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December 27, 2006

Michigan, Football, Yale and Genuine Class

Gerald Ford (1913-2006)

Ford was Everyman's U.S. president, a straight shooter and Dan Hull's Representative when he was a kid in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2006

On the good foot....(1933-2006)

"Early in the morning/Can't get a ride/Had a little time/With my baby last night/Early in the morning/Gotta do the walk..."

A South Carolina native, James Brown died on Christmas. He was either 73 or 78. We loved it when he screamed to his band members things like "Maceo, hey Maceo, help me out!"

Posted by JD Hull at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2006

2006 Blawg Review Awards

The 2006 awards are here, presented in a guest shot by Santa, who may had have the munchies, or something. (If you didn't get the award you wanted, you can take solace in the notion that Santa may have been, like, impaired, forgot stuff or mixed things up when he got the envelopes.) Note that the awards come with a classy preface and conclusion by the BR Editor, always a sober and hard-working fellow.

Posted by JD Hull at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2006

"Vaz you ever in Zinzinnati?"

Well, I was during about half my youth--and eventually ran away to join the circus in Washington, DC. And I'm in Cincy now. Rivertowns are alike yet different--and there is not one quite like this one. Hail Queen City and Clean City, a still German, Republican city-state of the first order. And Order is important. Local government has a history of talent, and even then-sane lawyer and Democrat (brave!) Jerry Springer was a damn good and interesting mayor here.

Chili, beer, well-educated, no jaywalking, politeness, consumer society, "fitting-in" is very key in all circles, family values, sports and everyone with a German surname--the very names of still-tiny German villages today in the Rhineland you see on signs driving on the autobahn and up north around Berlin. Rolling, green and pretty, too. Only lightly industrial. Nothing like it...a beautiful, dream-like place. "I beg your pardon?" here is still "please?"

Posted by JD Hull at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2006

Pupil Barrister - "Master, more gruel, please..?"

Maybe it's just the holiday season (in which most years I love), the winter solstice, an early appreciation of Charles Dickens, or my growing awareness of the English fascination with things antiquarian, but I'm charmed by a new blog by a pupil barrister in training in the heart of Legal London. Two fine but very different Brit lawyer-bloggers, Geeklawyer at Geeklawyer, and Nick Holmes at Binary Law, clued me in on PupilBlog. "Dickensian", comments Nick Holmes. "Tortured writhings", says GL, also a barrister. For a taste of PupilBlog see "Battered and Deeply Fried Ego". And, finally, I'm reminded of what a British instructor of religions at Duke once said to me about his school and university years after about 5, maybe 7, drinks: "At an English school of any sort, you never know what the rules are until you break them."

Posted by JD Hull at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2006

"U.S. Dollar versus Euro"

It's in the Atlantic Review, a Berlin-based digest on transatlantic affairs, and based on excerpts from articles in The Economist, other sources.

Posted by JD Hull at 02:06 AM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2006

Clients in 3-D

See Michelle Golden's post "Visit Your Clients".

Posted by JD Hull at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

Associate Reviews: "Dude, if you can't steal our clients, you're fired."

There are lots of suggestions out there on standards, guidelines and take-aways for year-end associate reviews. Two are (a) letting staff evaluate co-workers and partners on specific inter-office skills in writing, and (b) reviews of staff based on specific client service standards which ALL employees must buy into (i.e., pay increase for well done client service; hit the road, for the unwilling, clueless).

Here's another one--and it's been my firm's for over ten years. But first, expand your mind for a brief moment and pretend that you're NOT a lawyer, accountant, MD, broker, consultant, salesperson, retail clerk, Alaskan fly-fishing guide, or other alleged service-provider (it's most people that work in any job these days!), that you are passionate about what you do, that you love your clients and customers, and that you want more of that business and income stream.


Every day, the client service by associate and paralegals should be good enough to permit those employees to actually steal any client, and take them to another law firm (use "transport" for the foregoing, if you need the PC professional services term), if they were to leave your shop tomorrow morning.


Fact: that's what we want at our firm, and that's what we tell associates.

If you are not, in effect, willing to go that far with your own employees in instituting and daily demanding client service, you are neither confident about client loyalty (not to mention employee loyalty) nor really serious about delivering outrageous client service to your clients. A true client service culture has to be that "extreme". So folks, let "them that can" whisk those clients out of your firm with a phone call or two; after all, that's only fair to the clients, if they so decide. If you find this idea preposterous, radical or just too disturbing, please think very hard about what you are really doing at your firm, and your real commitment, to build and lead a true client service culture.

At your shop, is "client service" just drinks-and-dinner b.s. for the clients, and website-and-brochure lip service for the public? Or is it real?

