all practicing Vietnamese lawyers.  He began with some information about the establishment of the Vietnamese legal association, and the current status of Vietnamese lawyers.

History of the Legal Field in Vietnam - Pre-1987

Vietnam was a longtime colony of France, since before 1945.  At that time, they had two small groups of lawyers - one in Hanoi and one in Ho Chi Minh city.  But those lawyers were made up of only French lawyers - there were some members who were Vietnamese and had studied French law, but they were only paralegals or support staff for the French lawyers.

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Client Development 101 for 2011 & Beyond with Cordell Parvin - a LexBlog Webinar Re-Cap

Being a part of the LexBlog network means I'm fortunate enough to participate in the webinars that they host.  Today's webinar was with the fabulous Cordell Parvin, a nationally recognized career and client development coach.  According to LexBlog's invitation, Cordell "is a lawyer himself [and] his 37 years of practice set him apart from other client development experts. He has actually done what he teaches and coaches; he knows the challenges lawyers face and helps provide solutions." 

No greater testimony to Cordell's expertise can be found than from one of his attorney clients, who said "Nothing my firm has ever done for my development matches the investment that Cordell's program has made in my maturation as a lawyer, leader and person."

With those kinds of accolades, I knew we were in for some valuable information! 

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ILN Conference Re-Cap: Social Networking - Why it May Matter to You

I had the good fortune of presenting to our members at the 2010 ILN Regional Meeting of the Americas on Social Networking and why it may matter to our attorneys.  I began by taking an informal poll of the room to see how many in the audience were regularly using social networking sites (I clarified that by "regularly," I meant logging in once a week and connecting with someone in their network in some way).  It was a fairly small number - about 15-20% of the audience.

Though social networking is a hot topic, there are still many attorneys who question how it can be useful to them in business development at all, so I gave them a few reasons why, starting with American Lawyer Media, Zeughauser Group & Greentarget's recent survey of in-house counsel.  I mentioned two important points for them that came out of the survey:

  • Blogs are an increasingly preferred mechanism for obtaining business and legal related industry information.
  • Corporate counsel are getting more of their business and legal related industry information online than from traditional print sources.

I also mentioned that the survey showed that in-house counsel are using blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to get their information and judge law firms.

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ILN Conference Re-Cap: Deepwater Gulf Oil Spill - An Energy Update

On the first morning of our 2010 ILN Regional Meeting of the Americas in Houston, we had a fascinating presentation from Beirne Maynard & Parsons' Brit Brown and Ben Escobar on "Deepwater Gulf Oil Spill - An Energy Update." 

A Little Oil History...

Brown started by saying that it used to be incredibly easy to find oil in Texas - it would just bubble up.  The first oil well was actually the Drake Oil Well in Pennsylvania and it produced about 400 barrels a day.  About the same time, they figured out how to distill oil into kerosene, and that became the cheap alternative to well oil.

The well oil industry started to boom, and the first gusher was Spindletop, which started on January 10, 1901.  Brown said that it was a phenomenal gusher by any standards, taking nine days to control. It only went to 1,100 feet, which is a relatively shallow well by today's standards.

Spindletop was outside of Beaumont, Texas and produced, during the gushing stage, about 100,000 barrels of oil a day.  To compare, Brown said that the government estimate for the Macondo well was a high of 63,000 barrels a day when it was gushing into the Gulf.

Brown said when that well came through, they started drilling "like it was going out of style," and within a year, they had about 300 producing wells.  This started to go down after a time, but in 1927, it hit peak production.  The field had a peak production of 21 million barrels a year, which was incredible for this period. 

However, things have changed. Brown said that in Texas, the railroad commission used to be like OPEC.  Even in the 50's and 60's, the railroad commission controlled all of the oil and gas production in the state of Texas.  They acted like OPEC and could actually control price.  They started to lose that edge going into the 1970's, when the US hit peak production.  Ever since, production has been going down.

Where Are We Now?

Brown said that the greatest oil production (based on barrels of proven reserves) is in the Middle East, followed by South and Central America, Europe and Eurasia.  The US proven reserves is right about 28 billion barrels, which is not a lot when you consider that the US consumes about seven billion barrels of oil each year and was once the largest producers of oil in the world.  

Brown compared US consumption of oil (7 billion barrels a year) to production, which is about 2.6 billion.  He said that oil provides about 90% of our motor fuel, and 40% for total power.  He commented that the demand for oil has increased, resulting in the US having to import 75% of its oil and added that at the current rate of consumption, it would take the world 45.7 years, approximately, to exhaust the world's current proven reserves.  

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ILN Conference Re-Cap: Law Firm Management Panel

One of our sessions during the ILN's 2010 Regional Meeting of the Americas in Houston focused on the always popular topic of law firm management.  The panel was moderated by our Chairman, Peter Altieri of Epstein Becker & Green in New York.  On the panel were Steve Arthur of Harrison & Moberly in Indianapolis, Indiana, Carlos Rodriguez-Vidal of Goldman Antonetti & Cordova in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Doug Winthrop of Howard Rice in San Francisco, California, Bill O'Neill from McDonald Hopkins in Cleveland, Ohio and Anders Lundberg from Hellstrom in Stockholm, Sweden.

