I offer stand-alone workshops, tutorials, boot camps and shorter training modules to law firms, in house legal departments, bar associations, law schools, women’s initiatives and other affinity groups, each adapted to the needs and resources of the client, but with a primary focus on the fundamentals necessary for law practice growth, advancement and long term success. Among them:
Listening to the Web: Social Media and the Confidence of Knowledge
Every year brings a spike in requests for social media training, as lawyers and law firms grow increasingly aware of the prodigious power of LinkedIn, Twitter and other internet “listening” platforms as complements to in-real-life communications and anchors to profitable professional branding (both internal and external) and business development strategies.
Today, an attorney needs to be known as the “go-to” lawyer for a particular area of practice or industry expertise, to assure credibility in competitive markets. Traditional in-person relationship building and branding strategies (bar association committee work, CLE and industry conference panels, firm publications and “random acts of lunch”), though indisputably essential, are not enough to give most lawyers a competitive edge in today’s digital world.
In my workshops and tutorials, participants explore ways to leverage online platforms (including LinkedIn and Twitter), whether actively (as thought leaders and connectors) or passively (as “listeners” and knowledge curators), to build compelling reputations, grow relationships (internally and externally), position themselves as practice area, industry and sector experts and stand out from their competitors as valuable sources of superior knowledge.
The law firm workshop includes a live, screen-shared demonstration of the ways in which LinkedIn and Twitter can best be used to strengthen the firm’s relationship with a select marquee client, ideally one served by one of the firm’s high profile industry or sector groups. This is followed by an exercise in which participants are asked to respond to a dilemma involving a brand new, industry specialized client.
My goal in these sessions is to dispel the natural skepticism and fear expressed by most busy lawyers when asked to supplant billable work, if only briefly, with in person or online activities that feel “salesy” and contrived. I do that by demystifying and distinguishing the two top platforms, LinkedIn and Twitter, then offering effective, authentic ways of pairing social media and “IRL” interactions to build reputation, rich relationships and revenues.
Formats and Topics
I offer the “Listening to the Web” training in a variety of formats to best suit firm and participant goals, including a 90-minute intensive workshop, a three-part lunch series and individual and small group tutorials addressing one or more of the following topics:
- LinkedIn profiles and search functions; branding and networking; promoting others; gathering news and information.
- For the reluctant lawyer, Twitter strategies for monitoring news and commentary using live searches, streams and the Hootsuite dashboard; the power of time-ordered news delivery without a single tweet.
- Using LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging proactively but authentically; showcasing oneself and promoting others; building brand, network and relationships; enhancing legal work product and pitches.
Meeting the Differentiation Challenge: Industry Immersion for Law Students and Associates
This session, also offered one-on-one or as a small group tutorial, is designed for law students and young lawyers considering a sector focus, as well as those who have already identified an industry where their interests and skills converge—in hopes of a charting a path to the proverbial holy grail to which we all aspire as lawyers: a role as the “trusted advisor” and confidante who offers high value, sector specialized business and legal advice.
Here’s my story: I was only a second year associate at a large Boston firm when my young colleagues and I began carving out a niche defined not by practice area but by industry. By the time I was in my fourth year of practice virtually all of my clients were doing business within the booming media and communications industries, both regionally and nationally.
Two years later I moved my practice to our biggest competitor in the Northeast, which had just opened an office in Boston and was fully committed to growing a dedicated sector team. Over the next few years, my new partners and I built a nationally recognized practice, in part on the strength of our deep industry focus, achieving rapid and profitable growth and exceptional market share.
This was decades ago–many years before multi-specialty industry groups became “a thing”, belatedly validated as a powerful, sometimes essential, way for lawyers and law firms to stand out in an increasingly competitive market. The lessons I learned as a young lawyer still apply, but technology, globalization and other market forces demand new strategies (and sharper business skills) as well.
The Great Leveler: Networking to Build an Inventory of Both Internal and External Social Capital
A session demonstrating how even the youngest, most inexperienced law firm or legal department attorney can accumulate a wealth of friends, associates and contacts and, through savvy “investments” of this “social capital”, evolve from fledgling professional to strategic broker. Topics include sector and industry specific networking, internal self-promotion and leadership, as well as strategies for building both mentoring and, more important, sponsorship relationships.
On the Job Marketing: Speaking the Language of Business
In this 60 minute-session we address the many ways in which lawyers can better deepen and display their legal skills, good judgment, sector expertise and business acumen in the context of their work: as advocates and negotiators, as writers and speakers and as listeners and advisors. The workshop is most effective when tailored to niche practice areas, sector and industry specializations or specific client team strategies. (See also the session on Industry Immersion and Industry Practice Groups, above.)
Jody L. Newman, Former Managing Partner (2007 – 2012), Collora LLP (now Hogan Lovells)
Ellen S. Lubell, Founder, Tennant Lubell