Though we've been reading Blawg Review since we put up our first tentative post on blogger (here!) in June of 2006, as hosts, we're Blawg Review virgins. So send your best posts this week to Blawg Review for possible inclusion in possibly one of the best BR's ever (we like to set our own bar high!)
Recently, Stephanie West Allen asked me if there is one book I'd recommend for new lawyers that she might include in the regular column, Reading Minds, she edits for the American Bar Association. My recommendation, along with two others, can be read in the latest issue of the ABA's Law Practice Magazine.
The theme of The Trusted Advisor (Free Press, 2000) is that the key to professional success is not just technical mastery of one’s discipline, but also the ability to work with clients in a way that earns their trust and gains their confidence. This book is a seminal treatise on the subject of trust.
Most, if not all, young lawyers starting out as new associates in established firms want to get ahead as fast as they can. Freshly minted from a competitive law school environment, they typically think being the best lawyer is all about mastering the law. Authors David Maister, Charles H. Green and Robert M. Galford write this:
“Then comes that crucial career transition, from technician to full professional, from content expert to advisor. As technicians, our task is to provide information, analyses, research, content and even recommendations. All of these are basically tasks performed out of the client’s presence. In contrast, our task as advisors is an ‘in-person,’ ‘in-contact’ challenge to help the client see things anew or to make a decision. This requires a complete change of skills and mind-sets.”
Lawyers who make this career transition, achieving the status of trusted advisor, know the meaning of true professionalism and, unlike so many of their colleagues, really enjoy the practice of law. For young lawyers starting out, there’s no book I’d recommend more highly than this one.
WSJ.com uses OneSpot to find and deliver these headlines and links. To get the list, OneSpot identifies the active members of the legal content community by analyzing a set of sources provided by the WSJ editorial staff. OneSpot matches them to thousands of other related sources from around the Web. By continuously monitoring these sites and outbound links, OneSpot generates a list of popular legal stories.
Somewhere in California, the brand strategists at Whisper are busy "working" on Blawg Review #169. [See below.] Given the time zone and the other things they have to work on, we can't be sure when it will be done.
We are pleased to host what has become a weekly must read for those within, and for many outside, the legal profession. Which points to how a brand consultancy comes to host a blog pointed to law professionals.
Our firm is led by a lawyer, your host for this edition. Although maintaining active licenses in three U.S. jurisdictions, I no longer actively engage in the profession.
In looking back through a career beginning as prosecutor, to civil litigator, later as general counsel, to CEO of an international brand consultancy, a common thread exists. In each position, although early on without understanding it as such, I relied upon the art of branding. As a prosecutor and later as civil litigator, my target audience was twelve people in a jury box, rather than the mass markets we attract for clients today. But the principles remain the same—offer a compelling narrative, otherwise become lost in the white noise of contemporary culture.
We are proud to share that later this year, our work and that of the legal profession will give birth to a new offering by the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law. Watch for it.
This week, What About Clients? links back to one of the rules of Dan Hull’s “muscle boutique” law firm.
Rule Six: When You Work, You Are Marketing. When your firm works for a client or customer, it transmits “barrages of small but powerful, memorable ads”.
Rule Six is more a truth to be kept in mind than a “rule.” This is where the needs of clients and their lawyers come together. It’s about value to both. But you can’t forget this one. Keeping or not keeping in mind the germ of Rule Six–that “when you work, you are marketing”–is the difference between having a financially healthy practice and having to close your doors.
Over at Ed’s Blawg Review, I see that Blawg Review #169 will be hosted on Monday, July 21, by Whisper, a weblog about brand strategy (which, honest, they call B.S.) — and which is “founded on one big idea: ‘The key to any effective marketing, branding or advertising effort is to change and take ownership of the conversation’.” For a contrarian perspective on branding and lawyers, you might want to check out a few posts from the early days of ethicalEsq.
A baby-boomer myself, I don’t know where David Giacalone gets all the energy for his creative poetry and erudite punditry.
Elsewhere in the blawgosphere, the indefatigable Howard Bashman, continuously streaming legal news at How Appealing, draws our attention to a recent article by Marcia Coyle in The National Law Journal.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently ruled for the first time that sleeping is a “major life activity” under the federal Rehabilitation Act. Reversing its own precedent, the court also held that a plaintiff doesn’t have to show that his sleep disability affected his waking activities in order to move forward with a discrimination claim.
Professor Eric Goldman, another tireless law blogger observes: “My Sprawling Digital Empire, Where to Find Me Online and My Friending Policy”.
Across the pond, at Ruthie’s Law, we find the charming Ruth Barber somewhat tired of blogging about herself in the third person.