Creating Demand

Altieri began by saying that one of the challenges in the current economy for firms is creating demand. In the past, they had much more pipeline work than there is now, in part because clients are trying to do more in-house. He added that even the big firms are coming in and being price-competitive, and asked the panelists to comment on this.

Winthrop said that his firm has been seeing a tremendous rebound in the litigation sector of the firm, which has them quite busy.  Now, they're facing the issue of whether to hire more attorneys on the litigation side, or ask the business lawyers to chip in.  He said they're concerned that they'll find themselves with overcapacity, so they've addressed the issue by doing both.

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ILN Conference Re-Cap: Getting Out of the Box in Counsel Engagement and Service Delivery - the Value Challenge

During the ILN’s 2010 Regional Meeting of the Americas in Houston, Texas last week, we were treated to a presentation by our host firm’s managing partner, Martin Beirne of Beirne Maynard & Parsons, and Jeff Carr, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of FMC Technologies.  Jeff's presentation focused on "Getting Out of the Box in Counsel Engagement and Service Delivery - the Value Challenge." 

Beirne introduced Carr, saying that he's the author of the Associate of Corporate Counsel's Value Challenge - something that he's been talking about for fifteen years.  Carr said that FMC Technologies is a 9 year old company, with about 120 years of history, and is one of those that touches people's lives in many ways.  

Carr jumped right into talking about his experience as a general counsel, saying that his legal spend is less today than it was in 2001, in a world where firms' rates go up 10% a year.  He added that FMC Technologies pays, on average, 107% of their invoices to law firms - he would later explain how and why this happens.

How is it possible to have a smaller legal spend? Carr said companies need to change how they buy what they buy, how they pay for it, and go from being reactive lawyers to being proactive lawyers.  What drives him? If he can save his company $1 million, that equates to a half a cent of share earnings.  That's what drives companies.

He said that his legal team's mission statement says that they're not lawyers - they're there to help achieve business goals.  Only one person who is currently on his team was with him in 2001 because the others either didn't want to move when they changed their headquarters to Houston, or they didn't want to practice law the way that his team does.  They were not willing to embrace change and the discipline that they require to be successful lawyers at FMC Technologies.

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Conference Re-cap: ALM's Social Media; Risks and Rewards Brand Protection and Promotion and Social Media

After lunch, ALM's Social Media: Risks & Rewards conference focused more on the rewards of social media.  The Brand Protection and Promotion of Social Media session featured Jennifer Arkowitz from Townsend and Townsend and Crew as the moderator, and David Morris, Senior Corporate Counsel of TripAdvisor, Alexandra Sepulveda, Trademark Counsel with General Mills, and Johanna Sistek, Trademark Counsel for Google, Inc. as speakers.  

Proactive or Reactive? 

Arkowitz's first question was whether each of the companies were more proactive or reactive in their social media efforts.

Sepulveda (General Mills) said that for them, it's a combination. When Facebook had a big land grab for user names, they went through their brand list and got all of those names.  She said that as trademark lawyers, they're classic hostages, because if they know about something, they have to do something about it.  

Sistek (Google) said that they have issues raised internally from employees as well as users, so they're able to be reactive instead of proactive. She added that all of their teams use social media in what they do.

Morris (TripAdvisor) commented that they're both proactive and reactive. Being an online brand is core to what they do, so although they don't have a dedicated social media team, about half the company is working on social media. They do that internally and externally. TripAdvisor uses small firms to scour the net for mentions of their company - this is at a cost, but it does help to find those mentions.

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How Has the 2009 World Economic Downturn Affected the Asia Pacific Region? A Re-cap from 2010 Annual Meeting (Part II)

Yesterday, part I discussed the Chinese and Hong Kong perspectives on the global financial crisis and its effect on their business. Part II will talk about the Vietnamese perspective and the justice systems in China and Vietnam.

Peter asked Phan Nguyen Toan from LEADCO what he was seeing in Vietnam, saying that a number of US companies are looking to Vietnam as an alternative for production and manufacturing. Phan agreed that Vietnam is similar to China, in that they didn't suffer much from the economic downturn. He cited their recent entry into the international community as one reason for this. He said they are struggling in some ways, saying that a company recently opened a big factory, where they were planning to recruit 10,000 workers. After two years, they had only been able to hire twenty percent of the qualified workers. He added that they were also facing additional issues of poor infrastructure, particularly the seaport, airport, and transportation systems. 

However, Phan noted that they have some distinct advantages in Vietnam as well, such as the lower costs for good resources. Secondly, he said that the Vietnamese people tend to be very hardworking and eager to learn. The country is rich in natural resources. Phan added that the population of Vietnam is very young, with about 50% being under 35.

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How Has the 2009 World Economic Downturn Affected the Asia Pacific Region? A Re-cap from 2010 Annual Meeting (Part I)

In addition to our regular Annual Meeting, we also had a special session for our Asia Pacific delegates to discuss the strengths of the firms in the region, recent cases they had been handling, and the interesting and important question of "How has the 2009 world economic downturn affected the Asia Pacific Region?" This question prompted a discussion of the current marketplace that may be of greater value than just to the attendees.

