Monthly Archives: January 2009

Who needs those Guinness Book folks?

Ever wanted to set a world record and not have to worry about those sticklers from the Guinness Book of World Records?  Check out The Universal Record Database.  An open, participatory site for posting your own world "record" and daring anyone out there to top it.

Some of the featured records include: Most People Complimented in One Minute, Most Panama Kicks in One Minute, and Fastest Time to Open a Can of Campbell's Alphabet Soup and Spell "Pantyhose".

The site is equal parts brilliance and sheer stupidity — and it is utterly addictive. 

Now for the "legal" bit:  How about brainstorming a world record for your firm to set?  You can post it for the world to see.  Imagine how much fun you'd have, and think about the all the fun press you'd get.  I'm already thinking about what we can attempt at LexThink Innovate.  Any ideas?

UPDATE:  As I write this, there are no "records" posted involving "law" "lawyer" or "legal".

LexThink Innovate: Who should come?

I appreciate that it is kind of difficult to get your mind around a “legal innovation conference,” so I’m going to take the next few days to describe what I’m trying to accomplish with LexThink Innovate, and give some insight into the kinds of things we’re going to be doing.

Since I’ve had several inquiries about what kind of lawyers would find the experience valuable, I’ve compiled a list of Ten Things (similar to my “Ten Rules” posts) that describe who I believe to be the typical LexThink Innovate attendee.  If any of these resonate with you, keep March 29 and 30 open on your calendar:

1.  You don’t think “innovative lawyer” is an oxymoron, but you do think lawyers who refuse to innovate are morons.

2.  You appreciate the difference between creative thinking and “creative” billing, and embrace the former while avoiding the latter.

3.  You know that if you focus on being just like your competitors, the worst thing that will happen is you’ll succeed.

4.  You understand that innovation is just like exercise: it isn’t particularly hard to do, but you know you won’t see results unless you do it everyday.

5.  You’ve learned more about serving clients from paying attention at Starbuck’s than you’ve ever learned by paying attention in law school.

6.  The only thing you want to measure in six minute increments is how long it takes to make two three-minute eggs.

7.  You know that you can’t take care of your clients if you don’t take care of your business — and you refuse to apologize for making a profit when you succeed at both.

8.  You get more value from the conferences you attend by standing in the hallways and talking to attendees than you do by sitting in the ballrooms and listening to speakers.

9.  You’re far more likely to have just finished reading a business book than a legal text, and recognize that lawyers can learn more from well-run businesses than businesses can learn from well-known lawyers.

And the most important one:

10.  You’re tired of being the only lawyer you know who thinks like you do, and long to meet others who feel the same way.

The registration page is here.

LexThink Innovate: Name Your Own Price

One thing I’m trying to do with LexThink Innovate is to put in practice some of the ideas I advocate for lawyers.  One of them is focusing on the value you deliver to clients vs. the time you take to do their work.  In that vein, I’m making LexThink Innovate a “name your own price” event.  From the LexThink Blog:

We understand that it takes quite a leap of faith to come to a “legal innovation event” if you’ve never been to a LexThink event before– especially one that promises to turn the business-as-usual legal conference world on its head.

Instead of asking you to believe it when we tell you that LexThink Innovate will be the most unique and valuable legal conference you’ve ever attended, we’re willing to put our money where your mouth is: You’ll tell us how much you’ll pay when the event’s over instead of before it begins.

When you register, you’ll pay a $500 deposit to hold your space.  At the end of the event, we’ll ask you how much value you received.  If you don’t believe LexThink Innovate was the best legal conference you’ve ever attended, and you want some (or all) of your deposit back, you’ll get it, One Question Asked.*

However, if you believe LexThink Innovate was worth far more than your deposit (as we promise it will be), we’ll humbly ask you to pull out your checkbook and pay us some more — a little or a lot.  Again, it is completely up to you.,

In short, we’re turning “you get what you pay for,” into “you’ll pay for what you got,” and trusting you to hold us to our promise that you’ll love LexThink Innovate.  We know we’ll love seeing you there.

*The only question we’ll ask is how we could have made the event more valuable to you.

What do you think?  Regardless of whether you’re going to come to the event, is this an idea that appeals to you?  Would you try it in your own practice? 

Here’s the registration page.

LexThink Innovate: Logo

Everything’s coming together for LexThink Innovate.  Registration page is here, and I’ll have lots more up on the web later today!  March 29-30 at Washington University in St. Louis.

Tweet Me at LegalTech

I’m headed to NYC next week (Sunday-Tuesday) for LegalTech.  I’ll be speaking on a panel about Twitter on Monday, from 3-4.  Here’s the link to the session.  If you’d like to catch up, shoot me an email at You can also follow me on Twitter here:

Announcing LexThink: Innovate

More details to come all week (both here and on the LexThink site) but here’s the announcement:

There has never been a more important time to think differently better about the practice of law. “Business as usual” isn’t anymore, and lawyers who fail to think deeply about the future of the practice of law will have an uncertain future in their own.

