Calm and confident, sincere and straightforward, Holly Lentz Kleeman (Metro Philly LMA's 2007 president) shares her plans for 2013. As usual, her generous advice offers insight as to why she remains one of the industry’s most respected leaders in legal marketing. Metro Philly LMA's 2008 prez, Jamie Mulholland of Jamie Mulholland Marketing, took some time out of her busy practice to catch up with Holly.
JM: Talk for a moment about the roles you’ve played in law firms in recent years, both in-house and consulting, that led to where you are today.
HLK: My introduction into law firms was at Duane Morris, really on a fluke. I started there in 1999. I was there for eight years in a number of different roles, climbing a ladder built while I was there. After that I consulted for law firms, which I found to be very fun, different work, and without the Duane Morris background I would not have been nearly as effective. While consulting, I worked with firms both large and small, local and international, mostly focusing on business development, which is what I am most passionate about. During that time I also worked with a nonprofit, and for the past year and a half have been here at White and Williams.
JM: What is the “fluke” that led you to legal marketing?
HLK: It’s an interesting story! In the 1990s, I was one of those early adopters that learned how to make websites. At the time, there was a great need but not a great amount of people with that skill-set, so I made websites for different types of businesses, which got me noticed by headhunters, who then started recruiting me for all kinds of companies.
Now, the work I was doing at that time was leading edge—the field is so advanced now. I was called for an interview at Duane Morris to be a web programmer, and halfway through the interview, it was clear to me that it was over my head. I stopped the interview and said, “I’m not the right person for this job, but you should hire me…” and pitched why they needed a marketer who understood technology. A month later, I got called back for another interview, this time with HR people, communications people, and Sheldon Bonovitz, the firm’s chairman at the time. They said, “We are very interested, but we don’t have enough work for a full-time job.” I said, “Let me suggest that you do. Hire me for six months. If it’s viable, I’ll stay. If not, no hard feelings.” After six months, the question was not whether I would stay, but where was my intern coming from? When I left, I was supervising 35 people. It was a wonderful journey.
JM: Can you share an important marketing goal or project that you’ll be working on for White and Williams this year?
HLK: I’m happy to! This past year, my goal was to introduce social media. This year, I want to elevate its usage. We have Twitter, we have Facebook, we have LinkedIn, we have a firm presence, and we have some partners and associates that use it. Now, I really want everyone to understand and leverage its value on a personal level, which is, of course, social media’s strength.
JM: What is a professional development goal of yours in 2013?
HLK: I think those are important to have, and it’s good to not only have them, but say them out loud, because it keeps you honest.
I’m at a point in my life where my professional development goal is to remain relevant and pay attention to younger professionals and what they’re doing and talking about.
It’s not as easy when you’re in a senior role to always know what’s happening; you have to seek it out and pay attention. I can be the person in the room who has the seasoned background and share best practices, but I need to make sure that I know what’s coming up, what’s hot, what’s important. Having that interaction and those conversations with younger professionals is important because they are the future.
JM: What is something you would recommend to other legal marketers—on your team or in other firms—to do for themselves in 2013?
HLK: Actually, what I’ve already done with my own team is have everyone come up with three goals and write them down. Each team member discussed these goals with me, and for some we tweaked them. I asked that two of those goals be for work and benefit the firm in a very specific way; the third goal to be quite personal. Even the third goal benefits the firm, because if professionals who are engaged in their career are also working to better themselves, it does benefit our lawyers. Everyone should do this.
Ten goals are too many, but three good goals are a perfect amount that you can actually manage. And you need to be able to measure them in some way. If you have goals, you need to check in quarterly or in some routine time and ask, “What have I done toward this? Do I need to do more or less toward achieving success, or revisit the goal itself?”
And, at the end of the year, you can look back and say, “I did this for me.”
Holly Lentz Kleeman has worked in business development and marketing for law firms, business professionals, start-up companies, and individuals for over two decades. She was a senior marketing manager with Duane Morris LLP for eight years before taking a position as president & CEO of Philadelphia’s Center for Emerging Visual Artists. She joined White and Williams LLP as director of marketing in September of 2011.
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