PLI Social Media Seminar Recap: Kevin O'Keefe & Bob Ambrogi

To close out our series of interviews from the Practising Law Institute's seminar on social media, we have an excellent recap from Kevin O'Keefe and Robert Ambrogi, each of whom chaired multiple panels during the event.

O'Keefe is, of course, CEO at LexBlog while Ambrogi is a lawyer and legal media consultant, also authoring the excellent LawSites blog "tracking new and intriguing websites for the legal profession."

In our recap, Ambrogi and O'Keefe comment on the free-flowing discussion that took place throughout the day, PLI's approach to focusing on opportunities instead of pitfalls and also what advice they would give to attorneys looking to get started with social media.

Fastcase CEO Ed Walters Interviewed at Practising Law Institute Social Media Seminar

While a majority of the Practising Law Institute's seminar on social media honed in on the technology's impact on client development for lawyers and law firms, we had one session take a step away from that—and it may have been the best of the day. Legal blogging expert Bob Ambrogi was tabbed to lead the session titled "Social Media’s Impact on the Advancement of Law & Publishing" but instead Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase, took the reins and fueled much of the discussion.

During the session, topics mentioned include how now is a renaissance era for big data, the relationship between primary law and secondary law and the "unbundling" of legal publishing. He discusses those subjects in our interview below.

Kelly Hoey Interviewed at Practising Law Institute Seminar on Social Media

Within every group of friends, it seems as though there's one individual who, wherever you go, will always know someone. It wouldn't surprise me if Kelly Hoey were one of those people. At the the Practising Law Institute's seminar on social media, it seemed as though the former President of 85 Broads, LLC knew everyone there.

In my short interview with the strategic networking expert, we discuss how she uses social media to manage and foster relationships, what advice she'd give to professionals looking to get started and the subject of how to decide which social media outlets to pursue.

Broc Romanek of TheCorporateCounsel.Net Interview from Practising Law Institute Social Media Seminar

As we said when we first introduced the Practising Law Institute's seminar as social media, the event presented a rare and unique collection of talent. We have yet another interview from one of those talented individuals: Broc Romanek, Editor of TheCorporateCounsel.Net.

TheCorporateCounsel.Net is one of the legal blogosphere's most authoritative publications on corporate and securities law. Also, it's more than just one blog as Romanek actually manages five different blogs on the site.

In our interview, we discuss including personal details on a legal blog, the relationships he's built through social media, his unique approach to blog comments and how he manages time effectively. 

Interview with Guy Alvarez, Director of Research & Development at Practising Law Institute

As we continue our series of interviews from the Practising Law Institue seminar on social media for lawyers and law firms, it only makes sense that we actually speak with someone from PLI. Today, we have my interview with Guy Alvarez, the Director of Research & Development at the Practising Law Institute.

In the brief interview, we discuss PLI's own use of social media, how they curate and aggregate different information, his views on social media's role in 'secondary law' and the increase in interest in learning social media from PLI's faculty.

Peter Mahler & Lorraine Sullivan of Farrell Fritz Interviewed at PLI Social Media Seminar

For Peter Mahler and his New York Business Divorce blog, things really couldn't have gone any better. Not only has he seen the publication enhance his reputation as a business dissolution expert, but it's also responsible for a significant amount of work.

In our interview from the Practising Law Institute seminar on social media for lawyers, the Farrell Fritz attorney and I discuss his approach to blogging and how he finds time to post.

Also, we got a chance to speak with Lorraine Sullivan, the Director of Marketing at Farrell Fritz. She discusses how the firm got blogging, the impact of Mahler's success internally and what advice she'd give to other firms looking to utilize social media.

Dave Donoghue of the Chicago IP Litigation Blog Interview from PLI Conference on Social Media for Lawyers

Today, our series of interviews from the Practising Law Institute seminar on social media best practices for lawyers and law firms features R. David Donoghue. A partner at Holland & Knight, Donoghue authors the authoritative Chicago IP Litigation Blog.

