October 1, 2015

Buchdahl appointed chair of American Bar Association Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education

ABA_Logo.pngMicah U. Buchdahl of Moorestown, New Jersey has been appointed chair of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education (SCOCLE), the entity that oversees CLE for the largest professional organization of lawyers in the world. Buchdahl, president of the law marketing consultancy HTMLawyers, was appointed by ABA president Paulette Brown.


"There are numerous critical issues surrounding the continuing legal education of attorneys," said Buchdahl. "They include diversity of faculty, consistency of educational requirements from state to state, how lawyers should best be positioned to meet CLE requirements and how bar associations are best positioned to deliver them."

Buchdahl, a Pennsylvania licensed attorney, has held numerous ABA leadership positions, including serving as past chair of the Law Practice Division and a board member and presenter for the ABA Institute for New Partners. He received his law degree from the Temple University School of Law in 1991, and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Temple in 1985.

About HTMLawyers:
Since 2001, HTMLawyers has provided attorney marketing and business development consulting services to law firms throughout the world. For more information, please visit www.HTMLawyers.com or our blog at www.MarketingAttorney.com.

About the American Bar Association:
With nearly 400,000 members, the ABA is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. To learn more, visit www.americanbar.org. The Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education works with the ABA's Center for Professional Development to partner with the Association's entities and diverse membership to create and deliver educational programs and services to members and the legal profession that are innovative and of the highest quality.

September 6, 2015

Research Magazine: Bridging the Advisor-Lawyer Gap

advisor-lawyer-relationship-res0915-mi600-resize-600x338.jpgIn the September 2015 issue of Research Magazine, contributing editor Jane Wollman Rusoff writes about building advisor-attorney networks that will generate referrals and benefit clients. In being interviewed for her feature, it was interesting to discuss the relationship from the financial services side of the business rather than starting with my usual legal-side perspective.

While the cross-referral route is often at the heart of many of these relationships--typically between business lawyers and those advising on the numbers side of a matter--the article points out the need for both to work together. At a time when investors' financial needs have become more complex, private attorneys -- such as specialists in estates and trusts, especially, as well as in family/divorce, taxes and elder care -- are an important component of many FAs' networks and in some instances, even considered part of their team.

While I warn about just how close those relationships can get (no fee sharing with non-lawyers in almost every jurisdiction and potential conflicts of interest), there is no question that there is an obvious fit between the two professions. In numerous practices, attorneys I work with on business development strategies will tell me that various finance professionals--from CPAs to planners and investors--are their #1 source of referrals. With that in mind, we often plan social and educational events targeting those relationships. In addition, we often team and partner on marketing efforts aimed directly at the prospective client for both the legal and finance sides.

The article also discusses how those in finance seek sponsorships and advertising opportunities with bar associations and legal publications to get their brands in front of the attorney and law firms. I mention the importance of the attorney recognizing the brand of the soliciting financial entity. Just as in legal, having a name that is recognized and trusted is critical to getting in the door.

For a lawyer or law firm that invests in marketing to financial services for cross-referrals and joint ventures, this article does a great job showing the marketing strategies from the other side of the street.

Launched in 1978, Research Magazine highlights practical advice on how to build a client-centric business, financial tips, as well as business-building topics like personal branding and partnering in teams.

August 28, 2015

LPT -- Big Law Looks to Differentiate and Innovate

LP_Today_Logo-e1401945551625.pngLeaders of many of the nation's biggest and baddest law firms converged in New York City recently to discuss the rapidly changing legal landscape and how to adjust not only to survive, but thrive. The oft-repeated themes of innovation, differentiation and collaboration ruled the day.

My article in the August 2015 issue of Law Practice Today (LPT) serves as a recap of the full day inaugural Big Law Summit, put on by Bloomberg BNA. A who's who of managing partners, in-house counsel and various industry experts discussed a wide range of issues ranging from innovating in a risk averse environment to adjusting to changing demands on the client side of big business that want more "value based arrangements."

