Category Archives: Personal Info

Please Send My Daughter a Postcard.

My daughter Grace’s fourth grade class is collecting postcards from around the world.  If you’d be kind enough to send one to her school, we’d both appreciate it.

The address is:

Ralph M. Captain Elementary 4H, attn: Grace Homann, 6345 Northwood, Clayton, MO 63105

Thanks!

The Fastcase 50

I’m beyond humbled to be included in Fastcase’s second annual Fastcase 50, “honoring the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders.”

I’m even more proud to say that the list includes more than a dozen friends and colleagues I’ve met in the decade I’ve been writing this blog.  Thank you Fastcase!

 

Nice Words from Tyson Snow

I just got back from Avvocating, where I spoke on using Client Service Design to guide lawyers’ social media strategy.  I also hosted a panel of practicing lawyers who shared how they’ve used social media to find new clients and serve them better.

One of the panelists, Tyson Snow, wrapped up the first day of the conference on his blog and had these nice things to say about me:

Matt Homann is one of the best presenters I have ever seen. That guy is nails on stage. The combination of humor, entertainment, and quality content mixed with his presentation style and skills went unmatched. I would recommend him to any firm or organization looking for a consultant or a speaker for any event. This guy is legit. I can’t wait to see him present again.

Thanks, Tyson!

I’ve Been Named a COLPM Fellow!

I found a great piece of news in my mail today:  I’ve been elected a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management:

The College Law Practice Management was formed in 1994 to honor and recognize distinguished law practice management professionals, to set standards of achievement for others in the profession, and to fund and assist projects that enhance the highest quality of law practice management. The College and its Fellows inspire excellence and innovation in law practice management by:

  • Honoring extraordinary achievement
  • Developing, exchanging and disseminating knowledge
  • Stimulating innovation in the delivery of legal services
I’m incredibly honored and humbled by this honor.

Happy Happy New Year

It has been a while since I’ve posted any personal pictures on my blog, and I get asked pretty regularly for pics of my daughter, Grace.  Here’s one of her, along with me and my beautiful new bride Jessica at our wedding this September.  I hope your New Year is starting off as great as ours!

Introducing COCAbiz

A funny thing happened last month as I was meeting with the new executive director of COCA — St. Louis’ premier community arts center.  It was a “get to know you” meeting, but as she and I were discussing all the workshops, seminars and training. for businesses that COCA was developing, she asked me if I had any interest at all in becoming the first Director of this new initiative, now named COCAbiz.

My first (and second) response was, “No.”  While I was happy to help get COCAbiz off the ground, I loved what I did, and had no desire to do something else.  Only after I lost a few nights of sleep mulling over the venture’s potential, did I finally come around. 

Those of you who know me can appreciate how taken I was by the idea of building creative and innovative events, seminars, classes and training for businesses and organizations —  while utilizing the resources, facilities and (most importantly) some of the 200+ talented artists, actors, dancers, and teachers who call COCA home. 

That was five weeks ago.

Today, I’m incredibly honored and humbled to announce that I am the new Director of COCAbiz.  COCAbiz will combine business-focused, arts-based instruction and theory with creative facilitation to help businesses, organizations and those who work for them to think better together as they solve their toughest challenges.

But what about my “day job” as a speaker, writer and facilitator?  I’ll continue to speak about innovation, creativity, alternative billing and client service to lawyers and firms.  I’ll keep blogging, and I’ll also keep doing firm retreats and conferences, but will have the additional resources of COCAbiz behind me.  I’ll also get a few more nights each month at home with my daughter, which she and I will both cherish.

In short, it is the best of all worlds for me.  The challenge of building an amazing business inside one of the nation’s most-loved arts and education institutions was too great to pass up.  I’m excited beyond measure, and can’t wait to share more of what we’ll be doing at COCAbiz here and elsewhere.

Thanks for your support, and as always, let me know how I can help you.

Website overhaul preview.

Does it look like me?

More of Me Trying to Sound Brilliant

Episode Four of my interview with Jim Canterucci is up on his Personal Brilliance Blog.  Take a listen.

Pretending to Act Brilliantly

My friend Jim Canterucci interviewed me for his Personal Brilliance Podcast.  He’ll be posting portions of the interviews throughout this month and I encourage you to check it out. I’m not sure how much brilliance there is in my interview, but I always enjoy talking with Jim and I think you’ll find some interesting things in there. 

I’d also encourage you to check out the rest of the podcasts.  I’m working though them right now, and I’ve got to say, so far all of them have been worth a listen!

Upcoming Events: Idea Market and Inter:PLAY

If you’re in and around St. Louis, there are a few things I’m involved in you might like.

The first is an Idea Market on September 15th. We’ve taken off several months for the summer, and I’m itching to try some new things with the group. We’ve only room for 30, so sign up now if you’d like to come.

The second is the Inter:PLAY, the new St. Louis Interactive Festival. The St. Louis Bloggers Guild has put together some really cool panels, and I’m pleased to be participating on three of them:

The Small Business and Social Media – Friday 9/19 @ 4pm

How prominent is your business’s online profile? Is it necessary to build relationships with bloggers and others in social media? Learn just how important social media is to your business – along with how to save your advertising budget dollars, build a viral marketing campaign, increase word of mouth, and other “guerilla marketing” techniques. Featuring Marianne Richmond, David Gray, Matt Homann, and Madalyn Sklar; moderated by Melody Meiners.

