I give all the thanks this week to Twitter.
I joined Twitter originally to find a publisher and promote my book, and ended up bringing in business as well. One day one of the individuals I was following on Twitter sent a message or “tweet” that changed the direction of my professional life.
“Does anybody know a contracts attorney?” Was the message. There I was, a young associate practicing Corporate Law, so I responded.
Within 48 hours our New York firm had a Texas client, the client paid the retainer by credit card, and all communications were conducted by email and phone. Not only had I found a new legal client on Twitter- it was almost too easy. Over the next few weeks I tested out multiple searches, and was blown away by how many individuals and companies were on Twitter asking about legal services. Then I started developing a system to find the leads on Twitter and other social media platforms and turn them into clients. It wasn’t too long after that I was asked to host Blawg Review.
(As a side note, Twitter also helped me find a publisher for the book I was trying to promote- my virtues book will be out in March of 2010, being published by Shadow Mountain. If you would like to learn more about it, check out my Virtue Experiment, or join my ning group http://12virtues.ning.com. The premise of the book is a simple concept that if we focus on a different virtue each month, we can accomplish more and live a more fulfilling life.)
I’m a big believer in the philosophy that the same rules of decency and virtue will help you succeed in the legal and blog world just as much as they do in life- we aren’t talking about a moral dress code like that imposed by California for its employees, but instead 12 virtues that will make our world a better place to live.
Has our society moved past integrity? Some still stand for truth above all else, but not all judges, especially when it comes to releasing evidence that would exonerate a wrongly convicted prisoner. Not to mention, integrity in reporting- with the wave of unconfirmed reports of deceased celebrities – I hope all realized that Jeff Goldblum was NOT among the casualties. Or what about this blog that was set up in confused memory of Michael Jordan’s death.
Speaking of Michael Jordon, his coach Phil Jackson provided law firms with some pretty great ideas on managing law firms like a successful team.
The above quote refers to a couple of individuals who were arrested for taking a picture of police officers who refused to provide their badge numbers. Which country did that occur in? Nope, not Iran- our allies in the UK.
My father loves to share this Edmund Burke quote, “All that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Courage doesn’t have to represent standing up against tyranny, but as far as I’m concerned that’s the most important type.
Speaking of tyranny, it has been open season on Twitter ever since Larry Bodine, the legal marketer, declared it not effective as a marketing tool. This wasn’t really a courageous declaration however, it was simply pandering to the less tech savvy generations- telling them exactly what they wanted to hear.
Scott Greenfield soon joined in, and this last week took another pot shot at this micro-blogging service.
I must admit the Twitter community has not made it easy to paint Twitter with a professional brush. Just look at the terminology they use: messages are called tweets, users are called tweeple, and offline meetings with tweeple are referred to as tweet-ups. The silly words alone make it difficult to have dignified conversations regarding Twitter.
Twitter works extremely well for business development, but don’t take my word for it- here are dozens of examples put together in what I believe is the largest collection of Twitter success stories for lawyers compiled by Kevin O’keefe. Got your attention? Twitter is a piece of cake to learn as well- here are some free one minute tutorials put on by some handsome law blogger whose name I will not disclose.
Many people think of themselves as kind people, but never give themselves the opportunity to put their theoretical kindness into action. This last week Robert Ambrogi gave people the chance to be kind, asking them instead of posting a birthday greeting on his Facebook wall to donate $10 or the cost of a Hallmark card to a good cause. This was greatly helped when the ABA Journal picked up the story.
I had always thought that “leaving the light on” for guests arriving late was a universal act of kindness- but for the likes of the Holiday Inn apparently it is a gesture worthy of trademark protection.
Last week’s Blawg Review #217 did an outstanding job of thanking our fathers to whom we owe so much. In this great country we have a lot to be proud of: the super computer, pop tarts, and Michael Jackson. While so many American’s owe a debt of gratitude for the entertainment he provided, many other larger companies will be more concerned with the actual debt of over $300 million that he left behind.
Some like to talk about the strange person that he became towards the end of his life, but I like to remember the young smiling child that had so much enthusiasm and charisma that he seemed poised to take over the world.
Strong leadership borrows from all the virtues. A great leader is fearless, honest, forgiving, and kind. Most importantly, a great leader can make the hard decisions because it’s the right thing to do. This last week Obama signed into law legislation finally putting tobacco under the regulation of the FDA. In addition the bill prevents Tobacco companies from advertising at sporting events. Not popular, but the right thing to do.
