I’m currently about 30,000 feet above the earth, flying back home after a whirlwind time at the LMA’s Annual Conference. I feel like my attendance at the conference was akin to drinking water from a firehose – there was a lot of information to take in, and a lot of great ideas and conversation. Now, it’s time to process all of that, and sort out what I can use and share.

In my mind, the most important session of the conference is always the General Counsel (GC) panel – I can best help my clients by telling them what their clients say to marketing folks when they’re not around. This year, the panel was its own breakout session (though I think it should really be required attendance for EVERYONE), and once again, it was an incredibly valuable session. 

The panel featured Ron K. Barger, the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Archon Group, Jeffrey W. Carr, the Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary for FMC Technologies, and Janet L. Dhillon, the EVP, General Counsel and Secretary for J.C. Penney Company. It was moderated by Tom Duggan and Cathleen Flahardy of InsideCounsel.  All of the GC’s represented are active members in the General Counsel Forum

Continue Reading “Legal is the Only Industry Where Clients Act Like Sellers and Sellers Act Like Buyers” – A General Counsel Panel

It’s that time of year again – the LMA Annual Conference is coming up in March! It’s a great opportunity to make new friends and renew relationships, so I thought I’d keep a list of those attending as I’m advised, as well as their Twitter names (so anyone interested in the conference who can’t attend can follow along). Also, don’t forget to follow #LMA12 for more information on the conference and during the sessions. 

If you’d like to follow along with a twitter list, check out my list of LMA attendees!

Lindsay Griffiths (@lindsaygriffith)
Kate Lutes (@kklutes)
Laura Gutierrez (@lalaland999)
Jill Clark Rako (@JillRako)
Gina Rubel (@GinaRubel)
Laura Powers (@lppowers)
Gail Lamarche (@gaillamarche)
Heather Morse (@heather_morse)
Megan McKeon (@meganmckeon)
Stacey McGuire (@smcguire13)
Jonathan Groner (@jgronerpr)
Kathryn Whitaker (@KBWhit)

Continue Reading LMA Attendees – the Twitter Edition!

With our Annual Meeting coming up in just a few short weeks, I wanted to dedicate this week’s "Ask Friday" to the question of "how can I make the most out of attending a conference?"  You might think that just showing up and attending the events is enough, but with a little bit of strategy, your pre, during and post conference activities can really make a difference in your experience.

Pre-Conference

Before heading to the conference, take a few minutes to look over the agenda and the attendee list (if it’s available).  The agenda can give you an idea of what topics will be discussed and where you can contribute – when you contribute to a discussion (especially in a conference like ours where the main purpose is to develop relationships), it can help people to identify you with a certain area of expertise, and make you a thought leader who is sought out for later conversations.  It also makes you easier to remember.

Review the attendee list and identify who you’d like to build relationships with.  This can seem a bit "icky," but you know where your clients are doing business, so it’s a good idea to connect with possible referral partners so that you start to build that level of trust necessary for referring work.  You may even see someone on the list that seems to have a cool job, or a unique value proposition – meet these people just to expand your horizons if nothing else.  When we stretch our comfort zones, that’s when we really learn and grow.


Continue Reading Ask Friday! Conference Attendance Edition

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.


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

As I attended my sixth LMA Conference last week, it occurred to me that I couldn’t believe how fast my time in the legal profession has gone! But it also occurred to me that there may be many people out there attending their first conference, or just starting out in the legal or professional services fields, who never got any lessons in college about how to act in a business environment.

This week, I heard someone say during a session that if you’re going to be "Debbie Gossip" as a marketing professional, it will be difficult to gain the trust of your lawyers and as such, difficult to get the respect needed to get a seat at the table. I think the younger generation in the workforce (and at 31, I include myself in that) has a lot of enthusiasm, talent and incredible ideas. But sometimes we lack the professional polish that can get those ideas implemented. So I wanted to offer up some advice on what I’ve learned in my six and a half years in legal marketing – some of these things might seem silly or overly conservative, but they will help you stand out for your work instead of for a less professional reason:

Continue Reading Some Advice to New Marketers on Attending Conferences

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

Last week, the ILN hosted our 2010 Regional Meeting of the Americas in Houston, Texas.  I’ll be putting up some posts this week re-capping some of the sessions, but I thought I’d start today with my recommendations for what to do when you get home from a conference.

At our meetings, although the business sessions