Baird Conner is general manager at The Ligature, a commercial printing company with offices in Northern and Southern California. He is based in Berkeley, California.
How did you become involved with the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) – Bay Area Chapter?
I was involved with the LMA – Bay Area Chapter from day one. I showed up for my new position at The Ligature and my boss at the time couldn’t make it to the Your Honor Awards Gala, so they sent me. That was in 2001. I’ve been active with the Chapter – and LMA in general – ever since
What do you do in your current position?
My role as general manager at The Ligature involves sales, production and accounting, all rolled into one. As my background is in sales, I understand that all other challenges in a business figure themselves out if you get the sales part down.
What is one of the best parts of the LMA – Bay Area Chapter?
For me, one of the best parts is the social aspect. This started on day one with the Your Honor Awards Gala and the monthly educational programs. I was able to immediately start working with members. As I got to know them, I was able to position myself and provide assistance to members. The LMA – Bay Area Chapter helped facilitate these crucial, and often very difficult, conversations and processes.
What are the challenges of your job?
Printing is all in the details, staying on top of them and getting every project done exactly as requested and on time.
Before The Ligature, what did you do?
Before The Ligature, I was a sales manager at an online gambling site. This was back in 1999-2001. Since then there has been an explosion of companies entering the online gambling market, but at the time it was cutting edge.
You were also formerly a stock trader? How was that? Any interesting insider tidbits to share?
It was a very stressful atmosphere and there was a lot of turnover. After a certain amount of time I could see that this line of business was not for me. Having said that, I did experience some of the excitement, such as being right in the trading pit when Amazon.com went public. Prior to that, I also was a database manager for a legal document software company.
What is your educational background?
I went to the University of California, Berkeley, where I double majored in history and anthropology – both subjects were heavy on reading and writing. I got into these areas after attending intro classes that were very engaging.
Where did you grow up and how did you end up in the Bay Area?
I grew up in Los Angeles and attended Palisades Charter High School – right on the beach. I stayed out there until I moved to the Bay Area to attend Berkeley. After college, I moved to San Francisco when I was hired to work on the stock exchange.
What is the first paid job you ever had?
My first paid job, which my dad helped me get as a summer gig, was as a warehouse attendant at a furniture store in a terrible part of LA.
How did you get into legal marketing? (from the vendor perspective)
I became involved with legal marketing through printing. If asked if selling printing (often to legal services providers) was what I wanted to do, I would have said not really. Like most people in legal marketing, you don’t plan on it, but it ends up being a challenging and interesting area to be involved with. The people I’ve met in the industry have been fantastic.
What advice would you offer to someone new to the industry?
The best thing about LMA is what it offers in terms of education. It can enhance your knowledge base while providing excellent networking opportunities. As we all know, the mantra in business is always “Network, network, network!” If you really utilize the organization’s and the chapter’s network by being active and attending the programming, you’ll likely always have a job – as someone out there will need you, you’ll be known, and you will be in the know about opportunities.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Never let your quality be compromised.
What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
They would probably be shocked to know that I clean the kitchen every night after dinner. I also rarely start the car on the weekends. I generally don’t go anywhere that I can’t walk or bike to on the weekend. This is not necessarily to make an environmental statement, but rather because it is the best way to unwind.
If you were a type of paper, what type would you be?
Are we talking matte or glossy here? I deal with that question every day. I would say matte -- a subtler approach to life and paper.
If you were stranded on a desert island for one week with a group of lawyers, what would you want to have with you?
A copy of Moby Dick, because it’s one of the longest books I can recall. [Moby Dick is 596 pages, 135 chapters]