Monday, February 28, 2011

Solving problems and having fun. A guide to BigLaw.

Kimberly Egan's "Everything associates didn't learn in law school" from The National Law Journal. Want to work in BigLaw? Understand the unwritten rules? Meet and exceed the unspoken expectations? This piece from Egan, a partner and practice chair at DLA Piper, will help. But even if that's not you, you should read the article. Because it's really about providing service and adding value and being the lawyer who clients want to work with.

Friday, February 25, 2011

So what do you want to do when you grow up?

Jay Shepherd's "Small Firms, Big Lawyers: The Key Question for Shingle-Hangers" at Above the Law. Running a law firm is more than doing great client work. You've got to rent space and buy equipment. Pay the bills and do the books. Market your practice and send out invoices and water the plants and wait for the repair guy to come out and fix your DSL connection. While doing all of the client work that makes it all possible. It's not for everyone. But it might just be for you. Read this post before you decide. And while you're at it, read this response from Carolyn Elefant.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stop trying to find time to sell. Make it.

Erica Strich's "How to Find Time to Sell Your Services" on the Rain Maker Blog. For most of us, the days are far shorter than the work that needs to get done, leaving the important but not necessarily urgent business development efforts undone when we turn out the lights and go home. This post provides some practical tips on breaking that habit, and on planting the seeds that will lead to additional work down the road. Don't neglect your garden. Read this post.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How am I doing up here?

Whitney Johnson's "The Essence of a Great Presentation" on her blog at Harvard Business Review. Worried about nailing your next presentation? About showing the potential client how smart you are, how well you can do their work, how perfect you are for the job? Then read this post. Great presentations are not about perfection, they're about communication. They're not about you, but about your audience and how well you connect with them. Read this before you sit down to write.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's all about the client. And you.

Brian Tannebaum's "What Will Always Matter In The Legal Profession" from his blog My Law License. Although I don't agree with Tannebaum's position that "the internet is where people go to find the best deal on whatever they are going to buy," including lawyers, the rest of this post is spot on. Being a good lawyer -- and a successful one -- is not about having the newest toys, the coolest apps, the best spot on Google. It's about much more. Like people and clients and skill and compassion. Read this post and you'll agree.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The next frontier. Same-same. But different.

Mark Beese's "Legal Marketing's Next Frontier" from The Docket. Like me, you've probably read a lot of posts on leveraging social media to market a law practice (I've even written a few). Write a blog. Start a Twitter account. Set up a Facebook page. Get on LinkedIn. What's different about this one? Beese takes a more practical approach than most, outlining both the what-social-media-is and the how-to-do-it-right, giving lawyers a comprehensive guide to using social media "to communicate with [their] audience, provide value to [their] clients, and strengthen [their] reputation and brand."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Themes in the state of marketing

Tim Corcoran's "Insights from the Marketing Partner Forum 2011" on Corcoran's Business of Law Blog. The Marketing Partner Forum brings together practicing lawyers, legal marketers, and legal consultants of all stripes to talk about, as you might suspect, marketing the law firm. Corcoran's post picks up some of the more significant trends discussed at this year's conference. It's a good overview of what firms are thinking and how it is changing the way they market their practices. The bonus? Links to conference recaps from a variety of attendees. Read them all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Welcome to Law 2.0. Please enter ID and password.

Bob Weber's "Why 'Watson' matters to lawyers" in the National Law Journal. This post, from IBM's General Counsel, imagines a new kind of world, one where Deep QA computers "can analyze hundreds of millions of pages of content and mine them for facts and conclusions — in about the time it takes to answer a question on a quiz show." After watching Watson dominate Jeopardy!'s greatest champions over the past three days, we share that vision. The future is now. What are you going to do? (Hint: sticking your head in the sand isn't the right answer.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hello. My name is _________. How can you help me?

Thom Singer's "Ten Tips For Networking At A Multi-Day Conference" on his blog Some Assembly Required. Everybody goes to conferences. Everybody networks. And everybody can benefit from reading these practical tips on generating value from networking. Singer's post reminds us that effective networking takes organization, effort, and the ability to ask questions first and tell your own story later. Read it, and follow his advice.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You say potato, I say curation.

Jason Wilson's "Exactly what do you mean by 'curating'?" on his blog rethinc.k. It may be the latest buzzword in Web 2.0, the latest example of 'value' in the Twitter and Facebook era, but what does it really mean? Yes, we have entered what Adrian Lurssen calls the "Age of Curation," but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take a critical look at curation as a service, at how to do it right, at who should be doing it, and at what exactly what the people we're doing it for need. Reading Wilson's post is the right first step in that process.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Setting an objective. And meaning it.

