In this edition, guest host Trisha Rich and co-host Jennifer Byrne are joined by public relations and legal marketing expert Debra Pickett of Page 2 Communications for a discussion about how lawyers can shift their mindset from lawyer to entrepreneur and embrace the art of shameless self-promotion to build their book of business.
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Trisha Rich: Hello everyone and welcome to CBA’s @theBar, a podcast where we have unscripted conversations with our guests about legal news, events, topics, stories and whatever else we can think of.
I’m your host today Trisha Rich of Holland & Knight and with me today is Jennifer Byrne, the CLE Director of the Chicago Bar Association. Hey Jen, how are you doing today?
Jennifer Byrne: I’m good Trish, happy to be here with you talking with our guests today.
Trisha Rich: Excellent. Thanks for joining me. We are still holding down the fort, Mr. Amarilio is home with his new baby, huh?
Jennifer Byrne: Yeah, we miss him but you know – I don’t know.
Trisha Rich: Speak for yourself. I don’t really miss him.
Jennifer Byrne: I don’t know, I feel like this could be a female takeover of the @theBar podcast.
Trisha Rich: We can only hope.
Jennifer Byrne: I am not thinking about it. So –
Trisha Rich: Yeah. Finally, we are joined here today by Debra Pickett of Page 2 Communications. Debra is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Page 2 Communications, a boutique consultancy providing media strategy, content marketing and public relations services to law firms, attorneys and their clients.
This year Deb and the team at Page 2 launched De Novo Business, a newsletter and business intelligence website for law firm leaders. An award-winning former print and television journalist and experienced political campaign consultant, Deb serves as a communication strategist and consigliere to managing partners, marketing directors and practice chairs.
She leverages her deep connections with Chicago and national media to facilitate the placement of stories and articles that advance her client’s interests, enhance their reputations and helps them build their brands.
Throughout her career, Deb has been a leading voice for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives including in the private and public sectors. In 2020, she received the National Law Review’s Go-To Thought Leader Award for her extensive writing and speaking on the intersection of communications and equity in the legal industry and maybe most importantly, my friend.
So thank you for joining us today, Deb. It’s really great to have you here.
Debra Pickett: It’s awesome to be here. I love that it’s ladies night on the podcast, very exciting.
Trisha Rich: Your intro is so impressive. I’m (02:20) personally.
Debra Pickett: I am exhausted.
Trisha Rich: I’m really glad we were able to get you in to talk about lawyer marketing and all of the issues that surround it, because I think this is something that just doesn’t come naturally to lawyers, would you agree?
Debra Pickett: Absolutely. I think for so many lawyers think back to that time in undergrad and thinking about sort of the paths that might have been in front of you, a lot of lawyers were the folks who specifically decided that they did not want to go to business school, they didn’t want to do marketing stuff, they didn’t want to do sales stuff, and then lo and behold you joined a firm and it turns out that that’s a huge part of your job.
Trisha Rich: And I always think — you know one of the things I tell the associates I work with is that becoming successful in the private practice of law requires you to be good at a bunch of different things at once and at the top of that list I put being a lawyer and marketing. What I mean by saying that is that I think lawyers have to be good marketers internally and externally. Do you think that is a challenge for young lawyers specifically? Well, first of all do you agree with me? I guess let me start there.
Debra Pickett: Of course. No, I really do agree. So it works out.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, good.
Debra Pickett: But I think particularly for lawyers who join big law, midsize and larger firms, at the start of your career especially there is a huge internal marketing. I mean just getting yourself visible so that you can be staffed on desirable projects is a marketing exercise in and of itself for sure.
Trisha Rich: I should have started with this question, but what is your favorite like — I don’t know like top hundred things about working with lawyers?
Jennifer Byrne: To narrow it down a little bit.
Debra Pickett: Well, yeah as you might recall you know I had long dark hair when I started working with lawyers, it’s its own special challenge sometimes, right.
Trisha Rich: Yeah, Deb and I, right. One of the things we have in common is we both have practices that revolve around working for lawyers and law firms and we’ve shared some clients over the years, which has been interesting but it can be a challenge right. It’s okay we can take it.
