Women’s Virtual Law Firm?

20050929smallbizPretty interesting article about a female estate planning attorney, Joanne Sternlieb, who quit a high powered law firm to start her own firm and spend more time at home with her young daughter. Now she has found more lawyer/moms like herself and hires them as independent contractors to do the work she is getting by the fistfull. She took a disadvantage (career-wise) and turned it into a big advantage. I love it. Here is her website.

How Not To Leave An Inheritance

    My dad was a pretty successful guy and his views on the inheritance that my brothers and sisters and I could expect were succinct. "No one gets anything before they’re 30," he said. "Otherwise you’ll spend it on stupid stuff like furniture."
    Well, of course, furniture is the least of it. Jonathan Minz of WealthCounsel posted a link on the WealthCounsel listserv to this article on bankrate.com on the dangers of leaving an outright inheritance to unprepared heirs. Those of you with estate planning practices might want to get reprints for your clients, potential clients, and referral sources.

Lucy Makes Her Debut

Img_2667One of the most heart-warming aspects of Smart Marketing is the extent to which our clients become our friends. That is most certainly the case with Rick Law of Law Elder Law and his entire family. As most of you know, I am a passionate admirer of Rick and everything he does. But I’m sure even his marvelous business accomplishments cannot bring him quite the same kind of joy he is currently enjoying in his newest role: Grandpa Rick. The Great Man’s daughter, Diana Law, also an attorney, gave birth Monday night to Lucille Scout Jarot, 9 lbs 5 oz. and 21 inches long. Email your congrats to [email protected] and [email protected]

This Vegas Event Was A Sure Bet

FoursomeJust came back from a WealthCounsel event in Las Vegas, and while most of what takes place in Vegas must stay in Vegas, I can share with you that it was a terrific event, and urge you take a look at the photo album below. If you are an estate planning attorney and don’t already belong to this dynamic organization, you need to investigate membership now. The photo at left (click to enlarge) was taken at Craftsteak in the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. (Left to right: yours truly; WealthCounsel senior event coordinator Lori Lettman; WealthCounsel CEO Lew Dymond; and Smart Marketing client Diedre Wachbrit of Los Angeles.)

Listening With Their Eyes

    Those of you who are regular readers might remember an earlier post on The Power of Image. In it, I talk about the psychology book Blink, and its lessons for marketing. One of those lessons (which I used to underline my argument about the importance of image to attorneys and financial advisors) is, people often listen with their eyes. That is, the impact of the visual image overcomes all the other senses, including situations where, logically, the visual image ought not to be the most important thing. Marketing, of course is not about what "ought" to be, but about what is.
    The example cited in Blink is that of a female trombone player who won a job in a major European orchestra by auditioning behind a screen. When the selection committee discovered she was a woman, they were horrified because everyone "knew" a woman could not play the trombone as well as she had just done.
    Your clients (and potential clients) will often make up their minds in the same way, not hearing your logical points, but "listening" with their eyes as they take in your office, your brochure, your business card, your plaques on the wall, or your clothes.
1101050829_400   I was struck by this concept again as I read the Time magazine story on Kanye (pronounced Kahn-yay) West, whose 2004 debut album, The College Dropout, went nearly triple platinum, earned 10 Grammy nominations and topped all the critics’ polls.
    I know virtually nothing about rap music, but I understand dollar signs. Apparently this singer has found a way to make rap sort of suburban and accessible and non-threatening to the masses (including middle aged white guys like me) who abhor the "gangsta" style of rap. And apparently, he is very good. His latest release Late Registration (I don’t know, he must have a problem with the educational system) is predicted to be the biggest hit of the year. (Warning for the faint of heart: according to Amazon.com, his songs have explicit lyrics.)
    But here’s the point. According to Time, this money machine could not get a listen from all the top music executives, including the record label where he worked as a producer — because he didn’t look like a rapper — or, at least, what they thought a rapper must look like.
    "Kanye wore a pink shirt with the collar sticking up and Gucci loafers," explained one of the record label CEOs. Time describes West as dressing "like he’s anticipating an acceptance letter from Exeter."
    "It was a strike against me that I didn’t wear baggy jeans and jerseys and that I never hustled, never sold drugs." said West in the article.
    Leaving aside for a moment the question of what kind of society requires of its music stars that they have a background of selling drugs (?) we can see that these record executives were listening with their eyes. They could not get past West’s preppy image to actually hear the music.
    The same force is at work in your practice. What your clients see has much more impact than anything you might say. Build a powerful image.