Examples of failed leadership are much easier to find. Did it really require a decision by the Supreme Court to determine that a 13-year-old can’t be stripped searched? Her suspected crime? Having Ibuprofen on her person in violation of a “zero” tolerance no drug policy.
One last thought on leadership. When truly disruptive innovation collides with any market, historically the big boys don’t survive. They are lacking the bold leadership required to make major course corrections. The top ten most profitable law firms- 9 of which have no blogging presence to speak of- will lose their position if they don’t join the party. As Kevin O’keefe noted this week, anonymity online is a losing proposition, while others disagree. We aren’t just talking about blogging though, it’s the whole social media system- Legal Onramp, JDSupra, and even LinkedIN, Twitter, and Facebook. These are powerful tools, and real leaders will understand, like their younger counterparts, it is much more significant to harness the power of fire, than to simply try and stamp it out for fear of getting burned.
“Generation Y uses the term ‘life-balance’ as an excuse for incompetence.” -Scott Greenfield
Scott Greenfield and I went back and forth on this issue over the past month, and even though Abovethelaw and the Wall Street Journal sites both followed the discussion, we never really settled the issue. The ABA thought otherwise, so while nobody was paying attention they signaled victory for Scott and the baby boomers. The reasoning? The economy is in such rough shape, no young attorney could possibly hope for law firms to provide balance. This was faulty logic in my opinion, they seemed to have missed the point, many members of Generation Y would rather go off on their own then play the biglaw game. But hey, the boomers are still the ones in charge of the news outlets, so I guess that’s the final word.
One final note on balance, perhaps the saddest post I read this week was that about Harvey Miller who gave up having children for his dedication to the law. He is an extreme example, but it makes me wonder, how many attorneys have children, but don’t sacrifice to make them a priority?
You want to keep practicing law? It will take quite a bit more endurance with Rio Tinto sending over $100 million in legal work to India. The days of high associate pay, and higher partner profits may soon be gone completely with document review work heading to India at 1/7th the cost of the big firms.
Some of us endure heart ache in this life, some struggle economically, others face the high price of fame in terms of spammers leaving 500 comments on Scott Greenfield’s blog in a single day.
Together we are all enduring this brutal economy. Once the smoke clears and all the pent up demand for goods and services is released, those firms that successfully weather the storm will be nicely poised to reap the benefits.
“To err is human, to forgive is divine.”
Now when a personal injury attorney reads that quote, his first response is- “that’s why we have insurance.” When a believer reads that he says,
“That’s why we have religion.”
While Michael Jackson’s body is still warm this personal injury blog lays out all of the different parties who could sue or be sued.
I have nothing against personal injury attorneys, they keep our streets and products safe. I just wonder sometimes, has our society stopped valuing forgiveness? We claim to be a Christian nation, so why does the price of forgiveness so often take the form of a cash payout?
The incredible thing about technology is that it has the effect of leveling the playing field. At one time there was this misguided notion that all attorneys that ended up working for the top law firms were somehow genetically superior to the rest of the legal world. As demonstrated by my favorite book in this last year Outliers, and this post The Outliers of the Law – the old sytem of selecting the best and brightest has no actual grounding in finding the true outliers. In this post by Jordan Furlong supports this idea that the “best and brightest” is a fallacy handed to those attorneys with the best pedigrees and economic situation rather than those most likely to be exceptional attorneys. Don’t expect to see this changing any time soon.
If there is one concept of awareness I could share, it is this: the happy people in life aren’t necessarily the ones working the big jobs or driving the fancy cars. The people that get the most out of life are the ones that can pause to feel the wind blow, or watch the sun set. They have time to mourn the passing of a loved one and or accept the often disappointing realities of life. Awareness is not about having a good attitude, it’s about accepting the realities of this life that can be exceptional and heartbreaking.
“Money doesn’t buy happiness,” but as they finish the quote in Chile “it rents it.” Those things in life that bring us more joy and fulfilment than anything else don’t have a price tag, yet our society assigns them prices all the time.
Now here is some love I can relate to- read about these 4 pioneers of legal blogging, and their love for blogging. These legal bloggers have helped define blogging as we know it for lawyers.
Loyalty and true friendship is one of the most underestimated virtues in this life. True friends don’t keep score, and you know before you even ask them, that they would do anything for you. They have your back. Matt Homann explained how to make friends on Twitter at Legaltech West this last week. Once you get started on Twitter, and your ready for the more advanced stuff, check out Jim Calloway’s explanation of the power of Twitter to share links. Or you could just watch more of this guy:
From a lawyer’s point of view, one of the most remunerative aspects of friendship is this: people do business with people they like. Not a bad tip for lawyers, and here are 10 more tips for those networking at conferences.