Debra Pickett: It is a challenge, it’s a challenge that I uniquely enjoy, I think. Coming at this from being a writer and having that kind of background. I’m not a lawyer myself but I’ve now spent a good portion of my career working with lawyers and one thing that we all have in common is this desire to dig in to the words and what they mean.
And when I’m working on something with a client, we will often go back and forth over individual word choices in something that we’re writing for them or about them. That’s a sort of lawyer mind thing for a lot of folks and of course, litigators like to argue, so there’s that too.
Jennifer Byrne: I’ve never noticed that before.
Debra Pickett: Yeah, it’s weird, it’s weird. I just I picked that up. But that so you got to be sort of temperamentally inclined to enjoy that, and so a lot of traditional marketing folks, folks who have perhaps a consumer marketing background or retail, it’s tough for them to do this kind of marketing and business development work that I do with lawyers. It’s tough for them to work in a law firm environment because it’s just such a different mindset and such a different sort of approach.
Jennifer Byrne: That’s interesting to me that you say it’s a different approach and I’m curious for some more specifics on that. What makes — and I think I sort of know the answer to this having practiced for a while and we can all laugh and comment on how lawyers are different, but what are some specific things that you know you’ve experienced with clients that kind of make our industry unique and I think uniquely in need of the help of someone who is more of a marketing outsider to help them understand how they can sell themselves, because I think of lawyers as they just wake up every day thinking they need to be a lawyer, they need to be providing the best representation possible to their clients, they need to understand the law and especially in the early part of a lawyer’s career where you’re still learning the ropes and you’ve just come out of school, it doesn’t occur to them. So, I’m just curious if you can comment on what makes lawyers different and why might they really need this extra assistance from a marketing expert?
Debra Pickett: Yeah, I think so much of marketing today in sort of the general business community is tech driven and tied to technology and data and e-commerce obviously has shaped a lot of that. So marketers now tend to think of their performance in the bits of data that they can measure. Oh, we did this campaign for you and this many people came to your website and if you’re selling something on your website, great, here’s how many people click through and here’s how many bought it from that link.
Legal services obviously are not purchased that way, and so a lot of those sort of traditional — what are becoming the established traditional marketing metrics just don’t apply the sales process if you want to call it that or the marketing process is much longer and deeper and it much more relationship driven, and as an attorney you know it’s not about sort of — oh I met this guy, I gave him my business card and now he has hired me to do this work, it’s — we talked four years ago at a conference, I followed up, we reconnected, we lost touch, we emailed, then somebody else mentioned my name to him and now four years later we have the opportunity to work together on this project. And no single one of those touch points was the determinative one, but they all needed to be in place in order for that relationship to then happen.
So it’s a much longer, more complicated sales process and requires a lot more sort of investment over time on the part of the attorney to establish credibility and then continue to be visible and available when somebody’s need matches that credibility.
Trisha Rich: That feels like such a hard thing to do, right, because — like my practice is a relatively niche practice. I represent lawyers and law firms and in-house counsel in professional responsibility issues. So it’s like I have to be at the center of their mind when that kind of issue pops up, which hopefully is fairly rare in their lives, right?
Debra Pickett: Totally, and so yeah, that idea of establishing expertise in a particular area and then somehow positioning yourself so that you are the go-to expert who pops up in their mind or on their radar somehow when they have that issue, it is a real challenge.
And so that’s — when we talk to lawyers about marketing themselves, there’s very often a sort of thought leadership component to it where they’re putting stuff out and publishing stuff that demonstrates their expertise and then giving that stuff a long shelf life.
So it’s not just an article that ran one time and — gosh cross your fingers, hope that somebody happened to see that article at the exact right moment when they needed you, but putting it in places that they will be able to find it when they are looking for it.
And so if you have a firm infrastructure that is keeping that stuff in a blog database kind of format, if you’re a smaller or solo practitioner and you’re publishing and republishing and recirculating that stuff on social media, how do you keep it visible over the course of time so that it is there at that moment when people are looking for it.
