November 30, 2006
Get Lean, Talented and Hunt BigClients.
Now, and in the future, size may matter--but only if you are smaller, agile, muscular and can do most (90%) of the work traditionally done by large law firms (250-3000+ lawyers). Smaller firms, for most GCs on most projects, will be (a) preferred and (b) cool. Bigger firms, for most GCs on most projects, will be (a) suspect and (b) not cool. So below, per our usual rant, are 7 WAC? posts since June on why and how you can have BigClients in a boutique (5-150) setting if you have the people, a true client service culture and the discipline to keep it:
Work-life balance is a dumb-ass issue. (10/20/06)
In Praise of Structure (10/30/06)
Tell me again: GCs want what?
Corporate counsel keep telling us, pretty consistently, what they want from my firm and yours. It's trust, value and a willingness, to echo my friend Colin Samuels, to "put skin in the game". Good GCs don't like risk-averse weenies; they want to know what you think, and whether you'll be willing to take a hit with them. See this nice post and interview excerpts from Amy Campbell's Web Log, called "What Drives Corporate Counsel in Their Relationship with Outside Counsel?". And a quick note here that my friend Patrick Lamb and Hildebrandt International were kind enough to invite me to be on a truly blue-ribbon panel of bloggers and thinkers for the 14th Annual Marketing Partner Forum on January 25th, 2007. We'll discuss how modern technology can help meet the needs of general counsel, and how to reinforce existing relationships and generate new leads using technology. The panel includes Thomas Baldwin, Larry Bodine, David Bowerman, Dennis Kennedy, Pat Lamb, and J. Craig Williams.
November 29, 2006
New U.S. Congress and Global Eco-Policy
For years our firm has tackled environmental issues for clients which produce, use, transport, process or handle fossil fuels. Forget your stereotypes. These companies are a lot "greener" and more progressive than you might think; they do some fine things for the environment and workers, whether or not asked or good press is involved. And for some time I've liked Australian lawyer David Jeffery's Oikos blog, which reviews environmental and related economics issues through an international lens. On the recent American midterm elections see, for example, David's post "Political climate change in the United States" on his hopes for a shift in climate-change politics in the U.S.
November 28, 2006
Australian Blawg Review #85 covers the globe.
GeekLawyer: Ruthie's Podcast
Ruthie, GL's co-blogger, and of "Humble Stock", according to his intro (we can now safely assume from that remark that GeekLawyer is from southern England, likely London-bred) just may have hit a home run. Nice voice, too, very British, and slightly "the bird next door". Yanks will want more Ruthie--allegedly not GL's bird.
Why the WAC? Client Service Model/12 Rules May Not Work.
The answer is coming soon, reluctantly, but with a remedy. Hint: because humans are selfish creatures. To get ready, see the 12 Rules first.
"What Corporate Clients Read Into Law Firm Bills"
November 27, 2006
Mix extroversion and blogs for fun and profit.
Please go un-geek yourself, and begin by reading this one, by Diane Levin at Online Guide to Mediation. It's called "Get the connection: building your network through blogs". Diane, always upbeat, outgoing and intelligent at once, notes that blogging is "not a solitary activity" and instead is "joyfully, boldly public". If you read this and other posts by Diane, you'll know that extroversion and blogging can be mixed. I will chime in and emphasize this: folks, if you are going to do this blog thing, please pick up the phone, talk to people, travel, and meet with people in the flesh, too. (Which bloggers are doing increasingly but, in my view, not enough--why confine yourself to "e-mail vibe" relationships?) There is no substitute for these human activities in building a life or a business.
November 26, 2006
Backlash on Borat?
From Peter Black, suggesting a growing different take on the film, at his Freedom to Differ, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, see "Is the tide turning on Borat?" Peter hosts Blawg Review #85, out tomorrow. Freedom to Differ "speaks freely about legal issues facing the media and the internet".
November 25, 2006
Getting it together for 2007.
Clients, employees, delivering services. Step back from your canvas a little. Get back to the real work of long-term planning. Tough decisions. Fine tuning. A brush stroke here and there. Peek out from under your billable hours during the holiday rush, and think-- maybe do a little self-ass kicking. Employees and clients are your main assets. Who at your firm gets it? Who will never get it--even though you like him or her? How best to staff this or that project? New types or niches of work? Which clients are draining you and need a new law firm? Are there new clients to target? This is the hard but joyous discipline of renewal. While you are at it, see Tom Collins' post "Nine Steps to Improved Law Firm Financial Performance in the Coming Year" at More Partner Income. Or anything Tom writes.