DLA Piper's Roger Meltzer gave the global firm perspective. The program titled "Harnessing the Power of Collaboration," could have been called "how origination dooms us all." As the infamous quote goes, the first step is in admitting that you have a problem. I was drawn to the Big Law Summit because these law firms are my clients. The issues and answers that ruled the day reinforced those that I experience whenever I'm sitting with a Big Law managing partner or management committee. The conversations struck honestly at the heart of the issues that need to be addressed for major law firms to thrive in today's global marketplace. Kudos to BNA for putting together a well-run and organized program on a subject matter that clearly had an audience.

August 7, 2015

PBI Marketing Ethics CLEs in August--Live in Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Mechanicsburg

PBI.pngIf it is August (another Pennsylvania bar CLE compliance month), then it must be time for another round of ethics CLEs for the PA Bar Institute (PBI). This month, besides my usual PBI ethics potpourri program hour (presented every April, August and December), you can catch me at the Jersey shore too, reprising "Linkedout and Mistweeted - Ethical Uses of Social Networking in Marketing Your Law Practice," a hit program from 2014 (updated!).

"Law Marketing and Ethics 2015 Update: Balancing Smart Business Development, Adhering to the Rules," will be presented in Mechanicsburg on August 20th, Pittsburgh on August 25th and Philadelphia on August 27th. In the 38 years since Bates v. Arizona, law firm marketing has grown from whether or not to advertise to committing significant resources toward business development. The trick is to do so in an effective, dignified and ethical fashion. In this newly updated one-hour ethics program, learn about the rules, regulations and ethics opinions that require the greatest attention, how to improve your marketing efforts without missteps, and discuss real-life examples and intriguing hypotheticals in this fast-paced, entertaining course.

When PBI asked if I could reprise Linkedout and Mistweeted as part of the CLE Down the Shore program in Atlantic City on August 14th, I said sure. After all, how much could I really lose at the blackjack and craps tables before and after my session at the Golden Nugget Hotel? The answer, of course, is plenty. At least my room and meal are comped. However, "reprise" is a bit misleading--as my slide deck from December 2014 is already quite outdated. Social media issues continue to be prevalent. The program has been updated through July 2015 to include recent ethics opinions and rule changes impacted by the use of social media for lawyer marketing purposes. What are the implications of LinkedIn's recommendations, endorsements and specialization components? How have state bars addressed these issues? You'll learn the how-to, how-not-to and the latest lessons in social networking participation.

For more information and registration, visit PBI.

July 27, 2015

Law Firms Online -- Rebranding and Client Tracking

July has been a busy month for me in chatting with legal reporters about the law firm world online in 2015, starting with Gina Passarella's piece for The Legal Intelligencer on Morgan Lewis' controversial rebrand. Little did she know when our conversation started that I was involved in Morgan Lewis' first website, some 18 years ago or so and in the firms' shift from mlb.com to morganlewis.com shortly thereafter.

A few weeks later, her American Lawyer Media colleague Lizzy McLellan followed up with Online Rebranding 'Not Just for the Big Guys' in which we discussed rebranding issues impacting midsize firms--where there is not likely a large marketing team with a wealth of resources, yet still needing to deliver a unified message.

In "Firms aim to track clients on websites," California's Daily Journal staff writer Joshua Sebold spoke with me about a topic beyond site development and branding--the way web traffic can be tracked and analyzed in strategic business development. From web cookies to analytics analysis, tracking open rates on e-mail legal alerts, online advertising, social media hooks and tracking URL clicks, the beauty of the online world is still that it offers much greater hard data to identify return on investment than almost any law firm branding effort--online or off. You'd have to go back to tracking phone numbers in a Yellow Pages ad to find anything close. Or as my kids would ask you, "What are the Yellow Pages?"

July 8, 2015

LP Magazine - The True Value of Your Published Work

LPM_JA15_cover-nospine.jpgYou could also call my column in the July/August 2015 issue of the ABA's Law Practice magazine, "101 Uses for an Article," but in The True Value of Your Published Work, I discuss how sitting down to write one article can pay dividends in so many ways. The key is not to think about the time spent as writing one article for one publication, but more as writing one thing that will be repurposed in so many ways.