Dear readers…Ruthie is finding that a combination of her dayjob and her DIY projects are increasingly taking up her blogging time…and she is increasingly in demand for writing that she actually gets paid for. Rather than leave you all in suspense, I’ll let you know the bad news and the good news. The bad news; I fear that this blog may have to come to an end. The good news: Ruthie plans to resurrect herself in due course, phoenix like on a website with some quality articles. I simply no longer have the spare hours in a day to properly service a blog with quality submissions. I think a website will be easier.
Imagine this: You’re a corporate lawyer living in Tiburon, a bucolic suburb of Marin County. In the morning, your lawyer friends don office-appropriate garb, hop the ferry, and then wend their way through the bustle of city life, arriving, ultimately, at a fancy San Fran firm, where their billing rates must be high enough to cover the costs of fancy offices and legions of fancy associates.
Now your life: After taking a few client calls from your home that overlooks the water, you see that it’s another beautiful day in the Bay Area. (After all, it’s incontrovertible fact that there are no bad days in the Bay Area.) So you pack up your laptop and a few files, walk down the street to Sam’s Cafe, take a table on the back deck, order Sam’s fish & chips, and finish up the day’s work as you communicate with your “partners” through a virtual law firm.
They Indeed Have Gone Crazy (feat. Josee Verner). Learn how the new Copyright Bill C-61 threatens ordinary creators instead of protecting them. Starring: Josee Verner, Lawrence Lessig and journalist Sandra Abma of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in a parody mashup starring Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
One of the very few law bloggers who, like Madonna, is such a famous brand, she’s known by one name, Althouse. She blogs this week with a video discussing the uproar about Jesse Jackson saying Obama is “talking down to black people … telling [n-word] how to behave.”
Can you trust your lawyer? Jordan Furlong of Law21 says absolutely, even daring to propose that “lawyers are amazingly trustworthy as individuals, possessing (in my perhaps biased view) more courage and moral fiber than can be found in many other walks of life.”
What a great post, and very well said. I think lawyers could benefit greatly from your point of view.
While Seth Godin’s view is understandable, and not wrong, I have nonetheless found that the best lawyers do not fully buy it:
-The best divorce lawyers are those who counsel couples to make their last time together worthy of the good times, rather than pouring gasoline on the enraged fires of pained people operating from temporarily deranged motives like revenge;
-The best litigators are those who heed the advice of Machiavelli and Sun Tzu, to the effect that the best victories come from wars that are never fought;
-The best corporate lawyers are those who help advance the brand, image, reputation, customer focus and organizational health of their employers, rather than channeling Cassandra or viewing themselves as self-appointed Chief Risk Mitigation Officers;
I also have found a great many lawyers who are principled, and are intrinsically inclined to the concept of service or other-orientation. They feel pained at the notion that their better instincts must be subordinated to the notion of gun-for-hire. Voices like yours give them warranted hope; please keep it up.
Every case’s facts, procedural posture, and trial has its unique aspects, and both Designer Skin’s lawyers and LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® can think of things that we would have very much thought could and should have gone differently before and during trial. Nonetheless, as with every judicial ruling, one can take the words and principles expressed for what they are worth. For victims of the abuse of the intellectual property laws by “brand equity” companies using trademark and copyright as cudgels to retain exclusive, inefficient and anti-competitive business practices — and, unfortunately, those jurists who may unwittingly act as their handmaidens but whose minds are yet open — these words from Judge Teilborg, which appear largely based, as to the damages issue, on Lexmark International v. Static Control Components, 387 F.3d 522 (6th Cir. 2000)*, may be worth quite a bit.
What is branding? Whisper captures it neatly: Defining why you are, so that you become the only logical choice for what you offer.
Whisper’s approach to brand strategy is simple: Whisper is founded on one big idea: “The key to any effective marketing, branding or advertising effort is to change and take ownership of the conversation.”
Helping people shape and take ownership of the conversation is something we mediators know plenty about. But branding our work and branding ourselves? — not so much, as my colleague Tammy Lenski has pointed out. Whisper, however, has a lot to teach us. Blawg Review #169 presents examples of effective branding and shares Whisper’s philosophy of strategic brand building.
Sonia Simone has penned a wonderful piece at Copyblogger that might well be styled "The Duke Ellington Guide to a Blawg Review that Swings". Here's a few introductory bars, if you want to hum along.
Don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing . . .
Whenever you study a creative form like copywriting, you spend a lot of time on technique. You think hard about headlines and metaphors and what specific details you’ll use. You worry about positioning and persuasive structure. You’re trying to keep all the rules and guidelines in your head.
