Social media is the perfect medium for someone like me – someone who’s an introvert, a bit on the shy side, and prefers to have the safety of being behind a computer screen rather than face-to-face. 

But if you’re using social media to be…well, social…and you’d like it to lead to business development opportunities, you’ve got to take it offline. While it’s possible to build relationships online, and to nurture them there, you cannot discount the benefit to meeting someone face-to-face. 

A conference is the perfect opportunity for this, and I’ll tell you a story about how social media has enriched my conference experience at the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Meeting (which I’m currently en-route to – I love airplane wifi!). 


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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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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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We’re getting underway this evening with the ILN’s 24th Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Tomorrow, as I do at all of our meetings, I will be presenting to our attorneys and I thought what better topic to discuss than that of client satisfaction? 

My presentation is based on the client panel from LMA’s Annual Conference this year, and you get the first look! 


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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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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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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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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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A significant part of my job is planning our conferences, and we have four of these a year. Some people might consider me a party planner, but when you work for a network like ours, conference planning is much more than that – the purpose of our conferences is to facilitate relationships, and I need to plan each part of the conference around that goal.

Plus, I need to try to make everyone happy. Guess how often that happens?

Sometimes, facilitating relationships means pushing our delegates past their comfort zones (ie bike riding through rice paddies in Vietnam or sending them to a fish spa in Singapore) because it makes them feel a shared connection that leads to talking, laughing, and forming a relationship.

As I mentioned, we have four conferences a year – the Asia Pacific Meeting, the Annual Meeting, the European Regional Meeting, and the Americas Regional Meeting. As you might guess, anywhere from 2-4 of these are held outside the United States and that presents some interesting challenges, as well as offers some rewarding experiences.

I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve learned with you, because while these lessons were learned while planning conferences, they can also be applied to business done abroad as well.


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