Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Blawg 100 Edition

The ABA Journal just published its third annual list of the top 100 legal blogs, the Blawg 100, and my lawyer interviews on Twitter blog, 22 Tweets, made the list. What a great honor to have my blog listed alongside blogs that teach, inform and inspire me almost every single day, blogs that I've followed for years, blogs that I've recommended here.

If you haven't visited Blawg 100, you should. Today. It's chock full o' good. I've listed some favorites below, but they're just appetizers. Go to the site. Read why these blogs were chosen. Explore the ones you don't already follow. Add them to your RSS feed. You be glad you did.

The bonus? You get to vote on your favorites. Of course I hope you'll vote for 22 Tweets (do that here). But more importantly I hope you'll use your votes to tell the blawgers who teach, inform and inspire you that they're doing a great job, that you value their perspective, and that they should keep up the good work.

Of Particular Note

22 Tweets Yeah, you knew it would be on my short list. Why? Because you can learn a lot from what these practicing lawyers have to say. I certainly do.

Above the Law If it happens in the world of law, it happens here first. Several new posts each day are enough to feed the habits of even the most hard-core law gossip junkies.

Adam Smith, Esq.. When I want to get smarter about the business of law firms, I read Bruce MacEwen's blog. You will too.

The Am Law Daily A perfect companion blog to Above the Law, the AmLaw Daily offers BigLaw news and analysis of the key issues facing the profession.

China Law Blog In my former life I was responsible for Asia BD and marketing at an AmLaw 10 global firm. This blog was a vital part of staying on top of the China market and legal environment. Now I read it because I like to, not because I have to.

The Client Revolution I said it before and will say it again: Jay Shepherd envisions a world where the focus is on the value, not the cost, of legal services. You’ll find his blog insightful, inspiring, and a worthy addition to your daily read.

Empirical Legal Studies When these law professors study the business and practice of law, they bring a perspective to “how-it-works-best” that no practicing lawyer can provide.

Law21 I’ve recommended Law21 posts here more times that I can remember. For a reason. Jordan Furlong always provides great insight into the core issues facing the profession today, the ones that will define it in the future.

Legal Ease Blog Allison Shields’ blog is full of practical advice for lawyers and legal professionals about the ways they can be more productive and profitable.

Simple Justice Day in and day out (and often several times a day), Scott Greenfield posts about justice and injustice. Sometimes controversial, sometimes curmudgeonly, his posts are always interesting and valuable.

Honorees Featured in 22 Tweets

Kelly Phillips Erb, for TaxGirl

Leanna Hamill, for Massachusetts Estate Planning and Elder Law

Bill Marler, for Marler Blog

David Harlow, for HealthBlawg

Dan Harris, for China Law Blog

Jay Shepherd, for The Client Revolution

Monday, August 31, 2009

Have you read these?

A selection of interesting and valuable posts from the blawgosphere and beyond

  • Excuse Me, Sir. May I Interest You In Things You Don’t Need?” from Corcoran’s Business of Law Blog. Written for legal technology vendors who attended last week’s International Legal Technology Association annual meeting, this post -– and its companion piece, “10 Sales Tips for Legal Vendors” –- are chock full of valuable advice. Read them and read them again, because you don’t often get insight like this from someone who has been both client and vendor, and you’re sure to learn from Corcoran’s experience. And don’t be fooled by the context: these comments are as useful for lawyers as they are for legal vendors. You’ll see.

  • Why Should My Organization Care About Social Media?” from Where Great Workplaces Start. This is a short; to-the-point post on why social media is important. Lawyers should read it to remind themselves of why they need to add Web 2.0 tools to their suite of traditional marketing and business development activities. I like it because it drives home my favorite point: social media is communication.

  • 10 ways PR and marketing are every bit as powerful as trusted peers” from a shel of my former self. This post will be very useful for lawyers and legal professionals, if only because it reminds us that funneling your communication through a single channel, or even a select set of channels, can limit your opportunities to communicate your message. Even if you’re not caught up in the “old v new” debate that provides the background for this post, you’re sure to find value in the ten communications activities outlined in the post.