My father is one of the best surgeons in the country. On a weekly basis he does operations that last anywhere from 8-18 hours straight, and he does it all without taking a break or stopping to have a meal. Impressive, right? But that’s not the most impressive thing about my Father. One day I heard him come in at 3:00 AM after operating all through the previous day and most of the night. I could hear him coming in because he was whistling. After working almost 24 hours straight he was whistling. My father has found his passion, surgery. He loves it.
So to leave you today, I ask you to find your passion. The attorneys behind what about clients dot com have certainly found it. If you are doing what your passionate about, congratulations. If your not, and you have a chance in your life to change courses, and do something you are truly passionate about, go for it. Life’s too short for anything less.
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you for reading my first Blawg Review. I invite you to grab my free Rainmaker Alert or simply connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. I love talking sports, politics, business, books, and Twitter of course.
Blawg Review has information about how to submit your law blog posts and recommend others for next week’s presentation. Check out next week’s Blawg Review hosted by Cathy Gellis at Statements of Interest.
In the Dayton family (the family I grew up in), when it was somebody’s birthday we would have a big dinner- and as we were eating dinner we went around the table and would say what we liked most about the birthday boy. This was a great tradition because it helped to remind us that it did not matter how much your siblings fought with you sometimes, they still really cared about you. Follow Friday is kind of like the Dayton Family birthday dinner, except its every Friday.
For those of you not on Twitter, you have probably never heard of Follow Friday, or #followfriday as it affectionately referred to on Twitter. This is a day all about recommendations- sharing who you like and why. Its tough to say what you like best about people in just 140 characters, and so a few of my Twitter friends (Gini Dietrich and Julio Varela specifically) have written blog posts to go a little deeper in order to explain why they follow certain people- and what makes those individuals so darn interesting.
Here is my list. I have put it in a few different groups, but pay no attention to the order of the names. I love them all equally. (If you missed the cut this week, its not because I don’t love you- I just I didn’t have enough time to include everyone)
My Brothers (In real life)
Besides being one of the funniest people ON THE PLANET. Damian is a founding member of Kineto Pictures, a production studio out of Salt Lake City, Utah. This brother is extremely funny, just to give you an example- yesterday with all the MJ talk going on he set up this MJ memorial website- http://iheardthatmichaeljordandied.blogspot.com/
Brandon is a very talented artist, animator, and screen writer. He is currently designing video games for EA Games and on the side is putting together an awesome comic book Green Monk. You can see the progress of his comic book as he posts panels on a regular basis on his blog.
When we were kids growing up, Cameron would always get in trouble for drawing monsters during church. Now he designs monsters for Blizzard Entertainment, well actually he is a World Designer- but still pretty awesome. He is also one of the most handsome of the Dayton clan- and ladies, he’s single.
My First Friends on Twitter:
In a recent conversation with @melaniegreen about Gini, I menioned that she should be class president of Twitter. Everybody loves Gini. The thing about Gini is that even though she is one of the busiest people I know and runs a highly profitable PR Agency in Chicago, she is one of the most accessible people on Twitter.
Julio is the man, I love talking social media with this guy. He always has great insights into baseball, music, and society in general. He used Twitter to bring his brother Fernando Varela (The Puerto Rican Pavoroti) single to #1 on itunes recently. This guy know how to tweet.
Justin is always cheerful and up for some great conversation. I am stoked to meet him this July in Chicago! Justin is currently working with non-profits and other groups to use Twitter and social media to build their brands.
Jeff is also know as the DJ of Twitter. He is always busting out great blip.com tracks that any followers can click on to listen to for free. He has also created a sweet website called Buzzcal that keeps people up to date on their favorite sports teams. I’m stoked to meet him in July as well!
Diana is also one of my Twitter friends from the early days. She helps companies that are trying to land government contract, and she shares great information on Twitter about he expertise. She has leveraged Twitter to build some amazing relationships, one of which got her quoted in the Wall Street Journal.
Phyllis is a good friend, and has been a great resource to me since I got on Twitter. She sells handcrafted jewelry to benefit a charity which she runs with her husband to help young children in Africa. Great person to follow, with great insights!