Donoghue's blog, which he started way back in 2006, is a major source of work for the young attorney. Not only does the publication drive his reputation as a skilled lawyer—he was featured in Chicago Lawyer's 40 Under Forty list for Illinois attorneys—but is also a reputed source of news as Donoghue recently received the Chicago Bar Association's Herman Kogan Media Award for work on his publication.

In this interview, we discuss how he finds time to post, the relationships he's developed through his blog and the concern many attorneys have about giving too much information away for free.

Nithya Das of Goodwin Procter Interviewed at Practising Law Institute Seminar on Social Media for Lawyers & Law Firms

We continue our video interview series from the Practising Law Institute's seminar on how lawyers can use social media for professional and client development with Nithya Das, an Associate at Goodwin Procter. Das serves as an author on the firm's Founder's Workbench site, working on the Founder's Toolbox blog and Twitter feed.

During our short interview, we discuss some of the points she touched on during her session—her own social media monitoring practices, the Founder Fridays interviews on the blog and, of course, conveying personality through social media.

Steve Rubel Interviewed at Practising Law Institute Seminar on Social Media for Lawyers & Law Firms

Last week, LexBlog had the privilege of participating in the Practising Law Institute's seminar on how lawyers can use social media for professional and client development. As the post linked to there details, the faculty we were able to have on hand presented a unique and extremely knowledgeable collection of talent.

Because this seminar presented such a rare opportunity to gather the viewpoints of experienced professionals in the social media space, we decided to conduct a series of short interviews with the event's panelists. Over the next week-plus, you can find each of the interviews here on LexConference

To get things started though, you can take a look at the first interview here. We begin the series like we began the seminar, with Steve Rubel. A new media pioneer and blogging rockstar, Rubel currently serves as EVP/Global Strategy and Insights at Edelman, the world's largest independent public relations firm.

During his session on "Cultivating Thought Leadership in the Digital Age" he discussed the topic of "over-friending", the concept of tradigital and the need for companies and brands to identify thought-leaders while also acting as publishers themselves. We discuss those subjects below. 


Of course, be sure to check into LexConference next week as we continue this video series with more of the seminar's excellent panelists. 

Upcoming Free Webinar - Contracting for Cloud Computing

This is a guest post from Richard Santalesa of InformationLawGroup.

Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 – 12:30 pm EST  (One hour)

In the next installment in our webinar series on cloud computing, Information Law Group attorneys, Richard Santalesa and David Navetta will examine legal issues posed by contracting for cloud computing services and review a proposed cloud user’s "Bill of Rights" that any company considering cloud computing should keep in mind given their specific goals, industry, data and security needs.

Deciding whether to take the plunge into cloud computing is a serious decision.  The real benefits of cloud computing must always be weighed against: the risk of relinquishing direct control of infrastructure and applications, the potential use of unknown subcontractors, implications of data flow and storage location, liability and indemnification issues, privacy and data breach notification considerations, and compliance with the overlapping web of federal, state, local and international laws and regulations.

You can register for this free one hour webinar here.

Hogan Lovells Lawyers Presenting at IAPP Global Privacy Summit in Washington

This is a guest post from Christopher Wolf of Hogan Lovells, via their blog, Chronicle of Data Protection.

US Capitol building

This week marks the annual gathering of more than 1500 privacy professionals in Washington, D.C. for the International Association of Privacy Professionals Global Privacy Summit.  Attorneys from the Hogan Lovells Privacy and Information Management Practice are presenting in a number of sessions, a reflection of the breadth of our practice and experience. 

