Attorney Journal, San Diego, Volume 181

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Volume 181, 2018 $6.95

The Introvert Lawyer’s Guide to Networking

Claire E. Parsons Thinking of Relocating Your Business? The City of San Diego May Pay You to Stay

Justine K. Nielsen & Sara G. Neva 19 Secrets that Increase Response to Print Ads

Trey Ryder

Build It or Change? Making Culture Tangible

Jay Connolly

The Future of Law Firm Business Development Belongs to the Bold

Mike O’Horo

The “If-the-Market-KnewMy-Story” Approach to Business Development

Eric Fletcher

Law Firm of the Month

Hickman Robinson LLP, San Diego

Speaking the Language of Real Estate, Business and the Law



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2018 EDITION—NO.181

TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 Nineteen Secrets That Increase Response to Print Ads by Trey Ryder

10 Thinking of Relocating Your Business? The City of San Diego May Pay You to Stay by Justine Nielsen and Sara G. Neva EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER Brian Topor

12 Community News

EDITOR Wendy Price

14 Build It or Change? Making Culture Tangible

CREATIVE SERVICES Skidmutro Creative Partners

by Jay Connolly



PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Griffiths STAFF WRITERS Dan Baldwin Jennifer Hadley CONTRIBUTING EDITORIALISTS Claire E. Parsons Eric Fletcher Jay Connolly Justine K. Nielsen Sara G. Neva Mike O’Horo Trey Ryder WEBMASTER Mariusz Opalka ADVERTISING INQUIRIES SUBMIT AN ARTICLE OFFICE 30211 Avenida De Las Banderas Suite 200 Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 ADDRESS CHANGES Address corrections can be made via fax, email or postal mail.



16 Hickman Robinson LLP, San Diego Speaking the Language of Real Estate, Business and the Law by Dan Baldwin

24 The Introvert Lawyer’s Guide to Networking by Claire E. Parsons

26 The “If-The-Market-KnewMy-Story” Approach to Business Development by Eric Fletcher

28 The Future of Law Firm Business Development Belongs to the Bold by Mike O’Horo


Editorial material appears in Attorney Journal as an informational service for readers. Article contents are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily those of Attorney Journal. Attorney Journal makes every effort to publish credible, responsible advertisements. Inclusion of product advertisements or announcements does not imply endorsement. Attorney Journal is a trademark of Sticky Media, LLC. Not affiliated with any other trade publication or association. Copyright 2018 by Sticky Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without written permission from Sticky Media, LLC. Printed in the USA







“Rick is one of the best lawyers in the country. I call him every time I have any issue in Nevada and would not hesitate to refer him any type of case ofPERSONAL any size.” INJURY PA RTNER ~ C. Michael Alder, Esq., Alder Law, Los Angeles, California CAALA Past President and Former Trial Lawyer of the Year

“I recently co-counseled a serious Las Vegas injury case with Rick Harris and his law firm. Rick’s advocacy and skills are extraordinary, and were instrumental in resolving and maximizing our client’s sizable recovery.” ~ Carl Wolf, Esq., Callaway & Wolf Northern California Super Lawyers San Francisco, California

© 2016 RHLF

19 Secrets That Increase Response to Print Ads by Trey Ryder


ave you ever purchased a display ad in the newspaper and then not received a single call? Or placed an ad in a magazine, only to conclude that no one ever saw it? What went wrong? Here are seven common reasons prospects don’t respond to ads. 1. Prospects don’t see your ad because no graphic image captures their attention. 2. Prospects don’t read your ad because the headline does not promise them anything they want. 3. Prospects don’t respond because your words are weak and uninteresting. 4. Prospects don’t believe what you say. 5. Prospects don’t respond because you don’t present a clear offer. 6. Prospects don’t respond because they don’t know what you want them to do. 7. Prospects intend to respond but they aren’t motivated to act now. They set your ad aside, something else comes up, and you’re history. To help you save money, time and aggravation—and to help you keep from losing business to other lawyers—follow these 19 secrets.

GRAPHICS Secret #1: Make sure your ad contains one large, dark element It may be a heavy black headline, a photograph or an illustration—anything that is big and dark. Try this: Open a newspaper and notice which ad you see first. You’ll discover that the ad that gets your attention right away is the ad that contains the largest and darkest single element. A small ad can draw more attention than a big ad if the small ad contains the largest and darkest element on the page. 6

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018

Secret #2: Make sure your headline is large and bold Narrow typefaces aren’t wide enough to attract attention. So, make sure the font you choose for your headline is large, wide, bold and easy to read. This way, readers scanning the page cannot help but see your headline. And if your headline contains a powerful message, it will seize your prospects’ attention and stop them in their tracks.

Secret #3: Use a simple layout and avoid clutter One large picture works better than several small pictures. You want to help your prospects’ eyes flow smoothly from the top left corner to the bottom right corner of your ad. If you obstruct that flow, make sure the obstruction is a vital part of your advertising message.

Secret #4: Never let your artwork overwhelm your words What you say is always more important than how the ad looks. Don’t use so many photos or illustrations that your reader cannot follow your message. No matter what you are advertising, never let your artwork overwhelm your words. Make sure that your artist understands and abides by this basic commandment.

Secret #5: Do not print words across a photograph or illustration, even if the image appears only faintly on the page When you print words across a photograph, you shoot yourself in the foot because, in most cases, the words are too hard to read. As a result, the reader turns the page and you lose a prospect. If you want to make your ad appear artistic or stylish, find another way—because when you print words on top of pictures, you greatly reduce your ad’s impact. (To see how overprinting can hurt you, look for examples in newspapers or the yellow pages. They are easy to spot because the ads are nearly impossible to read.)

HEADLINES Secret #6: Get the main point of your message into your headline Four out of five readers do not read past the headline. So, if you depend on the body of your ad to tell your story, you are wasting 80% of your money. The headline is the only part of the ad most people read.

Secret #7: Make sure the headline tells your readers how they benefit from hiring your services Every headline has one job: to stop your prospects and get them to read your ad. The quickest and easiest way to stop your prospects is by promising them something they want. So, in your headline, tell your prospects how they will benefit from hiring your services.

Secret #8: Your headline should point out how you are different from your competitors If your prospects do not know how you differ from other lawyers, they have no reason to choose you over someone else. But when prospects value your positive differences, they have good reasons to hire your services. Your headline should instantly convey your competitive advantages, so prospects know immediately what makes you different from everyone else.