Law Types on Twitter (Lawyers and Legal Industry folks)
I had been following Alexis for months before meeting her at the Get A Life conference in Chicago, but I was blown away by how down to earth she was. She has been an awesome example to me of what good marketing can do for lawyers. She was also nice enough to come on my weekly podcast and share some of her secrets.
Debra has been an awesome mentor to me. She was willing to talk to me on the phone and give me much needed advice when I was first getting my business started. I have her to thank for letting me know about the InsideCounsel Superconference – where I met a number of other individuals on Today’s list.
The mystery man referred to as “Ed”has been able to keep his identity concealed for years as the brains behind the weekly blawgreview, the longest running weekly review of the best legal blogs each week. He has been kind enough to let me be the host of blawgreview next week, so please come back and visit Monday!
Scott and I have had it out in recent months over Generation X, Y, and Baby Boomers. Sometimes our posts get pretty heated to each other, but I feel the need to recognize Scott is probably one of the best legal bloggers in the industry. His writing is really pretty amazing. If you follow him, he likely won’t follow you back- but it will be worth your while.
I met Allison a few weeks ago at the Get A Life conference in Chicago. We hit it off immediately. She has some great insights on billing, marketing, and managing law firms because she used to be a partner herself.
Niki is my fellow Western New York social media friend. She is spreading the social media love to Rochester, NY while I attempt to do the same for Buffalo, NY and the surrounding regions. Thanks to Niki I was able to meet some amazing people in Chicago. Niki is a great connector and she know her technology for law firms.
Gwynne knows her technology. I was privileged to meet her in Chicago at the Get a Life conference, and now she is helping me edit the book I am trying to finish about Twitter for lawyers.
Stephen is the founder of the Rainmaker Institute which has trained more than 6,000 attorneys on bringing in more business. Stephan is an extremely busy guy, but he is surprisingly accessible.
I didn’t realize Patrick Lamb was on Twitter until just a few minutes before I interviewed him for my weekly podcast. Since then I have received some great insights on books to read. You can hear his interview with me here.
Grant has a blog called http://blogforprofit.com This guys knows how to bring in business with blog, and he shared a ton of his secrets with me this week on the weekly Voir Dire. You can listen to it here.
Michelle is single-handidly bringing social media to Cornwall, Ontario. Follow her to see how it goes! We became acquainted through my tweets during the Chicago Get A Life Conference.
Legal blogger and change agent for the legal industry, Jay works to show companies how to keep employees happy and law firms a better way of doing business.
Lance was the first person to interview me after I got on Twitter. He has created an awesome twitter interview called 22tweets where he asks 11 questions, and there are 11 responses from the person getting interviewed. Very cool guy to follow.
Jim is a law librarian, but he isn’t just any old law librarian, he was my law librarian when I was at the University at Buffalo Law School. Back then I had no idea how famous he was, on Twitter that is. Jim post great info about podcasting, nutella, and Buffalo tweet-ups.
Non-law friends that I highly recommend
Chanty is my best friend…. in Australia. We are working together to put on a Social Media for Professionals conference in Perth and Melbourne Australia for this November. Chanty has some great insights into business, life, and building relationships.
Sarah is my partner in crime today in writing this #FF post. We agreed we would both finally write down why we like some people on Twitter so much. Sarah is also an amazing connector, and she has introduced me to a ton of great people. She also invented #tweepletuesday.
Liz knows EVERYBODY. She does virtual book tours for authors like Seth Godin and hopefully someday aspiring writers like myself. She gave me some amazing advice in a phone conversation last week, and I look forward to hiring her in the future to help promote my upcoming books.
Marc and I are kindred spirits. He coined the term “family first entrepreneur” and is a big believer that success in business doesn’t have to come at the expense of your family. His new book was just released, “ONO: Options Not Obligations” which I am reading right now. I highly recommend it.
Mari is the cupcake queen of Chicago, at least according to Twitter. Mari started marketing her cupcakes through Twitter- and started selling like crazy before her website was even completed! She personally delivered some cupcakes to me when I was in Chicago, and I’ll be honest- they are delicious.
Juli is kind of like the character in the martial arts film that is just standing in the background watching and then suddenly springs into action – taking everyone else apart. Except that instead of unleashing fists of fury, Juli unleashes marketing ideas.
I have Mike to thank for teaching me some of the basics on Twitter. When I was brand new to Twitter I was able to watch his Twittalk Tv show to learn what was going on. This guys knows his Twitter.
I am so glad to be friends with Denyse! I know I can always count on her to answer questions for me, or share my links. She still sometimes just sends me articles that she thinks I might be interested in. Very thoughtful twitter person to be following.