Here is the calendar of the Hogan Lovells appearances:

Wednesday, March 9, 8AM to Noon  -- Security Breach 101: Mark Paulding

Wednesday, March 9, 8AM to Noon --  Managing Data Breach Challenges and Constituencies after HITECH: Chris Zaetta

Wednesday, Marcy 9, 1 PM to 5 PM  -- Pie in the Sky: The Intersection of Cloud Computing and Privacy Law Issues: Zenas Choi

Thursday, March 10, 10 to 11 AM --  Privacy Issues in Consumer and Patient Online Health Products and Systems: Melissa Bianchi

Thursday, March 10, 1:45 to 2:45 PM --  NAFTA Privacy: Chris Wolf

Friday, March 11, 10:30 to 11:30 AM --  Privacy v. Anti-Piracy: Chris Wolf

Friday, March 11, 10:30 to 11:30 AM -- Navigating Financial Privacy Compliance in a PostDodd-Frank World: Elizabeth Khalil

For those attending the IAPP Summit, please stop by the Hogan Lovells booth in the exhibition hall to meet lawyers from the group and to receive a cookie -- the fortune kind not the tracking kind.

Series of Abbott & Kinderman seminars on land use, real estate & environmental law now underway

There's a growing trend in the legal community where giving away valuable information for free has proven to be an excellent client development tool. Taking that method from their excellent Land Use Law Blog applying it to offline client development, Abbott & Kinderman's annual series of seminars on land use, real estate and environmental law is underway.

"It's a pretty well-received program, it gets a good turnout and it's part of our whole outreach program. It dovetails with what we do and what we use on the blog," said Bill Abbott, the founding partner of the firm.

With the first seminar taking place this past Thursday in Modesto, there's two more conferences in Redding and Sacramento coming up. The details on those:

Redding Conference 

  • Date: Tuesday, February 8, 2011
  • Location: Hilton Garden Inn Redding , 5050 Bechelli Lane
  • Registration: 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Program: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sacramento Conference

  • Date: Friday, February 11, 2011
  • Location: Sacramento Hilton Arden West, 2200 Harvard Street
  • Registration: 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. with continental breakfast
  • Program: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Wondering what specific things will be covered? Here's a few prominent 2011 developments that will be covered at the seminars:

  • Global Warming: CEQA Guidelines, Mandatory Reporting, AB 32 
  • Water Supply Assessments
  • CEQA Litigation: Exemptions, Setting the Baseline, Alternative Analysis & Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
  • Subdivision Map Extensions
  • Interpreting Development Agreements
  • Agricultural Land Mitigation
  • New General Permit Under Clean Water Act

"I think we've got a pretty good grasp on the market, who our target audience is and how to package the program," Abbott said. "If we're guilty of anything, we're guilty of giving them too much information. So, that's a good problem to have."

Abbott said a majority of the attendees are individuals the firm is already familiar with "because they're either clients or they are agencies with which we work, either as their lawyer or doing business in their community."

Of those attending, Abbott said it would be about 20 percent lawyers, 70 percent staff or project engineers/project managers and 10 percent developers. However, he noted that the developer numbers may up as the business is somewhat calm right now.

While the team is familiar with most of the individuals who usually attend, it is open to all and is, of course, complimentary. If you're interested in attending, an RSVP is required as space is limited. To reserve a spot, call the firm's office at (916) 456-9595 and let them know which conference you will be attending.

ABA Forum on the Construction Industry: a great opportunity for lawyers--our interview with Matt DeVries

Matt DeVries, attorney at Nashville law firm Stites & Harbison and author of Best Practices Construction Law, serves as Membership Chair in Division 10 of the American Bar Association Forum on the Construction IndustryWith the Forum's midwinter meeting coming up, we decided to talk to him about his role in the Forum, how he got started, what others can do and what attendees should expect to find at the midwinter meeting.

Just as background for people who don't know what it is, what is the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry?

The American Bar Association has various sections, just like state bar groups. At the ABA, there is a litigation section, an environmental law section and numerous others. The construction section is what is known as the Forum on the Construction Industry. There are about 6,000 members in the Forum and there are members from large firms, small firms, solo practitioners and government lawyers.

How did you go about getting started in attending the Forum’s meetings and where did you go from there?