The Emerging Ethics of Social Media – Saturday 9/20 @ 1pm

A roundtable discussion on the ethical questions surrounding the world of social media. Topics addressed may include: privacy of bloggers and those whom bloggers write about; truthfulness v. artistic license; email and comment etiquette; and more. Featuring Todd Jordan, Jaelithe Judy, moderated by Matt Homann.

Cyberbullying – Saturday 9/20 @ 2pm

An apropos topic in our state of Missouri – which became the first to outlaw “cyberbullying” with a controversial new law. This panel will host an open discussion on online safety and privacy issues that all internet users face. Explore ways to protect yourself and your family while still participating in online communities. Featuring Elizabeth Helfant, Matt Homann, Kim Dorsey, Dana Loesch; moderated by Lisa Bertrand.

And if you like music, Inter:PLAY is a part of the much larger PLAY:Stl, with 99 bands over 3 days (warning, link opens with music). Hope to see you there!

Lessons learned. Mostly the hard way.

Just entered a presentation to SlideShare’s World’s Best Presentation Contest that I’ve been noodling around with for a while.  It uses pictures of my daughter, and is titled, "If I’d only known then ….  Lessons learned.  Mostly the hard way."  Check it out, and give it a vote if you like it.

Retreat with Me

About a month ago, I had the great pleasure of working with the Subrogation Group of Cozen O’Connor to help them design and facilitate their portion of a firm-wide retreat in Orlando, Florida. Paul Bartolacci, a fantastic attorney and great guy, just sent this testimonial I thought I’d share:

“We worked with Matt to plan and present a half day involving approximately 100 lawyers from a specific department within our firm. We were looking for something a bit different than the traditional law firm retreat program — upbeat and innovative, while at the same time useful and giving us a strategy to move forward. Matt was perfect. He took the time to listen to what we wanted to achieve and understood our goals. He spent extra time with us before the event to really get to know us as a group and what our practice involved.

Matt delivered a speech that was creative and pointed us towards new ideas and a different way to view and analyze problems. Our activities were fast paced and interactive, yet produced concrete goals and results. In short, he “got it”.

This was the last session of a 3 day retreat and people left feeling very positive and focused. Following our session many members of the group commented that this had been the best session of any of the numerous retreats they attended. I would certainly recommend Matt for any law firm retreat and look forward to working with him again.”

If you are looking for a speaker or someone to help you squeeze a bit more fun, creativity and focused results out of your legal event or retreat, give me a call. I’d love to help.

London Legal Blogger Meetup?

I’m in London next week, and free Tuesday – Thursday. Anyone want to get together? Email me: Matt@LexThink.com if you’re interested.

Re-XPLANE-ing XPLANE

In my last post, I promised renewed posting and big news. Well, the news I have is big all right, but it isn’t what I was expecting to share. Last week, I was laid off from XPLANE, along with six others. Though I’ll continue my relationship with XPLANE as a contractor — doing about the same amount of work as before — I’m now free to, ahem…as they say, “Explore new opportunities.”

Apart from my continued work for XPLANE, which I love, here’s what else is on my plate for the next 30 days:

1. Relaunching LexThink! with a “future of law practice” event in Chicago this fall. Look for more here next week.

2. Rebuilding my legal speaking and retreat facilitation business. I’ve always been a pseudo-regular on the legal speaking circuit, but I’ve recently been focusing on big-picture legal innovation topics. I just returned from a retreat I designed, facilitated and keynoted for a practice group of a major international firm and will expand and formalize my offerings (under the LexThink brand) before the end of the month. If you want an “Innovational Speaker” for your event, give me a ring.

3. Reviving the blog. I’m going to re-focus my energies on the [non]billable hour, and finally put together all those long-promised posts that have been living in my Moleskine or my head for the last year. Look for several dozen posts in June, as well as my oft-promised e-book on August 1.

4. Reconnecting with you. I’ve met so many amazing people through this blog, and I’m sorry for losing touch. Forgive me. It is good to be back.

My Upcoming Travel

I’ve got lots of stuff coming up for work and fun, and would love to meet some readers of this blog when I’m on the road. Here’s where I’ll be over the next several weeks:

Dallas, TX: April 23-25.
Orlando,FL: May 16-19.
Washington DC: June 18-22.

Also on the “tentative” horizon:

Herndon, VA
Irving, CA
Atlanta, GA

If you’re in the neighborhood and would like to meet, drop me a line and we’ll see if we can connect.

Matt

Idea Market in the News

I’ve written about my Idea Markets here before.  Here’s an article from the local Suburban Journal that talks about one I did for the International Association of Business Communicators.

Back Home and Blogging (for now)

In the last six weeks, I’ve been to Minneapolis, Portland, Boston, Seattle and Anchorage.  Regular readers of this blog have noticed that I’m no longer a regular writer of it.  That’s going to change.  Though I’ve not been blogging a bunch, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about innovation, community and group collaboration.  While I get my thoughts together, you might enjoy this profile of me in Law Practice Magazine.  Check it out.