Fred was the first person in my life to ever interview me. He put the interview on his website http://thestrugglingentrepreneur.com – and then when I wanted to start my own podcast, he took over an hour with me on the phone teaching me how to do it! Fred is an awesome resource, and a great person to get to know on Twitter.
Whew! That was exhausting. Now follow these people! You won’t regret it.
Some say that blogs bring in business, but others (like Scott Greenfield) say blogs may bring traffic, but that doesn’t translate to new clients.
On this podcast Grant Griffiths (former lawyer- turned full time blogger) will tell us what the naysayers are missing. Listen to hear:
- The #1 mistake made by bloggers trying to turn a profit
- The perfect recipe for a post that will drive traffic to your site
- How lawyers and other professionals can get started blogging from zero
To learn 5 new secrets to making your Web 2.0 activities profitable- enter your information here for a free copy of the Rainmaker Alert.
About Grant Griffiths
Forwards play forward; guards play guard. ~Coach
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. More specifically, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time who happened to be a shooting guard. Can you imagine if they had asked Michael Jordan to spend 3 quarters of every game at center, or point guard? Do you think there is any chance he would have 6 championship rings if that were the set up?
Michael Jordan’s coach, Phil Jackson, didn’t have a hard decision to make. He had the best shooting guard in the game, and so he maximized. He made sure that every minute possible MJ was on the court doing what he did best, playing at shooting guard. Was that unfair to the other players? Come on, this is the pros. NBA basketball is business and as such they maximize by making sure the best players are at their best positions.
So why aren’t law firms run that way? Many firms can’t seem to wrap their head around the idea of having an attorney spend a substantial amount of time doing something other than practicing. Here is how a law firm would look if everyone played their positions:
Rainmakers- great firms survive and thrive based on the business brought in by these rainmakers. These are true connectors with no fear of cold calls or cocktail parties. In a firm run by the Coach- these rainmakers are given greater flexibility to bring in business.
Minders- these are the leaders than run the firm. They design and redesign the systems, they make the crucial hiring and firing decisions, and they solve the firm’s problems as they arise. The firm needs good minders desperately- and the minders need to devote significant amounts of time uninterrupted to running the firm.
Grinders- these attorneys know how to crank out the billable hours. They are almost like machines in their ruthless efficiency. They make few mistakes, they are outstanding writers, and they enjoy their work. The grinders make what law firms sell- expert legal advice- they are good at grinding out the hours. They should keep doing exactly what they have been doing.
So what’s the problem? Law firms need to let rainmakers be rainmakers, minders be minders, and grinders… well you get the picture. At most large firms the attorneys that are great rainmakers and minders are expected to hit the same billable hour requirements as the grinders. How is that even possible? How can they be expected to be brilliant at managing and rainmaking when they are expected to be in the office 60 hours per week grinding? That’s like expecting Michael Jordan to get the same number of assists as the point guard, and as many rebounds as the center. That’s not good team work, and that is not good business.
I had a great interview this last week with Patrick Lamb of the Valorem Law Group. They take a different approach- they have a saying they live by: “When the tide rises, all the ships rise together.” Since the partners split the profits evenly, nobody is pointing fingers at who did what- they are confident that if they all do their part, and focus on their strengths- in the long run it will be for the best for them and for their clients.
What type of results are they having? Not only are they attracting legal business from great corporations like FMC Technologies, Patrick says that his last 18 months since starting Valorem he has been having a ton of fun, best time since he started practicing law. Having a ton of fun as a lawyer? Pass whatever kool-aid they are drinking over there at Valorem, I would like a taste.
MJ succeeded because the coach slotted him into the position that gave the team the best chance to succeed. How about Law Firms start putting their most talented lawyers in the position to do the same?
Its not that complicated, its just good business. To find out more solutions for modern law firms- click here.
Is the legal industry ready to move away from the billable hour? The current model needs to change, because right now “lawyers gain when the client loses” according to Patrick Lamb. Hear what Patrick has done to become a change agent in the legal community.
Listen in to hear Patrick speak on:
- How law firms can be run more like a business.
- How easy it is for clients to demand change.
- The science and art that go into crafting a non-billable hour model.
- Most importantly, learn how Patrick has had more fun practicing law in the last 18 months, then in the 18 years previous.
Included are his thoughts on Twitter and why its such a powerful tool.
