2013 LMA Midwest Conference – Not Business as Usual

Check out photos from the LMA Midwest Conference and Social, courtesy of Curtis Linder.


Legal marketers across the Midwest gathered at The Metropolitan Club at Willis Tower in Chicago on September 19-20 for LMA Midwest’s 2013 Conference, themed “Not Business as Usual.”

The conference opened with an inspirational talk by Don Lee, chief marketing officer of Clark Hill PLC, who discussed how to run a firm like a business and discover its big vision. Lee shared lessons he learned when he took the reins as head of marketing at Clark Hill, which at one point was determined by consultants to have only months to survive, and helped turn it into a thriving, growing law firm.

Lee emphasized the importance of being different and treating everyone firmwide as an entrepreneur, including paralegals and assistants, in order to be totally inclusive as a law firm. Lee reminded the audience that they are trained professionals and not to forget it and that they should own their area of focus in the organization.

“We’re the ones leading the firm,” he said. “That’s how much power you have. We’re the ones dictating the brand.”

Lee encouraged marketers to develop a big vision and paint the picture of where they want to go. “Have a vision/mission statement of the firm and understand how any why it adds value,” he said. “Fight with the force of facts and show your math. Guard your compass, lead with passion, execute your plan, measure, coach and have fun.”

Following Lee’s presentation, attendees split among three breakout sessions:

  • Amy Crestodina, co-founder/strategic director of Orbit Media Studios, presented “Content Strategy: SEO, Social Media & Email Marketing.”
  • Keith Maziarek, senior project manager of pricing and strategic initiatives, and John Hurley, chief business development officer, both of DLA Piper LLP, presented “AFAs, Value-Based Billing…Beyond Buzzwords, How Do They Work, and How Do You Pitch Them to Clients?”
  • Megan McKeon, senior marketing manager at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP and Maureen Farr, marketing manager at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. presented “Working with Lawyers – How Do I Fit in?”

After a networking lunch, the high-impact programming continued, first with a TED Talk-style presentation with CMOs giving brief presentations on the topics they are most passionate about. The speakers and topics included:


  • John Byrne, CMO, Drinker Biddle: The Creative Imperative

  • Allen Chichester, CMO, Barnes & Thornberg LLP: The Dynamic Law Firm Team

  • Suzanne Donnels, CMO, Jenner & Block: Longtails, Simplicity and Open Platform Design

  • Nancy Roberts Linder, CMO, Chapman and Cutler LLP: Total Connections

  • Barry Solomon, CMO, Sidley Austin LLP: Relationships, Balance, Priority and the Art of Describing

  • Susan Steberl, director of marketing, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.: Stop Pitching, Start Listening: Redirecting to Relevant


The conference closed with a corporate counsel panel discussion, “Not Business as Usual – The New Normal in Delivering Client Services.” A panel of five corporate counsel discussed how to enhance relationships, what law firms can do to make their lives easier, what would make them say “wow” and what they would do differently if they were a CMO. One of the top pieces of advice from the discussion was for law firms to “be business friendly, not lawyer friendly.”

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