3 Steps to Network Your Law Firm on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is all about making business connections and luckily for you, there are several great tools on the site that makes networking on this platform a breeze. Once you have your profile in place and have made sure all the information is up to date, that you have some blog posts connected to it, and have added a video or two, you are set to network. Here are the three key steps you need to take:

Step 1: Have LinkedIn import your address book and search your email account.

The site will then suggest some connections based on who you already know. Send those suggested connections a connection request and you are on your way.

Step 2: Find and connect with potential clients.

  • Search by industry first to see if you already have any connections at companies you are targeting for potential new business.

  • If you find that you have a first-degree connection to a prospective client, call or email your first-degree connection and ask them to make an introduction.

  • If the connections you find are further down the scale (2nd or 3rd tier connections), use the InMail feature to invite those people to connect with you. Customize your request to provide context for the connection.

  • Be sure you have opted in to LinkedIn alerts for all your connections. Once you receive an alert that someone you’re connected with has published an article or has a new job, send them an email to reconnect and rekindle the relationship.

  • If you receive an alert that someone has viewed your profile who could be a potential new client, send that person an InMail message asking if you can help.

Step 3: Cultivate new referral sources.

  • Find LinkedIn groups that match up with your practice area and join them. Participating in these groups helps drive traffic to your LinkedIn profile page.

  • Showcase your expertise by starting your own LinkedIn group and inviting your connections to join.

  • Post blogs, articles, firm announcements, press releases, videos on your profile page and in your groups.

  • Examine your client’s networks to see if there are any potential prospects you’d like to be introduced to and then ask your current or former client if they would be a referral source for you.

Once you get the hang of how things work on LinkedIn — and how easy it is to connect — you will find that it is ripe for networking successfully. And you don’t even have to leave home or the office to do it!

This post was written by Stephen Fairley of The Rainmaker Institute, All Rights Reserved ©
For more legal analysis, go to The National Law Review

Using Technology to improve legal services? Submit to the Chicago Legal Tech Innovator Showcase! Deadline 9-29!

Is your firm combining technology and innovation to serve clients? We want to know about it! The Chicago Legal Tech Innovation Showcase, brought to you by the Chicago Bar Association’s Future of the Profession Committee and Chicago Kent School of Law is October 24th.  Submissions are due by September 29th, 2017.

A panel of distinguished judges will choose five “Best in Show” awards in each of the 2 awards categories: Law Firm/Legal Services and Company/Product/Service. Each award winner will present a 5 minute pitch at the Chicago Kent Auditorium on October 24 and have an opportunity to exhibit during the event. All submissions that meet the criteria will be listed in a Chicago Legal Tech Showcase Guide 2017

 

The Chicago Legal Tech Innovator Showcase will promote the law firms, legal aid orgs, and companies that are using technology to improve legal services in the Chicago area and highlight those whose innovations are exceptional. Whether the end result is better legal knowledge management, more affordable legal services, or improved metrics for decision making and analysis—and regardless of how the services are delivered—we want to hear what you are doing and so does Chicago’s legal community!

 

To learn more and submit go to: http://lpmt.chicagobar.org/chicago-legal-tech-innovator-showcase/

 

Collaboration That Works: 2017 LMA Technology Conference Midwest

The event will be held on September 25th and 26th at the University Club of Chicago. Check out more about this years Technology Conference Midwest and LMA!

 

The National Law Review is proud to be this year’s Metabyte Sponsor!

2017 Legal Marketing Technology Conference Midwest

The Legal Marketing Technology Conferences are the largest conferences dedicated to technologies that law firm professionals use to identify, attract and support clients. They provide the premier forum to learn from and network with thought leaders and colleagues. The National Law Review is proud to be one of this years Megabyte Sponsor’s!

This year’s LMATech Midwest conference theme is Collaboration That Works.

The event will be held on September 25th and 26th at the University Club of Chicago.

