Creating Camaraderie in the Legal Marketing Community Through The Legal S/ant Podcast with Co-Hosts Jessica Jaramillo and Vanessa Petrea

Furia Rubel Communications, Inc.
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Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of On Record PR. I’m your host, Jennifer Simpson Carr, producer and the guest host of On Record PR. I’m also the director of business development at Furia Rubel Communications. Today we’re going On Record with Jessica Jaramillo and Vanessa Petrea, legal marketers and co-hosts of The Legal S/ant podcast.

The Legal S/ant podcast focuses on bringing the legal marketing community together to provide wisdom, humor, camaraderie, and life hacks. Jessica is a marketing director at Ireland Stapleton, and she lives and works in Denver. Vanessa is a senior business development manager at Pillsbury Winthrop and hails from Texas. Jessica and Vanessa interview legal marketing professionals in each episode and dive deeper into the top-of-mind topics. The Legal S/ant also spotlights the unique challenges legal marketers face and how seasoned professionals avoid burnout and even thrive.

Welcome, Jessica and Vanessa.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Hello.

Vanessa Petrea:

Hey. Thanks for having us.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

I’m so glad to see you both, and I am happy you’re here.

Jessica Jaramillo:

This is great.

Vanessa Petrea:

Yes, this is exciting.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

As a listener of your podcast, I’m very excited to dive into how it got started and more information about how you keep it going with the busy jobs that you have.

Why don’t we start by you telling our listeners about the show and why you created it?

Jessica Jaramillo:

Oh, I’ll tell you the story, Jennifer.

Vanessa and I were serving on the LMA Southwest board together, and I had met Vanessa through some other legal marketing leadership training in previous years. Still, I didn’t know her well but got to know her at the Atlanta LMA Conference. And we were fast friends and got to talking one night, and I said, “You know, I’d love to do a podcast. And one thing you should know about me is I have all of these ideas, and then sometimes maybe I’m not so good at the follow-through.” So in this conversation, Vanessa said, “Oh, I’d love to do a podcast as well. This would be great. We should do this together.” And we played off of one another at that moment.

I left Atlanta and thought, “Well, that would be fun,” and thinking that nothing would come of it. And then Vanessa called, and she said, “Hey, are you serious? Because here’s what we need to do and what it would look like, and here are your actions texts to get us going.” And I was like, “Oh, all right. So I guess we’re going to start a podcast.”

Vanessa Petrea:

In general, I would say I’m not the best vision caster person, but when someone casts a vision, I can see all the steps. And thankfully, I’m married to a sound engineer who does a lot of podcasts for various businesses. I knew that I didn’t have to be all smart; I had some resources for that part of it. But I don’t think I would’ve ever thought about doing it had Jessica not said, “I think we would be great podcast co-hosts.” And I think Jessica and I work well together because we weren’t super best friends before this. We’ve become close due to this project, and we love each other dearly, but I think it works well because our gifts and talents complement each other well.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

That is such a great story. I feel like it is such a tie into what we do as legal marketers. We all have such vast skill sets, and we bring those together on our teams and throughout the legal marketing community to leverage one another’s strengths and bring the best we can to our work.

Vanessa Petrea:

Absolutely.

What have been some of the obstacles and challenges to maintaining your podcast?

Vanessa Petrea:

So many. Jessica, where do we begin?

Jessica Jaramillo:

In the beginning.

Vanessa’s right – there have been so many challenges. Challenges we didn’t even think would be challenging when we started. There are work circumstances that get in the way of us having fun on our podcast. There are life circumstances and a whole host of just things that get thrown at you. There is the creation and maintaining a schedule, which in some cases, Vanessa, I think you’d agree was the more straightforward challenge than fitting in this podcast with work and life and everything that goes with it.

Vanessa Petrea:

Yes. When we dreamt about this podcast, as you well know, Jennifer, it takes a while to get it off the ground. It probably was a year in the making to get it all things in the can, the branding, all the things. And then we were so excited to launch January 2020, and then on January 2, my father died very tragically, unexpectedly, and I was just a mess. I didn’t even want to care about anything. And Jessica was there to pick me up off the ground and say, “No, no, whenever you’re ready, hon, we’ll do this.” And we only pushed back our launch about a month, I would say.

Jessica Jaramillo:

That’s great.

Vanessa Petrea:

There have been other times where she’s been mired in either work, busyness, or personal strife and, and it’s been my turn to help carry the weight and drive some things. So again, I think we work well together. And so other challenges we have faced, I think have just been, to Jessica’s point, the scheduling part, I think we figured out pretty quickly and just juggling it. I think we were wise in not committing to a weekly regimen.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Yes.

