What I’ve said and where I’ll be

Time for my regular roundup of what I’ve written in other locations recently, along with a quick itinerary of my upcoming speaking appearances.

1. I’ve been especially busy at Law Firm Web Strategy, the blog of Stem Legal, with three recent posts on social media:

2. My most recent column for The Lawyers Weekly sparked a lot of feedback: Do what you do best and outsource everything else kind of sums up my assessment of the current legal marketplace and how firms should respond to it.

3. My latest column at Slaw looked at a different question: why are some of the most influential people in law firms also the least pleasant to deal with? The importance of being nice makes the case that collegiality has a business purpose.

4. My newest entry for Attorney At Work reached back to law school to discuss the potential benefits of private knowledge management: Revive your law school study group.

5. My first entry for Small Firm Innovation, a dynamic new blog sponsored by Clio, won’t appear until early next month, but I’m proud to be both a contributor and a member of the advisory board. Check out SFI today for practical first-hand accounts of small-firm success.

In terms of my travel plans, here’s where you’ll find me over the next several weeks.

These and other engagements will take me through the summer, so I’m now booking appearances for the fall. If your law firm or practice group is organizing a retreat or your organization is hosting a conference and you’d like to learn more about my presentation packages, please drop me a line. Look for more information about retreats and presentations in an upcoming Law21 redesign as well!

Finally, I want to make one last pitch for your firm, department or organization to submit an entry to the 2011 InnovAction Awards, sponsored by the College of Law Practice Management. The deadline for entries is now just one week away, and based on inquiries and entries already received, I’m anticipating a banner year for submissions; yours should be among them.

Jordan Furlong speaks to law firms and legal organizations throughout North America on how to survive and profit from the extraordinary changes underway in the legal services marketplace. He is a partner with Edge International and a senior consultant with Stem Legal Web Enterprises.

I get around

Time for another roundup of articles I’ve recently published elsewhere — a bit more extensive than usual — with the thought that you might find some of them interesting.

I’d like to start with a link to the newest edition of the Edge International Review, a semi-annual collection of articles from my partners in Edge. I served as editor of this issue and contributed an article titled: “The talent portfolio: where, how and by whom your work is done.” The Review will be mailed out this week to thousands of subscribers; if you’d like to be added to the subscriber list (or to receive Edge’s free e-newsletter, containing more exclusive articles by Edge partners), please drop me a line.

For the Canadian Bar Association’s National magazine, I wrote a cover story on the most recent round of mergers in the Canadian law firm marketplace. “Merger mania” featured lengthy interviews with the managing partners of Norton Rose, Ogilvy Renault, Miller Thomson and McMillan LLP. I think you’ll find their perspectives on the rapidly evolving law firm landscape to be illuminating.

For the CBA’s PracticeLink online periodical, I wrote an article titled: “How to use old media to access new media,” which talks about how social networks can help you raise your profile in the mainstream and legal press. I followed that up with a complementary post at Stem Legal’s Law Firm Web Strategy blog that added more pointers for joining old and new media in your marketing efforts.

Also for the Law Firm Web Strategy Blog, I welcomed new Stem client Harrison Pensa of London, Ontario, to the fold, and later highlighted the firm’s innovative new privacy policy generator. In addition, responding to a trend I’m seeing among law firms struggling to create original content, I wrote a primer titled: “Reluctant publishers: helping lawyers generate content.

For The Lawyers Weekly newspaper, I published two columns: one on the strategic management of legal talent, and the other on a subject I wish would get more serious attention in the legal profession. “Law firm diversity beyond the platitudes” cites the example of Nixon Peabody’s diversity initiative, which is the most demanding and the most pragmatic I’ve yet seen.

My regular column for Slaw, “Exploding some law school myths,” generated a remarkably large and intense amount of feedback. Read the article and review the provocative comments to get a sense of popular feelings about law school these days.

For Attorney At Work, I wrote two articles: “Create legal annual reports for your clients” received a very positive response to its idea of preparing yearly reviews and previews of clients’ legal health, while “Demographic business development” talked about generational change from clients’, rather than the lawyer’s, perspective.

