BlawgConnect 2005 a real 3D Event

Dennis_kennedy When you read and write blogs, you get to know the authors so well that you feel you know them.  You're familiar with their job, their opinions, their vacations.  When you finally meet them in person -- going "3D" as we used to say in online bulletin board days -- it's totally awesome.  BlawgConnect 2005 was like having a room full of avatars come to life.

On the eve of ABA Techshow, Tom Mighell (left) and Dennis Kennedy (above right) organized a cocktail-buffet dinner event of 30 bloggers, who are by and large idealists, early adopters and online adventurers.  The setting was The Catalyst Ranch in trendy west-Loop Chicago, which is a restaurant with multiple living-room style conversation rooms.  You could actually sit down with someone, talk and hear what they said.

Tom_mighell_1 The attendees were an honor roll including Jeff Beard, Rick Klau, Jim Calloway, Matt Homann, Bob Ambogi, Fred Faulkner, Reid Trautz, Ben Cowgill, Kirsten Osolind, Simon Chester and more. 

Kirsten Osolind told me about her marketing service for women-led businesses; she has the good looks to start a VLOG.  Kyle Christensen, the Corporate Communications Manager of Thomson should be the Bob Scoble for FindLaw, and I suggest the higher-ups at Thomson seriously think about it.  Fred Faulkner, Technology Coordinator of the ABA, agreed with me that email was no longer the "killer app" of the Internet marketing (it was killed by spammers), that blogs are definitely the hot trend for now (but which I think will peak in two years), and that the "next big thing" may be online business networks like LinkedIn and Ryze.  They said rock and roll would never die, but it did; that the sun would never set on the British Empire but it did; and that blogs would be the hot thing forever.  We shall see. And I talked to Adolph Levy, a lawyer who publishes the Out-of-the-Box Lawyering blog.  He's looking for totally innovative solutions to common problems lawyers face.

The chatfest was interrupted by a snackelicious buffet of grilled shrimp, seasoned pork in lettuce wraps and dumplings.  Later they rolled out the brownies and cannolies.  My kind of party.

Dennis Kennedy quieted the crowd, and said "we are in a new era of blogging, where people meet in person.  We all came to see if everyone was really as cool as they seem online."  Many thanks were given to sponsors Casesoft, Thomson, Lexthink Inc. and Mirra (a maker of personal servers), who sponsored the event and made it possible.

Matt Homann announced that on Sunday Lexthink would hold a "conference about nothing," like a Seinfeld episode.  Actually, 50 legal luminaries will spend a day trying to build the perfect professional services firm.

Then came the door prizes.  Steve Nipper got the USB pen drive.  Ben Cowgill won the ticket to the Lexthink conference on Sunday.  Buzz Bruggeman and Anthony Cerminaro won copies of Camtasia software, which lets you make a movie to put online.  And Julie Parker won the Mirra personal server.

Thank God the pouring rain and hail stopped so we could catch cabs back to the Sheraton.

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Blogging Goes Mainstream: Is Your Company Ready?

Robert_scoble2_1I highly recommend you attend the one-day conference in New York, "Blogging Goes Mainstream: Is Your Company Ready?"  It's your chance to see the No. 1 top blogger in the USA: Robert Scoble, Technical Evangelist, Microsoft and creator of the Scobleizer Blog: http://radio.weblogs.com/0001011/ who will be the keynote speaker.

Where
Microsoft Customer Briefing Center
1290 Avenue of the Americas, Between 51st and 52nd Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY


When
May 3rd, 2005  --
See Full Agenda

I'm on the advisory board of this special executive event, which will examine the business implications of blogging and the impact this medium is having on the business landscape. The speakers will discuss how leading organizations in many industries are tapping into the power of blogs to expand their reach into new or existing markets, drive real-time market intelligence, extend their brand and create transformational dialogues with customers, partners and employees.

We will gather senior executives from Fortune 500 companies, as well as forward-thinking sales, marketing and public relations professionals to explore the nuts and bolts of a building a corporate blogging strategy and how businesses of all types can leverage this new medium to drive new revenues, increase market share and gain critical brand exposure while influencing public opinion on their products and services.

I'll see you there.

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Foreign-Language Friendly Law Firms

Wheatleigh_dunham Attorney Translations Services just issued its list of awards for best use of foreign languages on a U.S. law firm website:

(Greenwich, CT) - The Global Law Firm Awards for best use of foreign languages on a U.S. law firm website went to some of the largest firms in the country along with two smaller firms according to Attorney Translations Services, LLC. Jones Day, a firm with 2,200 attorneys in 30 offices worldwide, was recognized for its outstanding use of seven foreign languages on its global website. At the other end of the size spectrum, the winner of the Arabic award went to Fayad & Associates, a small firm in Richmond, Virginia with an impressive three foreign languages on its website.

