Stories & advice from two legal marketers on a quest to shake things up in the law firm community. Learn from our mistakes.
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Don’t Hate The Playa.

April 10th, 2012 | Posted by Rebecca in Learn by Example | Legal Etiquette | Office Politics | Practical Advice | Social | The Internet
Photo from Live Positive Way

It’s taken me a while to get back into the swing of blogging after spending an inspirational week with my legal marketing friends at LMA12. However, recent commentary about our industry as a whole lit a fire under my ass, so here I am.

During LMA President Alycia Sutor’s opening speech, she pumped us up as any organization’s president should, urging us to look at our jobs beyond the day-to-day and analyze whether we are considering the big picture (“What if?” – Check out Heather Morse-Geller’s re-cap). As inspired as I was by Alycia, I realized during her speech that LMA is truly transformative. Here’s why: no matter your level of experience as a legal marketer, this conference provides a forum to stop and reflect on our current place in our firms, where we want to be in our firms, and whether we are living up to the expectations set by both our attorneys and ourselves. That’s the “big picture” surrounding each year’s LMA meeting.

When other “professionals” put our entire industry on blast because of panelists or other legal marketers whom they feel lack credibility, they are being shortsighted. In response to Laura’s unexpectedly controversial post, I don’t think she was proposing a new world order of social media rainbows and butterflies. I think she was simply bringing to light the irony of professionals who specialize in image and branding painting a very negative view of themselves using a social media platform. That’s simply my interpretation. I will say that in many of our firms, there is certainly room for a positive person to encourage attorneys to get involved in the community, coach them to make a call to a brand new contact (I call this the “first date”), and reassure them that despite pursuing a goal for two years, perhaps, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s one of the reasons that we “delicate teacups” have jobs.

Scott Greenfield’s reactions to Laura’s post indicate exactly why attorneys employ marketing professionals: to more strategically target an audience and to better understand that group. Our blog is geared towards legal marketing professionals who may not understand the implications of looking like jerks on Twitter to the people who may be reviewing their resumes in a few years. Just a simple word to the wise.

As Heather Morse-Geller clarified in Laura’s comments, there is a clear difference between constructive criticism and using the anonymity of the internet to be disruptive. Kevin O’Keefe states it best in his comments:

Some lawyers don’t know the first thing about what to do with the fact that they can do good work and then how to use relationships and word of mouth (something that comes as naturally as breathing to most folks – especially those outside the law). These folks may need some help with marketing and business development. Not fluff, but business development founded on being a good lawyer dedicated to working their tail off for their clients.

Having visited Laura’s firm and having met their lawyers and their director of marketing, I believe her firm’s business development is founded on those principals.

What we are trying to do in our daily jobs, with our countless tweets and LinkedIn conversations, and during our annual conference has nothing to do with “making legal marketing look legitimate.” It’s as simple as taking the time see how we stack up to our peers, find out what makes them better at their jobs and take those principles back to our respective offices. Because legal marketing is a real thing, and if business development trends in the legal industry continue in their current direction, we aren’t going anywhere.

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  • nancymyrland

    Great post @rebeccawissler. There is so much to be gained by studying, networking and soaking up all that is legal marketing at our conferences. For anyone to try to knock us down without first trying to understand what we really do is leaving intelligent thoughts on the table, and using knee-jerk reactions to spur writing and reactions.

    We can’t worry about the naysayers, other than to learn from them if there is something to be learned, and to continue to do what we do best, which is to strive to be the absolute best, and most professional, legal marketers we know how to be. We are extremely protective of our firms, our lawyers, our friends and colleagues, and we belong to a noble profession as marketers.

    Thank you for summarizing what you and others think about what happens at our conferences, and to help suggest and mentor readers and visitors so they can learn from your words, and those words of the bloggers and friends you’ve shared here.

    I’m happy to be a friend and colleague of yours, Rebecca, and can’t wait to watch what you do in the future.

    • http://twitter.com/rebeccawissler Rebecca Wissler

      Nancy, thank you for the wonderful compliments. I think we all have days (fairly frequently, depending on the culture of your firm) where we feel beaten down by the drastically different personalities in the office. I recently read a legal marketer saying that they “work hard to work hard,” meaning that getting buy-in for an idea is a project in itself. I’m grateful to have three days with colleagues who invigorate me for the coming year. The presenters are only a small part of it (sorry, presenters!).

Copyright 2011: Laura Gutierrez, Rebecca Wissler. The Legal Shakeup.
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