6.14.2008

Originate! newsletter and LSSO Present the 2008 Rainmaker of the Year Awards

Who were the top “rainmakers” in the law this past year, and how did they do it? To find out, the editors of Originate!, the monthly business development newsletter, join LSSO to announce a competition to identify and honor top business getters in the law.

According to the editor-in-chief Barry Schneider, “We want to recognize the accomplishments of those lawyers who have geared up to bring in business and applied themselves to make it happen. And we want our readers to learn from those who have been particularly successful this past year.”

The newsletter is now soliciting entries from lawyers, firms, marketing specialists and advisors in five categories:

  1. Associate
  2. Small firm lawyer (30 or fewer lawyers)
  3. Partner – transactions
  4. Partner – litigator
  5. Woman Lawyer or Minority Lawyer (any practice)

      Anyone can submit an entry on behalf of a top rainmaker they know in one of these categories, and there is no entry fee this year. The deadline for submissions is Monday, July 7, 2008. Entry forms are available online at http://tinyurl.com/3e8o4v Winners will be interviewed in the newsletter and receive impressive award trophies.

      A panel of lawyers, marketing professionals and business development experts will determine the best of the best among the submitted entries. The panel will consist of independent judges assembled by the Legal Sales and Service Organization (LSSO) in Boston. LSSO uniquely focuses on sales, service and quality issues in the legal industry, and sponsors the annual RainDance conference on business development.

    Beth Cuzzone, a Co-Founder of LSSO, is Director of Business Development for the award-winning law firm Goulston & Storrs in Boston. She said, “With sales and marketing now so critical to the careers of individual lawyers and the vitality of law firms, we know how important it is for the best to be recognized and share what they do.”

    The editors of Originate! will profile each of the winners and publish their stories in the newsletter’s first anniversary issue this fall. The articles in that issue will be open to the public.

    More information on the contest, as well as the entry form, can be found at http://www.pbdi.org/originate

    ABOUT ORIGINATE! -- Originate! is an independent online business development newsletter for lawyers and is found at www.pbdi.org/originate. The paid subscription newsletter offers practical advice lawyers to get new clients and generate more revenue. Originate! has assembled a set of top-notch contributors – including firm leaders, rainmakers and consultants – to publish case studies of successful lawyers, specific techniques to boost marketing results, how-to’s, and market insights – what top attorneys are now doing to land clients, sell work and strengthen relationships. First published in 2007, the co-editors of Originate! include Barry Schneider of Dallas, TX, Larry Bodine, Esq., of Glen Ellyn, IL, and Michael G. Cummings of St. Charles, IL.

    ABOUT LSSO – The Legal Sales and Service Organization, based in Boston and found at http://www.legalsales.org/, is the legal industry's only organization exclusively focused on sales, service and quality issues in law firms and legal departments. Founded in 2003, LSSO delivers the education and resources that lawyers need to improve their sales and client service skills with a searchable library, exclusive research, tools and information for members only, LSSO's RainDance Conference, LSSO's Process Improvement Certification Programs and the Thomas H. Lee Award for Service Excellence. Catherine Alman MacDonagh, Esq. is the association’s Co-Founder & President and Beth M. Cuzzone, also a Co-Founder, is Director of Business Development for Goulston & Storrs in Boston.

    6.22.2006

    Shock and Awe at LSSO: Sales Training Doesn't Work and Diversity Doesn't Matter

    By Larry Bodine, the author of the Professional Marketing blog at http://blog.larrybodine,com, an official Law.com blog, and a strategic marketing consultant based near Chicago. He advises firms on marketing strategy, individual coaching and Web site redesigns. A Web marketing expert, he has redesigned, audited and planned dozens of law firm Web sites during the last 5 years. He can be reached at 630.942.0977, Lbodine@LawMarketing.comThe word "surprised" isn't adequate to describe how I felt when I heard the statements at the LSSO (Legal Sales and Service Organization) Raindance Conference in Reston, VA. Somehow "shock and awe," describing the sky on fire in Baghdad, fit better.

