Articles Posted in ABA Law Practice Management Section

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november-december13cover.jpgIn the November/December 2013 issue of the ABA’s Law Practice magazine, my marketing column talks about a favorite topic of many law firms (sarcasm) – branding! My constant yipping, yapping and yammering at the conference room table to law firm partners about branding is often met by head nods, eye rolls and that innate sense they believe my briefcase contains a liter bottle of snake oil.

Truth be told, there is really no such thing as marketing without branding. Because what we are doing with all that time, money and energy is developing, enhancing, refreshing or creating a brand or brands. Together with determining market position and looking to increase market share, the brand truly is the heart of the marketing message. This article should provide attorneys with a quick primer on what goes into branding–and why you need to care about it. There is a reason corporations spend huge sums of money protecting their brand–because that is what the public is buying. And damage to a brand or a weak brand identity will eventually lead to your demise.

Many attorneys and some law firm marketers still seem to think that a brand is a logo–determining colors and what type of coffee mug to put it on. When was the last time your firm refreshed its brand? Or conducted a branding & positioning audit? If you don’t know the answer, it has been too long. You’ve likely added an office here, a new practice area there, an attorney or two along the way. All of those components can shift your focus. If this is a topic of interest, you can learn more about Brand Development & Strategy here.

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aba_yld_logo.jpgIf you are attending the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, you are welcome to attend this complimentary continuing legal education program being put on by the ABA Young Lawyers Division, at the Palace Hotel (Presidio, Second Floor) on Friday, August 9, 2013 from 11 am-noon PT. For more information, click here, or contact me directly for more information.

Moderated by Amy Drushal, a partner at Trenam Kemker in Tampa, Florida, I will offer tips and strategies alongside panelist Walter Karnstein, in-house counsel at Hewlett-Packard, who will provide the all-important corporate counsel perspective.

ETHICS CLE PROGRAM: Building a Book of Business: Ethical Boundaries and Sound Approaches to Business Development & Marketing

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july-august13cover_jpg_imagep_107x141.pngIn the July/August 2013 issue of the ABA’s Law Practice magazine, my marketing column addresses a sensitive topic for many firms and law firm marketers–hiring and staffing. When I first became involved in recruiting and job placement of marketing staff for law firms, it was generally the last piece of the puzzle in developing a marketing foundation at a firm. Over time, more firms approached me to handle their recruiting efforts for law marketing professionals, as they found that most of the search efforts (either on their own or through non-lawyer marketing recruiters) ended up yielding them the same cast of characters and the same mediocre results.

As a practicing attorney with an expertise in marketing and business development, I can often better identify the candidates that match up with the particular practice areas and lawyer backgrounds.

Over time, many legal marketing professionals have sent me resumes or scheduled conversations so that they are on the radar when a job placement occurs in their geographic area. Make no mistake–the law marketing market is a lucrative one. Some markets have more jobs than qualified candidates. Others simply pay very well. Either way, it allows for speedy upward mobility–which often creates a game of hopscotch across many of the same mid-size to large law firms in a given city. Knowing whether a candidate is moving up due to success or simply being moved out is often a critical component to putting forth successful candidates.

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PD_image.jpgFor the May issue of Law Practice Today, focusing on the theme of professional development, I asked my colleague Megan Greenberg, formerly Director of Professional Development at Richards Layton in Delaware to lead the charge as issue editor. Megan’s experience as a practicing attorney and PD director, along with her involvement in the Professional Development Consortium (PDC) made her the perfect person to put together leading experts and authors, with timely qualified topics on the ever-increasing role of PD in the law firm.

If you are looking for a compendium of professional development topics and expertise, look no further than this month’s LPT. Among the highlights are:

Peta Gordon‘s very timely piece on “The Other Half.” With the popularity of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s best-seller Lean In, the author talks about work/life balance following the birth of her second child. Peta is a senior associate in Kaye Scholer’s litigation department. Her story will resonate with many female attorneys working to balance a demanding professional life with raising a family.

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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 march-april13cover.jpgMy marketing column in the March/April issue of Law Practice focuses on the many ways that charitable involvement–be it time or money–can also pay significant dividends for a law firm’s marketing efforts. Too often it is not fully embraced (or simply ignored) as a tie-in to everything from image branding to professional development.

If you have a law firm marketer, is s/he aware of and involved in charitable contributions? Is this discussed by the marketing partner and marketing committee? There are so many ancillary benefits that come from “doing good” that unwittingly get overlooked. Is there an internal list that shows charitable involvement–financial contributions, pro bono, board appointments, events, relevancy to clients? “Giving back” is a hallmark of law firm involvement in a community. Being recognized for those efforts is far greater “branding” than a promotional advertisement or marketing campaign. Read the article to see if your law practice is making the most of your philanthropic endeavors.

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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.

Thanks,

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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.

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november-december12cover.jpgIn the November/December issue of Law Practice, my marketing column is entitled “Auditing Your Efforts” and discusses the value and importance of a law firm objectively auditing its marketing and business development efforts. Read it to see how I compare myself favorably to Tom Cruise (although the editorial team deleted my reference to Scientology).

There was a time when spending money on an audit would have been borderline crazy–since so little time and effort was being invested–what did you really have to lose anyway? Today, however, law firms are investing heavily in these endeavors and often find that efforts are often…overpriced, ineffective, or simply off the mark. A proper audit is an important accompaniment to a strategic plan and a budget. The time has come where ROI needs to be measured, and a firm’s marketing foundation solidified. It is not all that different from the recent energy audit conducted on my home–imagine how much I would save with the right equipment and resources in place? If your law firm has never conducted a thorough marketing audit, talk to me about it. Year-end and the start of a new year are perfect times to evaluate. As I like to say, stop throwing good money after bad.