"Green is Good" at LMA Midwest Conference

I'm at the LMA Midwest (new name) conference in Chicago, where there are more than 100 attendees.  LMA Midwest now now includes three city groups (Detroit, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee), with requests to start more.

The theme is "Green is Good" as "promoting environmentalism is good for your law firm."  The nametag can be planted in the ground and flowers will grow.  All the conference materials are recyclable.

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Ann Gallagher, law firm marketingYou can’t change difficult partners or clients, but you can greatly improve your communications with them, according to marketing consultant Anne Gallagher of Extreme Marketing in Chicago. First you need to learn what your own style is, using the I-Speak personality test, which breaks people into four groups:

  1. Sensers: people who want solutions, bottom line results and real-life examples. They want to get to the point, not hear all the details about it. They are take-charge people who get results. Only 20% of lawyers are Sensers (compared with 40% of the US population), and they get along with Intuitors. Rainmakers at a law firm are Sensers. For a Star Trek analogy, think of Captain Kirk. (I discovered that I am a senser.)
  2. Thinkers: people who want data, references, measurable results. Their blind spot is they don’t make decisions quickly. 70% of lawyers are Thinkers (compared with 14% of the US population.) Thinkers work well with Feelers. Think of Spock on Star Trek.
  3. Feelers: People who want teamwork and hate conflict. They want assurances that the project will work out and avoid things that move too fast or could make coworker’s lives more complex. Only 5% of lawyers are feelers, compared with 18% of the US population. Think of Dr. “Bones” McCoy on Star Trek.
  4. Intuitors. People who want the big picture and lots of new ideas. They are original, creative and idealistic, but also unrealistic, scattered and not detail-oriented. Only 5% of lawyers are Intuitors, compared with 28% of the US population. Think of chief engineer and miracle worker Scotty on Star Trek. (Note to file: Anne is an Intuitor, which is why we work so well together. She comes up with the Big Idea and I can make it happen.)

The next step is to be able to spot what kind of type the other person is. This is the key to success, because you can adapt your communications style to fit them. Anne is really good at this and predicted the results for most of the people at her presentation. Students of I-Speak cab find their weakest traits, and work on improving them. When you can use each style equally well, you’ve got it made.

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Roy Ginsburg, law firm marketingLawyer Roy Ginsburg knows that most lawyers don't like networking -- it makes them feel awkward, they have no time and makes them feel unprofessional or manipulative. Here are some great tips:

  • Be persistent. If you make 10 calls to network contacts, and on 2 respond, you're doing great. This means you need to increase you contact list to 90 people, so you'll get 20 responses.
  • Remember details.  Make small talk by asking where other person is going on vacation, if they got a new pet, where their child going is going to college.  This way, the next time you talk, you can say “the last time we talked you said your daughter was going to the University of Missouri, how’s that going?”
  • Be confident. No one wants to hire a lawyer who is unsure of himself. Even as a new associate, a lawyer can network and say  “I work for one of the best law firms in the city. If I don’t’ know the answer, someone just down the hall does.” You just need to sound like you know what you’re doing.
  • Enthusiasm. People love to hire lawyers who love what they do.  "Do you think I want to hire someone who’s wishy washy, or someone who’s passionate? I’ve known many lawyers who got the job because of the enthusiasm they showed," Roy said.

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Alvidas Jasin, law firm marketing, green law practiceClients are now asking in RFPs: "What are your firm's sustainability practices and how is the firm going 'green?'" according to Alvidas Jasin, Director of Business Development, Thompson Hine.  Use his travel tips:

  • Always hang up your towel and reuse it, don’t throw it on the floor.

  • Put the “Do Not Disturb” hanger on door during the entire time of your stay. There's no need to change the sheets every day.

  • Shorten your showers by two minutes. Hot water consumes a lot of energy.

  • Shut off computers and printers at the end of the day – otherwise they continue to draw power.

For more info on how you can run a green law office, visit www.massbar.org/ecochallenge -- the Massachusetts Bar Association Energy and Environment Task Force.

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