Portland and Seattle

I’m going to be in Portland on July 22nd and 23rd, and then up to Seattle on the 24th through 28th.  If you are around and would like to get together, drop me a line.

Explaining XPLANE.

As I wrote the other day, I have joined XPLANE as a full time consultant.  I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me to offer me their congratulations and support.  I also want to answer several of the questions I’ve received, and figured it was far easier to do in a blog post.  So here goes:

WHAT IS XPLANE?  XPLANE (Wikipedia Entry) is one of the pioneers in Visual Thinking, which is the process of distilling complex processes and concepts into easy-to-understand and visually striking XPLANATIONS.  In short, XPLANE helps companies improve their business communication.  XPLANE has offices in St. Louis, Portland and Madrid.

WHY XPLANE? Since I returned to St. Louis over a year ago, I have been spending many of my Thursday afternoons at XPLANE’s Visual Thinking School, a weekly design and thinking exercise conducted primarily for internal XPLANE personnel.  I was invited by XPLANE CEO Dave Gray to attend, and found myself intrigued by the way XPLANE used drawing and visuals to communicate complex business processes.  At the same time, XPLANE folks started coming to my Idea Markets, where I began to incorporate many visual thinking and drawing exercises and found it startling how much more effective a little "out of comfort zone" drawing could be than simply a verbal-based exercise.  After several months of VTS, Dave asked me why I didn’t work for XPLANE.  Surprised by the question, I began to consider it.  Six months later, and after a trip to visit the Portland office, I’m here.

WHAT WILL I DO?  My official title is "Consultant," though that really doesn’t describe what I’ll be doing.  Part of XPLANE’s unique process is pairing up a consultant/facilitator (me) with an artist/concept designer (the people with real talent), and going to a client’s office for a day-long discovery session.  Instead of taking written notes, the artist will actually use live drawing to help visualize the client’s story, audience, goals and needs.  By combining this live-sketching with a number of brainstorming and drawing, XPLANE is able to elicit a far more complete picture (literally!) of what the client wants to communicate.  Here’s an overview of the process.

My role is to be the consultant/facilitator in the client sessions.  In addition, I will work within XPLANE to expand the consulting practice and further develop the  process for multiple client scenarios — not just those that need an XPLANE "product" delivered at the end of the engagement.  Finally, I am going to work on a "visual thinking module" that will bring the benefits of visual thinking to workshops, conferences and retreats. 

In short, I get to do the same kinds of things I was doing before, but within a really cool organization, with amazingly talented people, and for much larger clients.

XPLANE will also begin to sponsor the Idea Markets.  More on that soon.

WHAT ABOUT THIS BLOG?  I will keep the [non]billable hour going.  I am working on a redesign, and you will see some cool new things in the next 90 days. I am also going to be re-purposing much of the older content in ways to make it more accessible to newer readers.

WHAT ABOUT LEXTHINK?  Dennis, JoAnna and I will be having a sit down soon to figure out what’s next.  We have too many cool things planned for LexThink to let it go.  Stay tuned.

WHAT ELSE?  If you have any more questions, shoot me an email at homann@gmail.com or mhomann@xplane.com, and I’d be happy to answer them.  I am so excited to be working for XPLANE.  I have spent most of my working life as an entrepreneur, and to find an employer where the entrepreneurial spirit is part of the fabric of the organization is really cool.  Thanks for all your support!

Matt

Time to XPlane Myself

I will have lots more Tuesday, but I want to announce that I’ve joined XPlane, The Visual Thinking Company, as a full-time consultant.  Super cool company, wicked sharp people and a perfect fit for my talents and skills.  Check them out.  I’ll tell you more after the holiday weekend.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Gotta Lotta Blogging to Do

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, so forgive the ton of posts (starting with this one) that you’ll see today.  My schedule, coupled with a really cool announcement I’ll make Monday, is my excuse — not that you were asking for one.  Thanks!

Back Up Your LinkedIn Profile

I caught this tip over on the My LinkedIn Power Forum about backing up a LinkedIn profile.  From the post, here’s how to do it:

1. Print it as a hardcopy. You can click on the [Print] icon
above your headline and print it. This is the most traditional way
of backup and is also strongly recommended to always keep a hardcopy
just in case all your backup softcopies cannot work at the time of
recovery.

2. Save it as a PDF or Word file. You can either click on the
[PDF] icon above your headline and save it as a PDF or cut-and-paste
your profile and save it as a Word file. The latter will have an
advantage of cut-and-paste back to your LinkedIn profile page at the
time recovery.

If you frequent any other social networking sites, it would make sense to back up your profiles there as well.

As an aside, the PDF printout is a pretty slick (and quick) way to build a resume.  It looks great, too!

Techshow Blogger Pub Crawl

I am heading to Chicago this morning for ABA’s Techshow.  This afternoon, I’ll plot a course for the First Annual Techshow Blogger Pub Crawl, and post it here.  We’ll meet at 7:00 pm in the lobby of the Sheraton Hotel and Towers and hit 4-5 bars within walking distance.  If you are going to be in Chicago for Techshow, or live there and want to join us, please sign up here.

