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 system 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.