LMA New England Annual ConferenceKudos to everyone who made last week’s Legal Marketing Association New England Chapter Annual Conference a wonderful experience for me and so many other speakers and attendees.

The focus of the conference was technology in legal marketing and business development. The interest in blogging and other forms of social media from a large group of attendees could not have been higher.

I saw law firms really opening up to blogging and other forms of social media. Firms and lawyers are feeling the pressure from both their clients (clients are expecting firms to use blogs and other social media) and competitors blogging and using social media to gain an edge in business development through growing their relationships and word of mouth reputation.

A lawyer establishing herself or himself as a thought leader in a an area of the law through blogging was a redundant theme. Doing so was bringing business development success to the lawyers who were blogging effectively.

There’s no question that the perception of legal marketing professionals and lawyers of how best to use blogging and other social media is evolving. There is a growing sentiment, and it’s a good one, that social media and blogging is about relationships and reputation, something lawyers need to spend personal time on, not something that can handed off entirely to legal marketing professionals.

The good news for lawyers is that those lawyers who are blogging are experiencing client development success. Nancy Van Tine of Burns & Levinson shared that she could not imagine living without her Massachusetts Divorce Law Monitor. She told the audience few, if any, new clients she sees in high end divorce work have come without seeing the blog, directly or indirectly.

Attorney Brian Gross of Cooley Manion Jones, who just recently started blogging on Defense Litigation Insider made clear that social media was here to stay for business development in the law. Sticking your head in the sand and hoping blogging and other social media would pass was not an alternative — from a competitive standpoint and from a how clients would view you if you didn’t blog and use social media.

Thanks so much to the Conference Co-Chairs, Jenna DiGregorio of Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen and Lisa Woodford of Cooley Manion Jones, and their conference committee for inviting me to moderate a panel and do a couple presentations. I truly felt I was making a dent in the world by helping others. You guys put on a great conference.

Almost forgot to mention Lisa Woodford getting Boston Bruin legend, Terry O’Reilly, there for a keynote on Friday. Terry’s down to earth stories and experiences were an inspiration for all.

Kudos again to all. As I mentioned to Jay Wager of Edwards Wildman, 2011 President, LMA New England, and others, the New England Chapter is a heck of a group. Lots of energy, camaraderie, fun and collaboration. You make guests feel very welcome.

Keep your eyes open for next years LMA New England Annual. It’s a good conference for those even beyond Boston and the immediate New England area.