Posted by: johnocunningham | March 19, 2018

Best Blog Posts in February: Legal Pricing, Technology & Leadership

This is my 63rd post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My Blog Roll.” The concept is simple – at the end of a month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

Reviewing blog posts for the month of February 2018, I have chosen to highlight the following blog posts:

  1. A neat post by Sue-Ella Prodonovich on her Prodonovich Advisory blog, entitled, “How To Get Your Pricing Right in 2018
  2. A thought-provoking post by Gerry Riskin on his Amazing Firms Amazing Practices blog, entitled, “Legal Tech As a Service
  3. A post by Michael Short on the LawVision blog, entitled, “Law Firm Leadership is Like Walking the Dogs

All of these posts will challenge law firm leaders to think critically about their topics – pricing, the use of legal technology, and leadership.

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A recent research study developed by “Globality” in collaboration with The Lawyer found that General Counsel often prefer working with smaller law firms, but often lack the means to find those that are the right fit. The survey went out to more than 300 GCs from organizations with over $1 billion in revenue to uncover the latest industry viewpoint about hiring outside counsel.

Some of the findings in the report were:

  • Almost 70% of General Counsel rely on pre-existing relationships or referrals to source new legal providers.
  • Levels of dissatisfaction are three times higher with larger law firms than with smaller competitors.
  • When presented with a series of new legal technologies, 86% of survey respondents were most excited by tools for sourcing and/or communicating with legal providers outside of their immediate network.
You can read the full report at the Globality website to learn why GCs are increasingly relying on smaller firms and how technology can improve the efficiency and accuracy of sourcing the right firm for any given matter.
Posted by: johnocunningham | February 17, 2018

Law Firm Cyber-Security: Ethical Issue and Marketing Opportunity

Last year, the ABA Journal called cybersecurity “the biggest risk that law firms face.”

Last year was also the first time that multiple GCs on the RainDance Conference in-house panel of lawyers told audience members that cybersecurity issues were a factor in law firm hiring or firing. So now law firm clients can give you a thumbs up or down based on your technology.

Furthermore, the ABA Model Rules now require lawyers to become aware of “the benefits and risks of relevant technology.”

All of this presents both a burden and an opportunity for law firms. Those who adapt state-of-the-art cybersecurity measures and practices will not only be better protected, they can tout this battle-readiness to interested clients as an edge in sales pitches.

There are steps that law firms can take, and when they take them, they can inform their clients that proper protocols have been followed to protect their valuable data and communications.

 

Posted by: johnocunningham | February 6, 2018

Best Blog Posts of January: Communication, Trust and New Ideas for 2018

This is my 62nd post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My Blog Roll.” The concept is simple – at the end of a month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

Reviewing blog posts for the month of January 2018, I have chosen to highlight the following blog posts:

  1. A nice summary of steps to take in getting old clients to follow you to a new firm, which can be found at the Prodonovich Advisory blog.
  2. A neat post on “developing trust” by Deb Scaringi, which can be found on the Scaringi Marketing site.
  3. A list of nine ideas for 2018 marketing success that you might not have considered, which can be found on Mandy Edwards’ ME Marketing blog.
Posted by: johnocunningham | January 23, 2018

Communications: Be Quick, but Don’t Hurry

The most successful college basketball coach of all time, John Wooden of UCLA’s glory years, had a mantra he repeated to his teams: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” Nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” Wooden won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row. No other team has won more than three in a row in Division 1 college basketball.

Wooden understood the importance of being quicker than your opponent in getting to the goal, but he also knew the danger inherent in hurrying to get there. The idea is to play as a coordinated team at the highest speed possible while maintaining control of the ball.

The same rule could well be applied to communications – be quick, but don’t hurry to communicate vital information to your teammates, clients, customers, strategic partners and the public.

If you are not quick enough to communicate key information to teammates or employees, the gap in time without communication will be filled in by speculation, rumor, and spontaneous rumblings from those who are quicker, but careless. If you are not quick enough to communicate to clients, customers, the public or to outside stakeholders, then the same applies – you will be stuck with the perception of truth that gets created in the vacuum of information.

But if you hurry to get information out, then you are in danger of getting it wrong, either because it has not been sufficiently checked factually, or coordinated internally so as to make sure everyone is on the same page. In too many situations, organizations have communicated misinformation because one person spoke for the organization based on unilateral assumptions or lack of understanding with regard to the entire organization.

The key to high-scoring communication is in “coordinated quickness,” which requires every player to execute promptly on his or her responsible role for contributing or checking facts, coordinating with others, and then working within the established playbook to accomplish the messaging objectives.

A nice article on the relevance of John Wooden’s mantra to high performance can be found in the 11-30-2014 edition of Psychology Today online.