Plaintiff's law firm Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks & Zarin of Springfield, NJ the other small firm won the Spanish language award. In general, however, foreign language content is uncommon on international law firm websites. Even among of the AmLaw Global 100, fewer than 20% of U.S. firms have foreign language content available. This makes Jones Day's seven languages, and Cleary, Gottlieb's ten languages, the clear cut leaders in reaching out to clients in their own language. Wheatleigh Dunham, President of Attorney Translation Services, said "Integrating foreign languages into a website is one strong indicator of a firm's commitment to serving international clients."

U.S. legal services are in strong demand world-wide enjoying a 4:1 surplus; a bright spot in U.S. trade statistics. "Next year's awards are going to be even more competitive as international trade continues to expand further accelerating the demand for U.S. legal services." said Mr. Dunham.

WINNERS: "Global Law Firm Website Award - Top Site" -- Jones Day

Language Category Winners:
Arabic -- Fayad & Associates
Chinese -- Morrison Foerster
French -- Hughes Hubbard & Reed
German -- Morgan Lewis & Bockius
Japanese -- Paul Hastings, Janofsky & Walker
Korean -- Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton
Portuguese -- Fulbright & Jaworski
Russian -- Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Spanish --Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks & Zarin

Attorney Translation Services, LLC provides translation and interpretation services to major law firms, governments and corporations using bilingual attorneys and technical experts for all practice specialties including litigation, international trade, mergers & acquisitions, patents and trademarks.

Contacts: Wheatleigh Dunham, President, Attorney Translations Services, LLC, 203-637-4628, wdunham@attorneytranslation.com.

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You can get fired for what you put in your blog

Simonetti_cleavageThink twice before discussing what goes on at work in your blog. It can get your fired.  News stories are cropping up about this trend.

Let me give you three examples of some stupid people who blogged about the office and got the axe.  It could happen to you:

1. Heather Armstrong, a Web designer in L.A., blogged about the firm's holiday party. She quoted people saying things like:

  • "In honor of last night, Ruben 'Pizza Slinging' Sandoval is renaming his band 'Super Human Puker'"

  • "I will be giving a seminar next week called: 'Holding Your Own...The insiders guide to drinking in moderation and the lost art of pacing.'"

  • "Shut up, you're gay too?"

  • "Dude, [Asian database administrator] is passed out. Let's give him a wedgie."

  • "I'm gonna hurl."

Heather got "dooced," which is "to lose one's job because of one's web site." (Her blog is located at dooce.com.)

2. Mark Jen got hired at Google on January 17.  Based on information heard at his new-employee orientation, he blogged about the firm's revenues and profits, and marketing plans.  Subsequently, he also blogged complaints about Google's health care plan and compenssation.  By January 28 Jen was fired.

3. Ellen Simonetti, former Delta flight attendant, posted racy photos of herself -- in a Delta uniform on a jet airplane --on her blog (see above).  In her post "Diary of a Flight Attendant," one photo shows her revealing her cleavage, another balancing on a row of seats in what is a near crotch-shot, and a third one showing off her butt as she explores an overhead bin.  She got fired.

I ask myself what were these people thinking? Many words come to mind, like "stupid," "dimwit" and "fool."  What you say in your blog is the same as printing it in the local newspapaper, except that more people will see it.

To quote the now-wiser Heather Armstrong, ""My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET."

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The Disappearance of Mark J. White

Mark_white_1 Here's a story about why to put firm management on law firm Web sites.  I was at a conference in January and heard Mark J. White, a partner at Baker Botts in Houston, give a talk about a club the law firm had organized for 60 oil and gas clients.  White described how the firm created an extranet for the Texas Industry Project extranet, where the 60 companies represented by the firm's environmental practice can get daily updates on legal issues. It was a smart marketing idea and I wrote an article about it, "Web-Enabled Law Firms Capture New Business" on the LawMarketing Portal.

I planned to follow-up, so on Friday (March 18) I went to the firm Web site to look up his email address.  But he had vanished from the Web site.   He was as gone as Jimmy Hoffa.  The firm Web site search engine turned up nothing on him.  I used the Google "search site" feature and also found nothing.  His name had been wiped clean from the site.  I searched Google and Yahoo News and found nothing about his abrupt invisibility.