COPY Secret #9: Don’t skimp on facts If you want your prospects to hire you, you should answer every question they might ask. This means you’ll be lengthy, but don’t worry. Long copy sells. Not because it’s long, but because it’s complete. If you reach interested prospects, they will read all the copy you give him. But you cannot expect prospects to hire you if they don’t have enough information to decide.

Secret #10: If you make a claim, prove it Support your claims with facts, figures, testimonials, case histories. Words like “experience”, “qualified” and “results” aren’t proof of anything. They are simply unsupported claims. Positive, specific statements build the credibility you need so your prospects believe what you say.

Secret #11: Get to the point—FAST! Your prospect’s first question is always, “What’s in it for me?” Many lawyers take too long to get to the main benefit. Don’t

save your most important benefit until last. Put it in the first paragraph. One basic principle of advertising is to fire your biggest gun first.

Secret #12: Write the way you talk Always use down-to-earth, everyday language. Ask yourself, would most of my prospects understand what I’m saying? When you write in plain English, you increase your ad’s readership. And the better your readership, the better your response. Look for ways to warm up your copy—to make it friendlier and more personal.

Secret #13: Tell prospects what they will lose if they don’t hire your services Remember this important principle: The fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain. This means your prospects fear losing something more than they want to gain or achieve something. Many ads tell prospects what they will gain from hiring your services. But few ads point out what prospects will lose if they do not hire you. Point out to prospects that if they don’t hire you, their situation may persist and could even grow worse. Discuss the problems they could face if they don’t hire you.

Secret #14: Don’t waste words Examine each word in your ad. Is it necessary? Does it help get your prospects to act now? If it doesn’t help, it hurts—because it distracts your readers from the important parts of your message. If you don’t need a word, get rid of it. Lean writing looks better, reads better, and it’s easier to understand. It moves your prospect to action. So, don’t waste words.

Secret #15: Tell your prospects exactly what you want them to do Many lawyer ads do not ask prospects to do anything. They simply hope the readers can figure it out for themselves. If your prospects are interested enough to read your ad, they want to know how to respond. So, tell them what you want them to do: “Call today to schedule a free consultation.” “Register now for our free seminar.” “For full details, visit our website at” If you want your prospects to respond, don’t leave them guessing. Tell them exactly what you want them to do.

OFFERS Secret #16: Invite telephone calls and emails Many people are shy. They want to talk with you, but they know most lawyers are busy. They don’t want to interrupt what you are doing, so they hesitate to call. Eventually, their reluctance Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018


becomes permanent and you have lost another client. Make sure prospects know you welcome their calls and you’re happy to talk with them over the telephone. For many lawyers, email inquiries are a better option because they don’t interrupt what you’re doing. Plus, you can respond when you get a moment.

Secret #17: Make sure your telephone number and your email address are easy to find and easy to read If your prospects read your ad, don’t make it hard for them to respond. Feature your telephone number and email address in large, easy-to-read, bold type. No fancy scripts. No fine print. If your readers can’t find your contact information—or if they have trouble reading it—they won’t bother. They will simply call someone else.

Secret #18: Offer to give advice over the telephone Meeting with you in person is often a burden for prospects. If your hours end at 5 p.m., your prospects may need to take time off work to meet with you. Then they will have to fight traffic


Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018

and find a place to park. Plus, they may have to rush their meeting with you, so they can get back to work on time. When you offer to provide information over the telephone, you make getting advice convenient for your prospects. This helps you establish your credibility in a calm, unhurried telephone call. Then, when you suggest an in-person meeting, your prospects will be more open to your suggestion.

Secret #19: Include a toll-free number so prospects can reach you without paying for a long-distance phone call How many times have you prepared to make a call—and then changed your mind when you learned the call was long distance? Today’s consumers want good service and part of good service is not asking prospects to pay money to call you. If you want to increase response to your ads, provide a tollfree number. n Trey Ryder shares his marketing method with lawyers through a wide range of publications. In addition, he writes and publishes his free e-zine, The Ryder Method™ of Education-Based Marketing. And he maintains the Lawyer Marketing Advisor at He can be reached at:

The Federal False Claims Act Process is Complex Don’t let your client’s case be lost due to hyper-technical procedural mistakes

At Stephen Danz & Associates, our whistleblower attorneys and co-counsel, some with former government-false-claims positions, are experienced federal and California False Claims Act attorneys. We have obtained substantial recoveries for our clients because we understand the laws, the underlying types of fraud, and how to properly present a fraud disclosure claim to the government. We’ve been litigating FCA cases for 30 years, are active participants in the major qui tam attorney organizations, and regularly share expertise with other practitioners. Our co-counsel have extensive experience as former governmentfalse-claims prosecutors, so we know what aspects of the case to focus on to encourage the government to intervene.

Our firm also focuses on:

Wrongful Termination and Retaliation claims

Newest Co-Counsel: Hirst Law Group, P.C. For many years, Mr. Hirst supervised FCA cases for a U.S. Attorney’s Office in California, for which he received a DOJ Director’s Award from Attorney General Janet Reno. Later described by Attorney General John Ashcroft as an “exceptional litigator” and recognized by the Chief of the Forest Service for his “brilliant performance at trial,” Mr. Hirst’s FCA cases have been reported in numerous publications throughout the country and the subject of three books, one of which detailed his handling of a case that resulted in the largest fraud recovery against a single hospital in US history.

Some of the specific types of fraud that can result in substantial recoveries and rewards for whistleblowers are:

✰ Overbilling or billing for services never rendered ✰ Making misrepresentations to support bills for services or goods that were provided ✰ Improperly upcoding for services or goods ✰ Providing unnecessary treatments ✰ Obtaining kickbacks for making referrals ✰ Falsifying credentials ✰ Off-label marketing ✰ Fraud from other business sectors: Securities, Financial services, Aerospace and Defense GENEROUS REFERRAL FEES PAID PER STATE BAR RULES


Hirst Law Group, P.C., has had multiple 8-figure- and 7-figure-FCA recoveries in cases involving health care fraud, defense procurement fraud, grant fraud, and others.