Vanessa Petrea:

We committed ourselves to every other week, and we haven’t even stuck with that, and our listeners haven’t revolted. So that’s been good. I think our listeners have been flexible with us as life has come up.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

Well, thank you for sharing that. I know that this is a podcast, and people are listening. However, we’re recording on Zoom, and I can just see the connection you two have. I can only imagine how much fun the two of you have creating these episodes and the comfort and trust of having each other’s back in those situations.

Vanessa Petrea:

Yes, absolutely.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

You are both very well-respected legal community members, having served the legal marketing community in different capacities through the Legal Marketing Association. Vanessa, right now, you’re serving on the LMA Southwest Board as the president-elect.

Vanessa Petrea:

Yes.

How have you seen that the podcast has helped elevate your personal brand beyond the brands you already have in the legal marketing community?

Vanessa Petrea:

Yeah, it’s interesting to see when my boss likes a post that we do, or an attorney that I’m working with and trying to motivate them to care about LinkedIn will comment or post on one of our podcast posts. And I think they see that I subscribe to the lessons and coaching that we tell them in terms of personal branding, which I think is helpful. But I also believe something happened to me personally, early in my career, and this may – Jessica, you may be able to relate well – when you’re working for a big firm, you don’t always have control of your personal brand. You have a brand within your firm, and social media has allowed everyone to have a platform and, and that’s been great. But I think if you want to have a voice in this community, I feel very strongly about camaraderie and bringing people together and there not being cliques in the legal marketing world. Not that there are, but sometimes that’s the perception we want to make the tent bigger.

We saw that there was a void in that area in terms of the legal marketing world. So it was definitely to help personal branding. Look, I’m not going to get my next job because I’m a podcast co-host, but I do feel like we haven’t been out since we’ve done this. Let’s be honest too, Jessica. We know how people listen in terms of metrics.

Jessica Jaramillo:

We haven’t been unleashed on the world in person yet.

Vanessa Petrea:

I think the personal branding remains to be seen in terms of who cares about this. But we do hear from people, sometimes people that we don’t know, that are listening and encouraging us, which has been great. I don’t know, Jessica, if you want to add to that.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Vanessa, I think you nailed it. Having your attorneys comment on your posts, I will say I’ve had some of my attorneys come knock on my door and say, “Hey, I listened to your podcast. I saw that you launched that. That was great. I appreciate what you’re doing.” And the fact that we are a podcast for legal marketers, not attorneys, I think speaks volumes.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

That’s a great compliment to the content you’re producing that your attorneys, bosses, and colleagues are commenting and listening. I know at our agency, we take a practice-what-we-preach approach. Especially during the last 16 months in times of crisis, if we were giving our clients advice, we were following that advice internally and executing on it.

So, Vanessa, I love what you said about demonstrating that you’re not only coaching the attorneys on best practices and tactics, but then you’re also demonstrating through your podcast that you’re following through on that yourself and that professional commitment that both of you have made.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Let me add another thing that Vanessa pointed out that I thought was essential and shines through in our podcast. She mentioned we believed that there was a void in that ability to maintain relationships with those people that you met at an LMA conference, right? So, you go in, and you’re having all this fun, meeting new people, making new friends, and we, in putting this podcast together, really wanted to continue that opportunity for people to connect and talk and showcase them.

As a follow-up question, are there personal or professional skills you’ve refined or improved upon due to the podcast?

Jessica Jaramillo:

Oh yeah, I’ll go first. If you asked me this question a year ago, I don’t even think I could get the answer out. In creating this podcast, my level of confidence has grown quite a bit. I felt I’ve always felt like a confident person. Still, when you see yourself as the interviewer, when you see yourself on social media, all over the place, which I’m not necessarily comfortable with, personally, it can be a little bit intimidating. Working on the Legal S/ant with Vanessa has dramatically increased my confidence level. With Vanessa, as a co-host, as my friend, she makes it safe for me to be more confident, and I’m forever grateful that I’ve been able to grow in that way.