Naturally, I thought he had left the firm.  So I called one of the marketers at Baker Botts to find out what happened to White.  They told me he had been appointed Chief Administrative Officer of the firm -- so they took his name off the Web site.

In my humble opinion, this is a public relations faux pas, a marketing mistake and a promotional goof.  The firm took a prominent partner, whom it had sent on the road to give public presentations about the firm, and made him vanish the moment it gave him a management position.

See my prior article arguing that marketers and firm management should be displayed on firm Web sites.  The disappearance of Mark J. White is a great example.

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4 Reasons Why Bloggers Should Attend ABA TECHSHOW

Posted by Tom Mighell, on the ABA Techshow blog:

Don't get me wrong; there are tons of reasons to attend ABA TECHSHOW scheduled for March 31-April 2 in Chicago. There are over 50 educational sessions on the latest in legal technology, sessions led by leading legal technology vendors, and lots more. But for you bloggers out there, if you need any more convincing, here are the 4 reasons why you should be attending this show:

1. The blawger dinner -- last year's dinner was a terrific success, and we expect even more this year. It will be held on Wednesday night, March 30, at The Catalyst Ranch, 656 W. Randolph, Suite 3W in Chicago,probably starting in the 7:30 or 8:00 range..

2. Meet the Bloggers roundtable discussion -- this year there will be a session about legal blogging put on by legal bloggers. If you're a blogger, you'll want to make sure you're there so you can tell us about your blogging experiences; if you're not, you'll want to make sure you're there so you can see what all the fuss is about. Of the speakers at ABA TECHSHOW, many of them are blogging -- they include:

Some of them are bound to show up, including me -- come and place a face to the blog!

3. The Wireless Cloud -- for the third year, ABA TECHSHOW will have a "wireless cloud" over the entire conference area -- those of you with wireless access will be able to blog during the presentations!

4. Last, but most important: bloggers get it. You are a small part of the legal community that understands the impact technology can have on the practice of law. For that reason alone, ABA TECHSHOW was made for someone like you.

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NB: The LawMarketing Portal will have TWO reporters covering the conference for your -- marketing consultant Andy Havens and PM Forum Membership Director Laura Kresich.  Andy will be blogging LIVE with me during the show on the Professional Marketing blog.

Also: I'll be speaking on "Marketing with Technology," session GP.03 from 1-2 pm on Thursday, March 31.  Catch my gig and learn about getting your marketing message around corporate firewalls, blogging with panache, how your blog can get you fired, online social networks, and how to tune up your Web site so that it generates leads.

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Great Turnout at "Marketing Plan" Webinar

Marketing_plan_slide Mike Cummings and I had a great turnout at today's Webinar "Composing Your Personal Marketing Plan for 2005." As we all know, you can't count on your firm or your partners to supply you with new business, and professionals need to bring in their own clients.  We had an estimated 225 attendees who learned the tricks that rainmakers know.

We plan to present the program again later in the year because there is a real need for education of professionals on this topic.  Among the point we covered were:

  • Professionals see the relationship with their client as being based on their technical expertise.  Clients, however, base the relationship on personal chemistry and whether the professional is a business adviser.  Client already assume your are technically proficient.
  • You need to turn your clients into your sales force.  Word of mouth is the best marketing there is, and nothing tops an introduction by a client.  Professionals should seek introductions, which are like a matchmaking service offered by clients.
  • You've got to have your "30-second commercial" ready at the tip of your tongue.
  • When you are networking, look to give and not receive business.
  • Become a celebrated expert in your field.  Then you don't have to sell as hard and you can command premium prices.

Best_practices_networking_bookI ended with a quote from : "What you do with your billable time determines your current income. What you do with your nonbillable time determines your future.  Mike wrapped up with a quote from Peter Drucker: "Marketing is what you do so you don't have to sell." Our program is tidily summed up in the book Best Practices in Building Your Personal Network, by Mike Cummings and Allen Boress. You can order a copy of the book online in the Professional Marketing Store.

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The Real thing: Personal Marketing Plan Webinar

Do you want the real thing? Or a free "executive briefing" delivered by a guy sponsored by Microsoft, giving tips like "how to leverage Microsoft CRM to build new business" ? Both Web seminars are scheduled for next Wednesday afternoon March 16.

I recommend you attend the Webinar that Mike Cummings and I are presenting on March 16 at Noon Eastern time: Composing Your Personal Marketing Plan for 2005We're sponsored by the PM Forum, an association of marketers, not a predatory global software company that wants to sell you product.