 

 

For more information on this years conference go to: https://www.legalmarketing.org/page/midwest-tech-2017

#LMA17 Day 1 Morning Twitter Recap

LMA17 Twitter recapCheck out the National Law Review Twitter recap of the morning session at the Legal Marketing Association Annual conference. Click here for Twitter coverage of the Keynote Address from Zoë Chance of Yale School of Management.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Betsi Roach, Executive Marketing Association
Jill S. Weber, Stinson Leonard Street LLP

Paul S. Grabowski, Bracewell LLP
Cynthia P. Voth, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP

Keynote Presentation – See Our Full Recap of Zoë Chance’s Talk

From Mad Men to Math Men – Why the Rise of Digital Makes Data the New Imperative

Jeff J. Berardi, K&L Gates LLP
Erin Meszaros, Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
David Brady, VutureGroup

 

Busting Silos: How to Turn the Concept of Cross-selling into Practice

Aleisha Gravit, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Jaime Sheldon, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Alternative Legal Service Providers: Threats or Opportunities

William Josten, Thomson Reuters

Artificial Intelligence: Changing the Practice and Marketing of Legal Services

Mark T. Greene, Market Intelligence LLC
Elonide Semmes, Right Hat LLC
Craig Courter, Baker & McKenzie LLP
Bob Beach, Nexlaw Partners
Ryan McClead, Neota Logic

Aligning Marketing and Business Development Resources for Law Firm Growth: Does Your Firm “Got Game”?

Nancy Furman Paul, Bloomberg BNA

Best-in-breed Bios

Anne Heathcock, Winston & Strawn LLP
Mary M. Trice, Winston & Strawn LLP

Litigation and Opportunity Spotting: Outfit Your Firm for Big Profit

Douglas Lancet, Winston & Strawn LLP
Amy Wisinski, Winston & Strawn LLP

The “B” Word: Living the Brand

Morgan MacLeod, Cubicle Fugitive

Anti-Spam Privacy Legislation – What U.S. Firms Need to Know About Anti-spam Legislation Around the World

Jeff Hemming, Tikit

Developing a Long-term Digital Strategy

Kalev Peekna, One North Interactive
Dan Times, Plante & Moran, PLLC

What It Takes to Make It Rain: Rainmakers Now, and Rainmakers of the Future

rainmakerIn the rapidly changing legal industry, it is no surprise that broad conceptions of what it means to be a rainmaker are also evolving. Dr. Heidi Gardner, Lecturer and Distinguished Fellow at the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School, has been conducting research over the past decade on collaboration in law firms. Her findings have also revealed insights into rainmakers: what makes them successful, how their roles changed over time, and how the next generation of rainmakers can be primed to succeed. She will be presenting her findings on the myths and realities of rainmakers at the Thomson Reuters 24th Annual Marketing Partner Forum.

Successful Rainmakers: Extroverts, Introverts, and Cultural Understanding

A common discussion regarding rainmakers, and leadership in general, is whether they are born or made. Based on her decades long research, Dr. Gardner’s answer to whether rainmakers are born is a resounding no. What makes someone a successful rainmaker is their ability to exhibit other sides of their personality, or other strengths and traits, depending on their audience. Rainmakers are typically discussed as being highly extroverted—charismatic, forceful, possessing great salesmanship skills. However, these traits themselves don’t make rainmakers successful, but rather it is their enormous ability to connect with whomever the buyer of their services. Because buyers are not a homogeneous group, most successful rainmakers are able to adjust or adapt their style appropriately.

Introverts are therefore not precluded from being successful because of their commonly thought of as “quiet nature”. In fact, introverts may make better rainmakers in some regard. Dr. Gardner points out that introverts tend not to think out loud and consider what they’re going to say before they say it. They often take time to reflect and appropriately listen to the person that is sitting across the table. This makes introverts very adept at identifying the buyer’s underlying issues and thinking through what it takes to connect the dots inside their firm to help clients solve complex issues. Dr. Gardner also points out that “Many buyers of legal services are also introverts, and they will appreciate someone who has similar a demeanor—not salesy or pushy.” Great rainmakers who are introverts are chameleons. It likely takes more energy for them to be outgoing and interact with strangers in a bigger setting, but they will have developed the capacity to be gregarious enough to make those connections.

Successful rainmakers have a foundation of being highly empathetic and have a strong motivation and interest in understanding other clients—it’s part of what makes them so successful. Dr. Gardner posits these skills are the “basic building blocks for being able to communicate across cultures” and make rainmakers more equipped to be successful with buyers from other countries. What’s required is an additional measure of cultural intelligence; successful rainmakers take part in and study the behavioral mimicry of their buyers in addition to having an appreciation for why different people approach different problems from different perspectives in general.