Trisha Rich: So if I’m a junior lawyer at a medium or large law firm right, I’m a like first, second, third year, how do I even begin this process because as Jen has already noted I’m still learning the practice of law and I am not an expert in anything in this particular example, so how do you get started if you’re somebody who’s at the beginning of your career?
Debra Pickett: Yeah, I think I mean part of it is just what we were talking about in the beginning of that mindset of — thinking of yourself as — I’m a lawyer and my job is to be a lawyer and if I just do good work every day, that’s going to be enough and unfortunately that’s probably not the right mindset to be in, you have to have a bit of an entrepreneurial mindset even if you’re within the structure of a firm.
So I think that’s the first thing is to understand that even if you’re planning on making your entire career staying for the whole life cycle of your career with this one firm, you still have to do some marketing of yourself. So even if that’s just making internal connections and being internally visible, it’s still going to be a part of your job. That’s sort of job one is just to get over that that notion that it’s not necessary.
Jennifer Byrne: I think now would be a great time for us to take a quick break and we’ll be back in a few.
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Jennifer Byrne: And we’re back and we were talking a little bit about different efforts that young lawyers could take within primarily a large firm setting then I had some follow-up questions. With young lawyers in particular, they’re under stringent billing requirements, they’re really just trying to gain their foothold within their firm, figure out the firm culture, learn how to interact with clients. I mean the list goes on of different obligations that the young attorney fresh out of law school, even probably I would say within the first five years is trying to just get the lay of the land within the profession and within their set in their work setting. Given that it’s very apparent they need to start marketing earlier, earlier the better. How much time from a percentage standpoint should a young lawyer be devoting to these promotional and marketing efforts early on in their career? Is there a percentage? Is there a number of hours per week, a number of minutes per day? I mean I think lawyers like to think in these types of increments, but you know just from a tangible what can people do standpoint, how does the young lawyer fit this into their life?
Debra Pickett: Yeah, and that’s a real challenge, no matter what firm environment you’re working in, obviously.
To get real specific about some things that young lawyers can be doing, for one certainly over the last year plus we’ve seen how vital it is to be on LinkedIn and have that as a platform for networking when live events weren’t available to people and they weren’t out socializing.
So for LinkedIn and just making sure that you’ve got connections with your fellow alumni colleagues, the people that you’re meeting through the work that you’re doing and that you are being active enough on LinkedIn that you’re going to be visible there, 15 minutes a day, 10 minutes a day, three four times a week is great.
And in fact, it’s much better for that particular platform to do it in small increments over multiple days. We don’t know everything about how the LinkedIn algorithm works, but we know that it likes you to be there frequently and will promote you in terms of visibility more if you’re there more often.
So 10 minutes at the end of the evening or as some kind of kind of break when you’re waiting for lunch in the microwave or something, that’s a really reasonable amount of time and if you can develop the habit of doing it consistently, it will serve you well later on.
The other kinds of things that are available to young attorneys as potential platforms for growing relationships and kind of building that platform for business development, getting involved in an organization, like the Bar Association. Similarly, if you think about it in terms of relatively small chunks of time but that half an hour group meeting once a week or however those are structured, having sort of definition around them and having the discipline to do them regularly is far more important at this stage than the quantity of what you’re doing.
Jennifer Byrne: And so when you’re narrowing things down which it sounds like you’re recommending, how does a lawyer go about picking which things they should focus on when you have so many different potential venues for networking, different social media platforms. I mean it sounds like LinkedIn is definitely a preferred platform for lawyers you’re recommending and I’ve heard that from others, but is it based on practice area, is it based on like what type of business you’re hoping to connect yourself with, do you have any advice there specific to different types of lawyers?
Debra Pickett: Two ways to think about it. One is certainly in terms of the practice area that you’re in and the kinds of connections that you want to be meeting, who are the people who are going to be giving you business, is that in a large firm structure, is that sort of partners of a certain type or in a certain area, is that external to your firm, folks from a particular industry, right, are you working with lots of real estate folks, because that’s touches your practice.