Mike and I believe that your individual marketing plan will determine how you do financially in 2005, whether you have more and better clients, whether you can charge higher rates and whether you find more work you enjoy. But without a plan, it won't happen. We'll show you how to become a rainmaker and enjoy the benefits that of being one. Click here to sign up for the real program.

Mike and I will send you 84 pages of handout materials, including:

  • All the slides from the Webinar
  • 8 articles on professional marketing
  • Year End Business Development Performance Review For Attorneys
  • Personal Marketing Plan Templates and Forms

(The Microsoft decoy is giving you a chance to win one copy of his book.)

Our Participants will learn the 12 Simples Rules of Rainmaking:

Rule 1: How to See The World Through The Eyes Of Your Client

Rule 2: You Are In The Relationship Business

Rule 3: How to Market & Sell As If You Are A Business Doctor

Rule 4: You Are An Entrepreneur & Not An Attorney/Accountant/Consultant

Rule 5: Focus On Your Ideal Clients

Rule 6: Develop Your 30 Second Commercial

Rule 7: Which Clients to Market To

Rule 8: Seeking Introductions and Not Referrals

Rule 9: How to Turn Your Clients Into Your Sales Force

Rule 10: Seeking Allies, Not Referral Sources

Rule 11: How to Network With A Purpose

Rule 12: How to Become A Celebrated Expert

Attendees to our live Web broadcast will get honest advice from two independent experts.  Register today for the real thing:
Call: 800.775.7654
Online:
https://www.krm.com/regonline/lmpvcregs.nsf/10370

Registration fee includes: one telephone connection, one Internet connection, one set of handout materials and unlimited participant attendance at your site. Registrants are free to make unlimited copies of the handout materials for their own internal use.

PM Forum Member ONLY Regular Registration ($275 USD)
Nonmember Regular registration ($325 USD)

Click here to find out about joining the PM Forum. Registrations received after Wednesday, March 9, 2005, will be charged the regular rate.

About Us

I am Regional Director for North America of the PM Forum, a global organization of 4,000 marketers in law, accounting and management consulting.

Since 2000 I've been a strategic marketing consultant. I advise professional firms and businesses across the country on marketing strategy, individual sales plans and Web sites. Typical assignments include developing a firm-wide marketing strategy, meeting with partners to compose individual marketing plans and using technology to market a law firm.

I served as Director of Communications of Sidley Austin for eight years. I also have 15 years' experience as a journalist, serving as Editor and Publisher of the American Bar Association Journal, the National Law Journal, Lawyers Alert (renamed Lawyers Weekly) and other news publications.

I practiced law in Madison, Wisconsin and am a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University (J.D., 1981) and Amherst College (B.A., 1972).

Michael G. Cummings is the managing principal of SAGE Consulting, based in St. Charles, IL. He has been a marketing strategy and business development consultant for over 20 years. Michael is co-author of a new book (2004) with Allan Boress - The Best Practices of Legal Marketing.

Prior to establishing SAGE, Michael was a partner at Mercer Management Consulting -- a leading business design consulting firm. At Mercer, he was responsible for new business development, managing client relationships and delivering business design engagements in the communications, information and industrial industries

He was an account leader of Mercer's top account: IBM. Using his account planning, relationship management and selling skills, Michael helped Mercer to create over 300 senior executive relationships and a sustained base of business. He also led account teams aimed at expanding relationships with Motorola, Siemens and NCR.

Early in his career, Michael was a member of the team that established the marketing function at Andersen Worldwide (Arthur Andersen & Accenture).

You will learn everything you need to know about Composing Your Personal Marketing Plan for 2005, plus have an opportunity to ask questions LIVE.  And you can rest assured that we won't shill for any software corporation.

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Andy Havens' Talking Blog

Andy_havens_caricature You gotta hear Andy Haven's talking blog.  He's got a caricature of himself with a moving mouth (kind of like to spoofs they do on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, where only the mouth moves on a picture) and automatic audio!  He calls it his Blogbot.

When you mouse over the caricature, the eyes of the cartoon follow the mouse.  Spooky stuff.  Andy is learning waaaay too much technology.

The talking head talks about the failure of KM in in-house law departments and "the tolling of the bell of knowledge management in the legal industry."  The reason is that KM boosts efficiency, and law practice is based on the billable hour (which is antithetical to efficiency). Andy thinks KM could work in plaintiff personal injury and mass tort cases.