Susan Cartier Liebel and her great team at Solo Practice University were kind enough to interview me for a two-part webinar on the future of the legal profession. (Note: if you haven’t heard about my SPU scholarship contest, check it out here.)

Finally, I was honoured to be interviewed or republished by some leading media outlets over the last couple of months.

A last couple of notes: April 1 finds me in Quebec City addressing the spring meeting of the Chambre des Notaires, the governing body of Quebec’s notaries, while April 4 brings me to Orlando to open the MasterMinds session at the 25th annual conference of the Legal Marketing Association. If you’re attending either of these events, please send me an email and let me know.

Jordan Furlong speaks to law firms and legal organizations throughout North America on how to survive and profit from the extraordinary changes underway in the legal services marketplace. He is a partner with Edge International and a senior consultant with Stem Legal Web Enterprises.

Here and elsewhere

It’s time for my semi-regular roundup of articles and items that I’ve written for other websites and publications recently. I hope you enjoy the following entries as much as I enjoyed writing them.

1. Contributing to Stem Legal’s Law Firm Web Strategy blog, as a senior consultant to Stem, is a welcome opportunity for me to sound off on law firm communication, publishing and social media topics. I’ve been especially busy at LFWS over the last couple of months:

2. I penned two more columns for The Lawyers Weekly.

3. I was honoured to be among the first contributors to a great new site called Attorney At Work (“One really good idea every day”), where I also serve as an advisor. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the Daily Dispatch of short but insightful recommendations, you really should.

  • My first entry talked about lessons for lawyers from Sean Connery and The Untouchables: “What are you prepared to do?”
  • My  second contribution borrowed its title shamelessly from Lao Tzu for thoughts on teamwork: “The art of we.”

4. I wrote a guest column for Canada’s Precedent magazine, which focuses on the lives and careers of young lawyers in big law firms, that talked about merit-based compensation for associates with the admittedly provocative title: “Seniority pay must die.”

5. The good people at JD Supra invited me to join a stellar group of contributors and write about what surprised us in 2010 and what 2011 likely will bring. Here’s what I submitted.

6. Finally, no list of my written contributions would be complete without my column at Slaw. My most recent edition talked about the fundamental irreplaceability of trust in a successful client relationship: “Your client is not your enemy.”

Finally, I was honoured to receive the Sherry Fowler Best Writing on a Blawg Award for my work here at Law21 from Dennis Kennedy in the 2010 edition of his coveted Blawggie Awards. My sincere thanks to Dennis, to all the hosts who invited me to contribute to their excellent publications, and to all of you for continuing to tune in here and elsewhere.

That’s me all over

In addition to keeping busy with client work, I’ve had the opportunity to write a number of articles recently and to be interviewed for a few others. I thought you’d be interested in checking some of them out.

And here are links to some articles for which I’ve recently been interviewed.

Finally, I’m especially honoured to report that for the third consecutive year, Law21 has been chosen among the top 100 law blogs by the ABA Journal. Here’s the LawBiz category in which Law21 appears. If you wanted to cast your vote for this blog, well, I certainly wouldn’t stand in your way.

My congratulations to all the Blawg 100 nominees, and my sincere thanks to the ABA Journal and, as always, to everyone who reads this blog.

Six for the road

I’ve been an active contributor lately to a number of other blogs and periodicals, so I thought you might be interested in checking some of them out. Here are six articles I’ve written at other legal sites recently.

1. “Letting the client decide,” Slaw: Brand new this morning, my newest column looks at a UK firm whose portfolio of alternative fee arrangements includes an offer to give the client the right to set the final price.

2. “Rethinking the case law update: who are you talking to?“, Law Firm Web Strategy: one of two recent columns at Stem Legal‘s blog, this one asks why we still rely on that old legal publishing standby, the case law update.

3. “Talk to me: putting an end to canned conversations,” Law Firm Web Strategy: My second Stem Legal column continues the recent theme of “lawyer communication” issues by examining voice mail in law firms.

4. “Associate compensation meets the merit system,The Lawyers Weekly: The first of two recent columns at The Lawyers Weekly reviews the latest developments on merit-based associate pay systems.

