Thoughts and news from the LMA-MN – Midwest Region – Minnesota Local Group

From Legalese to Marketese: 8 Tips for Presenting to Lawyers

As marketers, we are bombarded with information on how to craft messages for our audiences. We attend seminars and read books on effective marketing communication. Many of us have mastered the art of written collateral — press releases seem to write themselves sometimes, and we can edit attorney bios in our sleep. But when it comes to presenting, especially to attorneys, many of us aren’t as polished. Unfortunately, a bad delivery can negate the best message.

Use these eight tips to present with ease, no matter how tough the audience, and to ensure that your lawyers see and utilize your value.

1) Don’t apologize
The first time I spoke at a practice group meeting, I opened with “I’ll try not to take too much time.” I wanted to show the attorneys I understood them, and I thought my self-awareness would earn me credibility. In effect, though, it gave them a pass to check out for my three-minute “PR 101” talk.

Remind attorneys of the value you provide them and the firm, and speak with a tone that says “You’re welcome” rather than “I’m sorry.”

2) Slow down
Confidence is key when presenting and persuading. One of the easiest ways to appear confident is to breathe deeply and speak calmly.

Think of the best speakers you’ve observed at your firm. Do they rush through their points like auctioneers, or do they breathe and make thoughtful pauses? If you aren’t confident in yourself (or don’t appear confident), why should your lawyers be confident in you?

3) Imagine them in their underwear  without their JDs
Lawyers are smart and deeply knowledgeable in their fields. So are you.

When it comes to marketing and business development, remember that you are the expert. When it’s your turn at the podium, get rid of jargon and fancy words meant to impress, and keep it simple.

What seems like common sense to full-time marketers could be brand new information to some attorneys. Speak to the least-experienced marketer in the room. Direct your message to the newest associate – not the most intimidating partner.

4) Use examples
Lawyers are more skeptical than 90 percent of the population, according to Mark Beese, president and business development consultant at Leadership for Lawyers. Skeptics need to see to believe.

When presenting to lawyers, show examples of recent, quantitative successes. Upgrade sentences like, “We helped the corporate practice get great PR for that deal,” to, “We secured stories about the transaction mentioning the firm in three national media outlets and two trade publications, with combined readerships of 1.5 million.” Beese also says that attorneys love stories. Share an anecdote about how the recent success resulted in additional opportunities for an individual or group.

5) Plant advocates
Use people in the room as your example whenever possible. I learned this tip at a practice group meeting where I presented about the benefits of PR. When I asked for questions, I got crickets until a member of the group shared how my group helped him land an interview with the Wall Street Journal. This immediately boosted my credibility and inspired others to chime in with their marketing thoughts and questions.

Again, attorneys are a skeptical group. Peer endorsements are one the most powerful persuasive tools at your disposal. Don’t hesitate to ask a marketing “believer” to advocate for you in your next presentation.

6) Speak to the individual
Which sentence better grabs your attention: “I’m here to help this group,” or “I’m here to help you?”

Lawyers are more autonomous than 89 percent of the population, according to Beese. Frame your language and presentation so that it would make sense if given to just one person in the room. This won’t devalue teamwork. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so empowering individuals strengthens the whole.

7) Say “I get it”
To communicate effectively, start on common ground. It’s possible to empathize with lawyers for their workloads without discounting your value or apologizing for taking their time.

Use this phrase in every meeting to get heard: “I know you’re busy. I’m here to make (business development/marketing/PR) as easy as possible for you.”

8) Speak up
Be the breath of fresh air in the middle of the practice group’s drone fest. Project your voice, speak with expression, smile, and move!

Post written by Meg McCormick, PR Coordinator, Faegre Baker Daniels.

Have other presentation tips you want to share? Leave a comment below, or tweet me @McMeg612 with #LMAMN. 

Call for Speakers – 2014 Legal Marketing Technology Conference

From the LMA Bay Area Chapter Newsletter (4/25/14):

Submit your program ideas and speaker suggestions

We invite you to submit program ideas for the 2014 Legal Marketing Technology Conference/West.