This very blog post you are reading is yet another use of one article. Perhaps you reached this blog post through one of my social media feeds. Or maybe I handed you this very column during a pitch meeting at your law firm or during a subsequent meeting with an attorney about business development planning.

Print deadlines being what they are, I just submitted my next column for Law Practice earlier this week. You won't see it until November. I would never spill the beans on the subject matter, but suffice it to say that while rereading it, I was struck that the column could be turned into an entire CLE program...and you will likely see it as my Ethics Potpourri offering in 2016 for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. It is a little disturbing that this idea came to me in my sleep last night (there are better things to dream about), but it occurred to me that the column could be the centerpiece of the program and the accompanying written materials. In other words, the four hours or so that I put into writing, research and editing will pay numerous dividends moving forward. You get the idea.

There has never been an easier time than now to "get published." The online and offline options are endless. If need be, the ability to self-publish means that even the worst idea in the world can see the light of day. Just go online and read the rantings of some lunatic with access to a computer--you know what I mean. But our writings, offerings and publishing venues are far better...most of the time.

So, if the most recent "published works" on your attorney bio is 1996, take a few hours this weekend and fix it. No excuses. The benefits are endless.

July 7, 2015

Morgan Lewis Took Risks in Its Rebranding

morganlewis.pngIn ALM's The Legal Intelligencer, reporter Gina Passarella writes on Morgan Lewis Took Risks in Its Rebranding. She spoke with me about the effectiveness and controversial aspects of the mega firms' new look, which included a new website among the various rebranding efforts.

Passarella points out that with a new chairwoman and two mergers, the firm is undergoing change. The article also mentions that the rebranding initiatives, led by the firm's marketer, Despina Kartson, started prior to the Bingham McCutchen and Stamford LLC mergers.

While the article states that the firm's goal was to balance the classic and the modern, you can't help but see the dreaded Executive leadership compromise in the end result. The logo itself is staid and very old school. The website and the content "below the fold" (logo and imagery) is closer to The Huffington Post in design, appearance and functionality. So if you cannot agree on classic or modern--do neither and both. I've been at the table of plenty of these branding and rebranding conversations at law firms. I can't say I win many of those battles either.

In my conversation with Passarella, I noted that I quickly picked two sites to compare the ML site to--Coke and Deloitte--basically confirming what I expected to see--very corporate, content driven sites that were more about being a resource or information repository than a sales tool. Just as I do not need Coke to tell me about its brand and business to get me thirsty or Deloitte for professional services, I do not need an explanation as to who the firm is or what they might offer. As the old adage goes, "if you have to ask," you are probably not a Morgan Lewis client (that they want). In the ALM article, I also note that there are a handful of firms (I said dozens, maybe 100, which was stretching it) that have the name recognition amongst their client pool for the "marketing" to have much of an impact.

Morgan Lewis has come a long way since that first website in the late 90s. I enjoyed working with them when it was still MLB.com. Ironically, mlb.com is probably one of the sites today that I access most--for scores and highlights. As a local firm based in my backyard--Philadelphia--they have greater breadth of international locations and practices today. They certainly get diversity points in the leadership category. There is increased sophistication and commitment to business development. Like many mega firms, a compromise on logo and messaging is not going to hurt anybody. But from a corporate branding perspective, it still sends a mixed message.

April 8, 2015

What's in a (Law Firm) Name Change? Wolff & Samson Is No Longer

GWB.jpgIn today's The Record (Bergen County, New Jersey), staff writer Shawn Boburg writes on Former Port Authority chairman David Samson's retirement from the firm he helped found--Wolff & Samson--and the firm's decision to retire their name as well.

Wolff & Samson was founded more than 40 years ago (1972) and has grown into one of New Jersey's largest and best known law firms--with 120+ lawyers in three offices.

