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Who is Doing the Heavy Lifting on Driving Change Management?

Authored by Elena Cutri | Originally posted here.

How well would you say your law firm adapts to change? Would you give the firm a thumbs-up, thumbs- down, or a solid “meh”? It may come as no surprise that most law firms (and companies!) would rate themselves with a big thumbs-down in the change management area.

I had the pleasure of speaking to the LMA Minnesota chapter this summer about driving effective change management. This topic is a favorite of mine, as I wrote about overcoming change objections and presented typical change management barriers at LMA.

Over the last 15 years, I have worked with hundreds of law firms on driving end-user adoption for their legal software solutions. One thing is clear: Enduring change is tough, driving change is tougher, but avoiding it isn’t an option.

Clients demand better service, more customized solutions, and data-driven value for their investment. They’re also looking for law firms to supplement and complement the legal work they can do themselves because of technology changes.

You may be thinking, “I KNOW the firm needs to be responsive to client needs, but driving change around here is tougher than nailing jelly to a tree.”

Let’s look at why it’s hard and what you can do about it.

Legal Marketing as a Career Choice

First, I want you to think about how you became a legal marketer. Have you always wanted to be a marketer in a law firm? Recently, I asked this question to a group of legal marketers at LMA. I also asked about whether they fell into the role and whether they wanted to stay in legal marketing as a career.

legal marketing as a career choice
Perhaps you have a story similar to the summary of responses as depicted in the graphic below.

Legal marketers often find themselves in the industry, but not by design. Most are committed to doing great work. However, many decide to leave or consider leaving because their firms don’t seem to value marketers as much as they should.

Driving Change for Your Projects

In many firms, a marketing technology project (like CRM) often becomes “the marketing project” and loses value in the partner community. When marketers tell the managing partner to use CRM solutions to be “more successful,” the message falls on deaf ears. Attorneys think, “I’m pretty successful already. Who are you to tell me how to be successful?”

As a result, marketers feel as though change will not happen or it will be too difficult. Realistically speaking, enacting change in an environment where change isn’t always welcome takes a lot of work— but it’s not impossible.

Cut your teeth on driving change for your MarTech projects and you’ll have the credibility to take on a similar project within the firm or somewhere similar. Essentially, change management can only work if you enlist the help of people who will do the heavy lifting for you.


In my discussions with clients, I often hear hesitation about looking to end-user adoption as an indicator of whether the MarTech project is successful. The knee-jerk reaction is that you will lose control of the project. Take a breath. Replace your urge to control behavior with a framework that empowers end users. By enlisting the help of many peers to do the heavy lifting, you can truly drive change while improving engagement, productivity, and commitment.

About Elena Cutri

Elena CutriElena is a lifelong learner at heart and an educator by trade. To her, learning is a direct route for people to live intelligent and informed lives. As Director of Education Services for LexisNexis, she partners with clients around the world to guide their software adoption strategy. Elena has spoken at industry events on change management, end user adoption and professional development. She leads a team of professional trainers who create effective and engaging learning for today’s Modern Learner. Outside of work, Elena is an adjunct professor at a Chicago college teaching public speaking and group communication skills. She volunteers as Chair of a 3,000-parent network for a Special Education Resource Group in her community. She leads a Girl Scout troop and teaches work-readiness classes for adults with special needs. She learns the most, though, from her husband and 3 children. Elena holds her MA in Corporate Communications from Northern Illinois University and a MBA in Marketing Management from Loyola University.

What’s Next in Digital

PRESENTED BY: Kalev Peekna, Managing Director, Chief Strategist at One North Interactive

March 21, 2019 | 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

As marketers in the legal industry, we are on a constant hunt for inspiration. Too often, we take it from the “guys across the street”: our competitors and/or peer firms. While looking at other law firms is a great way to benchmark the performance and position of your firm, it’s not a good source of new or differentiating ideas. In this session, Kalev will discuss a mixture of emerging digital trends and ideas that can serve as inspiration for your marketing firms. Some are lare and transformative, while others are quick and easy wins. Though all are sourced from outside the industry, they are all applicable to the legal marketing strategies you already have in place.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Registration & Networking

 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Briggs and Morgan
2200 IDS Center
80 South Eighth Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402


Kalev Peekna is the Chief Strategist at One North. He leads the Digital Strategy team, advising clients on the creation and execution of strategic programs to enhance the use of digital for their marketing, business development and knowledge management goals. Kalev brings a cross-platform, user-focused approach to innovations in brand development, design, data analysis and technology, and helps clients apply those innovations to their strategic aims. Previously, Kalev led the UX/Strategy practice at One North. More information about One North can be found at: https://www.onenorth.com/

