The New York City Bar Association’s 14th Annual Small Law Firm Practice Management Symposium is this coming Thursday, November 9. It’s an honor to be presenting for the second year in a row.

Whether you are just starting out or been practicing for decades, I can personally vouch that the Symposium offers valuable guidance on both managing and growing a practice.

I particularly like the open dialogue between presenters and attendees. Discussion flushes out what’s on people’s minds and you walk away with information you can put to work immediately.

Unlike other bar associations, the NYCBA has no hangups about giving preference to bar committee members, authors or “non-vendors” as presenters. NYCBA is looking for top shelf and up to date information from presenters, especially on technology and innovation.

In the New York City Area? Consider attending. The program runs from 8:30 – 5:00 and is a steal at $65 for members and $100 for non-members. There’s also plenty of time to network with colleagues throughout the day at the Exhibit Hall and during the complimentary breakfast, luncheon and reception.

I’ll be on mid-morning with Tim Baran of Good2bSocial to discuss the power of networking through the Internet for growing your business.

  • How to develop a strategy?
  • How to define your audience?
  • The importance of listening, and how to do so, before engaging.
  • Role of content, in any form, for building relationships and a strong word of mouth reputation.
  • Publishing mediums, whether your own blog or third party publications such as Above The Law, Forbes or Bar Associations.
  • Role of social media and how to use it – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

See the Symposium brochure for more information.

LexBlog is also cohosting with Lawline the evening before a Legal Blogging and Social Media Workshop from 5 to 6:30 followed by a Beer for Bloggers (and others).

Lawyer? Law student? Legal marketing professional? Legal tech entrepreneur?

Forget what you may have been told. Learn how to really use blogging and social media in a strategic fashion to build a name and nurture relationships.

Lawline and LexBlog are hosting a “Legal Blogging and Social Media Workshop” next Wednesday, November 8 from 5 to 6:30 at WeWork Tower 49, 12 East 49th Street, 11th floor.

I’ll teach a little and lead a discussion on:

  • Developing a strategy for blogging and social media as a legal professional
  • Importance of “listening” and how it’s done
  • Role of blogging to learn, network and advance the law
  • How and why of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Walk away with a whole new perspective on networking online and with role model lawyers to follow

Better yet, we’ll have a Beer for Bloggers (and others) a couple blocks away at Connolly’s Pub at 14 E 47th St.

You can register here. Space is limited so try and come if you register so we get a good feel on attendees.

With LexBlog now a WeWork tenant, get ready to see more of these workshops and bootcamp like events. Like November 16 in London. ;)

Hope to see some of you there.

Why is baseball the greatest sport? Because just when you think you’ve seen it all, you witness what the Cubs did in their playoff win over the Nationals last night.

With two outs in the top of the fifth inning the Cubs saw four consecutive batters reach: one by an intentional walk, one on a passed-ball strikeout, one on catcher’s interference, and the fourth on a hit-by-pitch.

Those four events have never happened before in the same half-inning, at least not in the more than 2.73 million half innings in Baseball Reference’s database.

Only 22 half innings have had 3. Only 5 games had all 4.

The Cubs somehow pulled that off, to the chagrin of Nats’ manager Dusty Baker who was dying watching it, seemingly for the first time in the history of the sport.

In case you’re wondering how many ways there are to get to first base. Six. Add a fielder’s choice and a fielder’s error, the later of which would arguably include the pass ball on a third strike. I’m not counting going on as a pinch runner.

So, the Cubs did cover each of the ways to get to first without an out — all in a half inning and in consecutive batters.

May never happen again. Pretty neat.

That’s where I am headed to this next week.

Las Vegas for ILTCON, the International Legal Technology Association annual conference, from Monday late afternoon to midday Wednesday.

Disliking Las Vegas, and having been to two conferences there already this year, I was ready to pass on ILTA.

But over the last couple weeks I’ve had any number of friends, companies, PR professionals and bloggers ask if I was coming and to get together if I was.

ILTACON is one of the places legal technology folks gather each year, so with an industry based on relationships, it’s best I go.

I’ll do some Facebook Live’s with some of the people and companies I find most interesting. A lot of the tech at ILTACON doesn’t draw my interest as I don’t understand it, it’s older, it’s coming from larger companies or is only used in situations I don’t come across.

I find the entrepreneurs and their stories of believing they have something, self funding, riding the emotional roller coaster and now feeling they’re pulling it off to be the fun interviews. People and their personal stories can be as interesting as their technology.

With LexBlog growing from an agency to a software company and publisher, a few folks have reached out to meet to find out if we could work together. Whether to license our managed platform for publishing or to gain additional visibility and build their name through our growing publisher’s network.

I’ll be in Tulsa Wednesday evening and Thursday to keynote at “Professionalism Day” at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Professionalism Day is a cool program that I understand a number of law schools put on to prepare students for the practice and business of law.