About Patrick Lamb
Patrick has shared his thoughts with us on the revolutionary changes that need to be made in the legal industry, to read about how technology is revolutionizing marketing strategy- click here for a free copy of the Rainmaker Alert.
(This post comes from my first ever guest writer, Chanty Lang-Vermaas. She lives in Perth, Australia and offered to write this article as a reply to my recent post: Dear Boomers: Twitter Works Your Just Not Doing It Right. I met her on Twitter. Small world, eh?)
It only takes one Tsunami to a level Giant
As a baby boomer I find some of my generation are being left behind on the social media scale, stating all too often how complicated it is to understand, thus some are unwilling to go surfing outside the bay because they feel its beyond their reach or comprehension.
Whilst I can relate to that, it doesn’t however allow me to stretch myself beyond my own shoreline; so being unafraid to wander beyond the wading pool myself, I lunged forward, head on in to the breaking waves of what I like to call the ‘New Wave Tsunami’. This unstoppable wave is of course now led by our Gen Y’ers, and is thus followed by anyone trying to keep up with these very business social savvy technological forward thinkers.
I love the Gen Y’ers (I have two of them myself) I call them frontier builders, unlike my generation, they’re not about machines running on auto pilot, but rather form their thinking based more on ‘building business relationships’ and not just in doing business. To Gen Y’ers it’s not all about how much they earn, as it is about how many relationships they can develop in the process of doing business, thus their income becomes a bi-product of that
I swear I thought everyone knew about Social Media, however, I was proven wrong.
I actually had a debate with a client of mine the other day, about the value of social media and how it has opened up the world of e-commerce and business everywhere. He disagreed fervently at first, (this came from someone who truly thought he was a forward thinker). After calling him a dinosaur, brave girl that I was, he narrowed his brow and said ok then, prove it to me, was he kidding? So I did!
I showed him what was actually happening out there in the ‘real’ world with all the social media formats available, using my own links to all my sites as an example; he was floored to say the least. He was starting to look more like a stunned mullet washed up on a foreign shoreline, then the CEO of his company. Where has he been I was thinking? And so, I lead him through the wonderland of the tsunami that is social media. We talked in depth; it didn’t take much convincing after that to get him to hire a new Gen Y staff member to blog away on all the sites he thought would benefit his company. I finally got thru to him, social media not only had value, it was imperative to his company’s survival!
When I left, he was salivating!!
I told him I’d write about this in my next company blog, he smiled and said; be kind when you do it Chanty, and so I have. He’ll be reading this when it’s posted.
If you are one of the few (like my client) who thinks engaging in social media won’t add to your profit line, then please, let me be the first to congratulate you on holding fast to your dinosaurian roots laying embedded in the reef.
Social Media is all about communication; it gives you more coverage for fewer dollars spent with more profits in the coffers, the eventual selling point to my client.
Social Media has helped me enormously in looking for and providing insight and understanding businesses, it has assisted me in building the following:
·Trust: The most important starting point for any business. It takes time for some people to trust you on an individual level or as a company; some will trust their gut instinct and others will dissect you like a lab rat. This is where social media out shines anything else, its fast, thorough and immediate. It allows people get to see what you’re thinking, how you present yourself and how you handle yourself when communicating to the wider community. Being seen is being heard.
Remember the golden rule of trust, “People buy people before they buy your product.”
My personal rule is to build a foundation of trust with any ‘potential’ clients. I prefer to work with people who have an open mind, it’s far more rewarding for both of us. However, I am pretty picky with who I want to work with therefore, I am no different to my clients in that regard. I have actually turned clients away who come seeking me out, simply because I could tell their mindset isn’t open to change. I’m neither into wasting my time nor launching myself unnecessarily head first into a coral reef.
· Communication: The right form of communication builds bridges, not dams, and is a priceless extension of you and your company’s values. Adding your website and providing valuable links (your own or a reference link to another) is a great communication tool and is smart thinking, providing you with a platform to publish your views and get your ideas out there. Social media is a powerful tool for communicating, especially so when you contribute to another’s; it builds credibility. Communication isn’t just about using your vocal cords; it’s about using your awareness on all levels and using it ferociously. I also use Skype to have meetings with my clients, for collaborations and for radio interviews with great success.
· Networking: If you’re not networking, you’re not working your net wisely. Networking one to one isn’t always possible these days, what with family commitments, deadlines, lofty workloads or travelling for business, social networking in person isn’t always a viable proposition to us all, this is where social media works brilliantly. Placing an article or blog onto your website helps you to get exposure without the interruption of unnecessary meetings. All forms of social media open doors to communities far beyond our own corridors. By becoming a part of this ‘new wave tsunami’ which isn’t really new, allows us the chance to comment on, add value to or bring insight onto the table of another, and visa versa. Blogging adds value.
