Archive for May, 2007

Why Not Have Gen Y International Lawyers Blog for Your Firm?

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

While speaking at last week’s Law Firm Growth Management Conference in New York, I met fellow speaker Arnie Hertz of Legal Sanity.  Arnie, and his fellow panel members Jonathan Frieden, Jim Hassett and Peter Marx shared advice on maximizing law firm blogs to enhance visibility and showcase expertise.

 

Arnie’s current Legal Sanity blog post on this topic raises another important, but not often mentioned, advantage of having young lawyers blog for their law firms:  fostering meaningful relationships between senior attorneys and “often marginalized and disengaged” young attorneys.  Arnie aptly notes that allowing young lawyers to blog for their firm sends a message that the firm values them and wants to keep them engaged.

Law firms with international practices would particularly benefit from this strategy. Many international firms reserve work on sophisticated international litigation, arbitration and business transactions for the cream of the crop–the cognoscenti. And so, many young attorneys have a hard time getting any real international experience.

Yet, as globalization spreads, more and more young attorneys are drawn to the international field. So, how can law firms keep these aspiring international lawyers engaged and cut down on costly attrition?

Allowing young lawyers to draft firm blog posts (albeit with supervision and final sign off) would engage young associates in a way that taps into their Generation Y values.  It’s also a way to give young lawyers a taste of the international practice when putting them to work on a particular client matter doesn’t make economic sense (due to international travel costs etc…) 

Recent law grads also enter law firms full of energy and eagerness.  Their writing skills are also fresh from the law journal grind. Why not tap into that energy for your firm’s blog?

The Culturally Savvy Associate: Top Three Tips for Moving Up in a Global Economy

Friday, May 18th, 2007

I hope that you enjoy my latest article, The Culturally Savvy Associate: Top Three Tips for Moving Up in a Global Economy, which appears in the current issue of the Law Practice Magazine produced by the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar AssociationThe article includes tips to help all lawyers (not just “international lawyers”) succeed in a global economy. If you have ideas of additional tips to share, please email me.

Are you LinkedIn Worldwide?

Monday, May 14th, 2007

Social networking sites are one of the many news ways that people across the globe are connecting through technology.  Lawyers intent on global success need to harness this technology and use it to their advantage–to make and keep contacts, showcase their expertise, and the like. 

LinkedIn is one of the social networking sites geared for professionals, and it is rapidly gaining fans and notoriety.  As explained in Leveraging Connections Online:  Sold on LinkedIn by Eric Heels in the current edition of the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine, the nine million LinkedIn members use the site to meet and stay in touch with other professionals.  And, users also take the opportunity of”promoting their professional capabilities, announcing job openings, looking for service providers, and recommending service providers.”  In other words, it’s a great platform for getting the word out about your interests, expertise and capabilities.

LinkedIn works well across time zones and cultures.  I have used it successfully to connect with former colleagues in foreign countries, and to make new contacts abroad.  Some are listed as “connections” and some not, but LinkedIn has been a good medium for connecting across the globe.  One international lawyer confided that LinkedIn helped him to get appointments with some key investment bankers–connections that he otherwise would not have been able to make.

Sites like LinkedIn add another tool to a lawyer’s networking and rainmaking toolbox.  While not sufficient alone, internet networking strategies become a global-friendly, tech-savvy compliment to traditional techniques.

Law Firms Going International–Keys to Expanding A Firm’s International Geographic Footprint: Janet Speaks at NYC Harvard Club Next Tuesday

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Please join me in New York on Tuesday, May 15 when I present Keys to Expanding Practice Areas and Geographic Footprint through the Law Firm Growth Management Conference being sponsored by IncreMental Advantage.  During this very interactive session, we will discuss what factors law firms should consider before they expand abroad, including how to structure and staff such an office, find a “cultural fit” with foreign lawyers, retain and develop new clients abroad, and the like.

The Power of Personal Notes across Borders

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Oh, the power of a personal note.  It need not be elaborate–just a few phrases handwritten on a nice note card and dropped in the mail.  What an easy yet high-impact tool for making a good impression and keeping connections strong.  Because very few people write personal notes nowadays, doing so will help you stand out from the crowd.

A few days ago I returned from the spring meeting of the International Law Section of the ABA.  I ran into old friends and acquaintances, some of whom I had last seen six or more months ago.  Many of these acquaintances had heard from me via a personal note or an email since we last saw each other.  Who appreciatively mentioned my correspondence?  The people who had received personal, hand written notes from me.  Overwhelmingly so.  Those personal notes made a big impression.

Taking the time to jot a few lines on a note card and mail it to a client, colleague or new contact makes an impact.  Although doing so takes little time, it requires more time than a common email.  And so, writing a note shows that you value the person enough to take the time and care to give that individual some personal attention.

For an even bigger impression, write with a fountain pen and use good quality card stock like Crane’s.  Some people won’t notice the difference, but those who value nice quality writing paper and instruments will be impressed.

Personal attention like this also makes a big positive impact across miles and cultures.  Because you can’t see your contact face to face, a hand written note provides a critical personal touch. Sophisticated international businessmen and women will appreciate the gesture, regardless of culture.

If you have an interesting article to forward to your contact, do so and attach a hand written note–not a typed one prepared by your secretary.  It’s a great rainmaking tool.

If you move to a new job at a law firm and your new employer sends out a formal announcement about your joining, include a short personal note inside the announcements that go to your contacts. Most of those announcements look very similar.  Distinguish yours with a note. My friend Lance Schuler did this when he recently became a partner at Andrews & Kurth, and his personal gesture has always stuck–very favorably–in my memory 

So…write on!