Music for Young Lawyers: "Another Billable Christmas"
Heads up, associate lawyers, but also partners because you have more money. First, turn your speakers up. Just keep your meters running, Bluebooks out, and billable hours high (to hit 2350 by December 31, if you're on the wimpy side). Then, to get you in the mood for the holiday season, and to help you work with a song in your stomach, see New York lawyer Lawrence Savell's "Merry Lexmas From The Lawtunes"! Larry gives you a great sampler at his Lawtunes.com site, but you'll want to purchase the full "Lexmas" CD and other CDs for your very own.
Maybe buy some for your Mom, and high school friends, who won't be seeing you that much this Christmas anyway. My favorite could be "Santa And I Are Gonna Pull An All-Nighter On Christmas", or maybe "All I Want for Christmas Is A Stomach Lining" - not sure yet. Oh yeah, Larry, the composer and creator, told me in an e-mail that that's him singing on these. Even if Larry weren't a friend of my friend Patrick Lamb, I'd hire the guy. He's got Moxie, Madness and The Spirit. And he knows how to treat associates. Now get back to work.
Don't try this at work: Stern dumps (on) his "client base".
From Forbes.com, see Has King of All Media been dethroned? Whether you like him or not, Howard Stern is a great man, good soul and extraordinarily successful entertainer who has done gutsy things for radio, comedy and the 1st amendment. But taking his show in the middle of a hugely popular run on a syndicated CBS-owned FM radio station to Sirius satellite radio in 2004 and in effect repudiating his "client base"--for whatever reasons--was a dumbass move. The guy and the un-PC world he created will survive, but there's a lesson here: if it works great, don't dump on it.
November 24, 2006
"I'm There for you Baby" Gets International.
"I'm There for you Baby", with serial over-achievers Neil Senturia and Barbara Bry, airs at its regular time tomorrow. Tune in to San Diego's CA$H 1700 AM, 1-2 p.m., West Coast time, or listen "live" via simulcast on the CA$H web site. This week includes: "The best and brightest are coming to the United States to seek their entrepreneurial fortunes--we should welcome them." ITFYB is about dreams, running a business, clients, employees and money.
November 23, 2006
"Customers are always..."
If you haven't seen Maria Palma's Customers Are Always blog lately, you should. There are consistently good pieces of advice here by someone who knows, cares about and lives and breathes real service. Presented here are customers and clients as both valued people and business assets--without a trace of cynicism or negativity. It's all real.
The First Company: Massachusetts Bay Colony (1630-1691)
Or, more precisely, the Massachusetts Bay Company, which founded the Colony. Wikipedia, which I distrusted at first but now increasingly rely upon, does a nice job with the story of the "first" American company and company town.
A New Blawg.Org
Blawg, Bill Gratsch's clearinghouse for legal weblogs, is about to enter its 5th year. Blawg just acquired a new format and look. In addition to past features, there's an even better organization of blogs by category, including World Blawgs. Blawg now even has its own blog, Blawg Blog.
Blawgosphere: "A Generous Place".
If like me you are relatively new to blogging, or even if you consider yourself to be an old hand, please see "Blawgspace is a Generous Place (2006)" at DennisKennedy.com. It revisits a 2003 Dennis Kennedy post. Consider it part of the "legislative history" of blawging which too many of us know too little about. Note the mention of the "First Ones."
November 22, 2006
KR Watch: The Huckster Comes Through.
WAC? nearly missed that on November 10, and as he had promised last summer, hip and ambitious Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee pardoned Keith Richards over a 1975 reckless driving/concealed knife arrest and related guilty plea deal and fine. Good move--for Keith, anyway.
November 20, 2006
Borat: Aggressively un-PC, Disturbing, Wonderful.