Thinking of Relocating Your Business? The City of San Diego May Pay You to Stay by Justine Nielsen and Sara G. Neva


n an effort to attract and retain high-performing companies, the San Diego City Council this week revamped its 25-yearold Business and Industry Incentive Program, which provides substantial development and business incentives for private capital improvement investments. Entrepreneurs throughout the region will want to make themselves familiar with the new program. The original program—which helped incentivize larger companies like Ballast Point Brewing Company and AleSmith Brewing Company to keep their businesses in San Diego— was intended to attract and retain major revenue and jobgenerating projects throughout San Diego. However, in light of significant changes within the local economy, concerns about the program’s effectiveness for small and mid-sized startups, and new research in economic development best practices, the San Diego City Council voted to replace the original program with a new economic growth program called the Business Incentive Program (“BIP”). The BIP is a significantly different approach to helping San Diego retain and recruit high-performing companies, including small and mid-sized start-up companies, with strong potential for business growth while prioritizing companies committed to supporting San Diego’s workforce, sustainability and economic goals. When implemented, the BIP will authorize the Mayor to award qualifying businesses one or more of the following development and/or business incentives:

above the typical 120 staff hours allocated to one project during a single fiscal year. • Secured and Unsecured Financing Assistance through City loan programs with specialized rates, terms and payment options. • Workforce Development through payments made directly to a company to support hiring or training employees through an existing program offered by the San Diego Workforce Partnership or another program identified in the BIP. To qualify for BIP incentives, a company must, among other things, be considered a “Base Sector Firm.” Base Sector Firms are companies in an industry that produces goods, services, or both, that are customarily sold outside of the region. In the City’s view, a key characteristic of a Base Sector Firm is its ability to move all or a significant portion of its operations to another region without impacting the company’s revenues or negatively impacting its customer base. Companies that demonstrate a viable plan to possess these key characteristics within a two-year period following the date of the company’s application for a BIP incentive may also be considered a Base Sector Firm. In addition to being a Base Sector Firm, the company must demonstrate a viable plan and commitment to accomplish one of the following goals:

• Payment of City Development Fees, including payments on behalf of a company for qualified plan check fees associated with development, building permits and ministerial and discretionary processes.

• (1) Create or retain at least 10 jobs in the City for a minimum of three years after the incentive award date, or (2) within two years after the BIP incentive award date, create or retain at least 10 jobs for a minimum of three years that pay between 80% and 120% of Average Median Income.

• Dedicated Technical Support by City staff in securing City permits and approvals, assistance with preliminary reviews, and advance due diligence for a project under consideration,

• Create or retain at least 3 of the jobs described above, but located within the San Diego Promise Zone, San Diego Opportunity Zone, or a Low and Moderate-Income Census Tract.


Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018

• Complete a new capital investment of more than $5,000,000 to retain, expand or attract a company, or its workforce, products, services, facilities, or general operations within the two-year period immediately after the incentive award date. In addition to the incentives outlined above, the City will consider providing an increased level of incentives to any qualifying company that meets additional criteria to help reach the City’s goal to support workforce, sustainability and economic goals. To be eligible for the BIP, an application must be submitted and reviewed by the City’s Economic Development Department Justine K. Nielsen is a Senior Associate at Procopio and a member of its Real Estate team. She represents private entities and public interest groups on a variety of land use, planning and entitlement matters throughout various stages of the real estate development process. She also focuses on due diligence prior to acquisition, amending general plans and other related statutes.

staff. City staff will then make a recommendation to the Mayor based on consideration of certain public benefits including (1) the cost of the incentive(s) compared to the economic benefits that the project is expected to produce; (2) the impact of the project on the City’s tax base and revenue; (3) a determination the project is not expected to shift economic activity from one area of the City to another; and (4) analysis of whether the project would proceed if the Incentive(s) were not provided. Incentives more than $100,000 must also be approved by the City Council. n

Sara G. Neva is an Associate at Procopio and a member of its Real Estate team. She counsels clients on real estate, finance and general business transactions. Her practice involves real estate property purchase and sale, commercial leases and easements, joint venture formation and other equity investments, financing, land use and entitlements.

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018


COMMUNITY news  The Law Offices of Andy Cook is pleased

to announce that Joshua Yee has joined the practice as an associate attorney. Prior to joining Andy Cook’s practice, which handles family law matters exclusively, Yee worked at two other San Diego family law firms. He received his J.D. from the University of San Francisco and his B.A. from the University of California at San Diego. Josh is a member JOSHUA YEE of the Family Law section of the California Lawyers Association, as well as the Family Law section of San Diego County Bar Association. He is also a member of the San Diego Family Law Bar Association. The Law Offices of Andy Cook is a 23-year-old practice in Bankers Hill headed by Cook, who has been certified for nearly 16 years as a Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization, and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the San Diego County Bar Association (2013-2016).

 Robert J. Francavilla, a partner with

CaseyGerry, was recently inducted as a fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, (IATL).Each year, IATL inducts fellows who have achieved a career of excellence through demonstrated skill and ability in jury trials, trials before the court and appellate practice. Members are engaged ROBERT J. in civil practice on both the plaintiff’s and FRANCAVILLA the defendant’s side of the courtroom and the trial of criminal cases. The Academy invites only lawyers who have attained the highest level of advocacy who are inducted following a comprehensive screening process, which identifies the most distinguished members of the trial bar by means of both peer and judicial review. Francavilla has been lauded on numerous occasions for his trial work and last year was honored as “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (CASD). He has been recognized as an “Outstanding Trial Lawyer” by CASD on six separate occasions. Also, he was named one of California’s top 25 plaintiff’s lawyers by the Daily Journal. He is a past president of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).

 Dinsmore & Shohl LLP attorney Aubrey

Haddach has been appointed to serve another term as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Biotechnology Law Committee for the 2018-2019 bar year. Haddach was first appointed to the leadership position last year after serving as vice-chair for the 2016-2017 bar year. AUBREY HADDACH


Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018

 Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek

announces that shareholder Dan Eaton has assumed the presidency of the Harvard Law School Association (HLSA), an organization serving some 38,000 Harvard Law School alumni across the globe. Eaton received his law degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School DAN EATON in 1989. He has served on the HLSA Executive Committee and as president of the association’s San Diego chapter. Eaton, a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department, concentrates his practice on defending and advising clients on a broad range of employment issues. He has written and spoken extensively on employment law, business and legal ethics, and other legal topics throughout much of his career, often appearing in local print and broadcast media as a legal analyst. Since 2007, he has taught classes in ethical decision-making and, since 2009, employment law at San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business.

 Fish & Richardson principal

Juanita Brooks has been named to the 2018 list of “Top 250 Women in Litigation” by Benchmark Litigation. Brooks, a principal in the firm’s San Diego office, was also named one of the “Top 10 Female Litigators” in the country. Brooks has handled more than 150 trials in her career. JUANITA BROOKS Brooks is an elected member of Fish’s Management Committee. She received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1977 and her B.A. from San Diego State University in 1974.