Rachel Baker, The Associate Director of Professional Development, has been following my blog and the message I’ve been delivering to law students and law schools.

The law school thought it would be great if I could come back and inspire the students as well as share some practical “how to’s.”

Not only will it be an honor to speak to the law students at Tulsa U, it will be a lot of fun. Little is more rewarding than “reaching” a law student or two as to the opportunities that await them and share how they can realize their dreams with the technology of today.

On Friday I am headed down to Norman to visit with folks at the University of Oklahoma Law School.

I was blown away by a presentation at AALL (American Association of Law Librarians) on what OU Law is doing in legal tech for their students.

We’ve since talked about OU Law beginning to use the LexBlog platform and Law School Blog Network for their students and professors. Getting to together face to face to talk more and see first hand what they’re doing will be fun.

If you’re looking for text or call, 206-321-3627.

This morning, Team LexBlog (everyone) begins its move to the WeWork – Holyoke Building here in downtown Seattle. We’ll move, in stages, over the next month from our current offices a few blocks away.

While many may view WeWork as co-working space for startups and companies with a distributed workforce, I see WeWork as something much different.

Like software as a service, WeWork offers space as a service. Health insurance, legal services and a slew of discounted services from international providers are included in a growing list of benefits.

Rather than worry about phones, Internet, copiers, conference rooms, huge display monitors, event centers, receptionists and more, WeWork has it all. Plus free coffee, cold brew and beer — all I found pretty important to the team when we viewed WeWork as a group a couple weeks ago.

Perhaps the greatest value in WeWork is the networking. Networking for team member learning. Networking for product development. Networking for hiring. And who knows, perhaps networking for business development.

The Holyoke Building, one of four (soon to be five) Seattle WeWork locations is impressive. WeWork occupies all six floors of the building first constructed after the Seattle fire in 1889. It has historic charm galore – exposed brick and stone walls, high ceilings, and tall rounded windows – with polished contemporary Northwest interiors.

The separate offices, of which we’ll occupy four or five, hold two to ten people, all include modern furnishings. There are also plenty of common areas to work from including areas akin to a small coffee shop on each floor. Downstairs there’s a huge area to hangout or hold events — it’s akin to what you’d find in an historic four or five star hotel.

WeWork isn’t just for startups. Alaska Airlines, Airbnb, Lululemon and Perkins Coie were just a few of the establish companies we ran across in touring WeWork. It’s also not just for distributed workforces (people working remote), as LexBlog and other companies have their entire company located in WeWork offices.

No question we’ll use some of the other WeWork locations – 203 office locations in 50 cities around the world. I am already looking at Chicago for an event next month.

Stay tuned, this is all an experiment and we could be back in traditional offices such as the one for which we were about to sign a lease.

I’ll be attending the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Annual Conference and Meeting in Austin this Sunday through Tuesday.

A couple of my friends and legal industry leaders, Bob Ambrogi and Ed Walters, have mentioned more than once that AALL is a good conference and that I should go. I’m following their advice and attending this year, the 110th anniversary of their Annual Meeting and Conference, for a number of reasons.

Most importantly to learn from some of the real leaders when it comes to legal information, legal publishing products, publishing for a competitive advantage and access to the law.

LexBlog is more of a managed WordPress platform for the law and legal publishing company than it is a marketing agency. It just happens that lawyers, like they have for as long as AALL’s has been around, appreciate that publishing builds a name and a network.

With WordPress on its way to being the digital publishing press for most everyone, and as a result the source of legal information, I want to better understand the role of legal publishing and legal information as well as the road ahead from AALL members.

As to AALL’s role in legal information and access to the law, look no further than their mission which is to be:

…[A] thriving professional association whose members and libraries-whether physical or virtual legal information services-are recognized as critical to the success of their organizations and as central to society. AALL members possess the knowledge and skills to maintain effectiveness in a constantly changing legal environment. Since the ready availability of legal information is a necessary requirement for a just and democratic society, AALL and its members advocate and work toward fair and equitable access to authentic current and historic legal information, and educate and train library users to be knowledgeable and skilled legal information consumers.

AALL’s backs this vision up by playing a role in helping shape federal regulations for legal publishing, copyright law and protecting access to the law for all citizens.

Maybe there’s an opportunity for LexBlog to serve members and the organizations they represent. The only way to find out is to get out and know people — it’s certainly not via blanket bombing marketing messages.

Inspiration is the leading reason I go to conferences. AALL’s looks to have some great speakers and presenters who are leading our industry whether it’s in the civil justice area, access to the law from the library of congress, social media’s role in legal information, technology’s role in access to the law and more. In three days, I hope to take in fair number of the presentations.

