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

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.


Member Spotlight

LMA-MN Member Limelight

Jennifer E. Albrecht

Jennifer E. Albrecht  

Marketing Manager

Arthur Chapman Kettering Smetak & Pikala, P.A.

 

1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH THE FIRM?

I’ve been with the firm for just over 2.5 years.

2.  WHAT DO YOU SPEND MOST OF YOUR TIME DOING AT WORK?

Assisting attorneys with whatever they need to put their best foot forward with current and potential clients.

3.  WHAT ARE THE THREE MOST VALUABLE THINGS ABOUT LMA-MN FOR YOU?

Networking – meeting others who face the same challenges I do.  Many of my good friends are people I’ve met through LMA.

Education – learning about the latest and greatest tools that help me do my job even better.

Resources – articles, checklists, samples, etc. These all help me to provide visual and concrete examples for my attorneys and usually mean I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but rather just put our own firm spin on a great idea.

4. WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE OR FRUSTRATION AT WORK?

Never really know when a busy time is going to be.  There are times when I have to focus on not letting any of the many balls in the air drop and other times when I wonder where everyone is.  Thankfully, being flexible and shifting gears quickly is something we all learn in this industry.

5. WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF AT YOUR CURRENT JOB?

The respect I’ve earned from so many of our attorneys.  Hopefully, they all feel they can come to me to ask for what they need and go away with the tools they need to work with a client or bring in a new client.

6. IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND AND MAKE THE ATTORNEYS IN YOUR FIRM OBEY YOUR MARKETING COMMAND, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO?

Be realistic and honest about timelines (both providing them on projects they expect done and adhering to those we set out to make things happen).

7. WHAT’S THE MOST VALUABLE MARKETING OR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ADVICE YOU’VE HEARD IN THE LAST YEAR?

With attorneys, it’s best to say “yes” and then figure out how to make it happen.

8. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY?

Fourth of July.  My dad and I row over in the boat he built and named after me to watch the parade on Madeline Island (I’m from Bayfield) and we spend the afternoon picnicking with friends and enjoying the beautiful summer weather and celebratory spirit of the day.

9. IF SOMEONE GAVE YOU $20, WHAT WOULD YOU BUY?

A gift for someone else.  I might send flowers to a friend or pick out a bottle of wine to give to a friend who is stressed out.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BAND / MUSIC?

I listen to just about anything except rap and country.  I am a public radio junkie and have classical or The Current on all day in my office.  Going to/from work I’m listening to MPR News and I’m even the nerd who tunes into NPR podcasts when I exercise.

11. AT AGE FIVE, WHO DID YOU WANT TO BE?

An architect. (I had the honor of working in marketing for a commercial architectural firm for 11 years so I vicariously fulfilled that dream.)

12. WHAT WORD DO YOU MOST DISLIKE?

It drives me nuts when people say “I could care less.”  It’s actually that you COULDN’T care less.

13. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR  JOB?

The people I get to work with and the constant challenges I am faced with every day.  I enjoy the slow times, but I function better with constant activity.

14. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF COLLEGE?

I attended Cornell College which operates on a one-course-at-a-time program.  We focused on one thing for 18 days, had 4 days off, then started in on a new subject.  The organized part of me loves what that focused program taught me and how reflective it is of my work and routine today.  I am such a strong proponent of the system, I am currently serving my second term on Cornell’s Alumni Board.


Member Limelight: Steve Hennigs

Steve HennigsMember Limelight

Presenting…
Steve G. Hennigs
Siteimprove, Inc.
Senior Product Specialist

What do you spend most of your time doing at work?
My day is always a bit varied. A part of my day will be spent reaching out to new prospects, demoing the Siteimprove product and attempting to close sales. Another large part of my day is spent training the Siteimprove’s sales staff. I create content and lead meetings around new functionality in our tools and also mentor one new hire about every 6 months to ensure they know the ropes when it comes to selling our tools. Finally I have the responsibility of communicating with our development team in Copenhagen, Denmark when it comes to new functionality that the US and Canadian markets prioritize for our next release cycle. It is a full day, but I love what I do.

What are the three most valuable things about LMA-MN for you?
As a service provider the networking opportunities are really valuable of course. Having said that I have learned so much about how legal marketing works by attending the monthly programs and reading the newsletter as well. Last but certainly not least the people that make up LMA MN are really great and I am lucky to be part of such a wonderful organization.

What is your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving. It is awesome to hang out with family, eat too much food and get in a great nap.

If someone gave you $20, what would you buy?
I would probably buy a book. I really enjoy reading (mostly boring business books) but have started getting in to Vince Flynn novels as well.

Who is your personal hero?
My personal hero is Jerry Rice. He was a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers in the 80s and 90s. I really value hard work and passion. Rice is a pillar for both. He was never the most talented person on a football field but when his career was finished he was (and still is) considered the greatest received in NFL history due to his dedication.

What word do you most dislike?
Can’t. There is no place for that word in the English language.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Finding the woman of my dreams at a young age and somehow convincing her to spend the rest of her life with me.


Member Limelight: Nicole Miller

Presenting…
Nicole Miller 4x6 COLOR.jpg

Nicole Miller
Briggs and Morgan, P.A.
Senior Marketing Manager

What do you spend most of your time doing at work?
Partnering with attorneys at the industry/practice group and individual level to develop and implement strategic business development and marketing programs and plans. This includes collaborating with our marketing team to develop marketing communications materials, customize proposals, execute PR initiatives, update and manage website content, and provide attorney coaching.

What are the three most valuable things about LMA for you?
Coming from health care, I needed to learn the nuances of the industry and our local chapter has created a welcoming community of peers in which to do this. The networking, sharing of best practices and thoughtful insight into the market have proved invaluable. Additionally, the quality programming provides beneficial educational and professional development opportunities.

What is your favorite holiday?
Definitely the Christmas season. I look forward to the decorating, the music, month-long celebrations and hunting for the perfect gifts.

What is your best recent gift?
A white noise machine. It has helped quiet my old house to make for peaceful sleeping. It also comes in handy when traveling.

At age five, who did you want to be?
A waitress. I would take everyone’s order at our table and then recite it back to our server. I even had a pile of menus, an order pad and a cash register at home.

What word do you most dislike?
Any considered corporate jargon.

What is your ideal vacation?
Someplace new! I enjoy adventure and exploring, whether it’s a weekend getaway to a new town or traveling to a country where I’ve never been.


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