 On October 20th, 2018, Casa Cornelia Law Center, a

nonprofit public interest law firm, dedicated to providing quality pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations, is hosting its 25th Anniversary Celebration / La Mancha Awards at Shiley Theater, USD Campus (5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA) from 6-9pm. Sponsorship opportunities are available to sustain Casa Cornelia Law Center’s mission of providing quality free legal representation for clients, including unaccompanied children who come to the U.S. fleeing violence, victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in Southern California, and asylum seekers facing socio-political, religious, and ethnic persecution.

 Wilson Turner Kosmo

partners Michael S. Kalt, Meryl C. Maneker, Vickie E. Turner and Claudette G. Wilson were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019. Named to the list each year since 2007, Wilson was also named the Best CLAUDETTE G. WILSON MERYL C. MANEKER Lawyers® 2019 Employment Law – Management “Lawyer of the Year” in San Diego. Kalt has been recognized by Best Lawyers for his labor and employment practice each year since 2014. This marks the second year Maneker was included in a Best Lawyers listing for her work in mass-tort MICHAEL S. KALT VICKIE E. TURNER litigation and class actionsdefendants. Turner has been chosen for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America each year from 2010 through 2018 in the area of product liability litigation-defendants. In addition to her “Lawyer of the Year” employment law-management recognition, Wilson was named by Best Lawyers in the area of labor law-management.  Paul E. Robinson of Hecht Solberg Robinson

Goldberg & Bagley LLP (HechtSolberg) has been named the 2019 San Diego Land Use and Zoning Law “Lawyer of the Year,” an honor he also received in 2014 and 2016, by Best Lawyers in America©. The international attorney-ranking company also designated three lawyers from HechtSolberg among the Best Lawyers in America© in San Diego for 2019 in a total of four practice areas. In addition to Robinson, PAUL E. ROBINSON who was honored in Land Use and Zoning Law and Real Estate Law, the Best Lawyers designees are David W. Bagley II, honored for Real Estate Law, and Darryl O. Solberg, honored for Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) Corporate Law and Real Estate Law. Solberg joined HechtSolberg in 1973, concentrating on both general business and real estate transactions, including business planning and entity structuring and formation, operation and termination of corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies. His practice also includes real property purchases and sales contracts, representation of closely held businesses and publicly traded companies involved in all aspects of real estate and numerous non-profit organizations.

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Build It or Change? Making Culture Tangible by Jay Connolly

30,000 feet. Long-haul travel. I am tired but intrigued about what I am observing. Not the behavior of other passengers, which would be cause for many articles, but the cabin team. There is a tangible difference in the approach, connection and way that many routine air travel activities are being executed. Having now flown with this particular airline a few times, this is not a one-off. Indeed, last year my family was with me—they still talk about that flight, because of the cabin team. With land far below, and only a few hours until I need to step off this flying machine pretending to be fresh and unaffected by the travel, I reflect on what is driving the noticeable difference in the team working and resulting positive impact. Culture—that word that often seems so ambiguous, yet when we experience it we see that it can indeed be so powerful. Is it easier to build a new culture or change what you have? Is this airline blessed with new teams or have they taken conscious steps? Other competitors clearly have tried to make an impact and from my personal experience it seems any change in culture is largely unobservable. The culture in our teams and organizations is far more visible than we believe ... Most of us are likely starting with an existing team, certain organization structures, approaches and perceived norms. So, evolving the culture needs to be our focus – our constant focus. Here are the questions I believe we need to ask ourselves:

1. What’s your first question? At the start of every meeting what are you focusing on? What signals are you sending about the priorities in the team/


Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018

organization? To change the culture, it needs to be on the areas you are seeking to impact.

2. What do you tolerate? We try hard to role model behaviors and lead by example. Yet, be honest, what are the behaviors, actions, comments that you tolerate and do not address? That is what really defines the culture.

3. Are you consistent? We are not perfect, but we need to be more consistent to make the change become the norm. Be repetitive. Try different approaches but stay focused on the outcome. The culture in our teams and organizations is far more visible than we believe. Our clients/customers see far more than we necessarily want them to. Not only is there huge opportunity to achieve more engagement, commitment, performance, impact and success through focusing on culture, we can also demonstrate who we are with greater results to those outside the organization. Our expectations. Our way of doing things. What we value. These things are not amorphous, and they need our attention. Back on the ground, I am trying to remain consistent … n Jay Connolly is the Global Chief Talent Officer of Dentons’ human resources, recruiting and training functions, delivering best practices and ensuring consistent standards across all geographies. He advises the firm’s leaders on opportunities to enhance all aspects of talent management including recruitment, performance management, diversity, training and development, and compensation and benefits programs for everyone at the firm. As part of the Dentons’ leadership team he is focused on building a world-leading HR and talent function. Learn more at:

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018


Speaking the Language of Real Estate, Business and the Law The strength of the team is each member. The strength of each member is the team. –Phil Jackson


obert P. Robinson, Esq. always wanted to lead his own legal team and firm, but early on realized that at the age of 25 with no law experience hanging out a shingle would be at best a risky way to begin a career. He invested the next five years working with a top firm, studying, applying his skills, listening to experienced mentors, and developing a client list before taking the step. When he made the big move it was to a small, single rented desk in the office of a friend. When his associate moved on to another market, he took over the entire office. Soon Robinson, as Managing Partner, was joined by a member of his former firm, Dennis Hickman, now Of Counsel. Kyle Yaege, Partner, joined their legal team four years later. The three have created something of an “all-star team” for clients seeking attorneys who speak the language of business as well as the language of the law. The firm primarily represents business owners, about half of those clients are in real estate such as developers, contractors, brokers, agents, property managers, property owners, hotel owners, architects, investors and in other related fields. The businesses in the other half of their client list varies greatly and ranges from large international companies, to mid-size firms, and sole proprietors operating out of their home. Their clients are in a wide variety of businesses including medical, dental, legal, biopharmaceuticals, restaurants, marketing, technology, web-based businesses, sale of goods, athletes, entertainment and entrepreneurs. 16

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018

One of the key advantages of Hickman & Robinson, LLP is the ability of the management team to “speak business” as well as understanding the equally complex terminology of the law. Robinson was a business major and worked as a real estate agent to pay his way through school and he is still an active investor in real estate and other business ventures. “I like my clients and I think they like me in part because we have a common bond through our business experiences. We have shared many challenges that, if I had worked only in the legal profession, I would never know of or could truly understand,” Robinson says. All the members of this three-attorney team are or have been owners of businesses outside the legal

© Bauman Photographers

Firm Partners: Robert P. Robinson, Dennis P. Hickman and Kyle E. Yaege

field. Robinson and Yaege have practical experience as real estate brokers. Hickman was in the military and ran his own legal practice. Clients, especially real estate professionals, like that their attorneys understand their unique real estate terms and inpractice day-to-day procedures because it increases efficiency, accuracy and the likelihood of “success,” however the client defines that term. Robinson says, “Some attorneys will kill the deal because all they do is point out the problems. But we know the value of a deal. We know the value of the transaction. We know what they’re really trying to accomplish. We’ll advise as to the risks, but we’ll also propose solutions. We understand that sometimes they have to weigh the business benefit vs. the legal detriment.”