  • Seize the moment lawyers” from Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs. Like O’Keefe, I encourage just about every lawyer who asks me about blogging to step up to the plate and swing. That’s probably because my introduction to Web 2.0 for lawyers came from Kevin himself, whose passion for helping lawyers understand and generate value from the communications tools of social media is legendary. This post provides what may the best articulation I’ve read of why lawyers should blog, and why they should do it now. Read it and you'll agree.

  • Challenging convention” from Seth Godin’s Blog. Are you challenging convention? Identifying and acting on solutions that create ways to get things done? Would you like to? If so, read this post for useful advice on making the new convention stick. Because it isn’t easy to change the way things are done, the way people are used to doing things, the way that is easy and tried and true, even if you have a great new way to do it better or easier or cheaper.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of interesting and relevant posts from the blawgosphere and beyond

  • Why In the World Would You Give Away Your Expertise For Free?” from The Greatest American Lawyer. Why would lawyers want to blog, and give away their work? This post explains why one lawyer does it. And it makes a pretty good argument for all lawyers blogging. You’ve probably been doing it all along, in other contexts (speeches, articles, conversations, etc.). This post reminds you that demonstrating your expertise and your understanding of the complex legal issues that affect the business decisions of your clients is a pretty good way to market your practice.

  • Bar exam advice from a simple minded lawyer” from Real Lawyers Have Blogs. When you’re faced with a test, perhaps the hardest, most significant, biggest stakes test of your life, step back, breathe, and remember that you are ready, that you’ve prepared, that nothing you will do at the last minute will change your preparedness. This post is about taking the bar exam, but it applies to every trial and tribulation of life (thesis defense, job interview, sales pitch, etc.). Read it before every test in your life.

  • Overcome Insecurity and Bring In More Business” from Career Center. For most lawyers, business development and marketing – selling their services – is difficult. But you can make it less so. This post addresses two of the hurdles that are most likely holding back your business development efforts: the negative internal dialogue, and the lack of experience. You’ll need to read the post to see their solutions, but you’ll be glad you did.

  • Ask Good Questions” from Leader Talk. Why do you need to ask good questions? Because good questions lead to engaged conversations, which lead to stronger relationships, which lead to increased influence. Not the “force your ideas on others” kind, but the “have a positive impact on others” kind of influence. And influence is a key component of leadership. So asking good questions can improve your leadership skills. But don’t just take my word for it. Read this post too.

  • The ABC's of Public Speaking - S is for Stage Time” from Some Assembly Required. You get better at doing by doing. There’s no other way. Want to be a better public speaker? Speak in public. But this logic extends far beyond public speaking, doesn’t it? Want to be a better runner? Run every day. Want to be a better lawyer? Make providing greater value to your clients your goal, not just a good contract or a great argument, but legal work that helps them be more successful in their businesses and life. And do it again and again, every day. You’ll get better at it. And your clients will be happier. What’s not to like?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of interesting and relevant posts from the blawgosphere and beyond

  • Scitable – Velvet Rope and a Stethoscope” from Chris Brogan’s Community and Social Media blog. Our last post featured a piece by Kevin O’Keefe on gated online legal communitites, so when I saw this post from Chris Brogan, a review of what he calls a “velvet rope social network,” I had to include it. Read it to find out Brogan’s take these communities. The bonus? Scitable – check it out.

  • Change or Die: Reflections on Richard Susskind's ‘The End of Lawyers?’” from The AmLaw Daily. Yes, Richard Susskind’s vision of the future, The End of Lawyers? has been written about more times over the past few months than just about any other subject involving the legal profession (save, of course, layoffs and related news). That doesn’t mean you should skip this post from Michael Stern, newspaper reporter turned BigLaw partner. Why? Precisely because Stern is a BigLaw partner, who sees the world changing around him as he searches for new paths to success. But don’t take my word for it. Take Bill Henderson’s (yes, that Bill Henderson): “Michael… your review and additional insights are excellent.”