I was a member probably for eight years, but I never went to any meetings. About four years ago, I was challenged by one of my partners to go to a meeting. And really, the first meeting, I just sat back and watched. It's kind of overwhelming because you're one attorney and you're seeing all these people who all talk to each other and you think, "How am I going to get involved and meet all these people?"

Within the Forum, there are twelve divisions or subsections. I happen to have joined Division 10, which focuses on legislation and environmental law. The reason that I joined that division was that it was a smaller group, gave me a good opportunity to get involved right away and they were a younger group of attorneys.

And, in that section, how did you work your way into a leadership role?

I got involved immediately and it took about two years to take on a leadership role. Division 10 would collect construction law updates throughout the year, by email and a listserv where people would send information. At the end of the year, they would post the information on the website. In 2006, the Division Chair and other steering committee members decided to put the updates in one document and distribute it at the Annual Meeting. So that year, 2006, I probably spent a two weeks, probably more time than I should've, and I put all those together in one document. It just so happened the next year they said "Hey Matt, you did great work, why don't we get you on the division steering committee?" So I joined the membership role of Division 10. We have since published four annual updates. Through my involvement, I was asked to speak at an annual meeting, I've participated in various webinars and I am currently working as an editor of a book on green construction law.

Why should other attorneys do something like this and what is the first step in getting past this fear of getting outside their comfort zone, making client development efforts like this?

Like you said, it's really a matter of just getting out of your comfort zone and trying new opportunities. It's hard right now in this economic time for law firms to take that step and say, "Yes, we're going to invest in these types opportunities." And I think this is precisely the time when you do need to make an investment...You know, now's the time where we have to really put an urgency in our business development efforts and think outside the box.

One thing that the Forum does well is to welcome first time attendees. There is a program at every conference where we have a welcome breakfast, we invite the first time attendees, and we hook them up with a mentor … someone who has been to a program before or who is really involved in the Forum. We want you to feel comfortable and we want to find out what your practice area is, what kind of construction law you practice. It’s our goal as the leadership to get that construction lawyer plugged into where they are really focused on their practice group or where they want to take their practice.

When I first showed up, I met people at the first meeting, started making contacts, then actually joined a division. During monthly calls, I volunteered to get involved … to write articles … to help out where needed. You know, as the saying goes, you get as much out of the Forum as you invest in the Forum.

What should people know about the Forum’s Midwinter meeting?

There's three meetings a year, there's an Annual meeting, a Fall meeting and a Midwinter meeting. Midwinter generally joins another section of the ABA the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section. And so this particular meeting in New York is going to be an exciting conference because we are joining another group to put on a two-day conference. The focus of this conference is alternative dispute resolution, which is always a hot topic. There will be sessions on advanced negotiation strategies, as well as non-traditional dispute resolution such as neutrals, dispute boards and initial decision makers. So, not only is there going to be some great opportunities to network within the Forum, but also the Midwinter meeting is going to address a hot topic in the construction industry.

For more information on the Forum's midwinter meeting, you can take a look at this PDF brochure. 

Satisfied clients aren't enough: Ed Poll encourages lawyers to cultivate loyal clients

Ed Poll practiced law for 25 years and has been consulting lawyers through LawBiz Management Co. for the past 20 years. He is also the author of 13 books about practicing management and growing a law practice. Last month, Poll gave the keynote address at Lexis/Nexis Practice Management Annual Client Conference and chaired the Midwestern Law Firm Management Conference. Here he talks about the main message of his keynote address: customer service.


You recently gave the keynote address at the Lexis/Nexis Practice Management Annual Client Conference, where you talked about satisfied versus loyal clients. Can you explain this concept?

When they’re satisfied, that’s great. Now you handle another matter for this client. The issue becomes, well, they were satisfied the first time. So now you have to do something more to keep that same client satisfied. Now the bar’s raised and there becomes a limitation on what you can continue to do to increase it. If you actually have a partnership with your client in dealing with their matters, then you don't have to worry about it because you've got a loyal client.

What’s the advantage of a loyal client?