But if you want your content to keep bringing them back, it’s gotta swing.
Duke Ellington was something rare–hugely respected as a master of his art, and insanely popular with the public. His art was creating music people wanted to listen to. His work was technically impressive, but it also got people onto the dance floor.
Ellington once said “jazz is music; swing is business.” He knew the difference. But his technique and his confidence let him marry the two with incredible results.
Technique is wonderful. It helps us make better connections with our readers, and to persuade those readers to take action. But in order to do that, the whole thing has to hang together. It has carry readers along, so the techniques aren’t obvious.
It has to swing.
David Harlow's Blawg Review #88, based on the number of keys on a piano, certainly did.
Today is Bastille Day, and if this week's host of Blawg Review #168, Jeffrey Mehalic at the West Virginia Business Litigation blog, had reminded us in advance, we might have swapped his hosting date with French-Law.net, which hosted Blawg Review #165. C'est la vie.
As for Rolling Stone's notion that Rush's enduring popularity is somehow a harbinger of the "American Nerd Age," you wouldn't have known that from the Toronto audience, which ran the gamut from whooping metal-heads to whole families of fans.
In truth, there's a simple reason why Rush has continued to prosper after 34 years and 24 gold albums - they've never stopped growing. Rush today plays better, writes better and sounds better than it ever has. And you don't need Rolling Stone's endorsement to make the band worth hearing.
Instead, the editor of Blawg Review was joined by a law firm partner, a law student, and a former law librarian and "info-diva" turned consultant, for a night out at the ballgame.
Heenan Blaikie partner Simon Chester, who blogs at Slaw.ca, knows more about cricket than baseball, apparently, but settled into an enjoyable presentation of America's pastime once he realized it was just a game of "rounders".
The law student, Omar Ha-Redeye, has an educational background in nuclear medicine, health administration, and public relations. He had worked in all three fields for several years before deciding to pursue a law degree at the University of Western Ontario. Omar blogs on the Canadian law student group blog, Law Is Cool, where he directs and runs the podcasts.
Toronto's ace pitcher Roy Halladay, who's been named to the American League All-Star Team for next week's All Star Game in New York City, put on a clinic in a complete game shut out of his All-Star teammates Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
The only Yankees to collect hits against Halladay, who struck out eight batters, were Alex Rodriguez in the fourth inning and Derek Jeter, who hit a ground-rule double in the ninth.
After that, Halladay polished off the Yankees in style, striking out Bobby Abreu and then getting Rodriguez to line out to first baseman Lyle Overbay to end the game.
After the ballgame, the law bloggers went out on the town and, presumably, A-Rod ran home.
American law bloggers revolted from the British barrister's linking to images of naked women in last week's Blawg Review #166.
Since this week's Blawg Review #167 follows the Independence Day weekend holiday in the United States, our host Jonathan Frieden features law blogs from all 50 States represented by the stars on the flag of the United States of America, Old Glory.
Blawg Review #166 is up at GeekLawyer's blog; a day late and a pound short in this editor's view. As expected by many, it's a "wild-card review full of inappropriate vulgarity, drunken foul mouthed ranting and incendiary content: i.e. a normal Geeklawyer posting." Geeklawyer fans everywhere will love it.
Canadian lawyers may be disappointed that this blogging barrister, in his preoccupation with the upcoming Independence Day on the 4th of July, has nary a word today about Canada Day, even as his fellow Londoners are partying in Trafalgar Square in celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.
One of London’s most exciting free public events has this year been extended to a 2-day spectacular. Canada Day 2008, in association with Alberta… a Canadian Affair, hosts a free live concert in Trafalgar Square on the evening of June 30th and events throughout the day on July 1st.
So, this addendum is by way of apology to the many Canadian barristers and solicitors who follow Blawg Review hoping, nay praying, for some passing references this Canada Day (Moving Day by law for many) and some well-deserved link love from a popular law blog host.
Jordan Furlong, a lawyer and journalist with more than ten years’ experience tracking trends and developments in the legal profession and who is currently Editor-in-Chief of National magazine at the Canadian Bar Association, which is not associated with his personal blog, Law21, recommends lawyers "be your own platform."
Sean Graham at the Toronto Estate Law Blog writes in a post titled "Polygamy and Estate Planning" that an "allegedly polygamist community in British Columbia and increased concerns about the possibility of polygamy elsewhere in all but name in other regions of the country raise any number of issues, not only of policy, but also estate planning."
Dear readers, lest the British coming to this post via GeekLawyer's hilarious Blawg Review #166 think this editor lacks humour, our Canada Day addendum ends with this YouTube video: