Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Have you read these?

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

  • “7 Job Seeker Questions You Didn’t See Coming,” Part I (from The Hiring Site) and Part II (from HRM Today). These questions are written to help hiring managers better respond to what might be new questions coming from applicants. Applicants, if you’re not asking these questions, you should be. Especially the last one.

  • How Giving Away Legal Advice and Information For Free Is the Best Business Model for Your Law Firm” from The Greatest American Lawyer. I’m a big proponent of the 'business model = free' strategy. This post articulates that position much better than I could ever have hoped to do. Read it and you’ll understand how you can give a lot away and still be successful.

  • Ads on Law Blogs? Are We Really That Desperate?” from Law Firm Blogger. This post, and the ongoing conversations in the comments, is a must-read for blogging lawyers and legal professionals as well as everyone else trying to understand how they can apply Web 2.0 technology to the legal profession. Did I say you need to read this post? I meant it.

  • Free Web Tools for the Way You Work” from Legal Technology. Not much explanation needed for this post, which lists 24 free web applications. You’re bound to discover one (or more) that will become indispensible.

  • Marketing Without Faking It - A Case Study” from Social Media Explorer. I like this story because it really drives home the power of Twitter. Not as a tool for hawking your product, but as a vehicle for connecting with your clients and potential clients as if they were your friends. Lawyers, do you think you can apply these lessons to your own Twitter strategy?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Have you read these?

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

  • How To Be A Happy Creative Director” from The Ad Contrarian. While everything in this post doesn’t translate directly to lawyers and the legal profession, it does offer some very good advice. My favorite: “remember why people buy stuff.” [Hint: law firm clients buy because they need SOLUTIONS and VALUE.] The bonus? Your comments on whether or not #6 applies even remotely to lawyers.

  • Brands Will Learn By Doing. Get Over It.” from Logic + Emotion. There are no absolutes in Web 2.0. No magic formula that ensures success. It takes commitment, and resolution, and willingness to make mistakes. Not the ideal environment for lawyers, but on the other hand it may provide significant opportunities for lawyers and firms willing to learn by doing. Read this post and you’ll be better prepared to do just that.

  • What Can Big Firms Do To Become More Competitive” from The Greatest American Lawyer. This post articulates well the concepts I consider central to building a successful practice: Value. Efficiency. Quality. Relationships. Read it and you’ll agree. Then do like I did, and sign up for the RSS feed.

  • 5¢ architectural advice” from Make: technology on your time. My first reaction to this post was “hah, very clever.” And then I started to think about how it could apply to lawyers. What if your pitch focused on helping your potential clients figure out what they need, not what you offer? Would those potential clients judge the value of your advice differently? 

    March 25 Updates
    -  John Morefield's Architecture 5¢ Website
    -  NPR's Morning Edition piece on 
    Laid-Off Architect Sells Advice For 5 Cents

  • What Makes a Lawyer Great?” from Career Center. Molly Peckman puts that question to a group of “lawyers’ lawyers” in Philadelphia, and reports their views here. While their views will not surprise you, the end result is a useful collection of qualities that successful lawyers consider essential. Who wants to see clients answer this same question?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of interestering and valuable posts on marketing and business development

  • Are Buyers Irrational When They Don't Select Me?” from The Captain’s Log. Surprisingly enough, most buyers don’t make purchase decisions based on logic alone. Even buyers of legal services. Even if the buyer thinks the decision is purely logic-driven. Sounds obvious? It isn’t. This post adds clarity to the issue, while at the same time reminding lawyers that it’s all about the client. Lawyers: read this. You’ll be glad you did.

  • Social Media Decision Tree” from Chris Brogan’s Community and Social Media blog. Read this post, Brogan’s explorations around the question of whether your company should blog / be on Twitter / be on YouTube. His answer? Nothing is black and white: you need to figure out which social media tools work for you, your brand, and your organization. This post gives you some useful ideas to ponder as you do that.

  • 5 Things to do when you're unemployed. Hint: It's not job hunting.” From Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist. This is an extremely valuable post, and the advice becomes more relevant with each new layoff announcement. Yes, you need to find a job, but there is no denying that you should be spending significant time while unemployed doing what Trunk recommends: “learning and growing.”

  • How to 'network effectively'” from Rachel Levy’s Job Search & Social Networking blog. This post, based on an interview of Diane Darling, is chock-full of useful networking advice. Not looking for a job right now? Read it anyway: you’re never out of the networking game, and you can use a refresher course on its rules.

  • Networking Slut” from Some Assembly Required. Thom Singer explains his personal policy on making social networking connections. Being on Linked In, Facebook, etc., does not automatically oblige you to accept every connection request that comes through. It’s your profile, and if you see no value in connecting, don’t say yes. Bottom line? Set your own policy and stick to it: it will save you time and stress down the road.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of valuable posts from the blawgosphere and beyond

  • A Clean Sheet of Paper” from Above and Beyond KM. The post oozes useful advice. When you place it in the context of the current issues facing law firms, it shakes things up a bit (in the good way). I wonder what the profession would look like if more firms went through the “redesign from scratch” exercise. Read it and decide for yourself. The bonus? Great back and forth conversations with the blogger at the comments. 

  • Listen Up!” from a public defender. Anybody can talk. Successful lawyers know how to listen. This brief post makes a clear case for improving your listening skills. I've already started to talk less and listen more. You can too.