Think about sort of — or if there are people that are making referrals in, are you consistently getting referrals from doctors, because they’re the types of people that are sending work your way. Think about who the audience is and that’s going to determine sort of what’s the most valuable place for you to be. If those folks are reading lots of stuff and there are some blogs or some social media channels that you know are popular within that set, that’s where it makes sense for you to be, right.
So there’s the piece of it, that is thinking about sort of who your audience is and who the connections that you want are and where in any sense physically or virtually they are so that you can connect with them.
The other piece of it though, I think as important is your own natural inclinations. If you are just not a sort of get out there and glad hand kind of person and that just feels hard and miserable for you to do, you can work on it and you can kind of push yourself to be more of a self-promoter and over the course of your career you’ll probably need to, but if that feels hard and miserable you’re not going to be inclined to do it.
So find something that does feel like a natural fit and maybe that’s just writing short things that are posted to LinkedIn or if you’re able within the structure of your firm to post something on your firm’s blog or contribute something to the firm’s newsletter, maybe doing that written stuff just feels a lot more comfortable to you, then that’s going to be a far better use of your time because you’re going to do it better and you’re going to do it more consistently because you don’t hate doing it.
Jennifer Byrne: Effectively, if it’s something you enjoy doing you’ll stick with it more?
Debra Pickett: Absolutely, absolutely, and so — you know we always joke right, sort of if you could fake sincerity then you’ve got it down, like — it should be something that is coming from a sincere genuine place, something that you are actually interested in talking about, writing about, learning about, right, because I think that genuine interest really does come through and that’s what people connect with.
Trisha Rich: Now we follow each other on Twitter too, right and I see –
Debra Pickett: Oh no. Yes, I think we do.
Trisha Rich: Well I just see the #law Twitter sort of exploding these days and for a while — there a lot of lawyers have taken to Twitter for better or worse and I just don’t know — I can never tell if it’s doing lawyers any good. No one has ever reached out to me and said well I saw this really interesting tweet you did, and I’d like to hire you as my attorney, that is just never happened to me. I’m @_trishrich if anybody wants to follow me and hire me for my Twitter, they can find me there. Do you think that — I mean what do you think about lawyers on Twitter?
Debra Pickett: So, I mean first of all, my entire staff begs me on a regular basis to get off of Twitter. So they have applied all of their media expertise just saying that it’s a bad idea to be on Twitter, so that’s — I guess that’s just my issue.
There’s one really compelling reason to be on Twitter besides the sad fact that you may be addicted to it like I am, and that is that that journalists are there, and the media is absolutely centered on Twitter as their sort of social media vehicle of choice and expression of choice.
And so if you are as I am and part of my business interested in engaging with journalists, it’s the place to be. So, going back to that whole idea of who is your audience and who do you need to be in the virtual room with you, if you need to be in a virtual room with lots of reporters and editors and producers, Twitter is where you need to be. For the vast majority of lawyers that serves no good purpose.
Trisha Rich: I will not tell you how many times my law firm has come to me and asked me to remove a tweet, it is more than once and fewer than five, but I will say, yeah, it’s — definitely Twitter is not a safe space, but I noticed the same thing that you noticed that there’s a lot of journalists and it’s actually like a really important place to get news, but what about if you are a lawyer who wants to become a media source, right, you want to be the person that the Tribune is calling when there’s an important labor and employment case or a big personal injury verdict or something like that. Do you think that making initial connections to journalists, that Twitter at least lends itself to that, or is there just too much noise on the platform now?
Debra Pickett: I think at this point there is so much noise on the platform that I’m not sure how valuable it truly is for that kind of novel one-on-one connection, and as you know my firm and the team that I work with, we’re largely journalists ourselves by background who’ve come into doing this work and the value that we add for the clients that we work with is that we have — pre-existing relationships in those places and can make introductions to those people that, that sort of help folks jump the line to be those kinds of expert sources.
It’s so tough in this environment to break through without something like that, because those newsrooms are getting smaller and smaller, there are fewer and fewer people in them who are covering more and more stuff, they’re expected to produce more and more stuff and they’re just — they’re deluged by emails, tweets, pitches constantly, and so they’re only going to respond to the ones that really grab them and quite often that’s because it’s from someone that they already know.
