Here at Zen I’ve decided to start a weekly post called "Ask Friday!" where I’ll take a reader question and answer it.  You can leave your questions in the comments for any post, if you’d like, or message me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Today’s question comes from Larry Bodine, of Larry Bodine Marketing, who asks "What tips do you have to motivate lawyers to do business development?" 

My number one tip to motivate lawyers is to share success stories.  I’ve found that showing how other lawyers have gotten business through various types of business development activities give attorneys the comfort that someone has tried it before, and they’ve been successful.

But it’s not always enough for me to be the one sharing these stories – it’s often more helpful to get the attorney who’s been successful to do the sharing.  For example, as you know I’m a big fan of social media.  I give presentations to our attorneys at each of our Annual & Regional Conferences, and recently, my presentations have focused on social media.


Continue Reading Ask Friday!

As you know if you’ve been following my Twitter stream, or checking Zen in the last couple of months, last week, I attended the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference in Orlando.

Tuesday morning, the conference business sessions officially kicked off with our keynote from Jeff Williford from the Disney Institute, who talked about Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence.  When he began by telling us that he’d be speaking for 90 minutes, I think the audience was worried, but the presentation was so engaging and informative that the time really flew.  And although his presentation was about how Disney creates a truly magical experience here, there were 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."


Continue Reading Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence – An LMA Recap

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.


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

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! 


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

I read an interesting article this afternoon from the New York Times, called "Mind Your BlackBerry or Mind  Your Manners." It brought up the controversial topic of whether or not it’s appropriate to be fiddling with your smart phone during a meeting. Since I know that lawyers are often tethered to their Blackberries (and I’m starting to see a lot more iPhones with our group!), I thought it might be an interesting topic to delve into further.

Though there are some things I take a firm stand on (dogs, not cats, coffee, not tea), this is one of those grey areas for me. And I think the answer is "it depends."

In the article, the author mentioned an instance where a company required all of its employees to take meeting notes on their Blackberries, which made one VP look as though he was paying less than full attention.  I’m often found in a conference tapping away on my iPhone, not because I’m checking email or Facebook, but because I’m tweeting the relevant points to my followers and using that as my note-taking system for a later blog post.


Continue Reading Tethered to Our Smart Phones – Good Business or Just Rude?