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Setback for Bloggers as Journalists

1stamendposter_1 "In a case with implications for the freedom to blog, a San Jose judge tentatively ruled Thursday that Apple Computer can force three online publishers to surrender the names of confidential sources who disclosed information about the company's upcoming products,"  says the March 4 San Jose Mercury News.

"Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg refused to extend to the Web sites a protection that shields journalists from revealing the names of unidentified sources or turning over unpublished material."

This is a bad ruling and bad law.  The First Amendment is not limited to corporations that own printing presses.  Free speech applies to all the people, and a blog or Web site is a publication just as much as the New York Times.  Both political parties set aside special sections for bloggers adjacent to the offline media at their political conventions last year -- Criminey, how much more obvious could it be that blogs are publications protected by the Constitution?

Apple claims the California shield laws that protect journalists from revealing their sources only cover "legitimate press," which does not include such Web sites. 

This is baloney!  Those who write for online publications are entitled to the same constitutional protections as the offline print and broadcast news organizations.  Where did Apple find its lawyer -- Darth Vader?

Apple Computer argued that disclosures about an unreleased product, code-named "Asteroid,'' on three Mac computer news sites constituted a trade secret violation. The company asked the court to force the site owners to identify the source of the leaks, and the donkey-brained judge went along.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote, "If Apple's subpoenas to Apple Insider, PowerPage and Think Secret are allowed to proceed and the Apple news sites EFF is representing are forced to disclose the confidences gained by their reporters, potential confidential sources will be deterred from providing information to the online media, and the public will lose a vital outlet for independent news, analysis, and commentary. We can't let that happen."  The quote is from the article "Bloggers As Journalists: Why We Fight Apple's Subpoenas."

Kurt_opsahlThe Electronic Frontier Foundation has copies of the legal papers posted online. Let's all show our support for EFF staff attorney Kurt B. Opsahl, who is fighting for blogger rights in this case.  He can be reached at kurt@eff.org and 415 436 9333 x106.

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Blogs Mark the End of Corporate P.R.

According to a new article in The Economist, blogs mark the "beginning of the end of 'corporate communications' as we know it."  See the Feb. 10 issue of the paper or go to http://www.economist.com/business/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3644293 online.

Robert_scoble2 PR was always supposed to put a good face on a faceless corporation.  Microsoft, one of the most controversial companies on earth, has put on a cheery, pudgy, human face with Robert Scoble, and his blog, The ScobleizerThe Economist says "he has also succeeded where small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years: he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world."

Now that's a real feat. Scoble has become a "minor celebrity" as the "technical evangelist" for MSFT.  Thousands of people subscribe and read his blog, which he dubs the Microsoft Geek Blogger.  His title should be "Chief Humanizing Officer," the paper remarks.

He has opined ruthlessly on Microsoft's technology over the years, which is remarkable for a company employee.  But it gives him credibility, and thus power.

Inspired in part by Mr. Scoble's success, executives at other companies--so far, mostly in tech--are starting their own blogs. Bruce Lowry, PR boss at Novell, wants to get his executives blogging. Boring old press releases are totally ill-suited for responding to most PR issues, such as rumors or independent commentary, he says. He can imagine blogs completely replacing press releases within ten years.

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The blog as business tool has arrived

So sayeth the Wall Street Journal in the March 1 paper on page B8.  Blogs are no longer the exclusive domain of teenagers talking about the band they heard last night.  "Blogs can connect with consumers on a personal level -- and keep them visiting a company's Web site regularly," says the article by Riva Richmond.

Wall_street_journal_logo_1 Kevin O'Keefe has an excellent summary of the article on his blog.  Kevin advises, "cut the Journal article out and circulate it around the office. If you read the article and still do not think blogs need be on the front burner of your law firm's marketing plans for this year, you probably didn't think Amazon would be a big deal when the Wall Street Journal told you it would be about 8 years ago."

Here are the key reasons blogs work:

  • Build high name recognition
  • Outstanding search engine results
  • Establish reputation as authority
  • Interactive medium
  • Connect with people
  • More effective than static, brochurelike Web sites.
  • Big increases in Web site visitors within months, thanks largely to search engines' enthusiasm for the medium.
  • Blogs offer little-known small businesses name recognition, and the chance to boost traffic.

Blogs work for DVD-rental, research, public relations, muscle-car restoration, dating service and dairy businesses.  They'll certainly work for professional firms.  "Blogging is one of a wide range of ways that we can connect with people [and] strengthen what I call our handshake with the consumer," says Stoneyfield Farms CEO Gray Hirschberg in the Journal.

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