Vanessa Petrea:

Yeah, I think Jessica is right. I think our listeners might hear our earlier episodes and think, “Jessica is so quiet,” and now she’s not; she’s much more confident in her interview techniques, and that can help you when you’re interviewing lawyers. I feel like this experience has helped me be more satisfied at work, right? When you’re talking to lawyers, and you’re used to thinking quickly on your feet and asking those follow-up questions. I hope that it makes me funnier, but I can’t quantify that.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

Well, I can relate to both of those things. I think I’ve developed a new sense of confidence in working on our podcast. And I certainly have refined my interview skills, and I do attribute thinking on my feet more quickly now to having to do that when I’m interviewing.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Yeah, it’s a skill. Skill up if you’re going to have a podcast, it’s a thing.

Vanessa Petrea:

And we’re always trying to improve, right?

Jessica Jaramillo:

Always.

What trends are you seeing in the legal industry right now, and how do they impact the delivery of content to your podcast audience?

Jessica Jaramillo:

It’s digital growth in thought leadership and public relations with legal marketers jumping into the operations sector.

Vanessa Petrea:

Absolutely. We certainly watch all of the trends. We see the blurred lines between home and office and what that will look like soon. Recruiting efforts are different, and we’ve had Jennifer Johnson on our show, a recruiter, and talked to her about that. That’s very interesting to us as the industry changes in terms of where you can live and work… So, following that trend as well.

When your guests and listeners walk away, what do you hope they will say about their experience with you?

Vanessa Petrea:

I want them to say, “That was so fun. You make it so easy.” We never want people to be like, “Oh, that was stressful, and I had to learn a bunch of things.” We intentionally do not provide questions in advance. We will provide topics, we’ll have a loose outline, and we never want to do a gotcha situation. But Jessica and I will develop questions as an outline, but we don’t want people to feel like they have to memorize many talking points and feel stressed about the experience. Some of them have asked us for questions, and if that’s their comfort level, then absolutely, we’ll help do that. We want people to feel comfortable and that they had fun, and we want to draw out their personalities a little bit and talk more than just as a listener, Jennifer, you probably recognize that. As they’re listening, we want people to feel like they truly got to know the person, not just as a professional but also as a person and a human being.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

In my personal opinion, as a listener of your podcast, you’re nailing that. I listened to The Legal S/ant episode with Rich Bracken that talks specifically about imposter syndrome. I always find it interesting that we have such a strong, intelligent, brilliant, and collaborative community in our community. Yet, so many of the professionals in our industry suffer from imposter syndrome and doubt themselves. I think that comes along with being in the legal sector. Thank you for covering that topic because I feel like we can all use a reminder that we’re doing a great job and that we are smart and that we are collaborative, and that we’re working to make the industry better together.

Vanessa Petrea:

Well, back to the challenges question, I should have said that. We had to fight a lot of imposter syndrome even to get this off the ground because there were several times Jessica and I were like, “Who are we? Who are we to even be doing this? Who do we think we are?” I appreciate that you brought that up, and Rich Bracken was so fantastic talking about that. But we indeed fought that and continue to fight that a little bit.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Sure.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

We see that with asking our guests for this podcast, too. I love what you said about the “gotchas” because that’s one of the phrases, as a producer of this podcast, I use when guests are interested in learning more about being a guest on the show. They are very concerned about, “Who am I to be on the show,” but also, “I don’t want to be in a situation where I’m unsure about a question, or I don’t have the right answer.” So, I appreciate that as part of the challenges you have faced because I share in that struggle with you.

As seasoned legal marketing professionals, can each of you share one lesson you have learned in working with law firms and lawyers that you carry with you in your day-to-day work?

Jessica Jaramillo:

Thanks. I think the thing I have learned in my career as a legal marketer, and it even pains me to say it now, but my urgency is not their urgency. I wouldn’t say that I’ve learned patience. Anybody who knows me and works with me knows that’s not high on the list of my characteristics. But it’s something that I know is important and I strive to achieve when launching a campaign, be it at work, be it in a volunteer capacity. So yeah, recognizing that my urgency isn’t the same for everyone. It’s just

Vanessa Petrea:

This is such a great question, and I have so many answers in my head that I’ll probably regret not saying some later., Some are just like silly things because working with attorneys is a unique group of individuals, the most intelligent people with whom I’ve ever worked. But I think overall, I have learned that I have to stay positive no matter what. Many attorneys are hardwired to look for what’s wrong or be hesitant to take a risk. And I always am coaching them and trying to be their cheerleader. I feel like I’m always the most positive person in the room of attorneys. I’d be made fun of for being so upbeat and chipper. And I was not just myself.

But I think over time, I’ve learned, “No, no, I’m going to be all me. I’m going to be positive and the cheerleader, and I will be competitive with every proposal. And I’m going to continue to just bring the energy around attorneys.” And even if they make fun of me or roll their eyes, I don’t care because I’ve had enough of them on the side say, “I appreciate what you do. I appreciate that you care about this.”

