An Important Message To Law Firm Management – #LMA18

by Nancy Myrland
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A Message To Law Firm Management - #LMA18

I am writing this as I begin my evening flight home from New Orleans to Indianapolis. The Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Annual Conference just ended yesterday, which is always a bittersweet time for me as I am filled with an immense amount of inspiration, knowledge, additional perspective, and affection for the growing number of colleagues I call friends.  

I Am Conflicted 

I am conflicted because I can’t wait to get home to see John Myrland and our furry boys, Mike and Nick (4.5-year old Yellow Labs), as I haven’t seen them since last Saturday, but also sad to leave so many amazing and wonderful friends and colleagues I care for very much.   

We Share A Common Goal 

We share much in common, not the least of which is a love of all things marketing, strategy, business, the legal profession that we serve and strive to make better via the knowledge we brought to the conference, combined with the knowledge gained while we were here, and the sincere desire to become the best version of ourselves we can be in order to help you become the best you can be.  

Never Underestimate The Importance 

That is what we need to talk about today…legal marketing professionals becoming the best and the smartest they can be. I was happy to be invited to speak about Social & Digital Media Ethics for Lawyers and Legal Marketers at the Quick Start pre-conference program on Monday. As my slides were being loaded by our LMA program liaison, I took a moment to share this thought with the legal marketers in the room: 

“Thank you so much for being here. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of your presence at this conference. The fact that you are sitting here in this room for 8 hours before the conference officially begins is amazing because that means you are here to become better at what you do…and when you become better at what you do, legal marketing as an industry becomes better, and when legal marketing becomes better, those we serve, our lawyers and law firms, then become better.” 

The Ripple Effect Is Profound 

Think about my last sentence. What your marketing and communications professionals do at these and other conferences has the ultimate effect of making your lawyers and law firms better. They don’t come just because it’s a chance to get out of the office. They come to make themselves better so they can help you serve your clients better.   

When all of us attend these conferences, we become better at what we do, which helps lawyers by: 

  • Strengthening our understanding of how lawyers can best deliver services to clients 
  • Helping lawyers find the best way to communicate with every type of client s/he has a need to connect with 
  • Understanding how to think strategically so we can contribute to critical discussions at your firms 
  • Understanding law firm economic and business models so we can help firm management make better decisions 
  • Being able to strategically and intuitively help our lawyers discern when opportunities that are presented are worth pursuing 
  • Taking these opportunities to earn business and turning them into strategic, polished, responsive answers your clients and prospects are looking for 
  • Coaching lawyers to present themselves in the best possible light in every situation 
  • Helping to define the most sensible pricing models for firm services 
  • Learning how to best package the individual and collective intellect of your lawyers 
  • Helping lawyers and all business professionals at the firm understand the guidelines that must be followed every second of every day to comply with one of the strictest sets of ethical and communication standards that exist in the world 
  • Guiding the firm when crisis and controversy present themselves 
  • Staying ahead of the curve in digital technology so your firm stands out in the midst of a great deal of noise out there 
  • Helping manage local, regional, national, and international projects your lawyers and firms are undertaking in order to make the best and most efficient business decisions possible 
  • Gathering, organizing, coordinating, and choreographing all marketing and business development activity into an integrated marketing and communications effort for the purpose of helping to create profitable practices at your law firms 
  • …and so much more 

Embrace This Opportunity 

I could go on, but my message to you is to embrace the opportunity that lies in front of you with these conferences. Encourage your people to attend LMA and other legal marketing, business development, marketing technology, and related conferences because you are not only making an investment in their knowledge and skills, you are helping them help your lawyers and law firm become better and more profitable. 

Not A Perk 

Sure, I understand that conference attendance can be a gift that is delivered to those who have been on the job a while, or to rotate so everyone gets a chance to go once every few years or so, but I challenge you to begin thinking much broader than that. Provide the budget and encouragement so there is a groundswell of knowledge that regularly builds upon itself, vs. once every few years.  

Help provide access to a forum: 

  • Where interaction and mentoring exists 
  • Where there is an environment where tough questions can be asked and answered 
  • Where high-level discussions can take place 
  • Where early-career marketers and advanced hall-of-fame professionals and past presidents can meet and network with one another, and  
  • Where knowledge is shared in a deliberate and focused fashion 

This should not be considered a perk to the marketer, but rather a benefit to the firm. 

The Firm Is The Beneficiary 

It is a benefit to the firm because the firm is the beneficiary of a smarter, more informed and intelligent business professional that can continue to grow, mature, and advance on the knowledge continuum. 

This should be considered mission-critical in order to help push your law firm to the next level. All professionals at your firm, from business to legal professionals, need to excel in order to help you excel.  

If you’re not already, I encourage you to make your firms stronger and more profitable by helping your marketing and communications professionals understand you support and expect their growth and involvement with the continuing forms of education that are there for them to take advantage of on a regular basis.  

Make This A Priority 

Let this be a priority, vs. making them wait until the last minute to see if you can squeeze a few dollars out of the firm budget for them to attend these conferences.  I wrote about this here, too. 

Make it a priority.  

The firm wins in the long run. 

This is important.  

Be the one.

 

Written by:

Nancy Myrland
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