Trisha Rich: But that said, you can certainly get attention on Twitter and maybe every now and then it’s good attention.
Debra Pickett: Yeah.
Trisha Rich: I will say — a mutual friend of ours in the media, Deb once told me like man if I get another law firm pitching me it’s pro bono story. I’m going to hurt myself, and so I do have the sense that that — there’s just these print journalists especially just have it well, maybe not especially, but there’s just a lot of noise out there and it’s really hard to break through. So –
Debra Pickett: It is, it’s really tough and so the larger firms, the firms that have either their own dedicated communications folks or work with an external agency, just have naturally a leg up in that because they are — they’re getting expertise in how to make those connections, it’s really tough at an individual lawyer level to be able to do that.
Trisha Rich: Well, and you make a good point there because most CBA members are solo practitioners or small firms or and lawyers at small firms, that is the vast majority of the CBA membership.
So, for those people in particular would you say, I mean this is a very much — this is like the equivalent of the softest ball question I’ve ever asked, would you say it would be helpful for them to hire somebody like you, Deb?
Debra Pickett: Why funny you should ask, and quite honestly, I mean we love doing that work for sure, but in truth — you guys don’t tell anybody that I said this. For the most part you don’t need a lot of media, you need to be in front of the people who are going to hire you and sometimes you can gain visibility and gain credibility with those folks by being in the media. But for the vast majority of — small firms, solo practitioner lawyers, like being on the front page of the New York Times or being in the Wall Street Journal, it’s not going to do a lot for you. The odds that the person who is likely to hire you happens to be looking at that even though there are millions of eyes on it, you’re not necessarily hitting the right people.
Better placements and better positioning for you is much more in the trade journal or the industry journal that speaks to the folks that you’re working with. And so as much as folks might want to be sort of on TV or on a talk show or doing something that’s very splashy, like being the expert lawyer who writes a piece in transport topics about — a publication to which I subscribe, that weighs in on some new regulatory development that’s super relevant for long-haul trucking companies. You are much more like that’s your niche — you’re much more likely to get those people that way than you are by being the subject of some splashy feature in a bigger business or media publication.
So, I think adjusting your thinking about this sometimes is a little bit necessary too.
Trisha Rich: That’s just a really timely example, because I think I think you know my husband’s a maritime lawyer which is also a very niche practice and –
Debra Pickett: Niche.
Trisha Rich: Niche, a very, very narrow group of lawyers and we recently had this ship in the Suez Canal and everybody wanted to talk to him about it and it was really interesting to see being in a national newspaper like some of our relatives would see it or something but like there’s nobody in the shipping industry that saw something in USA today, that’s like I want this guy to be my maritime lawyer.
Debra Pickett: No, that’s exactly right, sometimes there’s the there’s the agenda of sort of you know wanting that attention for whatever the reasons are that you want that attention and then there’s the business development agenda. And so you know to be very sort of pragmatic and business mind about it and to Jen’s point too about the limited time that people have on their hands right, how can they use that resource most wisely. It’s probably to be narrow right in their thinking.
And speak to someone who is really going to value speaking to you as opposed to trying to get yourself covered in the bigger news outlet.
Trisha Rich: So that kind of exposure probably cannibalizes time, you could be spending doing things that are more targeted towards the people that actually as you said actually would hire you.
Debra Pickett: Right.
Trisha Rich: And it probably acts as a bit of a red herring then?
Debra Pickett: I think it does and I think you know we value it differently because we see how the big firms do it that they very often have you know a couple of super high profile partners who are out there all the time and then the whole organization hopefully benefits from that high profile. But you don’t have the same kind of trickle-down idea and I’m not sure that it totally works in that context either, but it for sure doesn’t work for smaller firms.
So yeah, it’s a bit of a distraction and I say that as someone who obsessively consumes and produces legal media.
