Articles Tagged with “Law Practice Today”

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LP_Today_Logo-e1401945551625My first sit-downs with law firm management to discuss marketing strategies were 20 years ago. In the subsequent two decades, I held those discussions in the board rooms of Amlaw 100 law firms and in conference rooms of law firms with ten or fewer. Their approach to marketing expectations from young attorneys was consistently inconsistent.

Back then I was somewhat of a young lawyer. At least youngish. Not so much anymore. But there is certainly an increase in business development training and marketing support for newer attorneys. How quickly you are expected to assume a marketing role depends on the law firm. The larger the law firm, the less likely you will be asked to originate business any time soon. However, that does not mean you should not be laying the groundwork for when that expectation arrives.

Small and midsize law firms often like to indoctrinate young lawyers into marketing efforts sooner. After all, everyone at a boutique firm is a potential salesperson when out and about. There is a little more pressure to put you in a position to generate opportunities.

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Thumbnail image for LP_Today_Logo-e1401945551625.pngPerhaps it is sad to think that customer or client service has gotten so bad of late that highlighting those that do it well should not be necessary, but it is. So many companies send us off to automated web and voice mail systems, force us to chat with folks half way around the globe that can’t speak the language too well and are flummoxed when forced off script, or in some cases show they simply don’t care. Where I live, Comcast’s monopoly means that no matter what happens I’m still a customer. When disgruntled with some experiences on Priceline, I simply took my business elsewhere. And in most cases, law firm clients can choose to do the same.

So when the service you receive is particularly personalized, attentive and caring, you practically go into shock. In serving as an issue editor for the Marketing-themed April 2016 edition of Law Practice Today (LPT), I contributed a feature story on Client Retention–It’s All in the Listening, which reminds us attorneys just how simple it can be to provide the type of client service that is both memorable and ensures repeat business. Taking some of my favorite personal recent examples–Kimpton’s Monaco chain for hotel travel, my long-time dentist Dr. Robert Marchinek, and two of the top Philadelphia restaurants in Bibou and Helm, I show how some simple listening and responsiveness goes much further than any sophisticated business development game plan can. It is all in the listening. See where you might fall in comparison to knowing the “personal” side of your clients.

With nearly 18 features and columns, the marketing issue of LPT is full of great ideas. In gathering articles for the issue, I thought about what I wanted to hear about and from whom. So I hit up some of the leading experts in the business to teach me something.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for fb-lpt-sm.pngIn advance of the fourth edition of the ABA’s New Partner Conference, Law Practice Today highlights the topic with an issue dedicated to the theme of new partners. With the New Year upon us, many new partners are taking their places at the management tables of law firms throughout the country. Yet many find themselves wondering what the new role brings with it. Many of the New Partner Conference speakers and planning board members have authored the articles that coincide with their respective program topics.

LPT issue editor and conference speaker Amy Drushal of Trenam Kemker in Tampa, Florida, authors Transitioning from Associate to Partner: What now? Yours truly, also a conference presenter, writes about the new partner’s role in marketing and business development. Kerri-Ann Bent and Vanessa Cotto write on the effects of mentoring on the duty to supervise.

Avvo honcho Mark Britton discusses the New Partner Cheese–taking lessons from “who moved my cheese” to the law firm board room. Justia’s Tim Stanley, with co-authors Ken Min Chan and David Kemp, writes about building great relationships online, focusing on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for fb-lpt-sm.pngThis month marks the first of our two annual “Young Lawyers Survival Guide” issues of Law Practice Today, developed in coordination with the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division. Thanks to issue editor Elizabeth Henslee for putting together an outstanding collection of articles designed with the young lawyer audience in mind–although almost all of the content is relevant to attorneys of all ages.

New to LPT this month are two rotating bimonthly features, including Professional Development (now rotating with Career Paths) and Diversity & Inclusion (rotating with Women Rainmakers). This month, Jennifer Bluestein writes about time management. Jen is the Director of Professional Development at Greenberg Traurig. She also serves as Chair of the Professional Development Consortium (PDC). LPT is working with the PDC to produce timely articles on PD. We also welcome a contribution from Aracely Munoz Petrich on watching the Supreme Court with apprehension. Aracely is the vice chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the ABA Law Practice Management Section. Professional development and diversity are becoming more and more significant in the day-to-day operations of a law firm. LPT’s editorial board recognizes that there is a demand and interest in more features relating to those important law practice management topics.

A renowned panel of experts from the academic world and law firm world participate in a roundtable discussion, moderated by Nicholas Gaffney of Infinite PR, on what law firms expect from new lawyers. Gaffney’s roundtable series appears a few times each year, and provides multiple perspectives on our monthly issue themes.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for fb-lpt-sm.pngThank you to New York intellectual property attorney Richard Goldstein for serving as issue editor for this month’s Law Practice Today, focusing on collaboration. Rich has put together a great issue, with contributions from lawyers and non-lawyers providing perspectives on culture, partnerships and strategies to increase effective collaboration in the workplace. Ed Poll talks about work/life balance in the “management” feature. And Greg Fredette of Saturno Design pens the “marketing” feature on how to “go mobile,” with tips on capturing website traffic on the go. Dennis Kennedy takes it a step further with 13 mobile collaboration tips for 2013.

To read the January issue, click here.


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fb-lpt-sm.pngThe December issue of Law Practice Today begins with a tribute I authored to the memory of law professor and longtime ABA leader Gary Munneke. If you’ve been remotely involved in any aspect of law practice management over the last few decades, you know Gary. He was a pioneer in the field, a friend and mentor to thousands of lawyers, law students and anyone interested in the legal profession. If I’m talking to anyone in academia, in the New York or American Bar Associations, interested in alternative legal careers or any aspect of the business of law–I could always name-drop Gary, and get a welcoming smile and an anecdote of some sort. He passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Thanksgiving morning. He will be missed–personally and professionally–by many. My deepest condolences go out to his wife Sharon, his children and grandchildren.

Many thanks to issue editor Allison Shields of Legal Ease Consulting, for putting together “A New Year’s Resolution: Time Management Tips,” including many great features on technology, marketing and finance.

To read the December issue, click here.

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fb-lpt-sm.pngThis is the time of year where I’m working with law firms on developing strategic marketing and business development plans (and budgets!) for 2013. As I said to one marketing partner yesterday, while we need to be fluid and creative, you still need an outline and parameters to be as effective as you’d like to be. It is with that thought in mind, as we enter the final “holiday” phase of the calendar year that this month’s LPT asked for contributions along that line.

Many thanks to Barbara Brown of Meagher & Geer in Minneapolis, MN for serving as the issue editor for the timely “Prepare your 2012 business development goals now” theme of this month’s Law Practice Today.

Among the excellent contributions are those from a number of my Philadelphia-centric colleagues. Nancy Gimbol of Eastburn & Gray (and a member of the LPT editorial board) discusses establishing a culture for marketing and business development in a mid-sized law firm. Amy Galie and Amanda Steinbach of big firm Fox Rothschild address big law issues in “Business Development – Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail.” Greg Stephens provides the managing partner view in “How to obtain and retain clients.” Thanks as well to this month’s feature contributors Allan Coleman, Greg Stephens, Steve Henning and David Freeman.