Legal Project Management Panel

Legal Project Management Panel

December 12, 2018 | 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

As pricing, project management and procurement issues become increasingly important in the hiring and retention of law firms, their impact on the way firms and legal services are marketed is crucial. Legal Project Management (“LPM”) is a crucial part of the relationship between inside and outside counsel. LPM professionals help law firms run projects more productively to increase client satisfaction and maintain law firm profitability. A firm’s ability to improve efficiencies and control costs while offering greater predictability creates value beyond the legal work itself by managing expectations and offering increased ROI to client and firm alike. Please join us on December 12th for a panel featuring legal project management and pricing professionals from around Minneapolis as they discuss ways to deliver the best legal service possible, how best to position your firm’s legal project management abilities when pitching new business, and identify ways in which marketers can help firms meet client expectations.


  • William Josten | Strategic Content Manager | Thomson Reuters


  • Brendan McInerney | Director of Pricing and Legal Project Management | Stinson Leonard Street LLP
  • Bree Johnson | Chief Strategy, Pricing & LPM Officer | Robins Kaplan LLP
  • Tom Snavely | Manager, Legal Process Improvement and Project Management | Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Registration & Networking

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Gray Plant Mooty
80 South 8th Street
500 IDS Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402

Register Now! 


Attend LMA Midwest Region at Ohio Practice Development Institute – November 15, 2018

Click here to register! 

Do’s & Don’ts of Crisis Communication

You will likely find yourself in need of crisis communication at one time or another – whether it
is a crisis in your law firm or one of your clients faces a crisis. During my time as a journalist and
in the public relations industry, I have seen these situations handled well, and I’ve seen when a
response can further damage a company’s brand or reputation. Make sure you know the do’s
and don’ts of crisis communication.

Rush a Response – When it comes to crisis communication, you have one chance to get
it right. Your first response might be your only response, so it is important the
messaging is appropriate. A crisis communication situation is a lot of pressure and
stress, and when it comes to the media, it is important to respond accurately.
Wait Too Long – On the other hand, don’t think you have all the time in the world. As I
tell all our clients, no response is a response, and it doesn’t look good. In the court of
public opinion, saying nothing often insinuates guilt. Before social media, a crisis could
“blow over.” Now the public has a way to immediately interact with a brand, and they
expect a real-time response. Don’t forget, bad press will live on for years in website
search engines.
Respond Only on Social Media – A crisis communication inquiry may come in on social
media. That doesn’t mean it is the only way you should reply. You can ask for an email
address to send a formal response. A response on social media, especially on a public
account, could be visible for years. Another media outlet can easily screen grab a
response and publish it. It’s critical to consider the audience who most needs to hear
the response and craft a strategy based on how best to reach them.
Have a Plan – Like it or not, every business must be prepared for a crisis situation. That
means knowing who to notify, how to get in touch with them after hours and who will
make the final decisions on how to respond. Having a PR partner with experience
handling crisis communication and understanding of ideal communication platforms is
critical. Inc. Magazine’s recent article made recommendations regarding finding a
Ensure Messaging is Consistent – This is something I cannot say enough. Internal and
external messaging needs to be consistent. Internal emails sent during a crisis often end
up in the hands of the media. Make sure your messaging is consistent and is aligned
with your business’ core values.
Take Crisis Communication Seriously – A crisis communication situation is serious and
must be treated that way. It deserves a formal statement, and it does matter who is
issuing that statement. If you want the media and the public to believe you understand
the severity of the situation, I recommend the company’s CEO (or equivalent) issue the
statement and outline what steps will be taken to rectify the issue.

As P. T. Barnum said, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” Remember, even a crisis
situation can be an opportunity for you to message who you are and what is important to you.
If you do handle the situation well, it can help improve brand recognition and essentially be
nothing more than yesterday’s news. If you don’t , you may find your company in a crisis that
makes headlines for weeks or more.

Author bio:
Kristi Piehl is the founder of Media Minefield, a news-driven earned media agency that moves past
traditional public relations to mine stories, position experts and guarantee real news coverage. During
her 12-year television career, Kristi worked as a reporter and anchor at 5 television stations. Kristi is a
member of the Women Presidents’ Organization and C200 Protégé Class 2017. More information about
Media Minefield can be found at: media-minefield.com

At the November 13th LMA program, Kristi will give you tips to navigate the media from building a successful pitch, to delivering an impactful interview and handling a crisis. Register here!

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