  • A Silver Lining…” from Thoughtful Legal Management. Be still my heart…. This is great stuff: a long list of what the thriving firms are doing in the face of the economic crisis. You can bet they’re excited about 2009. For the rest of you, here’s a recipe for success: 1) read this post, 2) see what those firms are doing, and 3) get at it on your own!

  • Important Tips From Three Referral Gurus” from Legal Marketing This is extremely good advice on the value of referrals, and what you need to do to get them. We all know that referrals are important sources of business. This is the first post I’ve read that gives such valuable advice on how to find success with referrals.

  • Innovation During The Downturn? BigLaw Apparently Says No” from In Search of Perfect Client Service. The perception-of-value gulf of between lawyers and clients has never been so broad. This post articulates that gulf better than many I’ve seen. Lawyers: read this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Have you read these?

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

  • The Better Business Experience for your Customers, Prospects and Partners” from Conversation Agent. Successful client relationships depend a lot on meaningful dialogues. The ideas in this post, and the ongoing conversations, might help you reshape your client interaction and strengthen your client relationships.

  • 50+ Tips to Brand Yourself Online” from HRM Today. Not a lot I can say about this post beyond providing the title. So just read it. You’ll be glad you did.

  • Recessionary Thinking: 12 Smart Marketing Tips for Tough Times” from Legal Marketing Reader. I don’t agree with all 12, there are some very good suggestions for marketing in a down economy here. The bottom line? Arbitrarily cutting back your marketing spend is no better than paying for marketing activities without a clear understanding of their benefits. Successful marketing is more about having a focused and realistic plan than it is about spending money. Read this post for a good perspective on the types of things your marketing plan should address.

  • How do you syndicate a blog or website?” from Rachel Levy’s Job Search and Networking blog. Maintaining a successful blog isn’t solely about providing good content, it’s also about finding readers and engaging them in meaningful conversations. This post provides some useful ideas on how to get the word out so you can get the readers in.

  • Know Thyself” from Leadership and Women Lawyers. I like three things about this post. The first is its practical advice: lawyers, whether you know it or not, you have a web presence. You need to be aware of it and manage it wherever possible. The second is the story of lawyers collaborating with professional staff. This firm sounds like a great place to work. The third? Being able to subscribe to a blog dedicated to “developing and supporting women in leadership positions in law firms and law departments.”

Friday, March 6, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of posts you should be reading from the blawgosphere and beyond

  • Listen to Your Clients, Stupid” from to Career Center. This piece is great. It starts with the central premise of “talk to your clients” (you know what I think from this and this), but it doesn’t stop there. A dialogue with your client is only valuable if you ask your client for an evaluation. Simple? Yes. Easy? No way. But you can’t hide your heads in the sand much longer. Lawyers: you must engage your clients head-on in the tough conversations if you’re going to get out of this recession on top.

  • Why Old School Marketing Won’t Work For Your Law Blog” from Law Firm Blogger & Consultant. One of the challenges for lawyers moving into blogging is overcoming the unknown: a blog isn’t a white paper or a brochure or a website. It’s a conversation, and creating engaging conversations requires different tactics than lawyers and firms have traditionally used for written communication. Here’s some ideas on how to do it right.

  • Eye Opening Alternative Fee Theory...” from The Legal Hokey-Pokey. The billable hour v alternative billing debate is always exciting (that seems a lot geekier written down than in my mind). The issue regularly dominates the blawgosphere charts. I’ve written about it here and here.  We need more conversations like this that don’t beat up on the billable hour because it’s an easy target. Read it and then add to the discussion.

  • How to Develop a Niche Blog Content Plan” from Problogger. I generally try to avoid back to back recommendations of a blog, but Problogger makes that hard to do. This post is really about managing your blog, and everyone who blogs will benefit from reading it. I did, and I know you will too.

  • A Lawyer and His Pen” from Simple Justice. If you don’t subscribe to Scott Greenfield’s blog or follow him on Twitter, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Don’t be fooled by the title: I’ve learned more about marketing, social media, networking, and other essential skills from Greenfield than I can even remember. This post is no exception.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Have you read these?

A smattering of interesting and important posts from the blawgosphere and beyond. Read 'em today!

  • 8 Small Steps To Improve Client Relationships” from It isn’t rocket surgery. Good client relationships come from respecting your client and treating them as you’d want to be treated. Your answers to these questions might help explain why your clients treat you the way they do.

  • The corporate client disconnect” from Every day global Fortune 100 corporations use their size and strength to drive down costs across virtually every type of product and service they purchase. So why aren’t they doing that with legal costs? This fine post from Jordan Furlong looks at some potential explanations.

  • The Value of Closing Your Mouth and Opening Your Ears” from Pivotal Branding. Good advice in any situation. This post is actually about using social media to learn how you are perceived by your clients and peers. Hint: “listening is one of the best ways to improve your brand.” Pretty good advice for lawyers, isn’t it?

  • 8 Tips for Building Community on Your Blog” from ProBlogger. Building a community really means engaging the people who read your blog to join the conversation, doesn’t it? This post gives you some great advice on how to do that. Even if all of the tips won’t work for your blog, you’ll pick up good ideas on making your blog more reader-centric.

  • Five Networking Tips For Everyone In The Current Economy” from Some Assembly Required. Networking matters. That’s the message driving this post, which gives neatly sums up the challenges facing novice networks (with two bonus tips for job seekers). Lawyers, pay close attention: networking like this is how rainmakers make rain.