My message and purpose in applying for the LMASE Regional Conference Scholarship was to convey the nature of my new role, at my new firm, with completely new (to me) practice areas, and the all-encompassing newness I was experiencing, in order to illustrate how much I would benefit from the experience. In my previous marketing and business development position at a full-service corporate firm, I felt I’d gained a solid knowledge base as to how to help the firm be successful. All that confidence quickly eluded me as I entered into the marketing and business development realm with a criminal, personal injury and family law twist. It became quite clear to me that I was going to need to spend a lot of time and energy on studying how to shift focus and appeal to a completely different audience. I knew I was going to have to lean on the experts in my field for support and guidance through such unchartered waters; thankfully, that is exactly the foundation of LMA.
The Pre-Conference session, LMANext: Equipping the Next Generation of Legal Marketing Leaders lead by Holly Barocio and Toni Wells was a great way to kick off the Conference. Their presentation covered the in’s and out’s of the structure of the law firm itself and the mindset of the attorneys who also manage the firm on the business end.The overarching message was to identify your audience and understand your brand, internally and externally, while developing your personal brand in order to effectively manage,market and evolve alongside your firm. I found this interactive session inspiring and encouraging and packed with information on how to set a solid foundation in optimizing one’s position as an agent of change. I was reminded of methods to use to convey a definitive sense of personal and firm identity that would best encourage attorney participation and buy, that would subsequently result in high level output firmwide.
This session was also an engaging afternoon of problem solving, creative thinking and managing expectations. We discussed the power of offering and receiving feedback, but also focused on ways to request or generate feedback when strategizing. Another key message from this course was how important preparation and goal setting can be. Whether for your firm’s new lead generation efforts, or for networking with a group of high-powered clients, doing your homework before jumping in will set you up for success and will ensure your brand is clearly portrayed.
Next up we heard from the LMASE Conference Co-Chairs and the keynote speaker, Eddie Hartman, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of LegalZoom. Mr. Hartman’s obvious appeal was his impressive resume and change agent status. His opening explanation as to how he’s earned the success he has, was by noting that setting out to solve a problem you see in your market is how you develop a product that better serves the consumer. By fine-tuning and updating a technology or a process that was previously the “gold standard”, you’re demonstrating to your audience that you’re paying attention to their needs and are willing to adapt in order to meet them. I found Eddie to be captivating, funny, clever, and very confident in his position and message. He spoke to the importance of knowing and understanding your obstacles and reiterated how imperative it is to address those head on with an affinity for embracing change.
Eddie also discussed some of the culture shifts the legal world is encountering these days and called law “the ultimate credence good: This statement further supports his stance on generating and maintaining client trust; most people who don’t get legal help aren’t doing so because they don’t know where to turn. It’s our job as legal marketers to not only make finding legal help simple, but to follow through and provide guidance in other ways in which we can help that client. Eddie’s insights into what attracts and keeps clients was not Earth shattering, but did confirm that the most successful organizations in any industry are simply learning about their consumer and are adjusting to their ever-changing expectations.
I was blown away by the programming throughout the conference and quickly realized that my biggest challenge was going to be choosing which sessions to attend, knowing I’d have to miss someone else spitting genius down the hall. In my next recap piece I’ll detail the sessions I attended on Day 1 and the trends I started noticing.
Elizabeth W. Barnett
Director of Marketing and Business Development
Jetton & Meredith, PLLC