As way to shine a light on AALL, LexBlog is providing media coverage – interviews before hand, Facebook Live Interviews on site, Twittter curartion of some sessions via Storify and random Twitter and Facebook posts from me, personally, and LexBlog.

I am happy to get together to chat over coffee or a beer. Just email or call/text (206-321-3627)

After five straight years hosting their annual Clio Cloud Conference  (“Clio Con”) in Chicago, Clio is headed south to New Orleans this year, on September 25 & 26.

What started out as a user conference for two or three hundred folks, Clio Con’s done nothing but grow. This year they expect to welcome one thousand attendees. Legal industry folks from Norway, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Spain have already registered.

Almost every conference claims to be the preeminent legal tech conference. I think we can safely exclude from the list the recent legal tech conference in San Francisco which couldn’t fill panels nor afford lanyards.

Legal tech conferences shouldn’t look to dummy down presentations to the lowest common denominator of tech aptitude. Good conferences stir our imagination causing us to think — what could our lives and organizations truly be by harnessing passion, innovation and technology.

Clio Con fits this bill. Especially with its traditional four keynote speaker (two announced) format — including Clio CEO, Jack Newton’s keynote sharing word of lawyer successes and product launches.

Knowing their early passion for building spaceships, it should be no surprise that Canadian Clio co-founders, Ryan Gauvreau and Jack, invited an astronaut to keynote. And of course a Canadian one at that, Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to both walk in space and commander a spaceship.

During his last mission, Hadfield gained popularity world-wide by chronicling life aboard the space station and taking pictures of the earth and posting them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr.

Last year I leaned over and asked Jack where the heck he discovered Kimberly Motley, the first foreign lawyer to litigate in Afghanistan – she had just keynoted about taking time away from her commercial practice in the States to serve others. Service that meant having a grenade thrown through her office window.

I’m feeling a repeat with Eritrean American, Haben Girma, a disability rights advocate and the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School.

Growing up in the US school system, Girma benefited from civil rights laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act and accessible technology, such as a digital Braille device – something her elder brother, who is also deafblind, did not have access to in Eritrea.

Girma became a lawyer to help increase access to books and other digital information for persons with disabilities. She now works to change attitudes about disability around the world, including the development of accessible digital services.

Digital information is just ones and zeroes…It can be converted into any kind of format. And those people who develop these services — programmers, technology designers — they have an incredible power to increase access for people with disabilities. And I hope they use it.

Beyond keynotes, Clio Con brings legal tech innovators including Avvo CEO, Mark Britton, Steven Silberbach, Clio’s SVP of Global Sales and even, myself.

Something I’ve not experienced elsewhere, Clio Con welcomes you to sit down with the speakers in a conference room. I’ve been in discussions with some pretty interesting folks for an hour plus at Clio Con.

Don’t come for CLE credits, come for something more valuable. But if you must, you can earn credits by attending the conference’s educational track track sessions.

Clio’s known for “work-life balance,” especially with “Clio After Dark” parties, where they close entire venues down to welcome guests. Maybe that’s why they picked New Orleans.

The Republic Warehouse is first up this year, and it’s open to all spouses, in addition to attendees. Not to worry as a spouse attending, Clio Con parties are a far cry from tired old lawyer parties with boring conversation. Night two is the House of Blues.

Act fast if you want to come. I’m told registration is filling. Click here to get 20% off registration with a LexBlog discount.

Hope to see you there. You can buy me a beer with the money you saved on registration.

That’s not that stupid of a question. There are 100,000 lawyers in Texas, or about 99,900 more lawyers than my county bar association had when I started practicing.

I am here in Dallas for the State Bar of Texas (SBOT) Annual Meeting along with David Cuthbert, LexBlog’s business development lead extraordinaire.

LexBlog has had the pleasure of partnering with the SBOT on a lot of things over the years — their sites/publications, social media think tanks, Beer for Bloggers, LexBlog TV/SBOT TV coverage of annual meetings and more. John Sirman, Lowell Brown and all the other SBOT team members have been great to work with.

We’re doing a few new things this year. One, we’ll have a booth (rare event for us in that our work comes by word of mouth through blogging and networking online).

A booth not only allows us to support the Bar, but also to share with lawyers how LexBlog has moved on from building blogs to a managed WordPress platform for the law with options for blogs, websites, minisites, magazines, networks etc — and, in the case of some law firms and marketing agencies, the ability to license our platform so they may operate their own WordPress managed platform.

A booth also enables us to offer free advice on networking/business development through the net. I may be “selling,” but I’ve always seen helping folks first, LexBlog member publisher or not, as the most important thing we do.

I’ll also be doing some discussions on FaceBook Live with law bloggers and other folks. My friend, Brian Cuban, will be keynoting one of the tracks discussing the events that gave rise to his new book, “The Addicted Lawyer.” I should be able to get him on Facebook.

