Archive for April, 2007

Meet Me in DC at the ABA’s International Law Section Meeting–Starting Tomorrow

Monday, April 30th, 2007

What are you doing tomorrow? Why not meet me in DC? I’m flying to Washington, D.C. to attend (and speak at) the Spring Meeting of the ABA’s International Law Section.  If you come to the seminar, please find me and introduce yourself.  On Friday, I’m speaking on Moving up the International Law Career Ladder as part of Friday’s 11:00-12:30 presentation titled Secrets of Successful Networking.  Please join me.


For more information,

Barnett’s Blawgletter: Lawyer Blogging (and Personal Branding) at its Best

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

A few weeks ago Barry Barnett, a Susman Godfrey partner, invited me to train the firm’s Dallas-based lawyers about Rainmaking Basics in a Global Economy.  I’ve known Barry for almost two decades.  Besides being incredibly bright, he’s also quite funny.

Barry uses this humor to great advantage in his Barnett’s Notes on Commercial Litigation (winner of the 2006 Advocatus Diaboli Grand Prize) and his Blawgletter:  Business Trial Law with a Sense of Humor. His often iconoclastic humor lets him address touchy subjects–like the firing of Don Imus (who he aptly renamed Don Slimus) and the troubles of Alberto Gonzales–without risk of offending…too much.

 An advantage of this approach?  Readers (including potential clients and referral sources) enjoy–and actually read–his blog and newsletter. His posts have even captured the attention of the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog.

The witty Blawgletter and Barnett’s Notes also help to “brand” Barry as a likable person and a very clever thinker–just the kind of guy you would want representing you in a lawsuit.  They also strengthen Susman Godfrey’s brand as a firm that hires original thinkers and encourages autonomy. Not every law firm would allow one of its lawyers to make a name for himself in such a non-traditional way. 

Because Barry peppers his posts with links to his firm’s website, he also improves the site’s ever-important search engine optimization.  (For more lawyer blogger success stories, check out Kevin O’Keefe’s regular blog category on this topic:

Ending on a personal note, this blogger was happy to read that Barry and his colleagues “raved” about the Rainmaking Basics in a Global Economy training. Thanks Barry!


Cross-Border Employment CLE Classes

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

 Here are two interesting employment topics for international lawyers:

Cross Border Employment, Discrimination, Non-Competition and Privacy on May 8

Employment Issues in a Global Economy on May 16

Lawyers Hire Coaches as “Truth Speakers”

Saturday, April 14th, 2007


Why do lawyers hire coach?  Often, lawyers work with a coach to exceed their prior performance; in other words, they want to develop strategies for bringing in more clients, making partner or getting promoted, becoming a leader within their law firm or field and the like.  Sometimes lawyers hire a coach to help them figure out a career change within or outside the law.


Regardless of the reason for hiring a coach, lawyers rely on their coaches to be an objective, third party sounding board.  In other words, coaches become “truth speakers,” as Harvard Business School professor Thomas DeLong says.


Paul Michelman quotes Professor DeLong in his article titled What an Executive Coach Can Do for You.  The article explores some of the reasons why professionals turn to executive coaches.  Many professionals seek coaching to get one-on-one focused attention from an unbiased sounding board/mentor/guide/cheerleader–especially in times of great change or stress. Often, the professional can’t get such unbiased feedback within the professional’s own organization or from family or friends.


And, as Michelman notes, underperforming professionals are not necessarily the ones seeking executive coaching; in fact, top performing professionals are increasingly seeking coaches to help them reach the next career level. What an Executive Coach Can Do for You is available free of charge through the Harvard Business School Archive.

Speeches as Client Development Tool-Engage Audience Early (Especially in Cross-Cultural Context)

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Speeches and other presentations can be a powerful client development tool–if done well.  Successful public speakers know that for their speech to be successful, they must really engage the audience.  Unfortunately, all too many lawyers merely read their speeches.  They appear like “talking heads”, and  make no effort to engage their audience.

David Maister, one of the gurus in the professional service firm field, advises speakers to take questions from the audience within the first 15 minutes of any speech.   (Click to read David’s 4-11-07 blog post on this topic.) Ted Harro of Noonday Ventures added to the discussion by commenting that, to be engaging, the speaker should ask open ended (rather than closed) questions, thus encouraging dialog. 

As I noted in my comment to David Maister’s blog post,  arriving early and chatting with some individual audience members also works wonders.  Doing so creates rapport, shows that the speaker cares about the audience’s concerns, and giving the speaker advance feedback about topics important to the audience.  (In other words, as a speaker, you may think that you know what your audience is really concerned about–but if you’re wrong, better to find out in advance rather than being surprised by off the wall questions during the public Q&A time.)

Advance audience feedback can be especially helpful from clients from a different culture.  As just mentioned, a lawyer may have misunderstood exactly what the audience is concerned about–perhaps due to cross-cultural miscommunication.  Further, because many foreign cultures comunicate more indirectly than do direct Americans, audience members may not reveal their true concerns during the public Q&A time–sometimes for fear of embarrassing the speaker.  Once again, a speaker has a better chance of uncovering some burning issues with some advance chat one-on-one, and tweaking the presentation for maximum relevance and impact.