    Simone_wu Diversity Doesn't Matter. Three general counsel at the "General Counsels Unplugged: Everything You wanted to Know" session all agreed that ethnic, gender and racial makeup of law firms doesn't matter in deciding which firms their companies hire.

    The general counsel were:

    • Julie Alexa Strauss, VP and Corporate Counsel for Feld Entertainment, Inc., of Tysons Corner, VA. The company produces live family entertainment (Ringling Brothers Circus and Disney on Ice). They have 4 in-house lawyers.


    • Neal S. Winneg, GC of Upromise, Inc., an online college savings program. It is a subsidiary of Sallie May, which has 26 lawyers in house.


    • Simone Wu, acting GC and VP at XO Communications, a Reston, VA, telecom services and broadband access company. It has 25 lawyers in-house. It spends $6 million on legal matters, from revenues of $1.5 billion. Astonishingly, Wu is Asian, and she agreed that diversity doesn't matter to her company when selecting a law firm.

    Stunned attendees speculated that the companies involved were small, and not major national law firms where diversity definitely does matter. How else can you explain educated people saying stupid things in public?

    The next stunner came during the "Defining Business Development" session, where Sue Stock Allison of the Brand Research Company and Katherine Daisley, Marketing Manager for ALM Research, presented the findings of the new "Law Firm Business Development Survey."

    SalestrainingThey surveyed 157 law firm marketing directors and CMOs from November 2005 to January 2006, who told them that sales training for the lawyers was the least effective factor contributing to the firm's revenue growth.

    Patrick B. Sweeney of Sales Results Inc. in Arlington, VA, stood up at the front of the audience and said this could only be true if there is a lack of buy-in from top management.

    I could also picture a room of bored partners, pretending to pay attention to an outside sales training consultant, and waiting to go back to billing hours. Without followup and without requiring the partners to compose personal sales plans, of course the training would be ineffective.

    Meanwhile, "cost cutting" somehow got on the list of as a growth factor. It made me realize that even though I was at a conference of sophisticated sales and business development professionals, there is a flat world out there populated by law firms that simply don't "get it."


    5 New Ways to Use Competitive Intelligence

    By Larry Bodine, the author of the Professional Marketing blog at http://blog.larrybodine,com/, an official Law.com blog, and a strategic marketing consultant based near Chicago. He advises firms on marketing strategy, individual coaching and Web site redesigns. A Web marketing expert, he has redesigned, audited and planned dozens of law firm Web sites during the last 5 years. He can be reached at 630.942.0977, Lbodine@LawMarketing.com

    Dan_hampson135_1 I'm here at the LSSO conference in Reston, VA. There are more than 100 attendees from the sales and business development staff of law firms nationwide.

    I just came from a program on new tricks and techniques in competitive intelligence, presented by Doug Hoover, Director of Strategic Marketing at Thomson West and Daniel P. Hampson, Manager of Business Development at Goulston & Storrs.

    LAW FIRM MERGERS
    Hoover said, “Take the example of a law firms in “D” level market like Indianapolis. Their goal is to merge with another “D” level firm, so that can be acquired by a third “D” level firm and become a regional law firm.” What they're doing is putting their client bases together to see the merged footprint -– and what competitive intelligence can do is show which clients the firms work with and in what jurisdictions.

    According to Hampson, Mintz Levin was considering opening an office in San Diego. “We broke our clients up by life science companies, which companies were public, private, who’s representing them, compiled a list of technology companies, what law firms are in San Diego and their practices, what talent we needed." They found Fish & Richardson and acquired 12 attorneys to work for Mintz in their new San Diego office.