The firm is positioned for growth and is looking for their next talented attorney to join their legal team. Their plan is to remain a relatively small, but very efficient and aggressive firm providing top quality service personalized to individual clients. They are perhaps unique in their approach to recruiting new members to their legal team. They do not adhere to the typical stringent quantitative benchmarks to grade a potential attorney’s value. Those factors are important, but only part of the evaluation. Hickman and Robinson places a high value on intangibles, such as rewarding production vs. demanding it. “That may seem like a fine line, but it’s a line that separates delivery of superior service from just providing a service,” Robinson says. The support staff of Hickman & Robinson includes paralegals, law clerks, interns and lead paralegal Courtney Fernandez. Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018


© Bauman Photographers

The Hickman & Robinson Team

An “All-Star Team” for Business Owners Facing Legal Challenges The principles believe in the team concept and operate dayto-day without a formalized hierarchy. Each primary attorney acts in a different capacity. They may act acts as lead counsel on some matters while also acting as support counsel and secondary attorneys for the attorneys on other matters. The unique combination of skills and experiences among the three principles creates an “all-star team” of legal minds for business clients in need of experienced legal counsel. Robinson is described as the tactician of the group. Yaege is the firm’s legal “encyclopedia” and Hickman is the “Pitbull.” Robert P. Robinson handles transactional and litigation in the practice areas of business/corporate law and real estate law. He was named to the 2015 and 2016 Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. He was named as a Semi-Finalist in Construction Law by the San Diego Daily Transcript, and he was named to the Best of the Bar by the San Diego Business Journal. Robinson also served as a legal analyst and legal contributor on radio and television, appearing on such shows as Politics & Profits, America Trends, and Real Talk San Diego. “I think it is vitally important for the firm and more so 18

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018

for our clients that someone sees the big picture. It’s just as important that someone also sees the sometimes minute details that can swing a case one way or another. We’re all great at collaborating on those matters and in coming up with the best possible legal solution for the unique challenge at hand,” Robinson says. Kyle E. Yaege has almost a decade of experience as an attorney in Southern California helping hundreds of clients ranging from Fortune 500 banks, to local sole proprietors and individual persons. His practice areas are real estate acquisition/disposition/workout, real estate asset and property management, real estate syndication and development, construction law, Business law, professional license defense, creditor and transferee bankruptcy representation, debt enforcement, and employment law. Robinsons says, “Kyle is our legal encyclopedia. He just knows everything. For example, Hickman likes to ask him an obscure legal question such as what happened in an 1830 English Law case and he will know it. He knows the law better than any attorney I know.” Dennis P. Hickman is the firm’s “Pitbull,” particularly in the courtroom. His focus is entirely on litigation. After serving in the military, he has more than 30 years of experience

© Bauman Photographers

Robert P. Robinson

© Bauman Photographers

practicing law, has an AV Preeminent Rating with Martindale-Hubbell, and was named to the Top Lawyers list by San Diego Magazine. “He has the biggest heart. He’s a really good guy, but in the courtroom he’s a pretty scary character. The three of us achieve a great balance. We complement each other well and whatever the issue may be we know whose office to walk into,” Robinson says. Some of the challenges the firm will soon face come within or are related directly to the legal industry in California. A new case affecting business practice (Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County) affects the relationship between employers and independent contractors, which has been a big issue in the state for some time. The definitions and the requirements related to independent contractor relationships have become more stringent. Many businesses and businesspersons are coming to Hickman and Robinson for consultation on determining if and how they should modify their business structure to change independent contractors to permanent employees. The issue is complex, matters are becoming more specialized, and the need to remain informed and up-to-date on changes in the law is paramount. “Our clients trust us. They know we’re on top of things, which will keep them on top of things in their own business practices,” Robinson says.

Successful Cases Mean Satisfied Clients

Dennis P. Hickman © Bauman Photographers

Yaege says, “Many business and real estate boutique firms will only practice transactional or will only practice litigation, while we do both. I think that gives us an advantage over some other small firms, because as we are handling a transaction, we truly understand how the contract provisions could be litigated. And vice versa.” He compares the manner of operating as being similar to how some of the best criminal defense attorneys previously worked at the DA’s office or how many of the best hitters in baseball were pitchers in high school. If an attorney understands the other side of things, his side of things becomes much clearer. Adapting to unexpected changes or challenges is more efficient and better targeted toward creating a successful outcome. The philosophy and the careful approach has worked well for the firm and for their clients. In 1982 Hickman was lead counsel representing the newspaper in KSDO v. Feinstein, which is a case establishing the scope of a newspaper’s privilege not to disclose confidential sources or unpublished materials. This leading case on the topic is still cited and relied upon, and is increasingly relevant in today’s political climate. Robinson was counsel in a relatively recent 4th District Published Case concerning a right of first refusal and right of first offer as applied to a commercial lease agreement. The case has been cited numerous times in subsequent opinions. He was even happier with the result when his file clerk, who was at the time a UCSD pre-law student, called to say how excited she was that her class was studying the case in their contracts course. Testimonials from satisfied clients continually arrive to prove the effectiveness of their approach. Such testimonials are due in large part to the application of the firm’s strategies for handling details and adapting to change. Sometimes

Kyle E. Yaege

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018


Robert P. Robinson comes onto Jesse’s Secret Stash to talk about real estate and business law.

