Our second quarter of the year begins tomorrow, and for many of us, we’re facing a new normal that didn’t seem possible three months ago. One of my lawyers emailed me last night and said “what a year this past week has been.” I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken.

Lawyers are all in different places at the moment – some firms are exceptionally busy, but may have clients who aren’t able to pay them at the moment. Others are making the difficult decision to lay off staff or cut salaries. Some are shuffling resources to accommodate the influx of questions to practice areas like employment and insolvency and bankruptcy. Everyone is unsure what the future brings.
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I’m a new leader in my organization.

It’s true that I’ve been in a leadership role for a number of years, and held leadership positions in other organizations, but when my dad (our former Executive Director) stepped down in December, all eyes were on me to take the reins and steer the ship (forgive me the mixed metaphor).

And then a pandemic happened.
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If you’re new to working from home, by now, you’ve seen or read about 15 posts on what to do, from putting on regular work clothes to setting a schedule and having a dedicated work space. I’m a work from home veteran with fifteen years under my belt, so I know a thing or two about it. It’s true that it does take a certain personality – I fall into the category of finding it hard to walk away from my computer at the end of the day (I’m not sure if that means I’m more or less successful at working from home, but it does mean I get a tremendous amount done).
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Coronavirus.

The hot topic on everyone’s mind at the moment (unless you’re in the US and then it’s pretty evenly split between politics and germs). I almost hate to join the fray and discuss it, but with so many events being cancelled, and travel restrictions being enacted, I wanted to add some suggestions for how to continue networking during this time, so that you don’t lose momentum on your relationship building efforts.

For some of us, travel and events still move forward. Travel guidance varies – it depends on your destination and the size of the gathering. Common sense and good hygiene are essential, and for our group, we’ll be instituting what we’re fondly referring to as “Operation Fist Bump” at our upcoming Annual Conference (which may be further downgraded to “Operation Wave Hello.”
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Just getting it in under the wire – I wanted to take the opportunity to mark the occasion of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking’s 11th Anniversary. Eleven is a lot of years to be writing – I started this blog when I was only four years into my career with the ILN, when I was still finding my way in the legal industry, and it helped me to gain confidence, meet talented, smart people, and engage in thoughtful conversations around interesting topics that were and continue to shape our field. In that time, I’ve published 1,265 posts, a number of them guest posts from amazing contributors. We’ve looked at topics ranging from leadership, the future of the legal, networking, business development, relationship development and more to content marketing, social media (from its first baby steps to where it is now), and legal marketing. I look forward to seeing what the future brings, and hope to continue to bring you interesting content and topics for many years to come!

Over the years, on our anniversary, I’ve shared lessons I’ve learned, tips for blogging or networking, my favorite posts from the past, or the past year. An eleventh anniversary gift is typically supposed to be steel, which represents strength – it’s a good characteristic to have for this year, the year in which I take on the role of Executive Director of my network, navigate new waters, while continuing to stretch and grow, face the coronavirus while making global travel plans and hosting events, embracing new challenges and opportunities. Strength isn’t only internal though – it’s also about the network of support that you have around you, who act as a sounding board, build you up, pick you up, dust you off and throw you back out there when you need it the most. I’m very fortunate to have built one of the strongest support networks I know.
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Recently, I was speaking with a group of  professional women about the skills they see as essential to “getting to the top.” CEO of Pure Performance Communications, Deirdre Breakenridge, put together an article, “Climbing the Ladder to Success: Five Thought Leaders Weigh-in with Advice,” collecting their answers, and I wanted to share mine with you here.

For me, the answer is three-fold: persistence, a willingness, and openness to always be learning, and a strong tribe.
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This fall, ILN members will have the good fortune to participate in a webinar with Pamela Cone, founder and CEO of Amity Advisory. Pam is speaking on the global movement behind corporate social responsibility and sustainability for law firms, and why firms should care, and in advance of that, I’ll be sharing some guest posts with you that may aid in your own efforts. Here is the third and final post in our series.

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How does your social impact program rate? Globally, firms are finding that prospects and clients, as well as employees and recruits expect them to take their corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability programs to a new level. These stakeholders expect you to show that you have a holistic, strategic social impact plan with measurable results.
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This fall, ILN members will have the good fortune to participate in a webinar with Pamela Cone, founder and CEO of Amity Advisory. Pam is speaking on the global movement behind corporate social responsibility and sustainability for law firms, and why firms should care, and in advance of that, I’ll be sharing some guest posts with you that may aid in your own efforts. Here is the second in our series.

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You might be surprised to learn what your clients expect from you. A growing number of companies have signed on to the United Nations Global Compact—more than 12,000 in 165 countries. They’re committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and they expect vendors and suppliers to also commit toward a more just and sustainable world.  Yes, this includes law firms and other professional service providers.
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Recently, Greentarget and Zeughauser Group released their annual results for the 2019 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey. I had the chance to chat with Greentarget President and Founding Partner, John Corey, about the results, which had some actionable findings for lawyers and law firms, as well as a few surprises.

First, the report – Corey notes that they work to take it somewhere new each year, and their six months of hard work are obvious. In addition to the report’s results this year, you also get access to some excellent thought leadership pieces that expand on the ideas revealed by the data. The data itself examines three categories of respondents – general counsel, the C-suite, and law firm CMOs, which gives a full and interesting picture of what your firm clients are looking for at various levels, and whether your firm may be correctly addressing these needs. 
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While being interviewed for a podcast yesterday morning, the host asked me what I saw as the primary trend for the future of law firms. Although my answer is simple, the work behind it is not – collaboration.

We’ve talked about Heidi Gardner’s book, Smart Collaboration, before (and I again highly recommend reading it). One of the things Gardner addresses in the book is the barriers to collaboration. I’m sure many of these will be familiar to you, and that she’s so adept at identifying them should give you comfort that she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to why collaboration is so essential and useful to law firms and lawyers. Let’s examine a few of these, and how you may overcome them within your own firms or law firm networks to achieve better collaborative results.
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