Zen & the Art of Legal Networking

GC Focus – an LMA Annual Conference Recap

At this year’s LMA, we were fortunate enough to have not one, but TWO sessions with General Counsel. This one took place at the end of the first day, and included a procurement guy – a first for the LMA. The session was titled “GC Focus: Project Management. Position Your Firm in Alignment With the Unique Challenges Faced by In-house Counsel.” 

Panelists included Keith Isgett, the Managing Attorney-General – Global External Legal Relations, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Justin Ergler, Sourcing Group Manager, Legal Services Procurement, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nat Slavin, Founder and Partner of Wicker Park Group, along with Moderator Alicia Brown, Director of Strategic Relationships for Bloomberg Law. 

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Rainmaking Recommendation from Jaimie Field: Manners Matter

Jaimie Field is back on this cloudy Monday afternoon with another rainmaking recommendation which may seem like common sense to most of us, but she’s absolutely right in pointing it out – manners matter.


Lately, I have noticed a horrific lack of manners (even more so than usual):

  • Not saying “excuse me” when you have to interrupt someone;
  • Not saying: “thank you” for being helped;
  • Not apologizing for making a mistake or offending someone inadvertently;
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Week of April 29, 2013 on ILNToday – A Roundup!

We’ve reached the end of another busy week here at the ILN, which means that there is under two weeks left until our Annual Meeting is under way!

So without further ado, here are this week’s top posts:

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General Counsel Panel: Separate from the Pack – a Recap Part II

In yesterday’s post, we learned that building relationships is still of primary importance to clients – and some of the ways to do this including figuring out what benefits the client the most, and focusing on what business solutions will make them look good.

The panelists agreed that the role of their lawyers needs to be that of strategic partners, and for their part, they need to inform outside counsel about what they need. But outside counsel can also be proactive to learn more about their clients. The panelists suggested that attorneys read company filings and public documents before they meet with them. They emphasized that outside counsel should understand their customer before asking them to be their customer. Post-matter debriefings, at no cost, are also helpful.

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General Counsel Panel: Separate from the Pack – a Recap Part I

Another of my all-time favorite conference sessions at LMA is always the client panel.  For me, the panel always makes the investment in the conference worth it, because I can impart what I learn from the GCs there to my lawyers, to help them to understand their own clients better, and that adds value for everyone.

This year’s client panel didn’t disappoint. It focused on best practices for building and maintaining your law firm’s relationship with in-house counsel and featured Megan Belcher, the VP and Chief Employment Counsel for ConAgra, Kevin Schubert, the Associate General Counsel, Transactions for LV Sands Corporation, Simon Manoucherian, the Assistance General Counsel/Director of Litigation GRIFOLS, and Karen Cottle, Senior Counsel for Sidley Austin and former in-house counsel. The panel was moderated by Inside Counsel magazine. 

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"Delivering Happiness" – A Zappos Session Recap

So if you’ve been hiding under a rock instead of reading my blog posts, you may not already know that my favorite session from LMA13 was “Delivering Happiness: Fresh Ideas for Service-Driven Brands Deploying Social Media Tactics, Seeking ROI” with Graham Kahr, Social Scientist for Zappos and Jayne Navarre of Law Gravity LLC.

Rather than a typical session, Jayne and Graham let us know right away that it would be different when they introduced themselves in the third person. Their session took on the tone of more of a conversation, which also included those of us in the audience. 

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Week of April 22, 2013 on ILNToday – A Roundup!

As of yesterday, we are now only three weeks away from the ILN’s 25th Annual Meeting, and our 25th Anniversary celebrations! We’re really looking forward to celebrating with everyone, taking a look back as well as looking toward the future. But while we’ve been focused on getting ready for our conference, our members are putting out some high quality content.

This week’s top posts are:

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ILN-terviews: Bill Milani, Epstein Becker & Green

Welcome to ILN-terviews, a series of profiles of ILN member firm attorneys, designed to give a unique insight into the lawyers who make up our Network. For our latest interview, we chose ILN member, Bill Milani of our member firm, Epstein Becker & Green in New York!

In one sentence, how would you describe your practice?
Management side labor and employment law with a particular concentration representing foreign-owned and financial services companies.

Who would be your typical client? 
A foreign-owned bank.

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Identify, Don’t Compare – Lessons from Zappos for the Legal Industry

A lesson I learned several years ago that has been invaluable to me is that of “identify, don’t compare.” When you compare, you’re looking to match your situation exactly to that of someone else’s – and when we do that, we’re always going to come up different (and that can paralyze us).

But when we identify, we’re looking for those elements that run through a situation that are the same as ours – and this gives us the inspiration to keep moving forward, instead of giving up because we think we’ll never be the same. That lesson comes in handy when I’m sitting in a session like the Zappos one from the LMA Annual Conference.  Although it’s easy to try to compare Zappos to legal marketing and come up lacking because they’re a consumer-driven business, when I identify instead, I find many parallels which allow me to take the lessons that Graham was sharing with us and apply them to my own situation.

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Legal Marketers – Let’s Raise the Bar

This morning, I had the pleasure of speaking with my fellow co-leaders in the Legal Marketing Association’s Social Media Special Interest Group (LMA Social Media SIG for short). Our main purpose was to debrief on our group’s activities at the conference, to see what worked well and what didn’t, but by virtue of the conversation, we ended up talking about the conference in general and some of the anecdotal feedback that we’d heard. 

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