As the article states, "A close political confidant and adviser to Governor Christie who has been the subject of an ongoing federal investigation arising out of the George Washington Bridge scandal said Tuesday that he is leaving the powerful law firm that he founded decades ago. And the firm, Wolff & Samson, is erasing David Samson's name from the front door, a move that some see as an effort to protect the firm from any potential fallout that may lie ahead."

Among the topics posed to me by Boburg were the reasons that a law firm might decide to erase a well-known law firm brand, the cost involved and the thoughts behind such a move. With significant experience dealing with law firm name changes over the years, I suggested that it was not likely an easy decision to make--and those opinions among firm management probably varied significantly. I might not have personally advocated for a complete name change, but would have weighed the potential negative publicity of a federal investigation and the blowback onto the firm. While Samson's age (75) points to retirement, how the transition of clients is (and has been) handled would likely give me better insight toward the firm's thought process as well.

The swift name change from Wolff & Samson to Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC erases years of favorable branding in an instant, although one would expect that in the short term little would change with an individual attorney's personal book of business.

Of course, much of the firm's bread & butter is tied to government work. The link between Christie and Samson appear to have been quite favorable to Wolff & Samson--how much of that works still flows from the State of New Jersey without him might have a greater impact than the potential branding issues.

March 18, 2015

LPT -- Law Firm Management Struggles with Multigenerational Issues

LP_Today_Logo-e1401945551625.pngThe March 2015 issue of Law Practice Today (LPT) focuses on the theme of multigenerational and multicultural issues at law firms. As Editor in Chief of LPT, I wanted to also serve as the issue editor for this particular topic. It is an interesting one that seems to creep into conversations at my law firms and in bar activities on a daily basis. It is a struggle, and it simply can't be ignored.

Depending on the size and makeup of your firm, you might have traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X and Millennials in the mix. Many articles provide the definitions and traits tied to each. They often have little to do with the lawyer business and more to do with employers and employees in general. I've changed the "generations" around a bit to better identify with the real struggles that law firm management encounters--what I call the originals, "junior" senior partners, next-generation partners and the largest..."others" (entitled "not an equity partner and who cares?).

What this topic really addresses are underlying and overlying issues tied to attorneys of different ages and generations--work-life balance, dual-income households, retirement, telecommuting, technology, social media, the billable hour, nannies and au pairs, quality time with the kids, and materialism. Besides age, factors and issues related to race and gender become part of a firm's cultural makeup. It is one thing to fund a women's initiative and another to have female partners. It is great to have a diversity officer on staff, if the end result is actually diversity. Yet a complaint of many departing attorneys of varying diverse backgrounds is that the culture was simply not comfortable.

Hopefully, this article will resonate with conversations you've had at your firm about hiring, succession, communication and culture. It is not a quick, easy fix--but a philosophical approach that you choose to engage in.

March 9, 2015

The Legal Intelligencer--Major Changes Could Be in Store for Law Firm Websites

website_image.jpgIn today's edition of ALM's The Legal Intelligencer, reporter Gina Passarella writes on Major Changes Could Be in Store for Law Firm Websites. She spoke to me about the state of law firm websites in general and the new K&L Gates Hub in particular.

K&L Gates describes their new "hub" as "a digital destination for timely insight on critical issues at the intersection of business and law. Whether you are in a legal department or are a C-suite executive, we hope you will find our current insight on industry and legal trends to be a valuable resource." It is not designed to replace the regular law firm website, but provide extensive content on a few topics for a very specific audience.

Websites have come a long, long way since the first one I worked on--for Morgan Lewis--in 1996. I found this screen capture online from 2000, back when mlb.com belonged to the law firm and not to Major League Baseball. In 2000, I was proud to have worked on one of the first unique components on a large law firm website--HSRScan--which was a searchable database of letters interpreting the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the HSR Act) and its regulations. At the time, moving beyond attorney bios, news, practice area descriptions and maybe some dynamic recruiting content was quite unique. I loved that HSRScan was a database of content that literally did not exist anywhere else.