  • Who are you looking at?” from Enlightened Tradition. “Why do law firms find it so hard to ignore their competitors?” asks Mark Gould, who has put together a thoughtful analysis of how this attitude (obsession?) influences the decisions and decision-making process of lawyers and law firms. Virtually every lawyer will have similar stories to those Gould cites, but few will have drawn the same conclusions (and even fewer will have acted on those conclusions). Read it. You’ll be glad you did.

  • Spend wisely” from Another great post from Jordan Furlong (are there any other kinds?), which looks at the current state of the legal profession from the perspective of the consumers of legal services, both corporations and individuals. How do the wants and needs and fears and misconceptions of the buyers influence the menus of the sellers? And what does that mean for the profession and its future?

  • Breakdown: The Five Ways Companies Let Employees Participate in the Social Web” from Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang. Companies need social media policies. More importantly, they need to be aware of what their employees are doing / could do / might do on Web 2.0 sites, and develop some guidelines for that activity that may help avoid unpleasant surprises in the future. Law firms are no different. If you haven’t given a lot of thought to your policy, you’ll find this post useful. (PS: you’ll find it useful even if you already have social media guidelines for your employees. Really.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of relevant and interesting posts from the blawgosphere and beyond

  • Law and Surgery” from Adam Smith, Esq. Because its focus is the economics of law firms, this blog is on my short list of must-reads. Whether he’s dissecting law firm layoffs or market economics or the GM bankruptcy, Bruce MacEwen always provides an invaluable perspective on the business of law. That said, this post rises to the top precisely because it is NOT about law firm economics. Why? Because it is about passion. Read it and see why this Adam Smith, Esq. should be on your short list, too.

  • Welcome to the Future: Morgan Lewis Signals Armageddon” from AmLaw Daily. Like everyone else in the legal profession, you’re probably following the growing trend of summer program cancellations at the AmLaw 200 with the same abject horror as you did the layoffs of the past 18 months. This stuff is big. Really really big. Paul Lippe calls it “Armageddon” in this piece, and I see no reason to disagree. Read it and you will agree. Pay special attention to the comments, where readers appear more interested in Lippe’s use of “syllogism” than the fact that the profession as we know it will never be the same.

  • More problems with gated online legal communities: Cannot link to profiles” from Real Lawyers have Blogs. More and more lawyers are exploring and adopting Web 2.0 tools to market their practices, share knowledge and experience, and develop relationships, sparking more and more debate on the right way to do it. Kevin O’Keefe is often at the center of those conversations, and this post is no exception. Read it to see what your peers think about closed online communities. And while you’re at it, read “The State of Legal Social Networking” from Compliance Building, in which Doug Cornelius gives his take on a handful of social networking sites for lawyers.

  • Winning on the uphills” from Seth Godin’s Blog. I’m a cyclist, so I know from personal experience that the payoff for my work in the saddle is in the climb, not the descent. But you probably know that too, if only because it is July, and Lance Armstrong is back in the Tour de France, and the riders are currently in the Alps. The Tour is won on the uphills, when the challenges are greatest, when the conditions are dismal, when the risks are highest. Kind of like the economic environment today, isn’t it? Well, get over it, get out there, and get climbing. And read this post for inspiration on your way out the door.