Oh, and don’t worry if you can’t join us at the beginning.  When I post the schedule, I’ll let you know what bars we’ll be at (and when), so you can join us in the middle or the end.

See You in NYC!

Forgive the light posting, but it has been crazy lately.  I’m off tomorrow for ALM’s LegalTech in NYC.  If you’d like to meet up, drop me a line at Matt@LexThink.com or call me at 618-407-3241.  I hope to see you there.

World Series, Here We Come!

Posted without comment:

IMG_3400

Harold W. Homann, Rest In Peace

My Grandfather, Harold W. Homann died yesterday.  He was an amazing man.

Forgive the Construction Mess

I am noodling around a bit with my blog’s design.  Forgive the duplicate postings and the visual mess for the next day or so.  Thanks.

Happy Birthday to Me

I’m 38 today.  Going to have a fun “me” day.  See everyone tomorrow.

Sound Parenting Advice

As a dad, I can only hope my daughter writes something like this when she grows up.  Now I just have to come up with some great advice for her.  Here are a few nuggets I’m stealing: 

13.  Invest your money in something. 

14.  Invest yourself in something else.

Whale Watching Pics

I wanted to share these, taken off the coast of Southern California on a whale watching trip several months ago.  We came across a pod of killer whales, and then about 1000 common dolphins.  One dolphin didn’t make it.  It was like watching a National Geographic special.  Amazing.

Here are two of the whales:

Copy of DSCF0060

Here are some of the dolphins:

DSCF0036

Cats aren’t the only animal that plays with its food before eating it.

Copy of DSCF0050

Now, where’s dessert?  And yes, that pink stuff in the water is dolphin leftovers.  Yummy.

DSCF0063

 

Grace Says Hello.

Last night, as I was reading Grace a book, and she asked me (in a perfect TiVo moment) to “pause” it for a minute.  Since I’ve not posted a picture for a while, here’s one from last week.

IMG_0041

Taking a Week-Long Walkabout

I’m swamped.  At last count, I’ve got ten different business projects on my plate, along with a significant number of personal things going on in my life.

Starting today, and continuing until next Friday, I’m going to focus on, well, focusing.  The television is going into storage, the extra stuff cluttering up my apartment is going to Goodwill (or the dumpster), I’m going to re-acquaint myself with my music collection, and my only time on the internet will be for e-mail.

I’ll post details on the Soulard Idea Market, but that’s it.  See you soon!

Having a nice time, wish you were here

I’m back in St. Louis for a few days, trying to sort out some living arrangements when my time in California comes to an end.  I’m also closing some open loops on a few projects I’m working on.  I’ll be back blogging with a vengeance on Friday.

Meet Me in NYC

I’m headed off to NYC for LegalTech New York.  I’ll be around Sunday evening (1/29) through Wednesday afternoon (2/1).  If you are New York, and would like to get together, I’d love to meet you/see you again.  Don’t know if we’ll get a blogger dinner organized this year, but Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell are working on it. 

Wanna Go Camping in LA?

I’m going to BarCamp LA, on March 4–5.  If you are in the LA area, and want to get your Geek on, head over to the Website/Wiki and join up.  It’s free!

On another note, I’m putting together a creativity/brainstorming group to meet in February in the LA area.  Anyone interested?

Happy Holidays from the Homann Family!

2005 Christmas Picture

Grace says Hello

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a pic of my daughter Grace, so for my friends and family who read this blog, here you go:

DSCF0078

Ignorance is Bliss?

The great folks at JD Bliss were kind enough to interview me and post my “success story” here.  The interview was done a while ago, and I’d like to think I’d sound much more intelligent and interesting now. ;-) 

What’s For Dinner?

As I’ve been reflecting on how cool being a dad is on this Father’s Day, I thought I’d share this post from the Eide Neurolearning Blog about the benefits of family dinner:

According to a Harvard study, family dinners were more important than play, storytime, or other family events for building vocabulary. And “families that engaged in extended discourse at the dinner table, like story telling and explanations, rather than one-phrase comments, like ‘eat your vegetables,’ had children with better language skills, said Dr. Catherine Snow, a professor of education at Harvard and the researcher of the study. Parents should be encouraged to use adult-level vocabulary and encourage back-and-forth conversation with their kids. It also helps social skills. Today, 65% of families with kids under the age of 6 have dinner together 5 or so nights per week, but that drops to 50% if a family has kids age 12 to 17.

When I was growing up, we almost always had dinner as a family.  My wife and I are lucky enough to share dinner together with my daughter nearly every night as well.  I know my father better because of it.  I hope my daughter will be able to say the same about me once she’s grown. 

Grace at the Beach

Just wanted to share a recent picture of my daughter at the beach last week.

Grace at the Beach

And if they are from St. Louis, Don’t forget to ask where they went to High School.

 John Jantsch has this great advice in his Duct Tape Marketing Blog:

Let’s say you have a Top 25 prospect list. One of the ways to get a leg up on everyone else in who also has this same list is to find out two simple pieces of information and then use those to unlock the door to marketing success.