Ernie Svenson's "Little Big Firm" at his blog, Ernie the Attorney. There's a couple of things I like about this post. First and foremost, it's a great how-to for new (and not so new) solos, a comprehensive overview of how one lawyer runs his firm on a budget while still projecting the professionalism, efficiency and proficiency of larger firms. But what sets this post apart from so many others isn't the what and how, it's the why. Svenson is driven by two clear and achievable goals, objectives that guide all aspects of his practice, from service delivery to technology to secretarial assistance. And that's a lesson we should all take to heart.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Think your website gets a free pass? Think again.

Deborah McMurray's "Nine Questions to Ask About Your Firm’s Website" at Attorney At Work. What do clients and potential clients see when they visit your website? How easy is it to navigate? Do they have to click through page after page, drilling down ever deeper to find the information they need? Can they scan titles and sub-titles to make sure they're on the right track? And just how relevant is the information they eventually find? Can they even read it on their smart phone?

Law firms don't get a free pass on website ease of use. Read this post, and make your site better.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take your medicine.

Allison Shields' "No Magic Pill for Lawyer Marketing" at Slaw. Looking for a quick fix? You can stop. Really. You're not going to find a silver bullet, because there are none. Marketing a law practice takes work, time, and very often money. And focus, consistency and exceptional client service. Shields' post gives a great lesson in the practical, and along the way lays out a blueprint that will guide you as you identify and implement the marketing efforts that work best for you and your clients.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Strap yourself in. The ride's just beginning.

Jordan Furlong's "The year of the free-agent lawyer" on his blog at Want to know where the profession is headed? Look where it's been. Furlong's post looks back at 2010, "the year of law firm outsourcing," and provides his usual insightful analysis on last year's most significant developments and what they mean for lawyers and the legal profession going forward. Will 2011 be the year of the freelance lawyer? Only time will tell. But you don't need a crystal ball to prepare yourself for changes in the profession. Just posts like this.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wanna hire me? What's it worth to you?

John Wallbillich's "Law Firm Client Minimums: The End of Happy Hour?" at Wired GC. Is DLA Piper's minimum annual billing threshold of $200K for new clients going to set a BigLaw precedent? Or will it quietly fade away when they realize that clients don't appreciate being told their $150K deal isn't worth the effort? Either way, it raises a lot of questions. Read Wallbillich's take (I especially like 5 and 6), and ask yourself what this means for you, for your practice, and most importantly for your clients.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kissing and Telling

Lida Citroën's "Saying you’re a good kisser doesn’t mean it’s true" from ColoradoBiz. It's one thing to tell the world what a good lawyer you are, how your commitment to clients sets you apart from your peers, how professional and ethical you are. It's another thing to be it. Day in and day out. Saying you're a good kisser doesn't mean it's true. Trust, the kind that people buy (not the kind you try to sell) comes from credibility, from articulating your values and beliefs through your actions. Focus on that, and your practice will market itself.

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's a big world. Experience it.

Michael Chang's "Think, and Act, Globally" from the Martindale Connected Lawyer Career Center. Chang is an international lawyer in the true sense of the word: multi-lingual and multi-cultural, he spent much of his career working outside of his "home" country. So when he writes about his experience, about what he's learned, about embracing the new and different, I sit up and listen. You should too. It's a big world out there. Experience it. And follow Chang's advice.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Do as you say. Really

Patrick McKenna's "Signal What You Value as a Leader" at This post was written especially for new managing partners and practice heads, but it applies to everyone. You are what you do, and analyzing your actions, where you spend your time, what your activity signals to your colleagues and clients is always a useful exercise. Modifying those actions so that they align with your real objectives - and communicate your real priorities - is even better. Read this and get started.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Don't just prattle on. Make real strategy.

Seth Godin's "All abstract strategy discussions are useless" from Seth Godin's Blog. I've recommended posts on strategy. I've written about strategy myself. But not like this. It will probably take you less than a minute to read this post of 79 words (including title). But it might well change the way you think about what a strategy is. More importantly, it might change the way you think about, and execute, your own.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Clients have expectations. Know what yours are?

Cordell Parvin's "How to Meet or Exceed Your Client's Expectations" on his Law Consulting Blog. What's the easiest way to fail to meet your clients' expectations? Not knowing what those expectations are. Talk to your clients before you start to work. Come to agreement on what they need, when they need it, how much it will cost, how they want to be updated, etc. Good communication leads to greater satisfaction. This post will get you started.