Speaking of not-PC, ten days ago I saw Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, a spoof about a goofy anti-Semitic eastern European journalist created and played by a Jewish comedian and actor. It's not for everyone, but Borat is marvelously demented, inventive and painfully on-the-mark satire. A Vanity Fair reviewer called the movie a mirror Americans could hold up to themselves. I saw Borat in a theater of the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of conservative Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Jewish enclave of that city, and one of very few locations in western Pennsylvania where Borat was shown. The audience, one of all adult ages, howled.
Fertile new 4th Amendment/international law: Mini-Sub Stops.
Where will it end? One Sunday you and some buds are just tooling around in your sub off Costa Rica and the U.S. Coast Guard stops you, for no reason at all.
BR #84 is hosted this week by Transcending Gender and is, like Jen Burke's other sites and works, thoughtful, way beyond androgynous, feisty. This was refreshing, and also well done. Burke is an author, lawyer, photographer, thinker, leader, activist and more--and she's apparently good at all of it. Bravo.
November 19, 2006
The War on Jargon, Legalese and Other Goofy Speech.
November 18, 2006
Saturday's Charon & Maitland's Lament
London's Charon QC, one of 3 or 4 Europeans who can use "dumbass" properly in a sentence, is regular WAC? reading on Saturday, whether traveling or working. Today as usual lots of good things from Charon, and he refers to UK IP solicitor Maitland Kalton on the link between unhappy lawyers and unhappy clients, springing from a piece in The Gazette, the official publication for The Law Society of England and Wales, and the major legal weekly in Europe. Has Mr. Kalton hit a nerve for us all? See also Justin Patten's heads-up post on this subject.
November 17, 2006
Redux: The 7 Habits of Highly Useless Corporate Lawyers
Remember Ernie from Glen Burnie and his story about the 1836 Virginia document? Tonight I met with EFGB at the Old Ebbitt Grill on 15th Street. Under blistering cross-examinations by three of our old friends, mainly transactional types, the kind of guys who beat fish to death with their bare hands, Ernie stuck to his story. "The 7 Habits of Highly Useless Corporate Lawyers".
In search of: French legal weblogs in English.
Law is the ultimate backstage pass. There are more students in law schools than there are lawyers walking the Earth.
--John Milton/Satan (L’Associé du Diable)
French blawgers: Dites-le en anglais, s'il vous plait. Because WAC?'s and other U.S. lawyers' French is rusty, and maybe dying. We all promise to get it back--but in recent years, the French language has waned as an international language. Tragically, English, German, Japanese and Chinese are becoming bigger deals. So does anyone know of French blawgs in English or with English translations? Are you out there--especially anything on French employment law?
November 16, 2006
Del Bianco, the Blog.
My trip tomorrow back to old haunts and new projects in DC reminds me that my friend and Washington, D.C. colleague Mark Del Bianco, a telecom lawyer and consultant with a golden resume, has a very fine blog, BroadbandLaw.info. See "Dubai's Brick Wall for VOIP".
CQ on 2008 U.S. Presidential Election
From the Congressional Quarterly Weekly, here's "The '08 Race for the White House Begins", by Craig Crawford. Twenty-six candidates.
KFB sounds off on U.S. Mideast foreign policy, terrorism.
Patten: Unhappy Lawyering = Unhappy Clients.
From Britain's Justin Patten at Human Law, see "If 40% of lawyers are not happy with their career choice do you expect good client service?"
November 15, 2006
Measuring Client Satisfaction
China and the new U.S. Congress.
November 14, 2006
Defendants Mounting A What?
WAC? is defense-oriented and written by leading heterosexuals so this interested us. "Why Do Defendants Always Mount a 'Vigorous' Defense?" Peter Lattman at WSJ Law Blog wants to know and suggests we all get a new and better word than "vigorous" for our SEC reports, ABA Accounting Standards No. 5 letters, GCs, the press, wives and girlfriends, and others who require ostensible accuracy combined with a show of strength. People are voting over there for a better word. Law Blog likes "robust". But we like "soulful", "lusty" and "prohibitively expensive". These are descriptive, trial-lawyerly and way manly.
"Ten Ways Law Firms Lose a Lot of Money"
From the the always excellent Clients section of the Canadian Bar Association's Practice Link, it's here, an article by Janice Mucalov. No. 7 is "Keeping Mediocre Clients". CBA Practice Link is rich with resources on running firms and client care and retention.