    Doug_hooverKEY CLIENT PLANNING
    Hoover said law firms should start by creating the basic spreadsheet of clients, ranked by revenue or profits, and list out columns with all the practice groups of the firm. In each cell, you plug in the revenue collected from that client. But revenues can be misleading -- they can show a client as being "at risk" but this may be because the client's revenues were down, and meanwhile the law firm has increased the share of client wallet and solidified the relationship. It should be scored as a winner.



    External data should be added to each cell: which other law firms represent the client and what legal work they are doing. It may turn out that a client has no work for one of your practices. "You may find there is a lot of work and it’s being distributed to many firms," Hoover said, the perhaps your firm can take away from your competitors.

    HELPING WITH PITCHES
    Amanda Walsh, Director of Marketing, Bowman and Brook said, “Few attorneys are comfortable asking a client for business. Attorneys are trained to make decisions based on facts. I use competitive intelligence reports to arm my lawyers with the facts about a prospective client, their industry and the ways their needs map to our strengths. When equipped with these (business intelligence) facts our attorneys become much more comfortable and confident in building relationships. They can approach the prospective client with the sincere intention to help, not the intention to sell.”


    Amandawalsh135CREATE A "HUNTING LIST" FOR RECRUITING
    Hoover recounted how an East coast firm was planning to open an office in Los Angeles. It did a lot of insurance defense work and had established relationships with insurance companies. Their strategy was look up the top 10 insurance carriers clients, and find out which lawyers in Los Angeles had represented them. The firm shortened the list by cross-referencing the lawyers with any other firm clients they had worked with.” The list of lawyers is the hunting list of lawyers they were trying to poach," he said. "Competitive intelligence increases your ability to penetrate a new market."

    CREATE YOUR OWN RANKINGS
    The bane of a marketer's existence is responding to the questionnaires of magazines that publish rankings and league tables of law firms. Often the results don't help your business development efforts.

    Hoover recounted how Paul Weiss got named the American Lawyer litigation department of the year. Paul Weiss used competitive intelligence as part of preparation of submission to Am Law. They were able to find out what their competitors were doing and compared it to themselves.

    "But when you’re trying to pitch a client, you have the control of the information that’s not under the control of the publishers. You can create your own league tables. You can say you are the "fastest growing IP litigation firm for pharmaceutical industry in the three-state area." You can present the statistics vis a vis other law firms with competitive intelligence.

    And where do you get this competitive intelligence: Thompson Firm360, LexisNexis Market Intelligence, ALM Research and Bloomberg.

    6.02.2006

    RainDance - You Can Always Sell More

    Wondering what to expect at this year's RainDance Conference? Get a sneak peek of our keynote speaker, Jim Pancero, and his presentation "You Can Always Sell More," a proven, comprehensive, step-by-step system for evaluating, training, coaching and strengthening your sales force.

    Don't miss this RainDance program where you will learn the selling best practices your team should implement. Your team is good...are you, and they, good enough to get better?

    Jim is just one of the many engaging speakers at this year's RainDance Conference. Each year, we aspire to provide RainDance attendees with new perspectives and fresh voices that will inspire and challenge you. For the complete agenda and speaker list, click here.

    5.17.2006

    Discount for LSSO Members: Law Firm Sales Webcast

    LSSO members get a special discount when they register for the live Webcast:

    Law Firm Sales - Tips From the Pros
    May 24th, 2006
    Join sales experts Steven M. Bell of Womble Carlyle, Rick Carpenter of Shearman & Sterling and Adam Stock of Dorsey & Whitney for a Web seminar on May 24 focused on the specific challenges that face Business Development & Sales Managers in today's law firm. Nancy Manzo of Manzo Marketing will moderate the panelists as they disclose proven methods for tackling obstacles and shaping the sales process at your firm.

    For more information and to register, visit http://www.pbdi.org/pages/events.asp?Action=View&EventID=134
    When you get to the signup page, simple click the box "I am a member" to get the discount."