LexBlog’s tech and products teams has been working on new solutions for SBOT members. Sirman and the SBOT committee heads are pretty creative in getting valuable benefits for members. We’ve cooked up some new ideas to discuss with them.

My daughter, Ainsley tells me I just missed the Mariners playing in Texas. That’s okay. Baseball at 65 degrees in Seattle is more enjoyable than at 100 degrees in Dallas.

If attending, please do stop by and say Hi or ping me by email or text/call (206-321-3627. If nothing else it’ll get you a beer or coffee.

It felt good to walk our business loan payment over to our bank this afternoon.

I’m old school where we deposited our paychecks and made loan payments in person — especially on Fridays.

Gave loan officers, and even the president of the bank, the opportunity to get up from behind their desks to shake the hands of customers and ask how they were doing. Gave me as a bank board member an opportunity, even if second hand, to have information about who our customers and loan applicants are, as people.

When was the last time you shook the hand of a bank president so you knew they would be there if you wanted a loan to start or expand a business? Or a loan for home improvements? Or to talk to if some issues arose? And for them to know they would have the loan applications they need because of the relationships they established.

Too many business people are out chasing angel or VC money when going to a small bank for a loan may be easier — and certainly cheaper. More business people (lawyers included) should be nurturing relationships with bankers — and bankers with entrepreneurs founding and running emerging growth companies.

When we were moving to Seattle almost twenty years ago, I needed a home loan in a hurry. The finance company we were referred to dropped the ball and couldn’t close when they said they would. Not really an option as the moving truck was arriving in five days.

I told the finance company if they couldn’t close as committed, I’d go to a local bank and get a loan — and I did. I had my friend who was the president of a bank in Wisconsin fax a letter to the president of American Marine Bank on Bainbridge Island to tell him of my predicament and that I’d be a great customer. The president and his loan officer got the loan closed just in time.

American Marine has been sold a couple times over. Columbia Bank, a large Northwest Bank owns it now. No more dogs coming in for milkbones. No one coming out to greet you. And enough of an uncaring in-personal approach to lending that we’re pulling our home loan from them, something they’ve held in-house since the date of the rush loan, and all our deposits and moving to another bank.

Banking, as much as any business, is all about relationships and people. Relatonships both ways — for you as a customer wanting a good bank that knows you and for the bank who wants good customers.

If you are in Seattle, First Sound Bank is an excellent small business bank, whom I/we have worked with for the last few years. Jon Shelton, who also rides the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry, is the President and CEO.

One of the most rewarding things I have the honor of doing is visiting law schools.

I get to go into large law school classes or open sessions and tap into the existing passion these young people have. It’s incredible.

When I talk about the Internet providing each and every student the ability to make their dreams come alive, eyes open. You can see the fire.

When I share the story of Pat Ellis going from an average student at Michigan State Law School to Honigman in Detroit to inhouse counsel and business planner for the General Counsel and EVP of Public Policy at General Motors, all in a couple years, on the back of a blog, Twitter, drive and a dream, you can see students thinking, “That’s me.”

Students come down and engage me afterwards. They tell me where they’re from and where they want to go.

Some students have niches they’re passionate about. My being there got them to realize they really could do the type of work they dream of and for the type of clients they want to serve.

Other students almost apologize that they haven’t figured out their niche. I tell them that’s absolutely okay, most lawyers never figure out what fuels their passion. “Just figure out what would be fun to learn and who’d like to meet in the field. Now make it happen with the effective use of blogging and social media.”

What’s sad is that career services in many schools isn’t prepared to help their law students realize their dreams.

People communicate and connect on the Internet today. A working understanding of how to use the Internet for professional development and getting a job is critical for law students.

Yet career services is often led and staffed by people who have never used the Internet to build professional relationships nor to build a name for themselves. Their knowledge of using the net professionally often comes from misguided peers.

Facebook is the most widely used communication and connection medium in the world. Smart business professionals, including most of the legal industry leaders I know, use Facebook to engage and share on personal and professional matters.

Yet I recently heard that one career services professional advised law students not to engage professionally on Facebook, and if they do to keep two separate Facebook accounts. That’s nuts. Made me wonder what other bum advice they may have shared with students.

Blogging, Twitter and networking on LinkedIn are powerful tools. Those law students who use them strategically and effectively for learning, networking and building a name are going to have opportunities to do the things they dream of when they graduate.

But who’s teaching law students how to use social media? Where are the role models and mentors in their law school when it comes to blogging? Who is career services reaching out to for help, being vulnerable by acknowledging they don’t understand it all?

Law students are paying $150,000 or more to their school, many going into debt, and all forgoing income for three years.

The students are told to use career services. “We’re here to help you.”

But are you? Can you fuel the passion of your law students? Or might you drown it out?

There are exceptions, career services teaching and empowering law students to use social media to build a name for themselves. But I fear they are the exception.