The two things you should try to discover about each of your prospects is:

    1. Where they grew up
    2. Where they went to college


Now that you have this information you need to see if it can pay dividends. If you prospects are from a small community your job on that one is easier, but no matter where they are from – subscribe to or at least visit the web site for their home town paper. It is amazing what you can pick up from even a couple casual reads. But, you might even hit paydirt if something big happens back home or your prospect gets some ink in the hometown news and you, little old marketing pro that you are, fire off a copy to your prospect! Think that might help your chances of getting an appointment?

As for the title of this post, if you are from St. Louis, you understand.

Greetings from Sunny California

DSCF0133

My daughter Grace, ready for the beach.

Seriously, it is just an honor to be nominated…

Fresh off my surprising win of "Best New Blawg" from Dennis Kennedy, I’ve just learned that this blog has won a "Buzzy" from the ABA’s GP-Solo section.  For those of you coming here for the first time, welcome.

For regular readers, things are not yet "normal" here in Southern California (if they ever were), but my wife and I are settling in to our "spacious" apartment in the Oakwood corporate housing development.   Our two year old daughter, Grace, made the trip like a champ, and she starts full-time daycare Thursday.  Today’s trial run ended in tears, but we’ll give it another half-day go tomorrow.

I’m starting my regular blogging schedule Thursday morning.  Look for a flurry of posts between now and LexThink in April. 

Thanks for your patience!

We’re packing up the truck to move to Beverly …

Actually Burbank.  My wife just accepted a temporary transfer (9-18 months) from her employer (Nestle-Purina Pet Care, Inc.) to go from St. Louis to Glendale, California for a big project. We are still sorting out the details — which explains my sporadic posting the past week — but we know a few things already.  First, we will be housed by Nestle in Burbank, California.  Second, my partner, Jeff, will handle much of my existing practice, with my help via e-mail, fax, and telephone.  I’ll return home on a monthly basis to cover court hearings, mediations, etc.    Third, I’ll have more time to blog and focus  on LexThink — which is shaping up as an unbelievable event, by the way.  Finally, I’ll be able to concentrate more on speaking and writing about law practice in general. 

I’m really excited about the opportunity.  My wife and I will sell our current house, and start building a new one when we return.  I’ll fill in some more details as they become available, but want to make sure everyone knows this blog isn’t going anywhere, even though I am.

So, LexThink! Los Angeles anyone?

Today is my Bloggoversary!

One year ago today, I started this blog.  It has been an incredible journey.  Thanks for the company!

LegalTech New York

I am going to be attending LegalTech New York later this month (arriving 1/30 and departing 2/2).  If anyone is going to be at the conference, or would like to meet me for a cocktail or two, drop me a line.

Nice Things

Everyone who blogs has had the “conversation.”

 

You know, the one that begins with your spouse, friend, colleague or boss asking the question, “So what is a blog, anyway?” and ends with you trying to explain how cool the whole blog thing is and why you spend so much time writing yours and reading others’.

 

I’ve had the “conversation” dozens of times and have always had a hard time explaining why I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours this past year reading blogs and writing my own.  As a lawyer accustomed to valuing my time at almost $200 per hour, there is a very real temptation to measure my ROB (Return On Blogging) against the money I could have made if I were doing client work each hour I instead spent blogging (I am sure my partner has run the same calculation in his head a time or two).

 

What it has come down to is this:  I blog for opportunity.  In the past year, I have met more interesting people, been exposed to more amazing ideas, and been involved in more cool projects than in the rest of my (11 year) legal career.   This blog has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Blawgs, and I was named the Best New Legal Blogger.  I have had more than forty incredible people contribute to my Five by Five series, and met even more cool folks on my Think Tank Tuesday conference call.  I was even nominated (by myself, but still…) as one of America’s Top 20 Legal Thinkers.  I just finished a chapter on rainmaking for an ABA publication due out in May, and am starting a significant essay (that may become a book) tentatively titled, “Building the Service-Centered Firm.”  And I can’t even describe how proud and excited I am about LexThink! Chicago.

 

What has made this year even more special for me is the really nice things people have said about me and this blog.  At the suggestion of my friend Steve Nipper, I started collecting them (for myself, initially) and will share some of my favorites with you.  Remember, I’m just a small-town lawyer in Southern Illinois.  If I can do this, anyone can!

 

“What is your favorite blog?  I really like Homann’s the [non]billable hour blog.  If anyone is going to write something I print out and think about…it is going to be Matt.  At some point in the future I am going to convert my blogroll into a separate post…with reviews of all of my favorite blogs.”   Steve Nipper

“I have to say that my favorite blog of all is the[non]billable hour by Matt Homann. The topics are beyond interesting, they are extremely useful. I left my previous law firm with a deep desire to do things differently and much better than I had seen them done before. From Matt’s blog, I have picked up many little tips and tricks that I have incorporated into my business. Most importantly, I get some validation that I have been thinking the right way all along.”    Russ Krajek

“Matthew is an affable guy, as evidenced by his smart, intelligent, and informative blog at the [non] billable hour. One reason I asked Matthew to contribute to this on-going series of interviews is because he’s actively involved in changing the face of law. What I mean to say is that he is reaching out to people, connecting with his clients and prospects, in ways that we might not associate with lawyers. This interview gives valuable insight into not only how Matthew, as a lawyer, thinks, but also how far removed the law profession is from all those lawyers jokes we hear every day. (I didn’t edit anything, Matt. Your answers were too good to tinker with…much thanks!)”   Yvonne DiVita