    Yours,
    Larry Bodine
    Professional Business Development Institute
    Lbodine@LawMarketing.com
    630.942.0977
    www.PBDI.org

    5.13.2006

    More on Mrs. Lavoy

    As promised, here's another thought about all the Mrs. Lavoys out there. Your business, if it's of a certain size, has probably made substantial investments in marketing, branding, training, leadership and management development, customer service standards, implementation, inside consultants, outside consultants, all forms of advertising and the like...

    Only to have made a serious error in hiring the wrong kind of "customer service manager" who - singlehandedly and within a 5 minute time period - destroys the majority of good will that you have built with a good customer/client over a ten year period.

    Folks at the top pay heed: the staff is the bridge to your market. Better not employ substandard materials in building and maintaining it.

    What mechanisms do you have place for your customers/clients to provide feedback on an ongoing basis? It's don't ask don't tell, so you might want to think about asking... one phone call can mean the difference between loyal customer and someone upset enough to keep blogging away as she waits for a response from your company to her complaint...

    4.29.2006

    Have a Seat

    A small but significant pet peeve: when a receptionist (without smiling) tells me to "have a seat." I was at a firm a couple of weeks back and this is how I was, um, welcomed.

    Like I'm back in elementary school and the teacher's in charge. OK, maybe I'm just being too sensitive, but how about "please make yourself comfortable" or something (anything) that isn't an authoritative command. Excuse me, but I don't work for you, you are not my superior and your role is to provide service and make me feel welcome in your office.

    Yes, I realize, "have a seat" is part of the lexicon. But it hits me wrong.

    With the effort that firms/businesses put into a client service program, the key to a positive client experience could all comes down to something as simple as a smile and a genuine "how may I help you?" or "hello, welcome to the firm - we're expecting you and your host will be with you in a moment."

    "Have a seat" just doesn't cut it, folks.

    Receptionists, you are the Directors of First Impressions. Please, make your visitors feel warmly welcomed and you will be a very valuable member of the client team.

    4.12.2006

    Looking for Mrs. Lavoy

    Thanks to a certain Mrs. Lavoy, I recently had an absolutely horrendous "customer service" experience with Continental. It came close to outweighing all the wonderful interactions I've had with that company as a long time OnePass member. It's been a couple of weeks and I am still upset, which just goes to show that what they say about a dissatisfied customer telling others about their experience is true.

    Mrs. Lavoy is a "customer service manager;" a title that represents a gross travesty (a fact of which I informed her). How she got that title is beyond me, for she exhibited an appalling lack of experience, skills or talent in that area. She not only cared less about helping me solve a problem, she essentially told me I created it, I was lucky to have received the help I had been given so far, that a coworker of hers had done something incorrectly and that since that coworker had created the problem, I could very well go back to her to get it fixed.

    She actually yelled at me.

    She yelled!

    So, too bad for the family and me - Mrs. Lavoy could not have cared less that she was screwing up our school vacation to Washington, DC.

    Expect more on Mrs. Lavoy, for she is going to become the central figure in some rants about SERVICE. But for now, think about this: you might have a Mrs. Lavoy in your own business. Do you know who that person is? How will you find out? And, most important, WHAT WILL YOU DO about Mrs. Lavoy?

    Better go looking for Mrs. Lavoy. Because Mrs. Lavoy is definitely NOT looking out for your customers.

    1.29.2006

    Marketing Partner Forum -

    I read with no small amount of interest about this year's Marketing Partner Forum (MPF), which was promoted as "the legal industry's leading conference on client development." It's a strikingly similar approach that we at LSSO have taken with respect to our annual RainDance Conferences, which we've positioned (and totally delivered) as being "the industry's only leadership conference exclusively focused on driving revenue and building client loyalty." In other words, RainDance is all about sales, service, quality initiatives - business and client development.

    Well, that's OK, I thought, when I first got the MPF brochure. People need this stuff and the more sophisticated people will get what the various conferences deliver.

