Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sage Law Marketing Advice

It's not often that I mention consultants here, and it's particularly rare that I refer my readers to consultants that I have not personally met.  However, I'm making an exception today because Sage Law Marketing has some nice, concise advice that perhaps points out the obvious, but hey, for a lot of lawyers I know, the obvious isn't quite as obvious to them as it is to those who do market themselves well.  So, just to pique your interest, here is Sage Law Marketing's list of the top 10 biggest mistakes lawyers make in marketing, or, perhaps to give it a positive spin, the top 10 things a lawyer should do if he or she does NOT want to have a solid book of business:  

Mistake #1 They don't market when they are busy.
Mistake #2: They don't have a "reputation building" plan. 
Mistake #3: They don't treat their referral network as an asset.
Mistake #4: They don't sell clients on what they have already sold them.
Mistake #5: They don't market themselves inside their own firm.
Mistake #6: They only market to clients when they are working with them... or when they are trying to sell them something. 
Mistake #7: They assume potential clients will value their expertise.
Mistake #8: They expect the client or prospect to do too much of the work.
Mistake #9: They focus on the wrong end of the pipeline. 
Mistake #10: They don't market to people who rejected their proposals.

How many of these mistakes have you made lately?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Own Your Space... and Your Location

With all the talk lately about smart phones tracking your every move, and data aggregation by social network sites, the world seems to be falling into two camps:  those who are are horrified at the imminent loss of personal privacy, and those who realize notions of privacy are gone already, so don't worry, be happy.  As an adult, it's not such a stretch emotionally to conclude that there are some things beyond my control, and so this loss is not such a big deal.  As a mom, though, I realize its probably not responsible parenting to abandon my teenage child and let her figure it all out on her own, make value judgments on what to share and how to use technology, and at the same time stay with her peer group in the online world.  Although Own Your Space won't solve my philosophical issues about my decisions that affect my privacy, it does speak to my teenager in a language that is understandable to that demographic.  Creator Linda McCarthy has done a fabulous job with this book, available free as a download.  I highly recommend it to all parents of teens and precocious younger kids who are managing their own online presence.  Some younger kids and older adults might need help with the vocabulary, but readers between 15 and 25 will find it a pretty accessible resource. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dress for Success

The Women In Law Empowerment Forum along with Dress for Success are reaching out to women lawyers who are interested in supporting DFS's Power Walk in early May.  WILEF is a sponsor of  the Dress for Success Power Walk initiative, a wonderful opportunity to bring together professional women for an empowering morning supporting disadvantaged women in the US, Canada, and London.  Walks are scheduled in the following places:

United Kingdom- London
Canada- Vancouver, Regina

United States:

CA – Los Angeles, San Francisco
CO – Colorado Springs, Denver
FL – Palm Beaches
GA – Atlanta, Savannah
IL – Chicago
LA – New Orleans, Shreveport-Bossier
MA – Springfield, Boston
MD – Baltimore
MO – St. Louis
MS – Jackson
NC – Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham
NJ – Hamilton, Jersey City, Madison
NY – Brookhaven, New York City
OH – Cincinnati, Columbus
OK – Tulsa
PA – Hershey
RI – Providence
TN – Memphis
VA – Norfolk

The mission of Dress for Success is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Dress for Success empowers women to make healthy choices at work and in life and The Power Walk for Dress for Success plays a crucial role in ensuring that women understand the need for a well balanced lifestyle.   Consider forming a local walk team, joining an existing team or become a "virtual walker." Visit The Power Walk for Dress for Success website to get started and to find the location and date for the scheduled walk in your area.  Most are scheduled for May 7, but some may be on other dates, so check the website.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Meanwhile, Across the Pond, What should Women Lawyers Wear?

I don't usually like to encourage people to read the ABA's weekly attempt to foment insurrection, but this week's summary of the dust up from an Allen & Overy email on appropriate professional attire is just too good to pass up.  Although as a management matter much could be said about Allen & Overy's decision to convey the message as they did, what I find most interesting, and I think will be most helpful to readers, is the lengthy chain of comments from brilliant and thoughtful women and men, as well as comments apparently written by a few neanderthal men who have managed to remain in the population.  I hope you enjoy the comments as much as I did.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Woman Lawyer

Here is a must read for you:  Professor Barbara Babcock's just published biography of Clara Foltz presents a compelling read that chronicles the history of an amazing woman and lawyer.  There's something for every woman lawyer in this story:  business development strategies and methods of political persuasion; work/life balance and what to wear; when to work for free and when to sue a client for fees.  Clara was instrumental in her day in speaking out on the obligation of the profession to serve those who can't afford counsel.  And of course work/life balance was as much a concern for her (she was a single mother of five) as it is for any of us.  Reading her story makes me wonder why I've ever thought we modern women lawyers have any challenges at all.  There are a number of reviews of the book on line, in case you want a second opinion on whether this book is worth buying.

If you are lucky enough to be able to meet the author on her book tour, then you are really in for a treat.  Professor Babcock is an icon for women lawyers in her own right.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Bully for You

My horse is a bully. He's been very full of himself lately, and since he's quite a bit bigger than I am and outweighs me by more than 1000 pounds, I tend to be intimidated by his pushy behavior. My trainer/psychoanalyst/sports psychologist/partner-in-crime insists that to train a young horse properly, one must become the boss mare and push back on the bullies. Sadly, that is not really in my nature, at least with respect to horses. So I've been pondering whether it is easier to modify my personality, or my horse's. Or to, well, just walk away and let someone else deal with him until he grows up.

I had the distinct displeasure lately to observe men bullying other men, which is not nearly as entertaining as watching a herd of horses go at each other. Since I really didn't have a dog in the fight (sorry for mixing species here, but you know what I mean), it was easy to be an observer and not get caught up in the emotion. Most of my colleagues responded similarly, and those who had to engage in the conversation with the bullies in the room were consummate professionals. The folks who lost decorum, using rather hostile language for the circumstances, completely misunderstood the context of the discussion, and since they couldn't persuade anyone of anything, they proceeded with hostility rather than constructive dialog.  After a while their shrill voices were just ignored.

A lot of lawyers also seem to adopt bullying as a negotiating strategy because it can work to their or their clients advantage, especially when the opponent is known to be non-confrontational. Sadly, it's often not effective to engage the bully in a conversation, work out a compromise that solves the problem, and otherwise use professional, respectful approaches to problem solving. The choices seem to be to walk away, or find someone else who is equally bullying to take on the matter. Personally, I know it is my preferred style to walk away from a hostile conversation.

I'm not so sure that either gender has the corner on the market for bullies--Peggy Klaus sure sees plenty of women professionals who bully. Although it's not always easy to spot a bully negotiating style, there are some good resources for understanding negotiating styles and effective responses. See, for example, Difficult Conversations, which I reviewed a while ago.

It's also pretty clear to me that constructive dialog with Willy just isn't going to work, and peppermint bribes are ineffective too. Since I really don't want to walk away from him, I guess it's my personality that will have to change. If I can do it professionally, I suppose I can change my approach to conflict with horses as well. But it might take me a bit longer than it took me to learn to deal with difficult lawyers.  The horses are bigger.