As a relative novice in this field I am now discovering the joys of surfing on this New Wave Tsunami and in doing so I am connecting to great businesses and individuals in the process.
Of course, time spent on the Internet cannot replace the fundamental human need for physical bonding, but if you’re not making use of Social Media then you’re certainly missing out on opportunities.
Time to venture into the Tsunami, until next time swim hard and stay strong
Extra information is available via these reference Links below on Social Media and Stats:
Just over a year ago Alexis Neely sold her million dollar law practice, and she has already moved on to a new million dollar venture. What’s her secret?
She Graduated from Georgetown first in her class, joined a top law firm- but soon realized the lifestyle of the large law firms just wasn’t for her. How did she get from there, to where she is now?
Tune in for the Weekly Voir Dire to find out what helped her ditch the big firm life to build not only a successful business, but to live a more fulfilling life.
You will also learn:
- Secrets for solo practitioners that can’t seem to keep their head above water.
- Advice on using social media the right way to grow your practice
- An offer for $22,500 of free tools for building your practice that Alexis has put together to make her business successful.
About Alexis Neely
Young people these days are pretty tech savy. It’s not hard for us, we grew up around this stuff. It’s hard for us to understand life without it. It’s also tough for us to understand why some people don’t get it. There are two common misconceptions floating around in the legal profession about technology, and here they are:
1. According to Larry Bodine, Twitter is not an effective marketing tool.
2. According to Scott Greenfield, blogs don’t really bring in business for attorneys.
My simple reply to both posts is this: if Twitter and Blogs are not working for you- you’re doing it wrong.
Lets start with Twitter.
Larry Bodine shared a bunch of Twitter statistics in his recent article: Twitter Not Effective for Law Firm Marketing. Among them he shared that in April 2009 Twitter had more visitors than LinkedIn, Digg, or even NYTimes.com- but nobody really pays attention to that statistic. The only statistic they pay attention to is this one: 60% of Twitter users drop out after one month, according to Neilsen Wire.
What does a 60% drop mean in practical terms? It means that of the 10 million plus people in the US who joined Twitter since March, 2009- as few as 4 million new users are still twittering. 4 million in two months is still pretty significant growth- and the growth just continues, so what’s the problem? What Larry Bodine is trying to suggest with this statistic is that Twitter is a fad that won’t be around in a few years.
So why are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Plaxo all trying to imitate the simplicity of the Twitter feed? Twitter succeeds at one thing better than any of the other social networking sites- it encourages sharing good ideas, good questions, and good articles with people outside of your existing network. This leads to building relationships with like minded people, and I have seen it first hand. Whether Twitter survives or not is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned, because the successful aspects of Twitter will survive in one form or another.
Larry Bodine said about Twitter, “I have seen few conversations that lead to new business.” But Larry, Twitter is not about closing deals, its about building relationships. Thanks to Twitter I have found half a dozen paying clients, made connections that led to real life conversations with thought leaders like Kevin O’Keefe, Ed Scanlan, Alexis Neeley, Gini Dietrich and even Scott Greenfield. There have been so many amazing people that have become great friends- and I met them all through Twitter. If it wasn’t for Twitter, I never would have been quoted by the the Wall Street Journal, ABA Journal, or Abovethelaw.com, nor would I have been invited to host Blawgreview. So yeah, I think there is something to this whole “Twitter” thing.
Should Twitter be a large part of a firm’s marketing strategy? Probably not. Should it be a part of the marketing mix? Certainly. It has a unique ability to bring strangers together- and it costs nothing.
Now for misconception 2: Blogs don’t bring in Business for Attorneys
Scott Greenfield, in competition for the Grumpiest Boomer on the Internet (“GBI”) has had great success in building a thriving blog. He has a gigantic readership, and tons of online accolades. But he has one small problem according to his site-it doesn’t bring him any business:
Have I gotten a ton of inquiries because of this blawg? You betcha. Have these inquiries turned into clients? Nary a one. I get disorderly conducts from Des Moines, whiners from Wisconsin and free-riders from Fredonia. I can’t tell you how many people call to ask me to represent them for free because of this blawg. Woo hoo! You want a piece of that action? Let me know and I’ll send them all over.