clients come in with problems, often serious challenges, yet they don’t have a clear idea of what a successful outcome should be. Once their attorney meets with them, learns to understand their position, and is able to accurately define a desired end result they can explain not only that definition, but also how the firm will proceed with achieving it. Equally important is the firm’s client-centric approach, in which each member of the team contributes to a culture focused on building relationships, personally engaging with clients, and creating an environment for continuing growth and success. “It’s not always about ‘winning,’ it’s about being successful in whatever it is that is going to help the client. We have to bore down on the details and be ready to adapt to each client’s needs and to do what it takes to work towards the client’s success,” Robinson says. n Contact Hickman Robinson LLP 701 B Street Suite 1310 San Diego CA 92101

Robert Robinson conducts business with such a high level of professional and personal integrity rarely found these days and continues to be one of the most effective attorneys I have had the honor to represent me. The level of integrity and honesty in this man and as an attorney is remarkable. Combine these traits with his very meticulous understanding of the laws and you have an attorney of all attorneys in every aspect of his practice areas. If you are looking for a professional, knowledgeable law firm, that will yield results that are always pursuing your best interests even when you are unaware of it, then I highly recommend having Hickman Robinson represent your legal business and real estate legal needs. –Kelly Turner, Raddison Blu


Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018



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Ten years ago, Chuck Dick began volunteering with Casa Cornelia Law Center, a public interest law firm helping victims of human and civil rights violations. Chuck’s first Casa Cornelia client fled Eritrea, crossed several countries –often on foot– and sought asylum at the U.S. border. “After learning his story and helping him through the asylum process, I was hooked.” Since then, Chuck has helped many pro bono Casa Cornelia clients, including asylum seekers and women victimized by human traffickers and abusive relationships. He now represents a mother who fled Nigeria with her two daughters, to escape the traditional practice of female genital mutilation. On October 20, Casa Cornelia will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the annual La Mancha Awards. Chuck will be recognized as the Distinguished Pro Bono Attorney of the Year. Other volunteers and supporting law firms will also be recognized. To attend the event, volunteer, donate, or learn more, visit A mediator and arbitrator at JAMS, Chuck focuses on antitrust, business and commercial, securities, employment, personal injury, and professional liability disputes. Charles Dick is not affiliated with the Vosseller Law Firm.

After each case, we donate a portion of attorney’s fees to a nonprofit chosen by the client.




The Introvert Lawyer’s Guide to Networking by Claire E. Parsons


few years ago, a meme that I found hilarious circulated the internet. It read “Introverts of the world unite! Separately. In your own homes.” That meme is both true and not true, and maybe that’s why it is funny. It is true because introverts tend not to like large group activities, but it is also not true because it doesn’t mean they can’t do the things that we tend to categorize as activities for extroverts. I’m a trial lawyer, I love public speaking, and I am an introvert. Networking is a part of professional life for most lawyers, even introverts like me. Over the years, I’ve picked up some strategies that have allowed me to do the networking I have to do to advance my practice without draining myself or causing too much suffering. Here they are.

1. Follow Your Passion In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking Susan Cain identifies Eleanor Roosevelt as an introvert. Yes, the indomitable and expectation-defying First Lady is classified as someone who preferred quiet life and enjoyed solitude or small groups. How did Roosevelt manage to do the work she had to do as First Lady? Cain posits that she followed her passion. In other words, Roosevelt was motivated to positively impact the world and drew courage and inspiration from that. There’s a good lesson here for all of us. Networking for lawyers does not have to follow any set path. To do it well, you just need to get out of your office and engage with the community. Find a cause that matters to you or even something you just find fun and go for it. When you really believe in a cause or just enjoy an activity, you will likely find it much easier to handle large group activities or even public speaking.

2. Know the Power of One Networking often gets conflated with attending networking events, like happy hours, but that is not the only way to do it. Introverts are experts at the inner life, so we may be 24

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better at finding ways to deeply connect with people in a way that others will remember for a long time. Capitalize on this skill! Don’t underestimate the value of one-on-one or small group lunch dates. Don’t forget that your book club with a few friends is still networking. The goal of networking is to expand your social circle and build your reputation with new people. If you keep at it, consistently and over time, you will expand your reach substantially even if you meet only a few new people at a time. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your office to expand and tend to your network. One of my favorite things to do is to write notes to friends and contacts. This may seem small but can have huge benefits. In the Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell discussed the impressive social network that one well-known connector developed in part by sending birthday cards to all the loose contacts he developed in his daily life. In other words, networking does not have to be big and flashy. If it is consistently and authentically done, small acts over time can help even the quietest of introverts develop an impressive and loyal social network.

3. Grin and Bear It As we all know, nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. Thus, at a certain point, most lawyer introverts are going to have to learn to deal with larger social events at least part of the time. If you treat yourself with compassion and keep trying, this will eventually get easier. Early in my practice, I hated going to networking events because it made my feeling of being a kid play-acting at being a lawyer go into overdrive. I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know what to say. And it just felt awkward and awful. My answer: I joined the happy hour committee with my local chamber of commerce and eventually chaired it. As a committee member, it was my job to not only attend but also welcome new attendees. I found that, because it was my job, it was a lot easier to approach new people and start conversations. With practice and over

time, I built skills and new contacts. After a few months, the conversation was effortless and even fun. In other words, introversion is a tendency, but it doesn’t have to be a destiny. With time and attention, you can build skills and confidence that make large social interactions much less challenging and more fun.

4. Remember to Recharge I must return to Susan Cain here because her book is one that all introverts should read since her definition of introversion is the best I’ve heard. She defines introverts as people who in general crave less—not socialization—but stimulation. This often translates as an avoidance of large social activities because those tend to be the circumstances in which introverts may become over stimulated, worn down, or grumpy. In large social gatherings, there is stimulation galore: activity, noise, and the stress of coming up with things to say. When I went through leadership development programs, I often jokingly called the sessions an “introvert’s nightmare” because we would travel around in groups of 40 or more all day, without any real break, and often in close quarters. I loved the people in these programs, but this was exhausting. The thing that helped me the most was making a concerted effort to recharge whenever I had the chance. If we got even

a short break, I would go meditate or take a quick walk by myself. If we didn’t, I brought headphones and took 5 minutes to meditate or listen to calming music on the bus. These small breaks helped me rest and recharge, so I did not get overstimulated and could enjoy the rest of the activities. You don’t have to meditate necessarily, but if you can find a way to relax (i.e., manage your intake of stimulation) before or after large social activities, it may help you be present for and enjoy them more. In short, networking is something introvert lawyers can and should do. But networking for introverts may not look exactly like networking for extroverts. And you know what? That’s okay. All lawyers must find a style of practice that works for them, so it makes sense that we all must also find a style of networking that suits our personalities. In sum and to borrow from another meme, I say to my fellow introvert lawyers, keep calm and network. n Claire E. Parsons practices in the firm’s Government Practice and Commercial Litigation practice groups. She focuses her practice on Civil Rights Litigation, Employment Law, School Law, Special Education and Domestic Relations. This article was first published on Ms. JD with the Writers in Residence program. To learn more about Claire E. Parsons, please visit:

