Friday, 1 July 2011

The Law Society

Interesting talking to The Law Society this week about how Legal Disciplinary Practices are changing the complexion of its membership and what this means for the member services they will need to think about offering in the future.   A legal marketeer client, recently made partner and consequently now a fully paid up Law Society member, pointed out to me the other day the inappropriateness in her eyes of The Law Society's current tag-line: 'supporting solicitors'.  As a new member, every time she receives a communication from her new membership organisation, she says this tagline shouts at her that she is still very much an outsider - despite being named on the official Law Society roll. 

This week I spoke to bods from The Law Society's training and publications teams.  Two years after the advent of LDPs the number of non-lawyer Society members is still relatively small, but of course this will only grow over time.  Moreover, there is now a new generation of legal marketeers starting their careers in the knowledge that 'partnership' is a possible career destination.  That just wasn't on the horizon in my days in-house.  I was curious to know how The Law Society is thinking about this challenge.  Do they see it as their role to develop a set of professional standards, structured career paths and training for non-law professionals in law firms?  Not just marketing and PR professionals of course, but professionals in the finance, IT, HR teams etc as well.  The answer is that it's part of an internal conversation at the moment, but of course it's very early days.  Interesting challenges ahead!

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Jon Busby was charm personified when I met him for lunch this week.  After all his baiting and teasing on twitter, quite honestly I didn't know what to expect!  But his conversation was fascinating, he was charm itself, as I said, and he was very amusing to boot.  

As many of you will know from his very lively twitter feed and blog, Jon is in the business of persuading law firms to maximise the use of technology to re-think the delivery of professional services, perfecting that all-important separation between the commoditisible and the high-value-add.  He has some very interesting observations on how professional firms approach decisions on 'transformative business purchases'.  The partnership decision-making structure doesn't always lend itself particularly well to decisions that are tricky in any business context - about big financial and structural commitments to changing the entire way services are delivered.  But certainly enough people get what he is offering to keep this man very, very busy.

He says he learned early on in his life to keep his presentations short and impactful to avoid the 'glaze-over'.  See above illustration for example of alternative to powerpoint slide. He talked about 'the consensual nod' and the importance of avoiding it - a wonderful phrase he invented to describe how people will sometimes agree with you in a sales pitch just to hurry you to the end!  Love it!

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An amusing postscript 
to the super injunctions furore back in May is the release this week of statistics showing how Twitter's UK following jumped by a third that month, boosted in particular by women over 50 keen to follow the blanket coverage of celebrity shenanigans and their attempts to gag the press and cover their traces.  Great to know this demographic is now fully engaged with Twitter in one sense - but in other ways not really  sure whether this is something to celebrate, or be depressed about....

Other interesting Twitter news this week was the release of Twitter for Newsrooms Now the microblogging site has released an official guide showing reporters how to make the most of Twitter as they go about their daily work.  Nothing new for the initiated, but the mere fact Twitter has bothered to launch this guide shows yet again the impact of social media on the news.

We live in interesting times!

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