Posted in Conference/Webinar Session Re-caps, Law Firm Client Service, Law Firms, Legal Marketing

Connection Brings People Back – Business Development Lessons from Disney

It can seem like the reason that Disney is so successful is truly a dose of magic.

But when you break it down, they have a real formula for excellence – excellence in leadership, creating and sustaining the right culture, and pursuing client satisfaction. All of the pieces of that formula are important, but even after putting them together, what truly makes Disney successful is their ability to bring people back again and again. And to do that, they need connection with their customers, and to empower their customers to tell the stories that make other people want a piece of the Disney experience too.

That isn’t much different to the way business development works for lawyers and law firms. Continue Reading

Posted in Law Firms, Legal Marketing

Say Goodbye To Q1 With A Tune-up Of Your Marketing & BD Plan

We’re ending the week on a high note, with a guest post from Lance Godard, of The Godard Group. For over 30 years, Lance has worked with lawyers and law firms to help them craft their messages, so if you’re looking for someone to help you with your content, look no further than The Godard Group. Today, he gives us some solid tips for conducting a quarterly tune-up of our marketing/BD plans.


Just as you regularly perform maintenance on your car, you need to regularly tune-up your marketing and business development efforts, objectives and plans in response to changes in your practice, your client base, your experience, and your network. In fact, it’s a good idea to do that quarterly, because three months is enough time to determine how well your plan is working or, more to the point, how well you are working your plan. Here are three things you can do: Continue Reading

Posted in Conference/Webinar Session Re-caps, Law Firm Client Service, Law Firms

Success Requires Client Satisfaction – the Disney Philosophy

Success that starts with leadership and continues with having the right people makes complete sense – but all of that doesn’t mean much if your clients aren’t satisfied. And that’s the third piece in Disney’s philosophy.

Disney’s strategy is to exceed their guests’ expectations by paying attention to every detail of the delivery.  Paying attention doesn’t cost money, just time – and that’s something that firms can be doing as well.  While I recognize that time does equal money for law firms, what Disney says next makes sense – there can be big wows (like building a new rollercoaster), but paying attention to the small details changes the experience – it’s easier to do 100 things 1% better than to do 1 thing 100% better. When you link all those little wows together, you create a big wow. Continue Reading

Posted in Conference/Webinar Session Re-caps, Law Firms, Leadership

Success Requires the Right Culture – the Disney Philosophy

Starting at the top is essential, but you need the right mix of people within your firm to really be successufl. Disney calls this “cast excellence.” The corporate culture at Disney is, by design, well-defined, clear to all, and goal-oriented. It can seem challenging to implement this at a law firm, but I’ve seen it done (take a look at our member firm in Australia, Hall & Wilcox, with their emphasis on Smarter Law). Jeff Williford of the Disney Institute challenged firms to think about their corporate culture, and whether the existing culture is what they want – internal branding is important, as is communicating your culture up front and early.

If you communicate your culture up-front, others can make the decision if they want to engage with you or not.  For example – Disney doesn’t allow anyone with visible tattoos or mohawks to work there, and they communicate that early so people can self-select out. Similarly, Hall & Wilcox has a transparent culture of collaboration and community, with a fully open plan in their offices – when you interview, you know right away whether that’s something that would work for you or not. Continue Reading

Posted in Future of the Law Firm, Leadership

3 Reasons Law Firms Should be Paying Attention to CLOC

CLOC is a movement.

You’ve heard me mention this before, that CLOC (also known as the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium) is a community, a movement. It’s a drumbeat. And it’s not going away. But why is it so important for lawyers and law firms to be paying attention? Three reasons. Continue Reading

Posted in Lawyer Interviews

ILN-terviews: Olga Torres, Torres Law – Customs & Global Trade

Welcome to ILN-terviews, a series of profiles of ILN member firm attorneys, designed to give a unique insight into the lawyers who make up our Network. For our latest interview, we chose ILN member, Olga Torres of our member firm Torres Law – Customs & Global Trade in the US.

In one sentence, how would you describe your practice?
We assist companies with international trade regulatory challenges, foreign direct investment issues, anti-corruption, and industrial security matters.

Who would be your typical client?
Companies with international operations that import and export, or develop sophisticated technologies in the defense or commercial sectors. We represent a variety of industries such as aerospace, defense contractors, retail, software, fashion, pharmaceuticals, electronics – to name a few.