“If I had to hire a lawyer, I’d hire someone like Matthew Homann. His blog gives me the sense he’s well-read (not just because he reads my blog :) ), passionate about his work, careful with his client relationships, professional, and most of all human. I like this guy, not just because he has a blog, but because he has a voice that appeals to me. I could never get that from a Yellow Pages ad.”  John Porcaro 

“By the way: I read Matt’s site The Non-Billable Hour regularly. It’s nothing short of fantastic. While Matt’s work world is one of law and law firms, his ideas, observations and analysis are applicable to most business development or marketing situations. He also conceives and implements unique feature items (like the Five by Five) and content formats. It’s catchy, sticky stuff that’s way ahead of the pack.”  Skip Lineberg

“A few people have asked me which blogs I read. At some point I will probably include a proper list on my page. For now, I want to point out the best law firm-related blog I have found: the [non]billable hour. Matthew Homann, attorney and mediator, has just set up a small law office. Most of his postings regard marketing the law firm and are commentary on ideas posted in a number of blogs he monitors. Some great, fresh ideas. Really worth a read if you work in a law firm”  Connie Crosby

“Matt’s a lawyer. Matt’s a blogger. Matt’s a guy who thinks outside the  room, not just the box. And he does it in a way that remains practical, pragmatic, useful.  He contacted me a few months ago and asked A. If I’d like to participate with a group of bloggers called THINK TANK TUESDAY (list of members is on the left of this blog). B. Would we like to sponsor the conference calls.  I said yes to both. Lucky for me. Matt’s one of the few people who qualify as a thought-leader, as a leader and as a genuinely decent fellow.  I love the  way he’s tweaking the nose in a constructive manner of the legal establishment challenging them to rethink their relationship with their clients, their practice, their billing, how to run their practice.  And his ideas on marketing, entrepreneurship and just his energy and drive are inspiring.”  Zane Safrit

Thank You!

 

 

 

Nice Things (oops)

I posted a half-finished post called "nice things" yesterday.  I used Blogjet’s feature "post as draft" but it posted anyway.  I’ll finish up the real edited post today and have it up later this afternoon.  Sorry.

Matt

My Christmas List

Just a few of the things on my Christmas list.  I know it is late, but I won’t hold it against you if the gift arrives after the holidays.

A website designed by 37 Signals.  These guys (and gals) are masters at making really functional websites look simple and elegant.  Take a look at their 37Better Project, with redesigns of popular sites Google,  FedEx, and PayPal.  These guys are also behind the Basecamp project management tool (that I love).

A blog designed by Kevin at LexBlog

A subscription to Worthwhile Magazine.  I love the blog, and can’t find the magazine at my local bookstore.

A Tour Edge Exotics fairway wood.  I’m on my fourth driver by this company and love their products, warranty, and customer service.  Great prices on unbelievable clubs.  Oh, and thanks for asking:  the three wood with the stiff Fujikura shaft, please.

A smaller Advertising Block from Law.com. Visit my site.  Enough said.

A Mirra Personal Server for home and office.

A clean desk.

A new laptop bag and backpack.

Time to respond to my comments.

Registration for a few cool trainings and conferences.

Your vote.

Oh, and one more thing:  The ability to meet and thank every single reader of this blog.

I have dedicated (a growing) part of my professional and personal life to improving law practice and making this gig the one we all thought we were signing up for when we decided to go to law school.  I am gratified beyond words at the response I’ve gotten from all of you.  Blogging isn’t about conversations, it is not about ROI, it is about opportunity.  I’ve learned more, met more fascinating people, and gained more from the fellowship of bloggers and blog readers than I ever thought possible.  Thank you so much.

Happy Holidays! 

Happy Birthday Grace Homann!

9852320-r1-031-141

Drum Roll Please!

I’ve done it — I’ve found someone silly enough to pay me for doing what I was previously doing for free.  As of today, I have become an “affiliate” of the Law.com Blog Network.  The [non]billable hour is joined by The Volokh Conspiracy, May It Please The CourtI/P Updates, MyShingle.com, Jottings by an Employer’s Lawyer, and Crime and Federalism (click here for a link to all of our bios).  I’m honored to be in such fine company and hope that my affiliation with the folks at Law.com profits everyone. 

I have a lot more going on here too.  In the next week, I’ll be putting up a “user’s guide” to this blog, and will rerun some of my favorite posts in a new “Best of the Blog” category. 

On the Five by Five front, I’ve been getting the submissions for my Law Student Edition and can’t wait to share the five ways each contributor would change legal education. 

I also hope to have an announcement soon on the innovation conference conference for lawyers.

Finally, I’m rolling out a new project here called “Building the Perfect Firm,” where I’ll draw upon the hundreds of ideas I’ve compiled in this blog, along with substantive suggestions from non-lawyer experts in marketing, architecture, client service, psychology, business and innovation to put together a blueprint for how law could be practiced in a fulfilling (and hopefully profitable) way.