This is my 61st post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My Blog Roll.” The concept is simple – at the end of a month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

Reviewing blog posts for the month of December 2017, I have chosen to highlight the following blog posts:

  1. A post on Adam Smith, Esq. entitled “Reflections of a GC,” which contains 10 things a GC wishes that outside counsel knew. At least half of the 10 items are refrains that I have heard from other GCs that I have interviewed, and thus, I think law firm attorneys and marketers would be well-served to read them.
  2. A post on the Ackert Advisory entitled, “How to Get Superior Results,” which offers some practical tips on taking some chances on new ways of doing business development.
  3. A post on the Cordell Parvin blog (which Cordell says could be his last post) entitled, “Success and Fulfillment,” which covers a subject that is critically important to lawyers – finding BOTH success and fulfillment in a career.  I love how Cordell pays homage to his parents in teaching him how to find his path, saying: “My dad taught me to live, my mom taught me to love. My dad taught me to be successful, my mom taught me to be fulfilled. My dad taught me to be confident and to make my own way, my mom taught me to be humble and faithful.” Thanks for sharing, Cordell. We all need this kind of balance to thrive !
Posted by: johnocunningham | January 10, 2018

Most Popular Blog Posts of 2017

For readers of my blog, I am listing some of my most popular blog posts in the past year:

  1. my blog post about the hot buttons and preferences of Chief Legal Officers
  2. my post about crisis and failure as opportunities for positive growth
  3. my post about what’s new in legal service innovation
  4. my post about letting the voice of the client guide your marketing and service 
  5. my post about GCs sharing data on law firm performance

Last year, many people clicked on blog posts I wrote in prior years as well. Two of the more popular posts from prior years were:

  1. my post about how many impressions make a sale
  2. my post about 10 hilariously misused legal terms 

Hope you enjoy the posts in the year to come !

Posted by: johnocunningham | December 26, 2017

What Law Firms Need – Now More than Ever

In 2017, law firm revenues made reasonably healthy gains for the first time in years, and yet there was a rebound in the number of firms fading from existence, as competitive pressures forced more mergers and more disruptions that led to firms just blowing up.

According to a recent article in the New York Law Journal, headhunter raids and partner disagreements were key factors in a shifting law firm landscape this year as several well-known firm names disappeared from view or announced that they will be closing their doors, including New York’s Chadbourne & Parke, San Francisco’s Sedgwick, and the U.K.’s King & Wood.

The global phenomenon is not a short-term blip, as noted by literally hundreds of legal consultants and trade press observers. At a time when many law firms are held together by nothing more than a common desire to make more money, it is too easy for competitors to pick partners off, and it is too common for partners to fight – over the money that is getting harder to earn. As a successful senior partner once said to me, “if the only reason a partner comes to a firm is for more money, then they will eventually leave – for more money.”

Going into 2018, every law firm needs the following more than ever:

  • A long-term vision and mission
  • Both short-term and long-term strategic plans to achieve the stated mission
  • A culture built around the long-term vision and a group of committed leaders bound together by it
  • Cultural “glue” made of shared values that binds both lawyers and clients together
  • A well-developed understanding of the legal marketplace and the competitors in it
  • A well-developed plan for marketing and communications to clients, prospects and referral sources

Practicing law is harder than ever. But the future need not be depressing or bleak. A firm with well-chosen goals, a carefully crafted strategy for achieving them, and the right people matched to a consciously developed culture can thrive. Such a firm can even be a thrilling and energetic place to work.

Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018 !

 

Posted by: johnocunningham | December 21, 2017

The Power of Marketing, Branding and Story

This is a great time of year to take note of the power of marketing, branding and story just by examining the history of traditions invented by marketers.

A small sampling from the link above includes:

  1. Rudolph the reindeer, started by Montgomery Ward to draw people (families with kids) into their stores.
  2. Black Friday, started by retailers, to sell more products at the busiest retail season of the year.
  3. Wedding registries, created by Marshall Fields to facilitate organized and effective gift buying for newlyweds.

So what’s your story? Who are the leading characters in the story? And how does your story connect with consumers of your services and products?

Some tips on legal storytelling on “Attorney at Work“…   and some good examples of telling stories by case study below:

This is my 60th post in a series of monthly features that I have dubbed “Best of My Blog Roll.” The concept is simple – at the end of a month I peruse my own blog roll (see that column on the right) for material created by other bloggers that I think is most worthy of sharing with others, and then I report on it here.

Reviewing blog posts for the month of November 2017, I have chosen to highlight the following blog posts:

  1. A nice article by Craig Brown on the LawVision blog, entitled “How to Meet a New Prospect Without Cold Calling.”
  2. A timely and topical post by Sue-Ella Prodonovich on her Prodonovich Advisory, entitled “How to Make the Most of the Christmas Networking Period.”
  3. A post about the importance of knowing and shaping what clients think about you, which was posted by Cordell Parvin on his blog under the title “What Would Your Clients Say About You?”

I also liked reading the thought-provoking post on Adam Smith, Esq. entitled “The End of Leverage?” This piece cites both data and trends that leveraged law firms should consider in charting their futures.

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