While sites have come a long way in sophistication and content, the reality is that most today are extremely similar--with the same databases cranking out the same data, and the usual array of bells & whistles. K&L Gates does a nice job organizing the enormous amount of content that they harness among their attorneys, offices and practice groups. Few firms are going to have that level of depth, and fewer are going to have the staffing resources to build it and keep it up. With a 100-person marketing and business development team, they probably have the bandwidth to keep the hub up to date and growing.

For those few firms without a 100-person marketing department, you might be focused on other elements of the Internet--strong use of social media sites, mobile-friendly sites (a must), SEO (when applicable) and various combinations of the same Hub-type content--videos, webinars, blogs and client alerts. The ship has sailed on truly unique law firm websites and blogs, but that does not mean the same elements can't be reconfigured in a different delivery mechanism. And just because it is not unique does not mean that it is not a necessity.

March 5, 2015

LP Magazine -- Effectively Managing and Maintaining Your Online Portfolio

LPM_MA15_cover.jpgIn the March/April 2015 issue of the ABA's Law Practice magazine, my topic is relevant to pretty much every practicing attorney (not to mention almost every human being on the planet). What does your online portfolio look like, and why should you care?

Every week, I will meet, speak with or e-mail a prospective client. While I will send them my own crafted biography, links to my website and blog, and additional information--what they will often be more interested in is what they find when doing a search for my name. With a somewhat unique first and last name, what they see will almost always be me. This is not the case with many that have more mainstream names to search for.

While some individuals and firms are forced to use reputation management companies to "fix" a page of results, most of us simply live with what we see. But the thought that you have no control over what appears is not accurate. Taking advantage of profile pages on powerful sites should help control that first page of results. Few will venture on to page two. Almost nobody will get to page three. And only stalkers are likely going beyond.

On this given day, I went and did what I try and do every few weeks--search for myself and see what pops. A Google search for Micah Buchdahl landed nearly 4,000 results--but only nine are on the all-important page one. Chances are pretty good that on the day you take a look, your results will vary. But here are today's top nine...

1. The bio page on my website at www.HTMLawyers.com.
2. My LinkedIn profile.
3. My bibliography of articles on Web Marketing Today.
4. My Twitter feed
5. My Facebook page
6. This blog (marketingattorney.com)
7. One of my many articles on Law Practice Today, where I serve as Editor in Chief.
8. My bio on the ABA Law Practice Division site.
9. A recent podcast on the Legal Talk Network.

Page two included Justia, Avvo, Google+ and others that often will show up on a first page. The bottom line is that while I don't "control" the page, the website, articles, speaking, blogging and social media profiles populate a page with positive results that enhance my portfolio. And when I ask you what your online portfolio might look like, make sure you know the answer. It could be the difference between being retained and getting passed over.

February 20, 2015

Ted Olson Keynotes ABA New Partner Institute in DC - April 17th

TOlson.jpgSince the inception of the ABA New Partner Institute in 2011, I have had the privilege of serving on the planning board and speaking on business development each year. While many law firms provide excellent professional development to its attorneys from summer associate through associate and ideally partnership, ABA New Partner provides something unique that you can't get in-house--different firm perspectives and philosophies, and the opportunity to network with fellow new partners from around the country--new partners eager to help one another build a bigger book of business.

This year, for the first time, New Partner moves to Washington, DC. And it is difficult to think of hearing from a bigger name partner than Ted Olson, and a more prestigious firm than Gibson Dunn.

For less than the cost of a billable hour, New Partner takes place as a one day conference in the heart of Washington. Make sure your law firm is represented with one or more of your new, recent or soon-to-be partners. It is built as a 50-person maximum program to better allow networking and intimacy among attendees and faculty.

Registration includes CLE credits, course materials, networking breakfast, lunch and networking reception. A special conference room rate is also available at the nearby Capitol Hilton. The program takes place at the ABA, 1050 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Substantive panel programs with an expert faculty from law firms and in-house counsel include:

• Advancement to Ownership - What Happens Next?
Learn some of the key financial and personal considerations associated with becoming partner.