Well, that should keep me busy for the next few months.  If you are new to reading this blog, welcome.  If you are a long time patron of t[n]bh, thank you.  And if you are reading this post in your aggregator, click through to my site from time to time to look at the pretty ad.  Grace needs a new pair of shoes.

Happy Halloween

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween.  We did.

Grace

It has been a while since I’ve posted a picture of my daughter, so here goes:

She is two in December.  My, how time flies…

I’m Back, and Think Tank Tuesdays

Sorry for the posting blackout. A family emergency (resolved) and a crush of new business has kept me out of the blogging loop for nearly two weeks. Think Tank Tuesday will be rescheduled from today (September 14) and the regular blogging will resume with several longer posts I’ve been working on during my hiatus. I also have some really big personal and professional developments I’ll share soon.

Vacation Time

Sorry for the lack of updates. I’m taking a little personal time, but will be back on Friday.

Depressing News For Dads.

Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution discusses a study that should be sobering news for us dads. From the study:

Children rate their fathers as among their least popular playmates because they are too competitive, according to research among more than 1,000 youngsters. They “played to win”, lacked imagination or were simply at a loss as to how to play games, said the Children’s Play Council, which commissioned the survey with the Children’s Society.

Children up to the age of 12 would rather play with their friends, their mother or their brothers and sisters. Only one in 16 chose their fathers as their ideal companion. Dads were rated slightly above grandparents (one in 33). One in 50 children said they would rather play on their own.

I hope my daughter won’t feel that way. Good thing we lawyers aren’t more competitive than the population at large….

Only Four Days Left …

My birthday is coming up on Saturday, and compliments of Angie McKaig, I found this site titled, “Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age.” I turn 36, here’s my competition:

Barthelemy Thimmonier developed the world’s first practical sewing machine.

Walter Hunt devised a modern sewing machine.

Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin stove.

Robert Jarvik invented a pneumatically powered heart .

German chemist Friedrich August Kekule discovered the ring structure of the benzene molecule in a dream.

English navigator George Vancouver explored Vancouver island.

Four days left, better get to work.

The Cycle

I feel like I’ve just hit for the cycle, won the trifecta, or (insert your sports metaphor here): horrible cold, internet down, computer network on the fritz, and three major projects to get through the door by Thursday. We think we’ve narrowed down the computer issues to a combination of lightning strike/power surge from this weekend and Norton Anti-virus gumming up the works. Light blogging to follow for a few days while we get caught up — I’m writing this from home now — but more big news on the next three Five by Fives (or is that Fives by Five) when I return.

One little rant first, today I went to McDonald’s (I know it’s bad for me, but I was in a hurry) and ordered some Chicken McNuggets. I asked for an extra sauce packet like I always have, and the helpful cashier told me that the McDonald’s is under new ownership and he would have to charge me extra for it. Now, I’m not a “regular” there, but I eat at this McDonald’s about once every two weeks. What a short-sighted business decision. I’m not going back.

If you are a lawyer, do you charge “extra” for copies, postage, or other things? When you clients get your bill for hundreds (or thousands) of dollars and see a $3.70 charge for postage for 10 letters, or $15.00 for copies, I bet they feel a lot like I did today.

“Smart Men Online” Interview

Yvonne Divita, a participant in my first Five by Five asked me to return the favor. Yvonne interviewed me for her “Smart Men Online” feature that debuts today. Yvonne asked me some questions about technology, blogging, and the practice of law. I’m flattered she asked me and was happy to participate. Thanks, Yvonne!

Memorial Day Memory

My grandfather (age 95) came down this weekend for my family’s barbeque. He hasn’t talked about his military service much, but he and I spent the afternoon talking about his time as a Navy Commander in World War Two. He enlisted in the Navy the Monday after Pearl Harbor when a Navy recruiter showed up at his civilian flight school graduation. He was an agriculture teacher raising four young children (along with his two youngest sisters) with my grandmother in Highland, Illinois. I asked him why he enlisted in the Navy, when he could have easily gotten a deferrment (he was in his early 30’s), and he said:

When I was nine, my father took me to a parade for returning World War One soldiers. He told me that every twenty years or so, the whole world went a bit crazy and went to war. I promised my father then that I’d be ready for the next one.”

I don’t know how many nine year olds feel the same way today, but I’m damn glad men like my grandfather did then.

Welcome to Samuel Lamere Schaeffer

A belated congratulations go out to Evan at Notes from the (Legal) Underground and his lovely wife Andrea for the new addition to their family, Samuel Lamere Schaeffer. A brand new copy of The Happiest Baby on the Block is on its way from Amazon. A book that saved my wife and I countless hours of sleep with our daughter Grace.

The Silver Lake Group, Ltd.

Well, the Silver Lake Group, Ltd. is open for business. My partner is Jeffrey Mollet, a lawyer with expertise in agribusiness, real estate, and banking law (I’ll post his biography here in another post). Jeff shares my passion for innovation and we both recognize how important it is to get our new venture off on the right foot. To that end, I’m shutting down my legal practice for the next month to concentrate on everything we need to do to start fresh, and most importantly, start right.