Jessica Jaramillo:

That’s a great answer.

Vanessa Petrea:

Okay. I wanted to say don’t put things in the attachment, but I felt dull.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

I think it’s a great answer. I’m glad that you mentioned the part about some attorneys saying thank you on the side, because as you were sharing that, my thought was, “Yeah, they may be saying it in the room, but I bet you when they leave, they’re grateful for Vanessa’s enthusiasm.”

Jessica Jaramillo:

Absolutely.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

And I am sure the attorneys appreciate you being behind them and being that cheerleader.

Vanessa Petrea:

Yes.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

Before we end our time together, do you have any questions for me?

Jessica Jaramillo:

Oh, I have some questions.

Vanessa Petrea:

We do. You don’t have to ask us twice to interview people. Jessica hit it.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Okay. Jennifer, tell us, what are your favorite podcasts?

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

I have an absolute favorite – It is Above the Law’s Thinking Like a Lawyer.

I think Kathryn Rubino and Joe Patrice are wonderful co-hosts, and they constantly have me laughing. But they are also keeping me up-to-date on exciting things happening in the legal industry. I cannot skip a week of that podcast. It is tuned up every week when they release it.

Jessica Jaramillo:

It’s a good one.

Vanessa Petrea:

We know that you’re a frequent speaker, and you were even a speaker at our recent LMA Southwest regional conference, for which I am grateful. I know it was a highly coveted session, so thank you for doing that. Between speaking and podcasting, how would you rank your enjoyment of those things?

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

I enjoy them both, and I will continue to speak publicly as long as people will have me in the market and there are things to talk about. I have to say; I enjoy podcasting. Through the podcasting process, I have had the opportunity to meet such incredible individuals and get to know our guests well. As an agency, we have expanded our network. Just as an example, for Women’s History Month, we had the president and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum. For the inauguration, we had a special episode with the founder of the White House Transition Project. These are individuals that I personally or professionally never envisioned that I would have the opportunity to connect. I think I have to say podcasting right now because it has expanded my knowledge, interests, and network in such a unique and interesting way.

Vanessa Petrea:

Well, you’re a great public speaker as well.

Jessica Jaramillo:

You all have some pretty incredible guests on your podcast. I got to say.

Vanessa Petrea:

Yes.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

It’s been a lot of fun to connect with these individuals and just hear from them and learn from them and learn different sides of topics that I’m personally interested in but never dove so deep. So, thank you.

Vanessa Petrea:

And when we interviewed Gina, she could not tell us more positive things about you.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Right.

Vanessa Petrea:

How you are the brainchild of On the Record and just love it and do a lot behind the scenes. I know that you all have several folks that interview people, but this has been fun to get to know you a little bit better.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

Yes. I appreciate you both joining us. I’ve loved talking to you today. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through the process of scheduling and thinking about what we’d be talking about. So thank you both for joining us and taking your time.

If people want to get in touch with you, learn more about you, or learn more about the Legal S/ant podcast, where can they get in touch?

Vanessa Petrea:

They can email us at vanessa@thelegalslant.com or jessica@thelegalslant.com. We are all over LinkedIn if they want to find us there. We have a website, http://thelegalslant.com/connect/, where you can see our episodes. And every episode, we have a list of recommendations from our guests: books, podcasts, just interesting articles, and people to follow on LinkedIn. I highly recommend people check that out as well. Jessica, anything else to add?

Jessica Jaramillo:

I think that covers it. We’re in all the places.

Vanessa Petrea:

We’re on Instagram, too. We’re on Instagram @thelegalslant. We’re on Facebook, all the places.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Twitter.

Vanessa Petrea:

And Twitter.

Jessica Jaramillo:

LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Jennifer Simpson Carr:

We will link to all of those locations in our transcript. We will also link to any of the podcast episodes that were discussed today, as well as your website. We’ll make it super easy for our listeners to connect with you and your podcast. Jessica and Vanessa, thank you so much again for joining us, and thank you to our listeners.

Jessica Jaramillo:

Thank you.

Vanessa Petrea:

Thanks for having us.

Learn More & Connect

The Legal S/ant

Website: http://thelegalslant.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-legal-slant/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheLegalSlant/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thelegalslant

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelegalslant/

Jessica Jaramillo

Learn more about Jessica Jaramillo

Vanessa Petrea

Learn more about Vanessa Petrea

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