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

You’re Invited: LMA Midwest Conference

Legal Marketing Midwest Conference
Thursday October 23, 2014 from 8:00 AM to 5:15 PM CDT
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Loews Minneapolis Hotel (Formerly Graves 601)
601 1st Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55403

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As legal marketers, we work in an evolving and challenging industry. Recharge with your colleagues during a day of engaging speakers, interactive workshops, and networking. Gain new insights and ideas that will help you bring energy to your firm.
Strategic social marketing, legal marketing ethics, and law firm mergers and acquisitions are just a few hot topics we’ll discuss. And you won’t want to miss Heather Morse’s discussion on generational marketing (a favorite at the national conference this spring)!
We’ll also present the annual LMA-MN Your Honor Awards!Submissions are due September 26, 2014. Click here for more information.
Visit the 2014 Midwest Conference page here. Check back for updated session and speaker information. And don’t forget to support our wonderful sponsors!
Early bird registration is available now through October 9, 2014. Members: $150. Non-members: $175. 
lmamn.org   |   #LMAMN  |   @LMAMN
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Member Spotlight

LMA-MN Member Limelight

Adam Barvels


Adam Jerome Barvels

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.

Pricing Analyst


1. What do you spend most of your time doing at work?

My time is generally split into three areas.  The first area, and the one I enjoy the most, is working directly with the attorneys at the firm to price new/existing business.  This can include creating a budget, developing an alternative fee arrangement (AFA), or building a pricing model.  The second area is matter management or legal project management (LPM).  At Robins Kaplan, we have created a proprietary LPM software tool called OneBudget.  First, I ensure that all AFA matters have a budget created within this tool.  Second, I work with the responsible attorney to make sure that we are tracking appropriately to budget.  The third area I spend my time on is strategy and process improvement.  I’m continually partnering with our programmers to improve and enhance the functionality of OneBudget.  I’m also always working to streamline our reporting and workflow processes related to AFAs.


2. What are the three most valuable things about LMA MN for you?

  • The people.  Since I’m relatively new to the legal world, it’s been great to hear perspectives from people working at other firms that vary by size and areas of expertise.  I really enjoy the social aspect of each event, and getting to know other LMA MN members.
  • The programming.  I’ve found all of the sessions I’ve attended to be extremely informative and insightful.  Since my role is focused on pricing, it’s been helpful to learn more about different aspects of marketing and business development.
  • Local networking.  The Twin Cities is home to some of the nation’s most distinguished firms.  Being part of the local LMA chapter and networking with the best and brightest in the local market, both vendors and firms, is an important part of my career development.


3. What’s your biggest challenge or frustration at work?

The legal industry is very hard-wired to rely on precedent.  However, pricing should be a forward-looking activity.  These competing priorities can make the collaboration process protracted at times during the pricing of an engagement.  It’s impossible to build an accurate budget when relying chiefly on data from past matters with incomplete, inaccurate, or impertinent information.  Therefore, my job is to provide analysis on the data we have available and provide budgeting/pricing guidance (the science), incorporate the attorney’s expertise (the art), and marry the two in order to effectively scope and price a matter.


4. What accomplishment are you most proud of at your current job?

I’ve created a user-friendly budgeting & pricing template that can provide the attorneys with several different budgeting or AFA options within minutes.  These templates can be used by the attorneys at client meetings to show the impact of scope changes or other assumptions.  Inevitably, each engagement is different, so I typically work with the responsible attorney in advance to modify the original one-size-fits-all template to accommodate the specifics of the case.


5. If you could waive a magic wand and make the attorneys in your firm obey your marketing command, what would you have them do?

I’m sure I can speak on behalf of pricing professionals everywhere when I say this: “Contact your pricing person sooner rather than later.”  I think this holds true across all industries, as this was a consistent theme in my last job as a pricing manager at UnitedHealth Group as well.  When your pricing person is involved at the forefront of a pricing engagement, collaboration can begin with the necessary parties and pricing strategies and options can be formulated and analyzed.  If the pricing person is not involved until the last minute, they are limited in terms of providing guidance or strategy because certain doors have already closed.  Also, most pricing models take careful consideration to develop, and sometimes significant time to build.


6. What’s the most valuable marketing or business development advice you’ve heard in the last year?

I recently listened to a presentation on branding.  What really stuck with me from the presentation was a piece on the importance of defining a culture, but beyond that, a ‘personality’ for your company.  Bringing out this ‘personality’ through your marketing and business development efforts adds a human dimension to the collective identity of the company.


7. What is your favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving, hands down.  Food, family & football – what’s not to like? And a long weekend of relaxing – you couldn’t pay me enough to face the Black Friday hordes.


8. What is your guilty pleasure?

Moderation is not my strong suit.  So when a new Netflix TV series comes out that I’m interested in, I typically binge-watch the entire season in a week, sometimes even a day or two.


9. Who is your personal hero?

My dad.  He’s the nicest and most selfless guy I know.  He taught me (by word and example) the value of hard work and the importance of family.


10. What was your favorite part of college?

I studied abroad in Fremantle, Australia at the University of Notre Dame for 5 months my junior year, and it was the best time of my life.  We lived in an historic hotel just 2 blocks from the beach, which we of course visited every day.  Many of my classmates from the trip are still my best friends today.  As part of the program, we were able to spend a week in an Aboriginal village in the Northern Territory – a truly once in a lifetime experience.

You’re Invited! LMA-MN Summer Social

Legal Marketing Association Minnesota Chapter

LMA-MN Summer Social

Thursday August 21, 2014 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM CDT
Cowboy Jacks
126 5th St N
Minneapolis, MN 55401
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The LMA-MN Summer Social is a fun way to take a break from your hectic schedule. Enjoy great food, fun conversation, prize drawings and more!There is no charge to LMA-MN members for this event. For non-members and other guests, the charge is $10.

Cowboy Jacks
126 5th Street N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Thursday, August 21
4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thank you to our Summer Social Sponsor!

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