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Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018


The “If-The-MarketKnew-My-Story” Approach to Business Development by Eric Fletcher


here is a basic principle in communication theory— shared experiences form the basis for the most effective communication. Where Communication Occurs

Your Field of Experiences

Target’s Field of Experiences

Even if we did not formally study the science, most of us have first-hand experience with the validity of the principle— in intimate, social and professional settings alike. In the space where experiences of the communicator overlap with those of the audience, there is a common vernacular, similar concerns and dreams. Invest in identifying this common ground, and then use it as the foundation for your approach to connecting, and efforts are more efficient and productive. But when it comes to marketing, business development and sales strategies, we frequently opt to skip over this basic building block. In part, we can blame this on the fact that so many distribution channels are accessible and affordable. Once we have a product, service or cause, the temptation is to waste no time, and plunge headlong into shouting our story from every virtual rooftop available.


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If the market knew our story, we reason out-loud … it would beat a path to our door is the unspoken inference. Yet even in the wake of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we continue to focus on our story—from the breadth of our expertise to extraordinary talent (we only hire from the top 10%!); from our commitment to diversity to locations that make us virtually omnipresent … to anything else we can come up with that announces our availability. This is, after all, how it worked for professional service providers for decades—go to the right school, hang a nice shingle, do good work, follow the path and the market will find you. And though no one really believes it was the shingle that attracted the clients, we seem willing to believe that the contemporary shingles—a logo, a (clever) tag-line, and some finessed copy on a freshly minted website will make all the difference to today’s marketplace. We just need to get the word out there. Notwithstanding the existence and value of all the communication and marketing tools available today, wherever just-get-our-name-out-there is the refrain, the results likely look and sound the same as the competition’s. And organic growth is slow-to-nonexistent. When it comes for business development and marketing conversations, ROI is questioned. And eventually tactics (masquerading as new strategy) shift one more time.

This Time Begin with the Principle There is a way to create awareness that differentiates, takes advantage of all the distribution channels to reach the right audience, and even prompts the market to take a step in your direction. Just go back to that basic principle.

Effective Communication Begins with the Identification of Where Your Experiences Align with the Experiences of Your Target Market It is a simple equation. But for many, the difficulty exists in what the equation presumes—that a target has been identified. We mentioned the temptation above—to jump right in, grab the nearest tool, and broadcast our story to all within earshot … all the while assuming the power to deliver the market lies within an accounting of our skills, insights, and— provided we have enough time and space—our experiences. Yet, we know the verdict even before we begin. All the available communication channels notwithstanding—it is impossible to create a message relevant to everyone. When it comes time to precipitate the action that ultimately results in new business, the marketplace is littered with websites, ad campaigns, blogs, and social media feeds that promise everything … and all sound alike. Granted, knowing where to begin when it comes to target identification is challenging. But an important step is to beware the “anyone-who-needs-what-I-do” trap. The real estate lawyer who says “just put me in touch with anyone doing a real estate deal” is sacrificing the leverage that comes with being able to address specific issues, needs, and experiences. And the only way we can be certain we’re connecting with what our audience cares about, is to begin with a target. (By the way … the definition of “target” is not limited to one with hiring authority; but that is a topic for another post.) The more removed we are from being able to name a target, the more likely our strategy is little more than a hope that the market somehow find our door. Or our email address.

Get Targeting Right, and the Second Stumbling Block Is Easy to Avoid Here are three questions that frame a very simple target identification process: • Who do I want to work with? • Can I map relationships that connect me to the hiring authority? If not, • What must be accomplished to create that relationship map? Once a target is identified, a basic plan of action revolves around learning what the hiring authority cares about— that is, learning the relevant field of experiences. This is the intentional listening part of the equation. It includes market

analysis, research, and input from “coaches” identified during the relationship mapping process. Past experiences, future challenges, personal preferences—all of this serves to map the target’s field of experiences and help develop an understanding of what the market cares about. Invest in research—listen intently—and your target market will tell you what it will take to stand out and make contact—even in a crowded marketplace. Sure … if an offering is both one-of-a-kind (or scarce), and in high demand, announcing the unique availability may be all that is required to generate a wave of new business. Take the news of your service to the rooftops and commence shouting. But most of us exist in a competitive and noisy marketplace. Connecting is difficult enough; drawing a distinction between the services we offer and those of our competition requires more than just getting our message out there. It seems worth noting for the record that your most rewarding business development efforts will almost always be the byproduct of relationships. There are several reasons this is the case; but it is inescapable that one is in the context of building and nurturing a relationship our efforts are focused. Targeted, if you will. Once a target has been identified, the marketing toolbox—content, events, PR, and the myriad of ways to go-to-market—will become a valued if not coveted resource. Several the questions we wrestle with—should I be on Twitter … what about Linked In … should I speak, or blog, or volunteer … or all the above—become much less vexing. You’ll begin to consider these issues in the context of what your target cares about—that relevant field of experience. If we as marketers and service providers exchanged some of the resources we often invest in getting our story out there for an equal portion of target identification and intentional listening designed to find that highly productive space where our experiences—professional and personal—align with what our target cares about we might find ourselves in the midst of wholly new conversations when it comes to business development. n Eric Fletcher is a seasoned marketing/business development executive, a published author and speaker. He advises professional service firms on strategic planning, growth, marketing, communication and sales. He authors the Marketing Brain Fodder Blog, is recognized among the “50 Marketing Thought Leads” by Brand Quarterly Magazine, ranks among the 50 most followed CMOs on Twitter, is co-author of “8 Mandates for Social Media Marketing Success,” and is a TEDx Talks presenter. Learn more at:

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018


The Future of Law Firm Business Development Belongs to the Bold by Mike O’Horo


ltimately, the meek may, indeed, inherit the earth. But history suggests that, in the meantime, meek salespeople will waste time, money and energy and miss out on the opportunities awaiting those with the vision and courage to take bold action. By now all but the most resolute of ostriches have accepted that the embryonic law firm sales function is undergoing change at a dizzying pace. But the language of the current sales debate suggests that many participants still don’t appreciate the degree. The word “change” understates the situation to distortion, like saying that banking has “changed” from long teller lines and limited retail hours to instantaneous 24-7 global transactions from mobile phones. We’re talking revolution and disruption here, not change.