Scott Guan from Jade & Fountain in Shanghai kicked off the discussion with an update from China, saying that they hadn't been hit as hard by the global financial crisis as some of the other markets. The effects that they'd seen were mostly in the areas of cross-border work, as well as foreign-related financing, M&A, and capital markets work. He'd seen a greater impact of the crisis on multinational law firms in China, who have had to lay off a lot of lawyers.  

But this has turned out to be an opportunity for a local law firm with international expertise, such as Jade & Fountain.  The firm was recently ranked as one of the top 10 fastest growing Chinese firms by the Asian Legal Business journal. Scott said that because there are so many qualified lawyers on the market from these multinational firms, who his firm wouldn't have had access to in a more prosperous economic situation, they have been able to actively recruit these attorneys. Because of the firm's well-designed partner incubation system, the firm has brought in attorneys from Allen & Overy, Freshfields, Allens Arthur Robinson, Baker & McKenzie and Jones Day.

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Effective Benefits Programs - an ILN Conference Re-cap

On Saturday, we had another session that was of interest to the delegates - a presentation on Effective Benefit Programs. The presenter was Stanley Jeremiah, the Vice President and Managing Director for Asia Pacific HR Management at Convergys.  Stanley is also a chartered insurer with UK professional qualification, a fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute, and a council member of the Singapore Insurance Institute.  His talk focused on one small area of firm management, benefits, and he gave a general overview since benefits are country-specific.  

One of the characteristics of a benefits program is that it's a more subtle form of compensation than remuneration, because it's not often communicated to employees in terms of cost.  As a result, it's less comparable to benefits packages at other firms and isn't well-leveraged as a differentiating factor when recruiting talent.  Because benefits aren't given this importance, employees often don't know what benefits they have and as a result, are not as appreciative as they could be, because they don't understand the value.  Stanley said that if firms can use benefits packages effectively, they could become something that has a higher perceived value than the actual cost.  

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SIAC - Arbitration in Singapore, an ILN Conference Re-Cap

Although generally I would make every effort to offer posts from our ILN conferences as they happen, in this case I am forced to write them after the fact.  Because of the political turmoil in Bangkok, we had to make the decision four weeks before our Annual Meeting to move the conference to Singapore, so I was knee deep in last minute decisions and more on-site planning and execution as a result than is normally the case.  So without further ado, I bring you some of the highlights from the ILN's 22nd Annual Meeting in Singapore! 

In the first days of our visit, we had the pleasure of visiting Maxwell Chambers, the home of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre, where we met their head of business development, Ms. Rachel Foxton, and their CEO, Mr. Ming Naing Oo.  We saw several of their hearing rooms and learned more about the benefits of arbitration in Singapore during our Saturday morning session.  

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Re-cap of ALM's Law Firm CMO Forum: Inside/Outside Counsel Relationship

On Wednesday, May 12th, I was fortunate enough to attend a couple of sessions at American Lawyer Media's Law Firm Marketing and Business Development Leadership Forum. The ILN was a marketing partner for the event, and I spoke on a panel called "Going, Going...Global? The Worldwide Marketing for Legal Services." Unfortunately, I have not yet mastered the art of tweeting from a panel I'm participating in (and so don't have comprehensive notes for a re-cap), but the first session of the morning on the changing nature of in-house and outside counsel relationships was full of great takeaways for law firms and their marketing departments.  If you're interested in the full list of tweets from the conference, you can check out the #LCMO hashtag transcript.

On the panel were:

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LMA Session Recap: Emergence & Benefit of Social Networking for Legal Professionals

One of the hottest topics up for discussion at last week's Legal Marketing Association's Annual Meeting was social networking. From Twitter to Facebook, blogging and tweeting, it almost sounds like a foreign language to the uninitiated. The LMA even warranted its very own hashtag (#LMA) on Twitter to keep track of all the comments flowing through the twitterstream. My own affinity for social networking brought me to Friday's breakout session, "Emergence & Benefit of Social Networking for Legal Professionals," led by John Lipsey, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell's Vice President of Corporate Counsel Services. The session turned out to be a broader look at social networking than some of the attendees would have liked, but a number of valuable points could still be gleaned. If you'd prefer to read my comments in tweet form, my tweets from the session follow this post.

Social networks involve reputation management: In a Web 2.0 world, you lose control over your own messaging, so a shift is necessary from attempting to control the message to managing your reputation and that of your firm. Because everyone has a voice on the internet, you never know where your next opportunity, or public relations crisis, will come from. As recent incidents have shown, what you say online can affect your career and is not easily erased. Similarly, what others say about your and your firm online can also impact your reputation. The key here is understanding that whether or not your are participating in social networks, the conversation is happening. So getting involved in social networking allows you some control over what is being said about you and your firm, and the ability to react to what others are saying. To monitor the conversation about you and your firm, John suggested setting up Google alerts for your name, your firm's name, and considering extending these to specialized practice areas to keep abreast of what online chatter might be affecting your reputation.

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