Trisha Rich: Fair enough. I want to talk about a couple more things before we run out of time today. First of all, when you and I first met and I think as we realized when we were putting this podcast together, Jen was there too, all three of us met on the same day. I guess the better way to say it is, Jen and I both met you on the same day many years ago at the Chicago Bar Association and you were doing a presentation there that day on lawyer marketing and you talked specifically about awards and like recognitions and other things that lawyers can get, and I remember very specifically you talking about the Law Bulletin’s 40 Under Forty and saying in that room like, this is something you can do, which was the first time it ever occurred to me that that was something that I could do. I retained you and you helped me put my material in and I was in the Law Bulletin’s 40 Under Forty the following year.
And I just thought that was really important and helpful to me in my career. And I just wondered if you could talk about that for a minute, because I think for our listeners — I mean one of the things that you’ve taught me is that those kinds of recognitions don’t just sort of fall into your lap. I was just like sitting in your office one day and somebody calls you, Adam Harissa(ph) calls you and it says congratulations we’ve selected you right, you really have to put yourself out there and I wondered if you could talk about that for a couple of minutes, because I found that incredibly valuable as a younger attorney?
Debra Pickett: Oh, for sure, I’m so happy to hear that. Well yeah and the title of that presentation was Shameless – The Art of Self-Promotion, that’s a talk that I still give a version of from time to time because it really does come down to that. I mean you really do have to be a little bit shameless in promoting yourself.
I mean if I had a dime for every time, I had the conversation with an attorney at one of the firms that we work with about an Award nomination and the attorney saying, oh I don’t know, really me, really, I don’t know is this my year. just as I said to all the people in that room. I’ll say to virtually anyone who’s listening to this, like this is — it is a knowable thing to know how to do and it is within your grasp to do it, but like everything else that we’ve talked about it does take a certain amount of discipline.
And so that, that list in particular, which I think has been such a great kind of launching vehicle for a lot of young Chicago lawyers, because of the way it’s structured because so you’re part of a class each year and there’s an event around it and there’s some communication around it and it really — it drives not only visibility and gives you a really nice marketing boost but then also kind of helps create and cement some relationships for you.
But it’s — yeah, it is not just a thing where you can write a really great essay about yourself and be rewarded for your excellence. It’s something that takes soliciting multiple nominations from multiple people who are familiar with multiple aspects of your work and kind of weaving them together into a single campaign that tells the whole story of what you’ve been doing in your career up until that point, anybody can do it because you can sit down and you know sort of what the things are that they’re looking for, they’re very clear about they’re looking for someone with professional excellence with “extracurricular involvement” that does some service to the profession through bar associations. You can see what the requirements are, you can work towards meeting those requirements and you can build relationships with people who will document the things that you’ve done to meet them.
So there’s — there’s a very clear formula, it’s not secret, and if it’s a goal and if it’s something that’s going to be valuable, you can you can absolutely work on getting there.
Trisha Rich: That’s awesome. I just found that so valuable and I just think — I have now given that advice to many of the associates I work with which is just it boils down to number one, try, right. This is a thing you can try at and then number two there’s just like a little bit of just like believe in yourself, and I think for attorneys they’re so busy like learning how to practice law and doing all these other things that they just don’t think about putting themselves forward for recognition all the time.
Jennifer Byrne: I think the meeting that you gave this presentation at was an alliance for women meeting and that sort of segues into my follow-up question, which is I think female attorneys, divorce attorneys in particular face — I mean it’s no secret that they face some unique challenges and sort of breaking into building a book of business that maybe the white male counterparts do not.
What’s some specific advice that you have for women for minorities who might not feel like they’re in the club or any person frankly who has a sense of outsider syndrome or what have you that just doesn’t think that the legal profession has an avenue for them, so break into different opportunities?
Debra Pickett: Yeah, that’s such a great question and one that we wrestle with all the time, because there are obviously systemic issues there that that no individual person can tackle or should be asked to tackle, right. But there are individual strategies that folks can employ that hopefully help them navigate those systemic challenges, right. And so, one of the things that we know first of all like the whole idea of impostor syndrome right.
So, we see this and I think we — it’s particularly gendered in my experience. So a lot of times we’re in the position in my firm of a reporter is looking for an expert source on a particular subject and so we have our kind of roster of clients and we’re looking for someone who can speak to that attorney on this issue.
