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March 19, 2012 / Steve Hennigs

2012 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference Recap

Last week I posted the “2012 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference – The times they are a changin’” expressing what I believed would constitute a successful conference. I have to say that I came away from my first LMA Annual Conference very impressed.  There were some excellent networking opportunities, informative sessions and great people.

The only thing that disappointed me was that I was not allowed to attend the Quick Start day (I am a service provider but also a LMA member).  I was looking forward to that and heard that it was quite good.  Other than that it really was a well done event.

If you are a lawyer, legal marketer or service provider I would highly recommend attending the event next year in Las Vegas.  Here are a few of the highlights from my perspective:

Web Management Networking Night

The company I work for, Siteimprove, hosted a networking event for people who arrived on Tuesday. We had a really great turnout and if you happen to have attended I would love some feedback in the comments.  Thanks to everyone who made it!

James Kane Keynote – The Science of Loyalty

This guy was great!! Here is a link to his presentation summary. It was not just what he said but how he said it, he really commanded the room. I really hope that law firms can take to heart his four levels of relationships:

  1. Antagonistic
  2. Transactional
  3. Predisposed
  4. Loyal

I think that it used to be ok for law firm clients to fit into the Transactional or Predisposed stages but not anymore.  It is too easy to simply find another attorney through LinkedIn, a Google Search, Twitter, a live event or countless other possibilities.  By ensuring your clients can trust you, providing them with a sense of belonging and giving them a purpose you can ensure that they will be loyal for years to come.

What a great message by Mr. Kane!

Service Provider Special Interest Group

As a service provider and first time exhibitor at the event this was a very valuable session for me. I had the opportunity to meet and hear from other service providers who have been working with law firms much longer than I have what they thought of the conference. This also allowed me to personally meet Betsi Roach who is the Executive Director of LMA. I have attended a number of conferences over the years and I have not seen anything like this before.

If you are a service provider who did not attend the session I encourage you to do so next year. Also if you did not attend the event at all this year, I would encourage you to attend next year in part because of this excellent opportunity to provide feedback.

The Evolution of the Law Firm Brand. How to Promote Individual Attorneys within the Parameters of the Firm’s Brand

 I was able to attend one session and I did find it very informative. The overriding theme was that it will become necessary to showcase the individual attorneys as their own brand while still promoting the law firm as a whole.

Joe Calve of Morrison & Foerster LLP got things started off by stating that it is getting harder and harder to tell the big law firms apart anymore. His firm is fortunate to have the catchy brand of MoFo (awesome) and that Jay Leno has used that brand in a few of his jokes.

Mr. Calve provided a few other examples of how firm’s have separated themselves for the pack and in the end it was engaging content that was the common theme of success.

We next heard from Aden Dauchess of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP.  He gave everyone a great blueprint on how to blend the firm’s brand with that of the individual attorneys.  If you missed out on the session here was his advice; Talk to your attorneys! Here is what you should find out in those conversations:

1. Indentify their wants
2. Research the lay of the land
3. Do their wants correlate with firm’s core growth area
4. Are their wants in line with the brand
5. Find ways to integrate their individual practice into the mix

After you have the answers to these questions you can blend and integrate the firm’s brand with that of each individual attorney allowing you to separate your firm from all the rest.

Third up was Robert Algeri of Great Jakes Marketing.  I was really looking forward to meeting Robert as I have enjoyed reading his blog for some time.

Robert shared some very interesting statistics with the group. Only 17% of General Counsel can distinguish between firms, 56-75% off all web traffic occurs on attorneys biographies and that 90% of in house counsel say bios are most important.

These numbers have lead Robert to believe that it is important to humanize your firms attorneys through their biography pages. No longer can you simply put up cookie cutter templates for each biography and expect clients to understand how that attorney can truly help them. There are characteristics of each attorney at your firm that set them apart. Make sure you highlight those differences on the biography page to maximize your website’s effectiveness.

Finally we hear from Pete Winzig of Weltman, Weinberg and Reis Co., LPA.  Pete’s firm had just gone through a complete rebranding so he was able to share some great real life experience with the group. I unfortunately had to step out early so I missed his final point but here are the first four steps that Pete shared (Pete if you are out there feel free to add point five!):

1. Go back in your firm’s history to understand the core message. Find out the sacred cow and determine how will you position everyone for success.
2. Make a new logo and make sure it looks good on pens and golf shirts. Be conscious of naming architecture and brand structure to ensure that logo fits everywhere and
then apply your brand to all your “stuff”.
3. Invest in photography. Great photos make a great first impression for your clients.
4. Put it together for the customer.

This was a great presentation from the four guys and I really learned a lot.  Hat tip to Adrian Dayton of Adrian Dayton & Associates for moderating.  Great work Adrian!

LMA Night Out at the Glass Cactus and meeting wonderful people

The final highlight for me (not really but I do not want this post to go on for eternity) was the night out sponsored by Akina Corporation.  After a few days of really hard work it was great to see all the attendees relax and have some fun.

I felt as though this conference really brought a lot to the table. I learned a lot, opened a number of new business opportunities and truly met some great people. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  Did you have fun? What did you learn? What could be better?

As always, thanks for reading!



  1. Lawyers Don't Know Marketing / Apr 3 2012 8:46 AM

    I enjoyed your post! I, too, really enjoyed the keynote, as well! His intro of “himself” was pretty impressive!


    • Steve Hennigs / Apr 3 2012 12:16 PM

      Thanks Susan! I agree on how impressive the introduction he provided was. What an excellent way to capture an audience’s attention.

      Thank you for following the blog as well. I hope I can continue to provide value to you in my posts. Any other feedback you can provide is welcome.

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