Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Power of Cookies

So today marks 18 years at my current law firm, that seems such a long time...

Although I had been at another firm for the first 5 years of my legal career, the day I started at this firm was the day I really started thinking about client development.  I didn't know much back in those days, but I did know three things:  One, I wanted to do work for charities and their donors.  Two, I wanted to make a living at it.  Three, to do that I was going to need to develop a client base.  Since my new firm didn't have an established practice in the area, I was going to have to figure out how to leverage the existing relationships in that firm and convince the partners that my little practice area would be viable.  In the early days my marketing focus was on public speaking, for local bar associations at first, then for the state bar.  I also was very fortunate to team up with some other professional firms working in the nonprofit sector, and we jointly started offering informal, educational, client-focused "roundtable" seminars for nonprofits.

Coincidentally, today also marked the launch of my 16th year doing those seminars.  I've hosted 4-6 of these seminars each year, generally in the late afternoon on a few Thursdays March through May and September through November.  In the early years it was a lot of work to come up with the speakers, print the invitations, assemble the mailing lists, and copy the written handouts (remember, everything was hardcopy back then).  Today, the operation is pretty seamless, invites go by email, twitter and linked in to a much, much larger distribution instantaneously at no cost.  I've heard many times from my client base that my little corner of the market looks forward to receiving the invitation each spring and fall. My staff has been wonderfully supportive, either because they believed in my mission, or perhaps they were just looking forward to their share of the delicious cookies I always served.

I suppose the current version of a seminar series is the legal blawg, focused on a particular practice area, and were I to be starting a practice today I suppose I might just go the electronic route.  Perhaps that is more effective than an old fashioned meeting with a walking, talking, breathing speaker or two.  But I don't plan to discontinue my roundtables any time soon.  Yes, I am a believer in the new information technologies.  But there is also a place in the client development tool chest for good old fashioned, face-to-face, educational seminars where clients and friends can network and learn something new from eachother.

And share some good cookies.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Modest Resolutions, and (Older) Age

Longtime readers remember my resolutions over the years.  Last year I focused on getting the billable hours on my time sheets.  The year before I promised to focus my marketing efforts.  And in 2008 I had the most ambitious list ever.  This year?  Honestly, I have only one resolution, and so far (10 days in!) I have kept at it.  I am going to take my joint supplements every day.  That's pathetic, I know, but I have this theory that if I can move my joints without pain, I might sleep better.  If I sleep better I should be more pleasant in the morning.  If I am more pleasant in the morning, I can achieve all those lofty resolutions from prior years.  So you see a little chondroitin and glucosamine just might be the trick for getting my practice to the next level.

Well, it's a theory anyway.  I'll let you know how it works out.

Friday, January 6, 2012

More Inspiring Bits from Notable Women

I was out on vacation for much of the second half of 2011 so didn't collect quite as many quotes as usual.  I did find a few useful gems:

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why we call it 'The Present'."
— Eleanor Roosevelt

"It's always been my feeling that God lends you your children until they're about eighteen years old. If you haven't made your points with them by then, it's too late."  Betty Ford

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  Maya Angelou 

"I have no regrets in my life. I think that everything happens to you for a reason. The hard times that you go through build character, making you a much stronger person."  Rita Moreno

"I would just like people to think of me as a judge who did the best she could with whatever limited talent I have to keep our country true to what makes it a great nation."  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

"Macho does not prove mucho."  Zsa Zsa Gabor

"It doesn't matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses."  Mrs. Patrick Campbell

"Impartiality suggests that we shouldn't begin from our own point of view, that we should have principles that apply absolutely to everyone.  But the trouble is that human life is based on the personal point of view."  Martha Nussbaum