  • Strategic Marketing in Five Easy Leaps” from Virtual Marketing Officer. Lawyers and legal marketers: read this post, and ask yourself where your firm lands on the strategic marketing continuum. Then ask where you think it should be. If yours is like most firms, those two places are not the same. How can you close the gap? By reading this post, and applying some of its useful ideas to your business development and marketing efforts.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of interesting and insightful posts from the blawgosphere and beyond

  • "50 Web Resources for the Suddenly Solo Lawyer” from ABA Law Practice Today. Whether you’re suddenly solo, facing the possibility of becoming solo, or just looking for resources that will help you improve your practice, you need to read this piece. Jim Calloway and Allison Shields have put together a valuable list that has something for everybody. You used to have to pay to get access to this information. The bonus? This article is part of an entire issue devoted to the “Suddenly Solo” lawyer, where each and every article is chock-full of invaluable advice from the likes of Ed Poll, Jay Shepherd, Grant Griffiths, Dennis Kennedy, and others. Find it here.

  • The Answer to How is Yes” from Conversation Agent. I try to avoid recommending the same blog in subsequent posts, but when I saw this post from Valeria Maltoni, I couldn’t help myself. Perhaps it has something to do with the advice for out-of-work lawyers @JeenaBelil provided when I interviewed her on 22 Tweets this week: “Stop saying I can’t….” Whatever the reason, you need to read this post. And read it again. And then print it out and tape it to the wall next to your monitor so you can read it every day.

  • Prove Your Worth (and Profit) as a Results-Oriented Agency” from PR New Online. This post isn’t about public relations, it’s about value, about service providers finding ways to provide greater value to their clients, about changing the way things have always been done to meet the demands of the new marketplace. While the suggestions in this piece do not apply across the board to the legal profession, the message does: it’s time for a new business model.

  • 10 Reasons Why PR People Need to be on Twitter” from Social Media Today. I’m a firm believer in Twitter as a communications tool. It is changing the nature of business relationships, for good, and whether or not it is around in 10 years, the changes it brings about will be. For this reason, I am convinced that lawyers need to be on Twitter: to know it, to be able to communicate via the tool, to meet others doing the same thing, and to gain exposure to people and ideas that will add value. This post is written for PR pros, but a number of the ten points raised apply directly to lawyers. Read it and you’ll agree.

  • Seller's Remorse in the Marketing Business” from Trust Matters. This is a story about how an advertising agency reacted to being eliminated from consideration in an RFP process by Zappo’s. But it’s much more than that. One reason is that it reminds us of a valuable lesson: “One of the biggest fallacies sellers make is that buyers buy based on their own stated rational criteria.” Another? It has sparked some very interesting and insightful comments (including one from David Maister!) about the RFP game.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of relevant and interesting posts from the blawgosphere and beyond.

  • What’s Holding Organizations Back?” from Conversation Agent. This is an interesting post that explores the reasons for which companies are not engaging more actively in Web 2.0 and, when they do, why they might not be able to realize the full potential of the new tools. How does it apply to lawyers and legal marketing? Because it explains why “joining the conversation is the tip of the iceberg.” Read it and think about how it could apply to you.

  • 10 Tips for Kicking Ass as a Freelance Writer” from copyblogger. I know that lawyers aren’t freelance writers. But they write, don’t they? And they give presentations, don’t they? And they pitch work, don’t they, sometimes in elaborate dog-and-pony shows, with PowerPoint slides and handouts and everyone on the team playing a specific role? So they might learn something from this post, which is really about communicating with your audience.

  • State of the AmLaw 200 Blogosphere, June 2009” from Real Lawyers Have Blogs. Want to know which of the AmLaw 200 firms are blogging, which aren’t, what they are writing about? Read this impressive compilation. The bonus: learning that number of blogging firms has more than doubled over the past two years. Still not convinced it’s a valuable use of time and resources? Nearly half of the AmLaw 200 is....

  • BigLaw Partner Compensation Systems Hurt Clients” from In Search of Perfect Client Service. Anybody else not a big fan of the expression “eat what you kill”? Clients aren’t prey, and lawyers shouldn’t build a business model out of feasting on them. Patrick Lamb, founder of Valorem Law Group, doesn’t like this business model either, and explains in this post why lawyers who eat what they kill shouldn’t be handling your legal work.