    But then I saw the conference touted as "the industry's only business development conference reaching Marketing and Managing Partners in the United States, Canada and Europe." WHOA. Hold on just a second, now.

    I'm not interested causing any hard feelings with our colleagues and friends in the industry, folks. However, and with all due respect, that claim just isn't accurate. Maybe I'm missing something, but how can anyone make this statement in 2006 when LSSO's produced RainDance since 2004?!

    RainDance was conceived and developed (and delivers) as the first conference EVER to focus exclusively on business development for the legal industry.

    There's no question that this year's MPF again featured top speakers and that the topics were timely. Given our familiarity with many of the presenters, whom I hold in the highest regard, that the programs were excellent.

    When I take a look at some of the offerings, I get confused. Here are some examples: Law Firm Marketing 101 and Identifying Strategic Priority Areas for Law Firm Marketing Professionals (both pre-conference workshops). Firmwide PR & Media Relations Plans to Prepare You for Any Situation. Web Site Best Practices. And tThe Psychology of Marketing Communications —Can Marketing Directors and Managing Partners Ever Get on the Same Page?

    In my humble opinion, you can't just mix in some biz dev stuff with traditional marcomm sessions just so you can pitch the event as a "business development conference." Why not call it what it is - a legal marketing and sales conference for leaders - and be proud of it? Don't do the wolf in sheep's clothing thing, it's just not necessary. Also, I think it does the industry a disservice in that it encourages the marketplace to continue calling sales "marketing" rather educate the industry on the differences so that we can all appreciate and value the separate disciplines. So that's really my issue.

    FYI, one more little thing and then I'll stop this rant: Put in a google search of "Marketing Partner Forum" and see how long it takes you to find information about the event itself, like the conference agenda...

    Now to try to balance things out - everyone should take a few minutes and read about the program there. Thanks to Larry Bodine, Rick Klau and Gerry Riskin blogs, you can read insightful reports about MPF on their blogs. We all still have a lot to learn...

    -Catherine

    1.20.2006

    IQ v. EI

    I read an illuminating article today, Emotional Intelligence, by Ronda Muir, Esq. EI is something we work with when coaching lawyers and leaders and this article makes a good case as to why lawyers should care about it and how it is a critical component of sales and service success:

    "In spite of lawyers' confidence, some might even say arrogance, as to their intellectual competence, for the most part they have a demonstrated unwillingness or inability to tap into emotional data. . . Emotional intelligence does not correlate with IQ. Just because you're smart doesn't mean you're likely to have a high EI. Some professionals, such as lawyers, exhibit high average IQ scores (in the 115-130 range), while at the same time scoring lower than the general population on EI (85-95)."

    "For lawyers, the message is clearly that, in order to upgrade their performance, they should use the additional data available from their own and others’ emotions to enhance their cognitive skills."

    Happy reading.

    -Catherine

    1.13.2006

    System v. Players

    Of course, put your resources into planning, systems and protocol, those things are critical. But if you don't have the players, you don't have game. The lawyers have to want to compete to win. They have to be better than the competition. That means being better prepared, being in shape to play and able to EXECUTE. Take it from a coach that knows about winning:

    It is about having players. That's all it's about. That's who goes out there and plays the game. They're the ones who block, tackle, run, catch, kick ... they're the ones that do it. That's what it's about. Any team that's successful has to have players that go out there and can execute and can play well and be productive. Any success that we've had has been due, more than anything, to the performance of the players on the field under pressure situations against a high level of competition. That's what it's about for any team in this league.

    —Bill Belichick, when asked if it was about the system or the players


    -Catherine (go PATS!)

    1.03.2006

    No Nons Sense

    Let's start off the New Year right - let's resolve to address the legal industry's pervasive "NONS" SENSE.

    Where else is it acceptable to refer to team members as a NON (as in NON LAWYER)? It's a practice that is demoralizing and destructive. It is contrary to everything we are trying to accomplish with our sales and service initiatives.

