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Got a match? When I took my first job as a law firm marketing director in 1984 (for the Denver firm Holland & Hart), there was very little precedent for legal services marketing. In fact, that is what I loved so much about my new job. Having spent the 10 previous years developing marketing strategies for everything from life insurance to German beer to computer retailers, I relished the intellectual challenge in this no-rules environment.
Okay, there were some rules. The Code of Professional Conduct, of course. And the unspoken rules of decorum. (“Don’t you think using lawyers’ first names in their biographies is a little, er, unseemly?”) But in terms of the “science” of it all, I and those like me were truly going where no one had been before.
And it was a ton of fun figuring it all out. We had to walk a fine line between the uselessness of doing things the way “we’ve always done them here” and triggering the organizational immune system by doing something that was a little too far over the top. And, just to make things more difficult, “the top” was a constantly moving target.
Now I can smile at the title of this issue’s cover story: “Rewriting the Rules” (smile). How great it is to have come so far that there are actually rules to be broken, as well as precedent to reference. We’ve come a long way—as the stories of the creative-thinking rule-breaking lawyers in this issue prove. From business development training to blogging and on to viral marketing, it’s pretty fresh stuff for practicing lawyers. I think you’ll be inspired. I know I am.
Now, where’d I put that stupid old rule book … and a match?