November 13, 2006
Election Law Special at Blawg Review #83
November 11, 2006
KFB sounds off on mid-term elections, tax reform, Executive Branch retirement age.
The Kid From Brooklyn in his November 10 video.
"Declarations" as Substitutes for Affidavits
We've mentioned declarations in lieu of affidavits before. In 1976 Congress passed a barely-noticed housekeeping addition to Title 28, the U.S. Code provisions on federal courts. 28 USC section 1746 allows witnesses to prepare and execute affidavits without appearing before a notary. But many lawyers who practice in federal courts don't know about its existence. An un-notarized "declaration" with the simple oath required by section 1746 can be used any time you need an affidavit, e.g., an affidavit supporting (or opposing) a summary judgment motion. The declaration has the same force and effect of a "regular" notarized affidavit--and saves witnesses and lawyers the time, cost and aggravation of getting statements notarized.
Curmudgeon This--For Now.
Busy as I am defending corporate America and European companies from the forces of darkness and dumbness, traveling around the U.S. and western Europe with my new assistant Ms. Bry, working hard to get a couple of good books turned into movies, and trying here and there to teach people in my shop about the Holy Surprise and Miracle of Rule 36 and the fun break-dancing between Rules 30, 45 and 34, I feel very left out. I haven't read or even held in my hands Mark Herrmann's popular book The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law (ABA Litigation Section, 2006). But I want to read it, and will, for a few reasons:
First, you hear and read everywhere that Herrmann's Curmudgeon's Guide is intelligent and very funny. Second, about my vintage, Mark's a trial lawyer and writer with real lawyer credentials from a legendary firm (Cleveland-based Jones Day, ruled for years with an iron hand by a legendary curmudgeon) which was big, international and multi-officed before all that was cool. Mark's firm, unlike many firms from 250 to 3000 plus lawyers on growth streaks, seems to have expanded without doing great violence to or compromising its own gene pool. Third, WSJ Law Blog's Peter Lattman (e.g., here) likes Mark's book a lot, and has posted about it three times. Finally, and importantly, Arnie Herz, of Legal Sanity, did read Mark's book--and, hey, Arnie liked it. Arnie, also busy, is wise, perceptive, discriminating, and with a litigator's filter. That's enough for me until I get to Mark's book. See Arnie's post "The Curmudgeonly Law Firm Mentor".
November 10, 2006
German Views on U.S. Mid-Term Elections
From the Atlantic Review, a news digest edited by three German Fulbright alumni now in Berlin, Hamburg and Shanghai, here is "German Reactions to the Midterm Elections". AR also recently published "US Election Results, German Prejudices and Direct Democracy".
Quit working on Maggie's farm.
Start by tuning into www.imthereforyoubaby.com and The Entrepreneur's Guide to Galaxy--with our friends Barbara Bry and Neil Senturia--tomorrow, Saturday, at 1-2 pm California time. Listen live in San Diego area at 1700 AM or via simulcast on the CASH 1700 web site.
Four New IBLC Firms
Our firm's longstanding international business law group, the IBLC, has four new members. In Algiers, Algeria: Bouchaib Law Firm; in Belize City, Belize: Glenn D. Godfrey & Company LLP; in Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands: McW. Todman & Co; and in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Pellerano & Herrera.
Getting Judgments in China.
November 09, 2006
Will Your Clients Help Market Your Firm?
From one of the smartest law practice management sites, which should be on your short list if you read just a few blogs each week, here's "How Likely Are Your Clients to Recommend Your Law Firm?" by Nashville-based Tom Collins at More Partner Income.
Tuesday's Election Results and Litigation Reform.
What About Clients? supports most litigation, tort or judicial reforms which would curtail or eliminate "junk" science, junk cases, junk judges, you get idea. WAC? has flirted with and briefly went steady--perhaps wrongly--with the UK "loser pays" rule. We've stopped short of advocating blue ribbon juries, an un-American idea, granted. But we do support organizations which envision that, some day, no American state court judge may be popularly elected but instead each is appointed based chiefly on merit by people who understand the difference between a great lawyer/jurist and a white-trash dingbat with a law degree who needs a job. Americans need much better judges, especially on the state benches. But I digress. So just see "What Does Yesterday [November 7] Mean for the Litigation-Reform Crowd?" by Peter Lattman over at the WSJ Law Blog and especially Peter's jumping off point, the election roundtable at Point of Law.