• Ethical Considerations in Business Development and Marketing
Learn techniques on how to build or increase your book of business, all the while taking into consideration how the Rules of Professional Conduct come into play for compliance with the standards of the states in which your practice and solicit business.

• The Pitfalls of Partnership

Minimize your potential liability as a newly-appointed representative of your firm and learn how the economics of a law firm work, including how to increase profitability for yourself and your firm.

• Transitioning from Mentee to Supervisor: Partner Responsibilities Under the Rules of Professional Conduct
Examine the mechanics of mentoring, learn the art of delegation, and receive tips on how - as a new partner - you can build meaningful and constructive relationships.

If you have any questions about the ABA New Partner Institute, please feel free to contact me directly. Be sure your law firm is in attendance.

February 17, 2015

Legal Talk Network Podcast: The Legal Advertising Landscape

podcasts.jpgIf you would like to hear a short podcast discussing how legal advertising has changed due to the internet and social media, how to launch a successful marketing campaign without getting into trouble with state bars, and some advice to small and big firms about advertising in certain practices and geographic regions, LISTEN HERE to the podcast on the Legal Talk Network. Thanks to interviewer Jason Marsh, Adriana Linares and the LTN team for the opportunity to chat during the ABA Midyear Meeting in Houston, Texas.

January 6, 2015

LPT: (Women) Progressing into Partnership--Road Rules for a New Role

road-rules-logo.jpgThe December 2014 issue of Law Practice Today (LPT) is dedicated to the theme of New Partners, in advance of the annual ABA New Partners Institute in Washington, DC on April 17th. Amy Drushal of Trenam Kemker (a speaker for the NPI and co-chair of the first NP conference a few years back) served as issue editor.

I will also be presenting at NPI (and has served on the planning committee each year) on the topic of business development. However, at the recent ABA Women Rainmakers Mid-Career Workshop, I spoke on the topic of women progressing into partnership. While not talking, I took copious notes from esteemed fellow panelists for an article theme that fit right into the subject of partnership--whether you are trying to get there or are just arriving.

How do you get to partner? What are the criteria? What are the expectations? Can you have it all?

(Women) Progressing into Partnership--Road Rules for a New Role

Those were some of the questions answered during a panel presentation at the recent ABA Women Rainmakers Mid-Career Workshop in San Diego, California. The program, entitled "Progressing into Partnership--Road Rules for a New Role," featured a balanced panel of four attorneys--two men and two women--from various perspectives.
The panel included Ali Sylvia, managing partner of Plews Shadley Racher & Braun in Indianapolis, Indiana; Rori Goldman, a director at Hill Fulwider, a 13-attorney firm, also based in Indianapolis; Bob Young, chair of the ABA Law Practice Division and a partner at English Lucas Priest & Owsley in Bowling Green, Kentucky; and moderator Tom Bolt, chair-elect of the Law Practice Division and managing attorney of BoltNagi PC in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

January 6, 2015

LP Magazine - Embracing the Changing Face of PR (and a tribute to Lou Corletto)

LPM_ND14_cover.jpgIn the November/December 2014 issue of the ABA's Law Practice magazine, I write about Embracing the Changing Face of PR. In the column, I write about how much the concept of PR has changed with time and technology. While I still believe that PR is a significant part of business development, the way you utilize it and how it works has little resemblance to the way that it functioned a decade or two ago.

With print deadlines for Law Practice coming about four months prior to publication, it was summertime when I sat down to write this piece. What the column does not tell you is why I chose this particular issue to address PR. At that time, my first boss, Lou Corletto, had just passed away. I started my professional career as a PR professional, before law school, before a lot of things. In high school and undergrad, I had PR internships with the Baltimore Blast and Philadelphia Fever of the Major Indoor Soccer League (and at the league office). But my first formal PR training came via an internship with the Philadelphia Flyers. I learned a lot from the PR triumvirate of Rodger Gottlieb, Mark Piazza and Joe Kadlec. To this day, Mark and Joe are among my dearest personal friends. I "see" Rodger on LinkedIn from time to time, and while not in touch, have always appreciated what he did for me. They played a role in suggesting to the Washington Capitals that they hire me the following year. The Caps PR director was a long-time, old school, gentleman named Louis Corletto. For his memorial service, I sent along my thoughts and remembrances (ironically, an ABA meeting prevented me from attending in person). The memorial took place in Richmond, Virginia in August. I thought this would be an appropriate forum for sharing those words. Thanks Lou.