To be sure, I’ll still be here for client calls and meetings, and the occasional motion or hearing, but I have no trials scheduled and will be taking on no urgent matters this month. On June 1, we will be meeting with every client and sharing with them our vision for our practice — and more importantly, learning from them how we can better serve their interests. Some things on my agenda for the next four weeks:

1. Complete our Satisfaction Guarantee.
2. Prepare our announcements and finish our marketing materials.
3. Settle on our slogan/tagline. Right now, “Innovative Lawyers – Guaranteed Service – Uncommon Value” is the one we like best.
4. Revise our Mission Statement and draft our Client Care Agreement.
5. Interview for our Client Concierge Position.
6. Talk to the Placement Offices at St. Louis University, Washington University, and Southern Illinois University Law Schools about a first or second year student for some research projects.
7. Work on the SilverLakeLaw.com website.
8. Finish our migration from Word (him) and WordPerfect (me) to OpenOffice.
9. Introduce Jeff to blogging. He’s going to be starting a Farm Law/Agribusiness Blog soon as a service to his existing clients. We will use weblogs as an alternative to newsletters for clients in specific industries.
10. Keep blogging (though a bit sporadically).

I’ve never had more to do and been more excited about doing it. Look for updates here and thanks for your support.

Grace Homann

grace_picture.jpgI don’t do a lot of writing about my personal life on this weblog. The big reason is that I can’t imagine people wanting to read it. However, I absolutely couldn’t resist posting this recent picture of my daughter, Grace. She is just over sixteen months old (when do you stop using months and start using years, by the way?) and is an absolute ball to have around. I have the luxury of getting her from daycare around 4:00 p.m. and spending around two hours of uninterrupted “daddy time” with her each day until mommy gets home. She is at the stage now when she reaches for your hand and pulls you to whatever she wants to do. Last night, she took my hand, led me into her playroom, grabbed a book, and “forced” me to sit down so she could sit in my lap while I read it to her. Absolutely an incredible experience that I hope I don’t forget as she grows up.

On a related note, Kevin Kelly, on his Cool Tools weblog suggests a book titled The Optimistic Child : Proven Program to Safeguard Children from Depression & Build Lifelong Resistance. Check out the quotes from the book on Kevin’s site and pick it up. I’m going to.

Go Illini!

I’ve been able to catch up on my blogging quite a bit today. Now is time to watch my Fighting Illini begin their trip to the final four. See everyone next week!

My reason for living.

DSCF0070.JPGIn a comment to my recent post, Evan at Notes from the (Legal) Underground wanted a picture of my daughter. Well this one is from several months ago. I’ll upload a few more to a Typepad photo album soon.

The Legal Stuff

While I work on a fancy-schmancy disclaimer, I hope this will work for now. 

Though I am a lawyer, I am not your lawyer.  I do not give legal advice on this weblog and if you think I’m talking directly to you and advising you on an important legal issue in your life, you have larger problems and should seek counseling.  I’m probably not licensed in your state anyway.

I write for myself, I write for fun, and I maintain this weblog so I can have a place to collect all the great ideas and thoughts I have that would otherwise disappear everynight when I finally get to sleep.  All opinions are my own, but many of the ideas I share come from others.  I do the very best I can to give those brilliant people attribution, but if I fail once or twice, I assure you it is not intentional. 

I hope you get great ideas from this weblog — I really do.  Nothing would make me happier than knowing that what I write will help other professioinals serve their clients.  Leave a comment if you have something interesting to share.  If you want to contact me directly, please do so. I love to talk to people who like what I have to say.  If you disagree with me, just e-mail and I may or may not get back to you. My e-mail link and telephone number are in my bio, here.

Thanks for coming.  I’ll leave the light on for you.

About this Blog

In the [non]billable hour, author Matthew Homann (a practicing attorney and mediator) shares hundreds of inventive and original ways to bring meaningful and satisfying change to the practice of law.  The blog focuses on how innovative billing strategies, creative marketing techniques, cutting-edge ideas from other industries and professions, and  proven customer service principles, can combine to revolutionize the ways lawyers serve their clients —  and enjoy their lives.

About Matthew Homann

MH_1_backdrop-web.jpg My name is Matthew W. Homann and I am a lawyer and mediator in Highland, Illinois.  Join me as I work to transform my legal and mediation practices into the job I’ve always dreamed of.

I graduated from Washington University School of Law in 1993 and received my undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois. I remain a licensed, practicing attorney, but devote about half of my time and energy to mediation. As a lawyer, I still maintain a "general" practice, and help people navigate the legal system. I represent individuals planning their estates, taking care of their disabled children, buying and selling their homes, and starting their dream business. I also advise many local companies coping with the many legal challenges all small businesses face.

I am married and the father of a beautiful two-year-old girl. A life-long resident of Highland, Illinois, I am active in many community organizations. I am a member and past-president of the Highland Optimist Club. I also serve on the advisory board of the Korte Recreation Center and am the chairperson of the Highland Zoning Commission.

I am an Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington University Law School in St. Louis, Missouri, where I have been teaching Pre-trial Practice and Procedure since 1998. I have been the volunteer attorney-coach for the Triad High School Mock Trial team since 1996.

If you would like to contact me, e-mail me at Homann (at) gmail.com or call me on my cell phone at 618-Four Zero Seven-3241