5. “Law schools and the risk of irrelevance,The Lawyers Weekly: This column generated a lot of Twitter activity and direct emails, which tells me the disconnect between law school and law practice is hitting a nerve.

6. “The 21st-century law firm,” CBAPracticeLink: Finally, an article published at CBA PracticeLink pulls together several diverse strands of lawyer innovation and marketplace evolution into a model of the future law firm.

Pieces of me

There’s now textual and videographic evidence that I’ve been kind of busy the last few weeks. If you’re interested, here are some links to assorted content I’ve been producing or helping produce elsewhere than Law21:

1. Two blog posts in the last month at Stem Legal’s Law Firm Web Strategy blog have focused on social media in the law firm enterprise context. Here’s what I had to say about Facebook for law firms and Twitter for law firms.

2. Also at Stem Legal is an announcement about our new Media Strategy Service, under which I’ll be providing communications, media and social media consulting to law firms and legal organizations.

3. Over at The Lawyers Weekly, my new column — a primer on legal process outsourcing and what its impact on the legal services marketplace will look like — has now been posted.

4. Christopher Hill at Construction Law Musings kindly invited me to provide a guest post on how to be an effective construction law client, but it applies to clients in any area of law practice.

5. Shortly after addressing the ABA’s Bar Leadership Institute in Chicago last month, I recorded a series of very short interviews with ABA Now, in which I talked about new mentoring approaches, the evolution of preventive law, and the importance of relationships for bar associations.

6. Before my presentation to a symposium at Georgetown Law School last week on the future of law practice, I recorded a brief interview with Greg Bufithis at MyLegal.com that talked about some of the changes now underway in the legal services marketplace.

Calendar of events

The next few weeks are booked solid for me, as I prepare for a series of presentations and workshops throughout March. So in exchange for fewer posts over the next month, I thought I’d let you know what I’ll be doing, where I’ll be doing it, and what I recommend you look into doing as well. (Only public events are noted here, of course.)

On March 11, I’ll be in Chicago to deliver a plenary speech and moderate a roundtable discussion for the American Bar Association’s Bar Leadership Institute, an annual gathering of more than 350 new bar leaders from across the United States. The subject of the address will be the rapidly evolving nature of legal practice and its impact on bar associations. I’ll be fortunate to share the stage with two people whose work I admire: Edward Adams, editor and publisher of the ABA Journal, and Carole Silver, executive director of the Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University and a member of the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20. Here are full details of the event.

On March 18, I’ll be returning to the ABA, but this time by phone. I’ll be co-hosting a webinar on alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) for the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section, along with my Edge International Consulting colleague Rob Millard and Valorem Law Group founding partner Patrick J. Lamb. The webinar, titled “Rethink Legal Billing: Align Your Firm to Alternative Fee Arrangements,” will open with an assessment of what AFAs are and why they’ve suddenly emerged as the hottest topic in lawyer-client relations. The discussion will continue with an in-depth look at the project management and business process engineering aspects of successful AFAs, and close with first-hand experiences with AFAs in real-world situations. Watch the ABA LPM home page for registration information.

And on March 22, I’ll be in Washington, D.C. at the afore-mentioned Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University, which is sponsoring a symposium titled “Law Firm Evolution: Brave New World or Business As Usual?” I’ll be part of a panel discussing new lawyer training methods at some innovative U.S. law firms and contrasting them with Canadian law firms’ articling programs. But the real draw will be the luminaries at the podium throughout the event. Check out this partial list of panellists: Richard Susskind, Stephen Mayson, Dan DiPietro, Bruce MacEwen, Susan Hackett, Leah Cooper, Mark Chandler, Jeff Carr, Aric Press, and managing partners or senior partners from several global law firms. Here’s a downloadable PDF of the agenda.

(Also in Washington, on March 17-18, my colleagues Gerry Riskin and Karen MacKay will be hosting the first of a series of Law Firm Leaders Development Workshops designed to help managing partners and practice group leaders grow their leadership skills and perfect profitability and change management. Highly recommended.)