I'm sorry that I could not be in Virginia today to say a proper goodbye to my dear friend Lou. He hired me as his public relations assistant for the Washington Capitals nearly 3 decades ago in 1985. I was a fresh out of college, 22 year old know it all that came to him via Temple University and a PR internship with the Philadelphia Flyers.

No matter how condescending or insubordinate I was, Lou never raised his voice, never disciplined me, never did anything but show patience and try to teach me the way that maybe I should behave. He was a tremendous mentor who knew how to treat people--regardless of rank or stature. I was especially appreciative of the way he would treat my parents as they entered the Capital Centre--like they were the Mom and Dad of someone quite important.

One particular anecdote in 1986 has always stuck with me. Lou asked me to include in the media notes a welcome to corporate sponsor Ace Hardware. He was under some fire by the Caps marketing guy. I said that the media notes were for the media, not to welcome sponsors. Lou asked if I could please do it. I responded that I did not want to, but would if he ORDERED me to do it as my boss. He said that he would not order me to do it, but hoped I would.

I did not. Later that night, he came up to me and said "you couldn't have done that for me?" I said "I told you if you wanted them in, you needed to insist upon it." He never brought it up again. He would not punish me and rarely said no to a request from me. The sheer disappointment in his face that night was enough to make sure I never did something like that again. He did not order, instruct, yell or curse--Lou Corletto got things done with kindness, respect and a hearty laugh.

As a young man, I'd complain that all he did was play golf at Congressional or have lunch with Larry King at Duke Ziebert's. All this while I slaved away at the typewriter doing the real PR work. As I matured, I learned that any punk can write game notes, but not everybody can pick up the phone and ask George Michael at NBC or George Solomon at the Washington Post for a favor. As the years went on, knowing that he enjoyed so many moments like those only lightened my heart.

Fast forward to the late 90s. I had gone to law school and was living outside of Philly in Voorhees, New Jersey. Lou showed up unannounced. He was at the train station and needed a place to stay. I had a little one bedroom apartment. Lou stayed with me, sleeping on the futon in the living room and making phone calls--looking to get back on his feet. I listened as he called some of the great people in the NHL--David Poile, Bill Torrey, Larry Pleau, John Halligan, his dear friend Nate Greenberg and others--looking for help in getting another opportunity to do what he did best. It was impressive that he made the calls and that everyone would take the calls as well. As we spent time together, I told him this was my penitence, the payback for the Ace Hardware omission. This was my chance to give back to someone who deserved it. He just laughed and said that he loved me. Lou could only remember the half full part of dealing with me. That is how he lived his life.

Eventually, with the help of our mutual friend George Starr, we saw Lou on to his next stop in Raleigh, North Carolina. I told him my young girlfriend did not understand what this guy was doing at my apartment. Lou understood. Today that girlfriend is my wife of 14 years. Lou loved hearing about my six year old son and 10 year old daughter as they've grown up. In our conversations, he always told me how much he appreciated me. He never let the rocky times keep him down. Lou was ever the optimist. I enjoyed sitting with Commissioner Lou at a Southern Hockey League game and PR director Lou at a Major Indoor Soccer League game. But it was his love of the Caps and the NHL that brought the widest smile to his face. He truly appreciated everything and everybody. I learned a lot from the man. There are times where I could stand to learn a little more. I'll always cherish his friendship and miss him. As NHL photographer Bruce Bennett said upon hearing of his passing, he is up there in that great press room in the sky smiling and laughing and taking care of people. That is what he did. Rest in peace, Lou. I'll always appreciate the times we had together--good and bad--but especially appreciate that you only saw the good in people.