  • "Blow Up Your PR Program” from PR Squared. Though written about PR, this post applies to lawyers (and accountants and consultants and just about any service provider who has clients). Don’t get stuck in “maintenance mode.” Challenge yourself – and your clients – to generating greater value from the relationship. You probably won’t do it the way this post describes, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of interesting and valuable posts from the blawgosphere and beyond

  • Five Things Lawyers Should Know About Social Media” from Practicing Law in the 21st Century. Lawyers: whether you’re just starting out in social media, a social media pro, or somewhere in-between, you need to read this post. I read a lot of posts about lawyers and social media, and this one sums up quite nicely the key themes that should guide you in your Web 2.0 activities. Don’t let the title fool you, though: you don’t have to be a lawyer to learn from it.

  • Overcoming Procrastination” from Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog. Rather than crack “put off until tomorrow” jokes, I’ll go straight to the punchline. Everyone procrastinates. Some are better at it than others, and some of us have elevated it to an art form. But the cost of procrastination is high no matter how you slice it: added stress, missed deadlines, dissatisfied clients, etc. This post can help you, so read it. Today. Without delay.

  • Practice the 10/20/30 Rule for Presentations” from I’ve seen Guy Kawasaki make a presentation. I liked it. Whether you make presentations six times a day or six times a decade, yours will be significantly better if you follow his 10/20/30 rule. The bonus? Being able to quote a professional fisherman the next time you’re giving someone advice on their presentation.

  • Will alternative fee arrangements be profitable for lawyers?” from Legal Ease Blog. This post is a valuable addition to the ongoing “alternative fees v. hourly billing” debate, one of the key issues shaping the legal profession today. In it, Allison Shields takes a thoughtful look at some of the hurdles – perceived and real – that may be keeping lawyers from embracing alternative billing methods.

  • Dragons' Den” from The Adventure of Strategy. I really enjoy seeking out new blogs and posts that add to the legal business development and marketing conversation. Why? Because I find blogs like this one, and get to add them to my RSS feed. This post is about a possible future for selling in the legal profession. What if you had only three minutes to convince your clients to hire you? How would you articulate your difference? What would you have to do differently to show clients that you are indeed better than the competition? And what would the impact be on the way you run your firm?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of insightful and valuable posts from the blawgosphere and beyond

  • Why Being Extraordinary Wins” from Altitude…brand elevation through social media. Think you’re good at client service? What would it take for you to be great at it? What would that cost? Would it be worth it? This story of customer experience at a dentist’s office just might give you some ideas on how you could be extraordinary. Read it.

  • Want to be a better PR professional?” from Client Service Insights (CSI/Season 2). Don’t let the title fool you: this post is really about being a better professional services provider. How? By putting the client first. Before you say “but I already do that!” (like I did…), read this post. And then ask yourself if you know your client’s business as well as you should.

  • A Blogging Guide for St. Louis (and Other) Lawyers (and Others)” from Lawyers, want to start blogging? Read this interview with four pioneers of the legal blogosphere who all hail from St. Louis, “Blawg City USA.” This is great advice, the kind that you normally have to pay for, the kind that will help you understand the cost and demands of blogging, the kind that will make your blog better. The bonus? Even the most seasoned blawger will learn something from this group.

  • Some Thoughts About Pitching In-house Counsel for Business” from Legal Marketing This post is written for smaller firms, who are increasingly getting opportunities to pitch for work from larger corporations traditionally represented by BigLaw. But everyone will benefit from this advice, especially the in-house counsel who won’t have to sit through another bad pitch. And if they appreciate it, you most likely will, too.

  • A Thought For Law Students” from In Search of Perfect Client Service. If you read my other blogs, you know the importance I place helping law students prepare for the future. That’s why I was especially pleased to find this advice for law students from Patrick Lamb, founder of Valorem Law Group. Why? Because Lamb isn’t waiting for the future to happen, he’s writing it. And in this post he tells future lawyers how they can write their own futures, too.