Evolution of Rainmaker: Toward Collaboration

During the course of Dr. Gardner’s research, she has discovered an interesting trend, or rather non-trend, in the legal industry: the rainmakers at law firms are largely the same people. During the past ten to twelve years, firms have moved away from mandatory retirement. Partners are staying longer than ever, so the rainmakers at firms now are the same ones from a decade past.

There is a new generation of rainmakers coming in now, but there is a lot of frustration in the profession regarding the structure and effectiveness of succession planning (which will be discussed further below). Despite the fact that the legal industry is currently dealing with the same cast of characters, one profound change Dr. Gardner has observed in the last decade involves a simultaneous broadening and narrowing of the role of the rainmaker.

According to Dr. Gardner, “clients increasingly expect a level of industry expertise” that requires attorneys to identify their practices with more specificity than ever. An attorney can no longer be an “environmental attorney”, but must become “an environmental attorney with a focus on extractive industries”, or an “intellectual property lawyer” must be an “IP attorney who specializes in the patent prosecution of computer hardware”. However, because clients’ problems are becoming increasingly complex, rainmakers are less able to be seen as the single go-to person for a particular client who puts together a team of experts in a single discipline, but rather as needing pull together teams of multidiscipline experts. So along with the narrowing of the rainmaker’s own field of expertise, successful rainmakers are broadening their ability to pull together diverse teams to tackle their client’s problems. The rainmaker is the conductor; as Dr. Gardner states: “The client counts on them to be a broker to all of the kind of experts that exist within the firm.”

In order to be successful going forward, rainmakers of the future need to be more collaborative as far as seeking out complementary experts to serve clients. A common obstacle that prevents rainmakers from being successful in this is the reliance on bringing in the “obvious suspects” as a matter of prestige in front of the client. But when called upon to do work on the case, these attorneys are nowhere to be found. Dr. Gardner believes that a key to building a successful team will be to find the hidden gems at the law firm—rainmakers should seek out attorneys who are hungry for client service opportunities. She acknowledges that doing this can be a risky. It’s easier to put someone in front of your client who has an existing reputation as a guru in their sector, but their value to the process is limited if their participation is not complete.

People who are truly intent on becoming successful rainmakers should be investing the time and the energy on others who are not necessarily thought of as the “obvious suspects”. They must access the deeper well of talent that exists and bringing them through the system so that they become committed, loyal, deeply engaged attorneys who are serving the client. To continue to be successful, rainmakers will need to take the risks and bring different kinds of people on board; as Dr. Gardner stated “The legal industry is too fragile to rely on just small pool of experts.”

Rainmakers – The Next Generation

As stated previously, Dr. Gardner has found that effective succession planning in law firms has been found wanting. Even though this generation of rainmakers has been around longer than ever, it is critical for the continuing success of firms to take a hard look at bringing up the new generation of rainmakers on deck. The most effect way to begin doing this is through mentorship. Dr. Gardner states, “People need to accept responsibility for developing a pipeline of talent.” She experienced some of the effective mentoring while she was working as a consultant at McKinsey’s Johannesburg office. She worked under a partner that would take her to all the important meetings, where she wasn’t expected to participate, but allowed to observe. During her time under the tutelage of this partner at McKinsey, she learned a tremendous amount about the ins and outs of client handling. Today’s rainmakers need to make those types of investments in people that will eventually come after them.

Up-and-comers also need to be willing to take responsibility for the trajectory of their career. Too often, Dr. Gardner has encountered partners who have tried to give junior partners or associates the opportunity to participate in learning experiences, who are asked “Can I bill the time?” This is the incorrect mindset to have on the road to becoming a successful rainmaker. Dr. Gardner elaborates: “If you’re trying become a successful rainmaker, you have to invest some non-billable time in your own development as well.” Both the willingness of existing rainmakers to mentor and the tenacity of of rising rainmakers will be what dictates the success of the next generation of rainmakers.

Learn more about the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute Marketing Partner Forum here.