What would you like clients and potential clients to know about you?
We take great pride in offering excellent work product and results while at the same time maintaining cost-efficiency and quick turnarounds. We are able to handle challenging cases involving multi-government agency disclosures and internal corporate investigations. Our area of the law is very niche and technical and we take the time to understand our clients’ products, technologies, operations, and company culture. Continue Reading

Posted in Law Firms

International Lawyers Network Welcomes New Member Firm in Philadelphia, Royer Cooper Cohen and Braunfeld

We’re so pleased to announce that we have welcomed a new member firm, Royer Cooper Cohen and Braunfeld LLC, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Royer, Cooper, Cohen and Braunfeld is a 35 lawyer, full service firm with offices in the Philadelphia area. RCCB’s partners brought to RCCB a wealth of experience practicing in large multi-national law firms and in-house positions. The firm provides clients with the kind of sophisticated, high quality work expected from large firms, but in a more client-friendly environment. RCCB practices all aspects of corporate law, real estate, commercial litigation, IP licensing and litigation, bankruptcy, tax, trusts and estates, and employment law. Many RCCB lawyers have significant experience with cross border transactions.

“We are very pleased to welcome Royer Cooper to the ILN,” said International Lawyers Network Executive Director, Alan Griffiths. “This firm combines sound business advice, with practical legal counseling, in line with the culture of ILN member firms.”

RCCB brings a strong tradition of serving the mid-Atlantic community to the ILN, and we look forward to what the firm will offer to our existing members throughout the world. For more information about Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld LLC, visit the firm’s website at

Posted in Firm of the Month

ILN Firm of the Month – Torres Law – Customs & Global Trade!

The ILN is proud to announce our latest firm of the month, Torres Law – Customs & Global Trade!

Torres Law is a practice based in Dallas, Texas and Washington, DC with focus on international trade and customs law. Torres Law’s practice areas include customs, exports, economic sanctions, FCPA and industrial security.

Torres Law has extensive experience with the various regimes and agencies governing trade such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and others. Torres Law provides clients with full support for all trade law issues, including U.S. export control and sanctions laws, trade policy, industrial security, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), anti-boycott laws, government contracts, and customs law. Continue Reading

Posted in Conference/Webinar Session Re-caps, Law Firm Client Service, Law Firms, Leadership

Success Starts with Leadership Excellence – the Disney Philosophy

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a keynote session focused around Disney’s approach to business excellence. The recap I shared has been among one of my most popular posts, and the advice provided by Jeff Williford from the Disney Institute proves to be timeless. Despite a changing marketplace, the tenets that underlie their success remain the same – and that’s perhaps why Disney has proven to be so successful in a sustainable way.

I’d like to break down the post into a series to revisit the key points that Jeff raised in his speech, and why they’re still relevant today. Although his presentation was about how Disney creates a truly magical experience, there are a lot of parallels for the legal industry – we’re also a service industry after all!  Any of the particularly important points that relate to law firms will be in bold throughout the post.

He told the audience that Disney employs more than 60,000 people from 65 countries, with 10% of those being interns, and warned us that his presentation on Disney’s approach to business excellence would be like drinking water from a firehose. But he did say that Walt Disney reminded everyone in 1955 that “it all started with a mouse.” (Which inspires me to encourage all of us to think about how and why we got started – where are OUR roots? Who is OUR mouse?) Continue Reading

Posted in Legal Marketing, Social Media

Happy 9th Blogiversary to Zen & the Art of Legal Networking!

I am absolutely gobsmacked that we’ve made it to nine years of blogging here at Zen. It’s been an adventure! I never imagined when I first began writing in this little corner of the internet how much joy blogging would bring me, but it’s allowed me to connect with people all over the world, and have some brilliant and interesting conversations with some wonderfully smart and thoughtful people.

In nine years of blogging, we’ve seen:

  • Almost 1,110 posts
  • More than 58,000 page views (WOW!)
  • Visitors from almost 200 countries and six of the seven continents

I’m looking forward to connecting with even more of you in the future, and continuing to deepen the conversations that we’ve had here on Zen.

So what has 9 years in legal blogging taught me? I wanted to share with you 9 lessons about the legal industry that I’ve picked up over the last 13+ years. Continue Reading