Obviously you have to be price competitive. Obviously you have to be competent in handling their matters. But they’re going to give you the opportunity to adjust your price to meet the competition. They’re not going to require you to beat the competition necessarily. That’s a loyal client.

Do lawyers understand this?

By in large, they don't. We’re lucky if lawyers satisfy the clients. If that were not the case, you wouldn't have all the negative jokes about lawyers.

Some would say social media is one way to connect with clients. How do you use social media?

My attitude is that I’m a consultant. If I’m not necessarily at the bleeding edge but at the leading edge of the profession, then I cannot effectively coach and consult my clients. And blogging was new so I decided, “Alright I’ll try it.” I’ve done podcasting for the same reason. I was the only one doing audio magazines on a regular basis. We did a one-hour audio tape every month and then technology changed and I was able to convert the audio magazine into a podcast. If you go to my website you’ll see how many hundreds of interviews I’ve done. I’ve also got Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter (@LawBiz).

How did people respond to your keynote address?

The comments were really great. I was super pleased. Apparently I hit a nerve with a lot of people there about what I said. One of the things that came out was the importance of our Law Biz Forum ( It’s a community for lawyers and this is something that lawyers are hungry for because, no matter what size law firm they’re in, they all wind up being and feeling alone. So when they join Law Biz Forum, they can talk to other lawyers around the country about specific problems. There’s a dialogue that’s available for them. Right now we have about 200 lawyers and it’s growing. And the price is right—it’s free.


Schwartz says social media passed the tipping point at 2010 ABA Annual Meeting

Pressure-packed. Exciting. A great responsibility.

This is how Daniel Schwartz described the experience of tweeting under the ABA moniker (@ABAesq) during the 2010 ABA Annual Meeting.

As the official tweeter of the ABA House of Delegates, Schwartz pushed out around 100 tweets over two days during the annual meeting. From a picture of the new executive director to a summary of a resolution in consideration, Schwartz used Twitter to help members follow and understand the meeting’s proceedings.

Twitter and other social media are now integral parts of the annual meeting, Schwartz said.

“We’ve passed the tipping point. I think interest has become enough that if we didn't use it, it would be conspicuously absent,” he said.

Much of the buzz before, during and after the annual meeting took place on Twitter using the meeting hashtag (#abaannual).

“Hashtags have been used in the past, but this was the first meeting that I saw it being used with a great deal of regularity and purpose to it.”

Attendees also used Facebook and Linkedin to update followers on meeting events and find people with similar interests. These social media outlets allowed attendees to “break through the noise” of a large conference attended by 6,000 people, Schwartz said.

“A meeting like that can be very overwhelming. It was easier to meet up with people, easier to coordinate.”

In addition to serving as a member of the ABA House of Delegates, Schwartz sits on the ABA Standing Committee on Technology and Information Systems and is chair of the Litigation Section "Social Media" Subcommittee.

He is an attorney aPullman & Comley LLC in Connecticut and his own social media presence spans Twitter (@danielschwartz), Facebook, Linkedin and his blog, Connecticut Employment Law Blog.

Blogging came easily to Schwartz, having worked as an editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian during his undergraduate years. He will celebrate his 3-year blogging milestone in two weeks and anticipates his blog will hit one million visitors next month.

“The blog has been a perfect fit because I missed that sort of creative writing that journalism allows.”

Schwartz gravitated to Twitter in fall 2008 as a supplement to his blog. He tweets about labor employment issues, Connecticut legal issues, items related to the bar associations and the New York Yankees.

Twitter was also the medium that landed Schwartz an entry in a book by New York Times technology columnist David Pogue. After responding to a question posed by Pogue to his Twitter followers, Schwartz heard back from him and ended up appearing in The World According to Twitter.

Although this was an especially unique experience, Schwartz said social media has given him everyday opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible. These are opportunities for networking and staying connected that lawyers should readily welcome, he said.

“Social media isn’t being used to say what you had for breakfast anymore. It’s being used to convey substance and information. As lawyers, that's what we need.”