November 08, 2006
Just Doing the Work is Marketing.
Why do some law firms excel at bringing in new business and keeping clients while others struggle? They understand that every contact every time shapes the client’s opinion.
Ah, the Big Secret in 8 words. Exciting. Read more.
November 07, 2006
12 Rules of Client Service
The goal of the "What About Clients?" 12 Rules is outrageous client service--but the 12 Rules' way of getting there is to align the interests of clients and customers and service providers. They were derived from the "How To Practice Law" section of our firm's Practice Guide, written for associates and paralegals in 2000. The rules, like service itself, are not perfect, and can be improved. Promise: This model works--if you work at it. Follow these rules by building a disciplined culture at your shop where they are enforced and kept alive--and your clients and firm both get stronger and better together. You'll see repeat business. You'll make money. And assuming you have the talent pool, and the right people to do the work, you can steal and keep any good client you covet. No limits.
The Catch: Instituting the 12 Rules (as opposed to just following them) is very, very hard work, whether your firm already has a passion for customer service, or has been happy going from day to day with only the faintest sense of its mediocrity. Real client service is as difficult and as important as your day-to-day work. But the two must be merged:
7. Know the client.
12. Have fun.
Copyright 2005 John Daniel Hull IV, Julie Elizabeth McGuire, Hull McGuire PC, All Rights Reserved.
Delia Venables: UK and Ireland
If you haven't seen it before, see Legal Resources in the UK and Ireland, by Delia Venables. This is a mainstay and well-regarded UK-Ireland law site. Law practice management, client service ideas, tech developments, other links, everything.
November 05, 2006
Guess what? You're a salesperson.
A penny for the old Guy.
Charon QC, who like WAC? is un-PC and risks becoming an 'R', has reminded us that tonight is Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night. On this date in 1605, Fawkes tried to blow up King James I, Parliament, all its members and Westminster Palace in the Gunpowder Plot. Talk about thinking outside the box. The English, who for all their good manners share with Americans a picaresque, stick-it-to-The-Man sensibility about, well, The Man, have an affection for Fawkes.
So Fawkes appears in nursery rhymes, songs and poems. John Lennon sang about Guy's plot. Even T.S. Eliot, a naturalized Brit born in the U.S., gave the old guy a couple of nods in "The Hollow Men." Fawkes was the model for the "hero" in the 2005 Larry and David Wachowski movie V For Vendetta, starring Natalie Portman and John Hurt.
November 03, 2006
Happy Birthday to Justin Patten's Human Law
One of my favorite sites in any jurisdiction is Human Law, by English lawyer-consulant Justin Patten. HL turned one this week. Justin doesn't know yet, but I may finally get to meet him in person, on his own turf, in Hertfordshire, north of London, early next year. Justin, client-focused and an expert in employment, defamation and copyright/IP law, is the only British affiliate at Law.com's Legal Blog Watch. Quite an honor. Cheers, and our compliments, sir.
Part II: Tennessee Senate Race: 'How would Jesus vote?'
From NBC News, by Brian Williams, here's "It’s Mud Over Issues in the Volunteer State" in Harold Ford Jr. v. Bob Corker. A Williams quote: "Hand-to-hand combat for votes."
Arsenic, Old Graves and Green Funerals.
From Jason Goodman, Managing Editor at Water and Wastewater Products magazine, one of the better management-side environmental news publications out there, here's "Arsenic and Old Graves", an interesting post-Halloween piece.
November 02, 2006
Moving South: Kitzbühel, Austria
Kitzbühel, even older than Mainz, is a medieval city in the province of Tyrol, Austria, near the river Kitzbühler Ache. The Illyrians, a war-like lot originally from the Balkans, mined copper around here starting between 1100 BC and 800 BC. Around 15 BC the Roman Emperor Augustus occupied and claimed this area--by that time the old Celtic province of Noricum--which included the Austrian Alps. After the fall of the western Roman Empire, the Bavarii tribe settled in the Kitzbühel region (around 800). So Kitzbühel is old, with a 12th century wall around much of it, small, beautiful, historical, and a bit slow--and loads of fun for those with pluck.