Submissions are due by May 5, 2014. To submit program ideas for this conference, please complete this online form.

What are we looking for? Our goal is to provide the best learning experience for attendees. This means that we want to have a range of programming that:

  • Addresses current trends in legal marketing technologies
  • Presents knowledgeable and dynamic speakers who engage the audience
  • Provides useful takeaways for attendees
  • Addresses people who are new, mid-level and senior
  • Addresses issues of small, medium and large firms

Read our submission guidelines


Legal Marketing Association Minnesota Chapter
LMA-MN May Program
Wednesday May 14, 2014 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM CDT
Stinson Leonard Street LLP
150 South Fifth Street
Suite 2300
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Driving Directions

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Registration: 11:30 AM

Program: 12:00 -1:30 PM

Register Now!
I can’t make it


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Winning New Business
Strategically with Research
As law firm profits continue to be squeezed, it is essential that the marketing mix include revenue generation as a critical goal. Many firms are accomplishing this by changing the focus of the marketing mix from promotion to business development. To ensure success of a business development—-or sales—-effort, two key elements must be in place. First is the development of a marketing thought process, embodied in written plans of action that are based on strategic thinking involving many levels in a firm—-from practice groups to key client plans.  Second, law firms must ground this strategic process in marketing research. This session will guide marketing professionals through the process of creating a business development strategy for individuals or practice groups that uses research results to make better decisions about how to capture a greater share of a market or deeper share of a client.

  1. Understand how to use an 80/20 analysis of firm clients to build a targeted marketing program aimed at increasing depth of client for key clients and prospecting programs to procure clearly identified new clients.
  2. Sample research tracking grids and action plans.

About the presenter:


Carol Schiro Greenwald, Ph.D., is the owner of MarketingPartners, a consulting firm based in Larchmont, NY.  She specializes in targeted business development growth strategies built around a lawyer’s best clients. Her book, Build Your Practice the Logical Way: Maximize Your Client Relationships (ABA, First Chair Press, 2012) details her approach. She works with firm leaders to use tools such as alternative fees and legal process management techniques to delight clients and improve profits. Carol also coaches individuals in personal marketing, management and selling skills.

Carol is an active member of the ABA law practice division, the NYSBA law practice management committee and co-chair of the WCBA law practice management committee. She is a past-President of NYLMA. She held a post-doctorate Eli Lilly fellowship at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, received her Ph.D. from The Graduate Center, City University of New York [CUNY], her M.A. from Hunter College, CUNY and her B.A. from Smith College.

Free Webinars for LMA Members

Make the Most of Your LMA Membership: Attend a Complimentary Webinar

We’re digging deep into some of today’s hottest topics with webinars that cut right to the chase. Enjoy education on your own time without even leaving the office. Learn more below and sign up today!

Legal Lean Sigma® Basic: Using Process Improvement for Competitive Advantages
April 23, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. CDT

As part of this program you’ll receive an initiation to the two most important process improvement toolkits, Lean and Six Sigma, as well as project management. Ensure your firm is at the forefront of process improvement through this one-hour course. Learn more.

Leveraging Patent Reform Confusion. A Law Marketing Opportunity.
April 30, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. CDT
Sky rocketing damages, increasing case volume, breakthrough technology, patent reform – all these factors present firms with unique opportunities to differentiate. This program is designed to shed light into the current patent litigation system and how this presents real content marketing opportunities for savvy marketers. Learn more.

(Reprinted from LMA email sent 4/15/2014).

April 16 Program Presentation Slides Now Available

Join Christine Nelson from Ingenuity Marketing Group for the April program, “Getting Attorneys to Write Like ‘Prose’ for Visibility.” Christine will explain how to approach the “personalities” in your firm, expectations of editors, the importance of conversational “voice,” as well as the art of interviewing, leveraging content for multiple purposes and showing measurable results — results that get attorneys to buy into “marketing” their expertise in written form. Click here to download/print the presentation slides. See you Wednesday!

Still need to register? Sign up today!

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