My message to Scott is a simple one- you might want to adjust your strategy. You could easily build into your blog a referral service, a capture mechanism, or use any number of other tools to actually bring in business. You just haven’t designed your site for that purpose. Scott reports to have thousands of viewers to his blog each day, but NO buyers. Can you imagine a WalMart that had thousands of people walk through the store- without ever buying anything? That’s what happens on Scott’s blog, and why? He hasn’t designed it to bring in referrals or to convert traffic into clients. So don’t listen to him claiming online marketing doesn’t work just because he isn’t doing it right.
The most common misconception about blogs is that if you create original content and bring in traffic, then people will hire you. Getting them to your site is only half of the equation. Your site needs to hook them the moment they arrive. Most websites or blogs fail to generate business because they have no hook. The creators of the blogs are thinking like lawyers and not like prospective clients.
My generation sees technology like blogs and Twitter as just another tool. Twitter brings in traffic, blogs provide the hook, and then talented professionals have an opportunity to close the deal. Its not that complicated, but then again, I grew up with this stuff.
To read more details on why social media is so important for law firms, click here for a free copy of the Rainmaker Alert
“One of the saddest statistics you see is the depth of unhappiness in the profession today. I attribute that to ridiculous demands on law firm life…”
Jeff Carr, VP and General Counsel of FMC Technologies discusses:
- How he took a $1.8 Billion company to a $4.6 Billion company without increasing litigation costs.
- How he compares modern day lawyers to tailors that could use computers and sewing machines, but instead are stitching by hand.
- How law school could be radically changed to better prepare students to become counselors.
- His thoughts on social media and the Wikipedia of law that he predicts will turn the old law model on its head.
Here are a few quotes from the interview:
“Lawyers are great at research and writing and arguing- but when it comes to translating that into real world actionable advice… not so much.”
“Law firms are not organized like a rational economic enterprise.”
“I foresee technology leveraging and standardizing content so I don’t pay over and over for the same content.”
“My favorite research tool is Google.”
“The most efficient person in the world is a single parent that has to deal with their kids, and provide for them as well. They will find the most efficient way to get what needs to be done, done- yet our profession doesn’t reward that.”
About Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr is the Vice President and General Counsel of FMC Technologies.
Generation X Shows Boomers How to Throw a Party (Conference)
-Video game station with a Nintendo Wii
-Flowers and grass displays creating a virtual arboretum
-Young energetic staff
-Great Chicago food
-The man in charge with his shirt un-tucked.
Does this sound like a nice place to hang out?
If you paid any attention to my tweets last week, than you know I wasn’t hanging out. I actually spent this last week in Chicago at the(#GAL09 for those of you on Twitter).
Why was this conference so different? The real difference was the man in charge-The CEO and Founder of Total Attorneys . Not only is he a generation X-er, but he started the conference off with a few profound words:
“When I started Total Attorneys, I had two goals: 1. Ski more days next year than I did this year, and 2. Make sure everyone that works for me comes to work smiling.”
It has served Edmund pretty well. In fact, his company had almost $24 Million dollars in revenue in a recent year according to . He takes life balance seriously, and it seems to have paid off for him. He is number 2 on the list of hottest companies in Chicago.
Sorry, but that type of success story is just far too appealing to Generation X and Y. And to reply to your post, the issue is not that Generation Y has a problem showing up for work; we just have a problem showing up to work for people like you.
I wasn’t just impressed by Edmund Scanlan as a person, but by his unique conference that was highly informative. There were awesome speakers like who besides being a really nice guy also taught how to build a 7 figure law practice, who gave away some great tips on legal marketing, and who had an entertaining presentation, but is also leading the way when it comes to online legal marketing strategy. You can catch all of the amazing content for free here on Ustream.
In wasn’t all good however. There was one speaker whose unprovoked criticism of Twitter as a marketing tool caused audible gasps in the audience. His recommendation to get free publicity? Use the telephone and just call newspapers. How 1970′s can you get? Actually, the unnamed person was , and besides ragging on Twitter he actually had a pretty good presentation about PR.
For those of you following my blog regularly, you know that I have written a book called “The Year of 12 Virtues” and that each month I challenge my Virtue Volunteers to set a personal goal to work on a single virtue for an entire month.
So far we have been through the Months of Integrity, Courage, and Gratitude and so I think it is fitting that this month, in honor of Ed Scanlan and to spite Scott Greenfireld, that we have June be the Month of Balance.
Set a goal to make this the Month of Balance. Choose a goal that helps you put what is very most important in your life first. Feel free to share with us how it goes!