Finally, although it’s a few months down the road, I’ll also let you know that I’m speaking at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 5th Annual Solo and Small Firm Conference and Expo in Toronto on May 14. Since I’m appearing there in my dual capacity as an Edge partner and a Stem senior consultant, I’ll speak once on strategic/future of law matters and once on social media opportunities for lawyers.

These sorts of events are always extremely interesting for me — speaking both with other panelists and with attendees is a great opportunity to take the profession’s pulse. If you or your organization would be interested in having me speak or facilitate at an event, by all means please drop me a line or read more about it. And if you’ll be attending any of the foregoing events, please let me know!

Law21 2.1

It’s not quite the iPad launch, but for me, it’s still a momentous occasion. If you’re reading this post via an RSS feed, then you might want to click on the originating link, because Law21 has a new look today.

With the indispensable help of Jesse Collins of Moxy Webworks and Tony Delitala of Delitala Design, I’m very proud to show off Law21’s new design. You’ll see that while many features remain the same or similar, you’ll find many more are new and, I hope, interesting. In addition to a cleaner, more open feel to the site, we’ve added these elements:

  • The tabs across the top of the page – which will always stay on top of the page; try scrolling down and see – will bring you to information about the consulting services I’m offering through Edge International and Stem Legal. You can also access this information by clicking the Stem and Edge icons at the top of the right sidebar column.
  • My five most recent Twitter updates are now featured continuously just below those icons, and they’ll constantly refresh whenever I make a new Twitter post. If you want to join the 1,300+ people already following the micro-blogging and micro-publishing service I’m operating on Twitter, a simple click of the Twitter icon will do the job.
  • I’m making a lot more speaking appearances these days, so we’ve installed a feature that tells you where, when, and to whom I’m giving a presentation in the upcoming months. If you’re interested in having me come speak to your firm or organization as well, click on the “Consulting Services” tab at the top of the page for more information.
  • I also thought it was time to provide some links to articles I’ve written and podcasts or teleseminars I’ve recorded. So again, down the right-hand column, you’ll find lists of both types of publications and links to where they can be found online.

As is the case with every blog and website redesign, the form is only a point of entry into the content. So I’ll continue to strive to provide you with the very best articles I can at Law21, to justify and provide real return on the investment of your time and attention here. Thank you, as always, for reading.

Solo Practice University guest lecture

After all these years, I’m going back to law school. I’m happy to announce I’m making my first appearance as a Guest Lecturer at Solo Practice University on Tuesday, January 12 at noon ET. After having numerous great conversations with SPU founder Susan Cartier Liebel by phone and email over the years, it’ll be tremendous fun to exchange our ideas with the whole Solo Practice community. Here’s the agenda we’ve prepared — we might not get to all of these topics, but we’ll cover as many as we can:

  1. Why the billable hour’s not dead — just irrelevant.
  2. Why process and systematization will change how legal work is done.
  3. Why “access to justice” no longer has to mean “access to a lawyer'” Will we see the demise of “Unauthorized Practice of Law” restrictions?
  4. How and why client collaboration will affect your practice.
  5. Are we finally ready for preventive lawyering, becoming full-time holistic legal health professionals?
  6. How will the introduction of Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia and China (BRIIC) into the global legal marketplace affect you and your practice?
  7. Why solos and small firms are the long-term future of the practice of law.
  8. Why law schools won’t change, but legal education will.

All the details of the Guest Lecture can be found at the SPU website. If you’re not currently enrolled at Solo Practice University but would like to access this event, log in to Facebook (or create an account) and become a fan. Hope you can make it next Tuesday!

Update: A recording of the teleseminar is now available by becoming a fan of SPU’s Facebook page here.

Law21 makes ABA Journal Blawg 100

Just a quick note to pass on some good news: Law21 has made the ABA Journal‘s Blawg 100 list for the second straight year! My thanks to the Blawg 100 committee for including this site in its listings — it continues to be an honour to be in such excellent company. Check out the other blogs in the Careers category and in all the categories, and please cast votes to show your support for all the sites you like. And thanks, as always, to you for continuing to tune in!