Copyright © 2017 National Law Forum, LLC

Power of Communication in Legal Marketing – The Medium Does Change the Message Part 2

communicationsCommunication is important to almost everything we do–and today, we have more ways to reach out than ever before.  Lee Broekman of Organic Communication and Judith Gordon of LeadeEsQ presented at the LMA Tech1 conference in San Francisco, focusing on empowering communication by understanding the medium. In Part 1 we discussed some of the advantages and challenges of communicating face to face and through print.  In this article, we will examine communication over the phone and panel communication–or any way of communication through a screen.

Phone as a medium is what it sounds like–talking on the telephone either one or one or on a conference call. The danger with this form of communication is all the other things we might be doing while we are on the phone–especially on a conference call–everyone knows how easy it is to click over to email, check Facebook on your smartphone, or start to scribble your to-do list on the paper at your desk. While you are still physically on the call, your attention drifts to the other things on your to do list. This hints at what Gordon calls “the lost art of focus.”  She says, “Today’s attention spans have been radically reduced by our tether to technology. We leap from conversation to conversation—from the person speaking to us to email to headline notifications to texts back to the person speaking—without fully engaging in any one of those communications.” Staying engaged on a phone call, and reminding yourself to be present and aware is important when using the phone as a medium. One way to do this is to make sure the conversation is a back and forth–and not just a series of monologues. Additionally, if the call is a conference call with multiple participants, making sure there is a plan in place, so that each participant has a role, and that ground rules are established and enforced, can help.

Panel refers to any form of communication with a screen between the speaker and the listener.  With technology, this is becoming common–web meetings, webinars and some panels where there is an audience in the room, but also some audience members are tuning in via videoconference.  Gordon says, “Presenters are well served by understanding that their ‘audience’ may be viewing or only listening to a recording at a later point in time, and taking those parameters into account when preparing their presentations.” Going beyond just the people in the room is important–and one way to make sure everyone stays engaged is to have an interactive portion. Another good practice for webinars is to focus on visuals. Broekman says, “When our communication is on a panel, we need to color our black and white text and bulleted lists with vibrant visuals that will captivate our audience and keep them attentive to our intention. Many webinars present dry data instead of information that is new, relevant and interesting. Charismatic conversation, speaker photos and conceptual images in shorter timeframes will go a long way towards making the communication in this channel more effective.”

Another major concern with a panel can be a false sense of distance, and the tendency to feel bold when you cannot see the person you are talking to. This barrier is one reason Internet comment sections can get nasty, and people become callous over social media. These tendencies can be devastating when they seep into professional communications.  Broekman argues, “If you can’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it behind a screen.”

Other pitfalls haunt Panel as a communication method.  Like the phone, placing the screen between people communicating removes the opportunity to see facial expressions and body language.  Gordon says, “When we remove that layer of information, our brains ‘fill in the blanks’ by superimposing our own judgment, which can be devastating.” Additionally, Broekman describes one of the biggest communication problems as a failure to listen with an intention to understanding the speaker. “Instead of listening to what the other person is saying, we listen to our own internal dialogue and filter information through our personal judgments, thoughts, opinions and ideas.”  A screen between parties can only amplify the tendency to hear what we want to hear.  With that said, clarity in transmission is crucial, and consistent checks on understanding are important.  Above all, awareness of the potential for misunderstanding is important.

For attorneys, communication is paramount. Communication is also very complicated. Gordon says, “to put it simply, lawyers ‘speak for’ their clients. Whether in transactional matters or litigation, lawyers are conduits of their clients’ intentions. To fully and accurately represent another—the essence of a lawyer’s work—understanding the fundamentals of communication is essential. Key communication skills—such as the ability to listen, understand, and then accurately present a client’s position to third parties in negotiations or litigation—are essential to a successful practice, and the smooth running of our legal system.”

Click here to read part one: Power of Communication in Legal Marketing – The Medium Does Change the Message Part 1

Copyright ©2016 National Law Forum, LLC

1 Broekman and Gordon spoke at the Legal Marketing Technology Conference on October 6th in San Francisco. Their session was entitled Webinars, Podcasts and Mobile (Oh My!) The Medium Does Change the Message. The LMA Tech conference is the largest conference dedicated to technologies that law firms use to identify, attract and support clients.