And when we approach a woman attorney and say you know oh, can you talk about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. She will say, oh my gosh you know I’ve only done three or four of those cases. I don’t know if I really could. And if we call a male attorney very often, they will say well I’ve never done one but I can read up on it if you give me 10 minutes and then I’ll be able to do the interview.
It’s — that’s a pretty remarkable difference, right. So part of it is just –
Trisha Rich: I’m shocked to hear that.
Debra Pickett: So part of it is just be aware, that that’s what’s happening on the other side, right and recognize that you have the ability to do that too, and that you have the ability to sort of give yourself a crash course in these things or that you are probably already qualified for them. And the other thing is that you know I think we’ve seen a lot of the reports who are looking at some of these challenges that underrepresented folks face is that they do they feel invisible because they’re not present in at the golf club event or at this alumni event or whatever.
And so you know the idea of being a self-promoter is literally about making yourself visible, right, about documenting the things that you do and the things that you know and putting them forward in a way that they are not invisible anymore, right that they are truly seeable by the people who are looking and so I think at a firm level certainly now there is increased awareness among firm leadership that if they come to us at Page 2 and are talking to us about marketing and we ask them sort of you know who are the faces of your firm that you want to be putting forward to the market, basically they don’t come to us anymore with the faces of 12 middle-aged White guys. If they did, we would say really.
So they’re starting to — I think there’s some recognition that on the part of firms that they have to put forward people who look like the market that they serve, and so as individual attorneys you can help your firms do that by making sure that you are visible and ready and able to take those opportunities when they do come.
Jennifer Byrne: Deb, I want to move to one last thing before we run out of time today. So your company and you specifically have recently pivoted back into the media business and now you’re publishing De Novo Business, a new newsletter that you guys have been working on for a few months. So can you just tell us a little bit about that and why as an attorney — why would I want to read this?
Debra Pickett: Yeah, and why would I as an entrepreneur want to go in the publishing business?
Jennifer Byrne: All excellent questions.
Debra Pickett: Yeah, it’s denovobrief.com, it’s a subscription service that is really targeting law firm leaders and emerging leaders with the idea that — just as we talked about reporters being deluged with information, we are all deluged with information and when you want to get at business information in particular you want just kind of a quick deep dive on what’s going on in a particular industry, because you’re going to talk to a client who’s in that industry or you’re going to make a pitch to do some business in that industry.
We have a team of folks who go and spend their day consuming all kinds of business media, so all of those little industry and trade journals that I was talking about, transport topics, and aerospace today and quick service restaurant, digest, and all these different things, right, and pull out the important pieces from them and put together quick little summaries of them so that you can go and search on the site, hey food service industry and see the biggest most important kind of trends and news in the recent weeks in that industry so that you’re able to be conversant on those topics.
And then the other thing that we’re doing is creating some original content that’s taking business school and consulting language. So if you think about like the kinds of articles that you might see in a Harvard Business Review, taking that sort of business intelligence and leadership training content and really translating it specifically into the law firm context.
So the specific challenges that law firm leaders have and how they need to tackle them, we’re pulling together a lot of expert advice on that stuff.
So amazingly enough for all the media that’s out there we found a little niche that wasn’t quite well served.
Jennifer Byrne: Excellent and tell our listeners again where they can sign up for that?
Debra Pickett: Yep, it’s denovobrief.com.
Jennifer Byrne: Excellent, and with that I think we will head into our second break and we’ll be back in just a minute with stranger than legal fiction.
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Trisha Rich: And welcome back to our award winning @theBar podcast. We are back for segment three with our guest Debra Pickett from Page 2 Communications. Now, I know you’ve never been on the podcast before, Deb, so I’m going to go over the rules of this life-changing game where you could potentially win up to one million dollars but it could also be zero.
So we always end our podcast with this game stranger than legal fiction in which Jen and I have researched and have brought with us today two laws from anywhere in the world, one of which is true and on the book somewhere and one of which is not true and we will take turns guessing for all of the glory in the whole world.
So Jen, do you want to kick us off today?