Legal service selling isn’t changing; it’s being born

Any similarities between what was and what will be is coincidental. Doubters need only consider the number of law firm sacred cows—economic and cultural—that clients have already made extinct or are now putting on the endangered species list: annual rate increases; paying for associate development; highly-paid partners without clients, and many others. To that add, “delivering business to your door with no cost or effort on your part.”

Reluctant salespeople

In the face of this, law firms have embraced “selling,” sort of, but they still resist doing it in a serious way. Too many law firm sales efforts are constrained by fear and denial. Contrast that with your corporate clients’ sales behavior. They know that product advantages are fleeting, and they invest heavily trying every imaginable way to have the best sales force as a lasting competitive edge. 28

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018

Your clients are everyone else’s prospects, and no matter what size or type, they’re approached by dozens—perhaps hundreds— of law firms each year. (Fortunately for you now, your competitors do it badly, too.) Most buyers perceive all established firms as sufficiently competent that claims of differentiation based on technical capability fall on deaf ears.

You’re one of far too many

That means that most lawyers are seen as one of hundreds or, perhaps, thousands in a very large, amorphous category: “capable lawyers.” No matter how cleverly packaged verbally, all versions of “we do great legal work” perpetuate this trap. With a few high-stakes exceptions, buyers believe that, for the bulk of the legal service categories, there’s no shortage of firms whose legal work is good enough. As they consolidate, law firms are fast approaching a condition common in mature categories (e.g., accounting, management consulting) in which the only way to differentiate is through the quality and effectiveness of your sales force. How much difference can there be in relative technical knowledge among the Big Four accounting/consulting firms, or among the largest systems integration firms? So, what determines who wins and losses when they compete? Sales effectiveness.

Dilettante selling

Undertaking random tactics, such as lunch or Gang of Four pitches, is not selling. Nor is hosting a few me-too seminars, getting lawyers occasional publicity, or hacking together a LinkedIn profile. This activity-based, dilettante approach wastes all the time and money committed because it produces few results other than making the lawyers occasionally feel like they are doing something.

Real selling

Here are some key characteristics of effective selling: • Visibly committed executive leadership • Systemic endeavor with clear, measurable goals of shared importance and value • Shaped by strategic objectives • Championed by the firm’s leadership and understood by all • Strategies defined, and tactics executed by a combination of inside and outside sales and sales-support resources • Related changes in support systems and processes • Committed enough time and funding to accomplish the stated goals Real selling means: • Understanding what drives demand for your most important or valuable services, • Focusing only on companies whose strategic situation and operating conditions fit your demand trigger profile, and • Conducting an organized, sustained series of interactions that the relevant decision stakeholders find valuable.

Sticker shock

Many lawyers balk at talking with buyers about what it costs to solve their problem correctly, particularly when the prospect is actively considering multiple competitors. The problem is looking only at the cost side of the equation. In absolute terms, a half-million dollars may be a lot of money, but is it a lot to a company who perceives $50 million worth of negative impact from the demand-triggering problem? Company stakeholders entrusted with investment decisions about hiring advisors for high-impact problems are experienced business people who have no trouble understanding the relationship between expected return, required investment, and risk. It is no surprise that lawyers steeped career-long in an economic system focused on one-hour increments struggle to grasp the value side of the business equation. That they are uncomfortable discussing fees should surprise nobody.


With predictably disastrous results, inexperienced salespeople— not just lawyers, but in every industry—tend to outpace their buyers, jumping ahead to the “buy” at the first expression of interest or need. Think about a social analogy: “Hi. My name is Mike. Want to get married and have children?” Go ahead, chuckle at the absurdity, but be prepared to have the same fun with, “Hi. My name is Mike. We’re a great firm and I’m a great lawyer. Hire me.” ...“what gets measured gets done.”

Lack of sales management

Too many firms’ executive management purchase sales training or hire Business Development Officers, or both, then immediately go into “Pontius Pilate” mode, i.e., washing their hands of the unseemly “sales” problem. As Lou Gerstner said of

the transformation of IBM in his book, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance, “what gets measured gets done.” Without visible, consistent oversight and attention by senior management who demonstrate their seriousness and hold the lawyers accountable, the message is clear: It’s OK not to fulfill your sales commitments. Why would busy lawyers do what it’s OK not to do?

The good news

The things that lawyers fear most about the cultural stereotype of selling—risk of rejection, aggressively persuasive behaviors, misrepresentation or outright dishonesty—are no more characteristic of professional salespeople (emphasis on professional) who manage complex, business-to-business buying decisions among senior executives than stereotypical ambulance-chasing behaviors are characteristic of business law firms and lawyers. In fact, the irony is that the very “lawyering” skills that lawyers trust and rely on, applied without modification to business acquisition, are called “selling.” So, relax. You don’t need a whole set of alien skills and behaviors. Just do—before you’re hired— what you do after you’re hired.

The bad news

Sooner or later, more law firms and lawyers will take selling seriously. How long can your firm safely wait? That depends on your confidence in “hoping” as a strategy, i.e., hoping that an unspecified percentage of your lawyer population will voluntarily conduct an unspecified amount of undirected sales activity to generate an unspecified amount of revenue annually. If you embrace this approach you’d be wise to keep it secret from your clients, who may begin to question your sanity. When the telecommunications industry was reborn following the breakup of the old AT&T there emerged a cadre of huge winners, and many others who “coulda, shoulda, woulda.” Likewise, the legal service industry winners, who will control the most desirable and profitable segments of each service category, will be those who acted early, boldly, strategically, and shrewdly. It has been said that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it. The opportunity for market leadership through sales superiority is wide open now, but this market, like banking, computers, telecommunications, and accounting services before it, will consolidate and stratify even further, with increasing numbers of new competitors who aren’t law firms. Then, it will really get difficult and expensive to try to change the pecking order. It is much easier, and far less costly to overcome fear and reluctance now. n Mike O’Horo is the co-founder of RainmakerVT and has trained 7,000 lawyers in firms of all sizes and types, in virtually every practice type. They attribute $1.5 billion in additional business to their collaboration. His latest innovation, Dezurve, reduces firms’ business development training investment risks by identifying which lawyers are serious about learning BD.

Attorney Journal San Diego | Volume 181, 2018




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