Traditionally, before non-Austrians and Yanks found it, the region was like The Hamptons or a resort for wealthy and proper Austrians, who detest all forms of anarchy, even jaywalking, especially in the larger towns like Vienna. But Kitzbühel has loosened up a bit. Well, a lot. It even has decent jazz. Drinking happens. You can stay in a small castle which is now a small hotel. If my crack law firm can make a couple of ultra-goofy matters we are defending for corporate America go away, and I can get my alleged girlfriend to come with me, I will pass through here again around St. Patrick's Day to see a client rep and to attend meetings of the IBLC. Clients love the alleged girlfriend--and she can sell. And in Kitzbühel, she can ski, which for many is the point of the region.
View from Germany: Daimler To Dump Chrysler?
[A]s long as Chrysler is still showing billions in losses, the company will be hard-pressed to attract the interest of any other automaker. This means that DaimlerChrysler must first make its US subsidiary profitable again before it can even consider selling off even part of the company.
With a strong mix of Celtic, Roman, Frankish and Jewish roots, Mainz is very old (founded by Roman General Drusus in 13 BC), and built on the Rhine. About 190,000 people live here. Near Frankfurt, and to many a part of Frankfurt's western edge, Mainz is Johann Gutenberg's town. For years, our firm has acted for a manufacturing client just north, and another client with a plant just south, of Mainz--but I'd go out of my way to stay here. For me, this is where the Rhineland begins.
The rise, sort of, of legal weblogs.
Do I think blogging is (a) important or (b) the wave of the future?
Answers: (a) no, and (b) I have no idea. However, blogging, currently, due to its evolving role as a clearinghouse, lab and media outlet for the success or failure of new ideas, is telling us where the best of the legal profession will be in 10 years. It's attracted some well-respected law and business minds, and their firms along with them. In the near term, "blawgs" have become a way to keep abreast of events and developments in business law in particular at almost lightning speed. Whether you have a blog or not, there's a huge payoff in reading them. Not reading legal weblogs a couple of times a week may very well be something we do at our peril.
Frankly, that has surprised me. Blogging by lawyers is no fad. But a really good, consistently good, blawg is hard to find. Most, but not all, of the great ones are by "full-time" bloggers, usually lawyers and often consultants.* To keep a good one going, you need a unifying concept, ideas, energy and discipline, especially if you still practice law. Do realize that, if you do have a blog, in-house counsel for publicly-traded clients do like legal weblogs. And why not? Blogs are damn cute, currently popular and show your tech-ness.
But what GCs really like, however, are Working Lawyers. They really don't want to see a 500-word post on "The Mood of the Beltway" or "Why I Like Plato, My Cat" the day before your 4-week IP/antitrust jury trial starts at the Eastern District in Alexandria. And consider this, too: if a GC or associate GC for ACME International has time to read your "blawg" every day, well, that may not be a good sign re: the GC or this company. Blogging for most of us is not the main event--and it shouldn't be.
* I can think of about eight (8) "greats" offhand, 5 of whom I "know". I would identify them but all 8 of these talented people are hopelessly vain and self-absorbed pains in the ass. It's why I like them.
Newton's Law: "Third Wave Law Firms"
WAC? always did like Texans. A man with a true virtual law firm, Texas lawyer Chuck Newton at Spare Room Tycoon has burst of fine posts on the law practice of the future. I've posted about Chuck's month-old blog and his Third Wave Firm ideas before. Others may have done what Chuck has done--but this man's turned virtual into a religion. From his bio:
My law firm does not maintain a traditional office or offices that most consumers typically associate with law firms. We have no... reception area in which to be ignored, no meeting rooms for client visits, no file room in which to lose files, no law library, no messy private office for the firm’s attorneys to hide. We have no walls to hang our licenses and diplomas, no rec room to chat with staff over coffee and donuts, and my firm’s shingle hangs from no building. Look in any phone book and you will see no yellow page ad for my firm.
We try to be the king of the Internet. We use email, Internet telephony, Internet faxing, electronic case filing, and Internet research, both to and from computers and other devices. There is virtually no one that cannot be reached, and no document that cannot be received or delivered, by phone, fax, email or (if no other alternative) mail any place in the State of Texas or the world. My law firm and I believe that staying connected allows us to tear down the barriers that keep us from our clients and their objective.