Jennifer Byrne: Sure. I will start with a quiz that is dedicated to my three-year-old daughter who is obsessed with bunny rabbits, so I wouldn’t read this to her because it involves some violence against rabbits, but the first proposed potential is it real or is it fake law is, in the State of Wyoming it is illegal to use a rabbit pelt to make any form of clothing, that’s number one.
The second is in the State of Wyoming it is illegal to take a picture of a rabbit from the months of January through April? Which is real, which is fake?
Debra Pickett: All right, I’m going to say the winter spring privacy, yeah, you can’t you can’t take a picture of a bunny during that time.
Trisha Rich: Okay.
Jennifer Byrne: Trisha.
Trisha Rich: In a stranger than legal fiction first Jen I think, I also researched Wyoming laws today.
Jennifer Byrne: Stop.
Trisha Rich: And so I know the answer to this and will respectfully bow out.
Jennifer Byrne: Okay, well the answer is that Deb is correct.
Debra Pickett: Yes.
Jennifer Byrne: It is illegal to take a picture of a rabbit from January through April in the State of Wyoming and hey look, I’ve been accused of not shepardizing on this podcast by one Jon Amarilio, so I’m not going to give an in-depth research history, however I will tell you that the website that I found this on says that the origins of this law are difficult to trace but it’s been speculated that the law was created to protect the people of Wyoming from the harsh winters and dangerous wildlife.
So hey, take for that what you will. I hope I don’t have Amarilio coming for me for not properly researching the –
Trisha Rich: Well, I can confirm that I also ran across that one. I did not use that one today but I did see it.
Jennifer Byrne: Okay, that’s good. I’m glad — I didn’t poach your law but –
Trisha Rich: Okay so, yeah this is interesting. So I’m concerned that Jen may have a leg up on you Deb, but I — my smart money is on you, so let’s go. All right, my two laws are number one, in Wyoming it is illegal to wear a hat in a public theater or at a public amusement if it obstructs the view of another person or number two, in Hawaii as a matter of law you can only have one drink in front of you at any given time.
So I’m going to — Jen, do you know?
Jennifer Byrne: No, I don’t know.
Trisha Rich: Okay excellent, I’m still going to have Debra go first though so.
Jennifer Byrne: Okay.
Trisha Rich: Deb what’s the real law and what’s the fake law?
Debra Pickett: Oh man. I am going to go with the Hawaii one drink at a time, that that feels legit.
Trisha Rich: Jen, what do you say?
Jennifer Byrne: I’m going to second — I’m going to second Deb on that one. I think that one sounds legit too.
Trisha Rich: It was a legit law. It was repealed a while ago. So, it is still law in Wyoming that you cannot wear a hat in a public theater if it obstructs the view of another person, which why they have to codify that instead of just being polite, I don’t know. I don’t know.
Jennifer Byrne: Yeah, it feels like they’re doing some over legislating.
Trisha Rich: What is going on in Wyoming?
Jennifer Byrne: I don’t know. I mean they must not have — I don’t know that maybe they don’t have enough going on, they just got to think of things, like someone was inconvenienced, got really mad about this they –
Trisha Rich: One of the seven people in Wyoming was wearing a hat in theater and someone legislator.
Debra Pickett: Right in front of the other people, yeah that’s amazing.
Jennifer Byrne: Like I’m not mad about the law like I’m happy that you know people would be you know not wearing hats in front of another person in the theater if we ever get back into theaters again.
Trisha Rich: Right if when right, or if we ever get back to Hawaii again, I’m glad to know that I can have as many drinks in front of me. It is –
Debra Pickett: That is a relief.
Trisha Rich: Well that is our show for today. I want to thank our guest Debra Pickett of Page 2 Communications for her time and this very interesting conversation. I hope that it helps some of our listeners out there. I also want to thank my co-host and our executive producer Jen Byrne of the Chicago Bar Association and everybody at the Legal Talk Network family. They are truly the very best in the business and we are very grateful to work with them.
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Until next time for everyone here at the Chicago Bar Association. Thank you for joining us and we’ll see you soon @theBar.
Podcast transcription by Tech-Synergy.com