    The climate has never been more competitive. Clients are sophisticated buyers and they expect their lawyers to be stellar technicians. We also understand that they're demanding (rightfully so) that their law firms provide them with excellent service. As a result, there is increasing pressure for the firm as a whole to deliver at every level. As we all know, everything a firm does eventually touches the client.

    With that in mind, firms had better get serious about changing their attitudes and actions with respect to the people employed by the firm (translation: "non-partners"). For those who are in other industries or who are new to legal, it's hard to believe: law firm business professionals still aren't yet universally viewed valued members of the team, irrespective of their MBAs, JDs, and other impressive credentials.

    Law firm executives and business professionals make all the difference in operations. This is particularly important in the areas of service standards, protocol and delivery, one of the biggest competitive advantages firms have going for them. It's obvious that the ability of the non-administration professional (translation: "lawyers") to function is directly proportional to the acceptance level of the their teammates. The sooner they get this, the better off they, the firm and their clients will be.

    Please join my quest to eliminate the word "NON" as it refers to NON LAWYER from the legal industry's lexicon. Stop the NONS SENSE!

    10.04.2005

    Service Excellence is Not About Returning Calls on Time!

    I often hear individuals say "we've run a seminar for our staff about service excellence." Well folks, service excellence starts at the top. Do you belong to a private country/golf/swim club? Why? You can golkf/swim/play tennis on town courts--the why answer is service. Would you rather stay at a Ritz Carlton or a $49/night hotel? The answer: service at the Ritz is where it's at. So think about how your firm can be the Ritz Carlton of law firms. Every touch point with a client speaks loudly about your firm. It's time to make service a top/down firm initiative. Your in the service business and it's all about the clients. Think about it! Then act before your competitors do and before your clients insist on it. Loyal clients pay more--it's a proven fact.

    6.17.2005

    Raindance Conference 2005:
    Wish You Were There

    If you were unable to attend the Legal Sales and Service Organization's (LSSO) second annual Raindance Conference focused on driving law firm revenue and building client loyalty, you missed a great event that shined a light on the shift in legal services as firms move from the old "club" model to a sales and service corporate model that more closely mirrors their clients. But fear not! LSSO Blog is here! Below are reports on many of the sessions by John O. Cunningham and Amy Campbell. And to find out which firms were in attendence, check out this entry on Larry Bodine's blog. It's the next best thing to being there (although being there is always better). See you next year?

    Raindance Report:
    Using Tech Tools To Drive Sales

    More firms are achieving sales success through technological data mining, according to a panel of experts at the LSSO Raindance Conference.

    In fact, Suzanne Lowe of Expertise Marketing LLC noted that more than 25 percent of firms in one survey were now using data mining. She added that firms that used data mining in sales efforts were more than twice as likely to be successful in attracting new clients.

    Lowe pointed to several examples of popular technologies in use, including: contacts databases, client relationship management software, financial analysis software, and human relationship databases (showing the connections between boards of directors, officers and other key personnel at various companies).

    Steve Mauro of Thompson Hine LLP added that "support staff are a key part of sales in a true sales culture." He noted that several firm representatives in the room were engaged in sales or service initiatives, adding that firms are getting bolder in experimentation with a few even outsourcing their sales efforts.

    Attorney Howard Shafer of Day Berry & Howard said that "the biggest opportunity from intelligence gathering is to change how partners sell." He asserted that partners getting support from financial data mining know better "who to call, what to say and how to follow up."

    He added that lawyers should not drive the intelligence gathering efforts, but should rely on library, finance and marketing professionals who know best how to gather useful information quickly and effectively.

    Learn more: For additional information on using technology tools to increase sales, see www.expertisemarketing.com. Also, check out some of the leading organizations selling technology tools for enhanced sales: www.capitaliq.com, and www.redwoodanalytics.com, and www.alm.com. To see a high-tech TrueView wrap-up of the Raindance Conference, go to www.legalinsight.com/lsso.html.