Fortunately, there’s a place for creative, innovative lawyers to gather and not only discuss the future of law practice, but prepare for it: LexThink: Innovate.

On March 29 and 30, forward-looking lawyers (and lawyers to be) can gather on the campus of Washington University’s School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri for the most thought-provoking, creative, practical and (yes) fun two days of their legal careers. Guaranteed.*

At LexThink: Innovate, attendees won’t just consume information, they’ll create it — in a totally unique and collaborative setting. Gone are conference “tracks” and boring panel presentations. Instead, every conversation, exercise, and presentation at the attendee-driven event will be focused on helping participants dramatically re-think their practice, engage their clients, energize their business, and learn to love lawyering again.

The “Agenda,” packed with out-of-the-box sessions, discussions and exercises, will center around helping attendees answer just three big questions about their law practice: What now? What next? and What if?

By working together in small groups to answer those questions, participating in thought-provoking exercises and sharing their own lessons learned, attendees will create their “perfect” law firm and leave with a focused plan to future-proof their practices.

Unlike past LexThink events, which were invitation-only, LexThink: Innovate is open to all lawyers who are passionate about using innovation to make their practices better. Tickets go on sale Monday, January 19th at Contact Matthew Homann at for more information.

* Bet you were expecting some legal mumbo-jumbo about the Guarantee. There isn’t any fine print. LexThink: Innovate is the world’s first “name your own price” legal event. After the event, attendees will decide what price they’ll pay for the conference they’ve just experienced — and can even request a full refund of their ticket deposit — no questions asked.

LexThink: Innovate 09

Just wanted to give everyone a head’s up before the big announcement tomorrow morning: the next LexThink event happens in St. Louis at Washington University Law School on March 29-30. 

Tomorrow, you’ll see the full announcement here and on the LexThink site.  Carry on.

Is there a litter box in your waiting room?

From the “Something to Think About” department:  Pet Living Wills.  (Via Unusual Business Ideas that Work).

Encourage your Clients to Look Back From the Future

Want clients to spend more on legal services?  Ask them to step into the future.  From this article from Psychology Today about economists studying why people pay premiums for immediate over future rewards (called temporal discounting), we learn that people who better connect their present with their future selves make better long term decisions:

Stanford researcher Hal Ersner-Hershfield has preliminary results from a study in which virtual reality lets people experience old age. Subjects put on video goggles and move through a world where they look just like themselves, or similar, but with gray hair and wrinkles.

Standing in front of a virtual mirror, they’re asked to decide how to spend a thousand dollars. Gifts? Parties? A retirement plan? Those with the elderly avatar put more than twice as much into long-term savings. Ersner-Hershfield says that embodying your future self may also encourage more responsible planning in other domains, such as relationships (should I cheat?), the environment (should I recycle?), and health (should I smoke?).

So what if you don’t have a VR system at home? You might get results from simply thinking about what you’ll be like when you age. “Realize that your interests and values will be similar when you retire,” Ersner-Hershfield says. “Sure, a 25-year-old avid rock climber might not be as into scaling Everest when he’s in his 60s, but he’ll probably still like outdoor activities.” Once identified with your future self, you might suddenly care whether he looks back on you and curses you for being such a knucklehead.

What does this mean for lawyers?  If you’re working with clients and encouraging them to make better long-term decisions for themselves or their businesses (estate planning, incorporating, succession planning, etc.), you’ll get better results — the study suggests — if you ask your clients to look to future and imagine themselves already there.

Ask clients to see themselves twenty years from now.  What have they accomplished?  What challenges have they overcome?  What are their children doing?  Who’s running their business?  Etc. 

I think you’ll find them far more open to your advice and less likely to say, “Well, we’ll just wait ’til we get there” because they already are.

Pop the Bubble on Each New Day

I have to admit, I LOVE the Bubble Calendar.  It is a “poster sized calendar with a bubble to pop every day.”  If you’re looking for something cool to give your customers, you can even have them customized.  Just one customization idea:  if you’re a tax attorney or CPA, imagine having one with your logo as well as April 15th (and other appropriate deadlines) highlighted in red.  I’m ordering mine today.

Do it all Online.

Mashable has a comprehensive list of over 270 Online Tools to Help You Run Your Business.  If you’re thinking of moving more of your business functions “into the cloud,” you should check out this list.  Sites covered can help you with Accounting, Billing, Invoicing, Scheduling, Collaboration, Meetings, Presentations, etc.  Lots of cool things I’d not seen before.  Enjoy!

What Will Change Everything?

Each year the World Question Center rounds up dozens of experts from multiple disciplines and asks them a simple question.  This year’s question:  “What will change everything?”  Among the essayists answering the question are anthropologists, philosophers, physicians, artists, humorists, biologists, novelists, playwrights, psychologists, actors, mathematicians, and physicists (though not a single lawyer makes the list). 

Check out the entire list of essays.  I’m certain you’ll find more than a few big, new ideas that will stretch your brain in a good way.  While you’re reading what others have to say, think to yourself: 

In my profession, what will change everything? 

Are you prepared?