And wouldn't it be wonderful if the service were that good, and the atmosphere at your firm fun, lucrative and engaging enough that those employees just had to stay?

Posted by JD Hull at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

In the Holiday Season, all creatures, even Legalese, are tolerated, loved.

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore. From Singapore Law Blog: "Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse." And then...

Posted by JD Hull at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2006

Serious Suggestions for 2007

1. Republicans: Bring back Don Rumsfeld. He's enormously talented, a national treasure, maybe indispensable. He's not evil, or a knee-jerk partisan; he correctly gets that civil rights are different in a war, and just needs to clean up his act a bit. He is a different breed than Cheney, Rice or Wolfowitz and has loads more real character and strength than Colin Powell. (Take a good look, too. Rummy "is us"--like him or not.) Forget about his age. He's too smart to waste, not ready for retirement.

2. Democrats: Consider a Joe Biden-Hillary Clinton ticket in 2008. It might work, if Senator Biden can get past certain old baggage with the voters. Hillary Rodham Clinton can't win--maybe not ever, but certainly not in 2008--and Biden has that Bill Clinton/President Bush-esque gift of connection with voters that HRC lacks and will continue to lack. A natural politician, Joe Biden actually likes other people, and it shows.

3. Consider a system of nationwide reciprocity in lawyer licensing. Let NY counsel freely invade CA if they need to to work there for longstanding clients as long as they agree to CA bar discipline.

4. Take a stand. Discourage "required" gender-neutral speech. Enough is enough. Let nature take its course. Words come into the arsenal of real English when they are ready. Quit forcing the issue. Resist "chairperson".

5. In the alternative, set aside a "required" day where everyone must smoke, smoke heavily, and smoke Camel non-filters.

6. In the alternative, set aside a day in the workplace on which everyone must talk to one another like Elvis ("thankyouvirymutch, for that e-mail, little honeys..."). And on that day, flirt in the workplace--and openly. Refuse to be a Dweeb.

7. Work very hard at anything you care about. Plan. Pray. And...swear and curse more--but only at work, and only on the record. More Howard, less Conan, less Rosie. More Parker Posey, less anyone named Brittany, Justin or other Gen X names. More Annabeth Gish. More Ellen Bry. Everyone in U.S. must acknowledge in writing that the simplest woman is 10 times more complex than any man.

8. Joking about any client is now a firing offense.

9. Stop Political and Cultural Stereotyping--and other Drive-By Cartoon-ings.

If you are a Democrat, please talk--really talk--to a Republican. And vice versa. Humans are complex and have all manner of reasons for voting or thinking the way they do. Resist the temptation to reduce people to political stereotypes in order to feel warm, fuzzy and self-righteous about your own ferverently-held beliefs, choices and situation. Be fairer. We all fall short here--even international and ecumenical WAC?, on his best day, harbors unfair prejudices and misapprehensions. Its smartest, best-read and best-travelled GOP and Dem friends do, too.

And the most gifted Americans also screw this one up royally, by conveniently reducing people with whom they disagree to cartoons and stock characters from bad morality plays. This past year one of my client reps, Julie McGuire (of Hull McGuire) and I had dinner with a wonderful and engaging poet and Pulitzer Prize winner. As he admitted, and movingly confessed, he was insular and isolated with other writers, academics and friends at Princeton and at his other home in Paris to a degree that my law partner Julie McGuire, was "the first Republican" he had talked with in many, many years. He seemed genuinely shocked (1) that he liked Julie, (2) that she was first in her class at Carnegie-Mellon in Mathematics and Business before entering law school (in which she was also first in her class), (3) that she had ever read James Joyce and (4) that she is both religious and spiritual, and very kind. Republicans, he had always felt, must be shallow, insensitive, patriotic in a goofy way, way dumb and just plain mean.

That, ladies and gentleman, is cultural insanity. And we are all doing it this decade in some degree. Americans are smarter than that. The culture war in America has become a drug too many of us need to feel Moral, Part of The Correct Sub-Tribe, and Right. Being Right is expensive, and will stunt your growth. Avoid contempt prior to investigation. Stop turning one another into silly Sci-Fi monsters-that-never-were. If you are a "D", start with George Bush, one of our most "American"--the good stuff/the bad stuff, warts and all--presidents ever (like Rumsfeld, Bush is us.) If you are an "R", re-evaluate Wild Bill Clinton, a visionary, inspirational and at heart a genuinely pro-people guy who, like Rummy, was damn funny and fun with reporters. Talent is talent--and none of these guys are Vlad the Impaler, Dr. Evil or Bugs Bunny. They trim Christmas trees, have dinner with family, play saxophones and drink beer in the Boom-Boom Room at the Westin like the rest of us.

10. Finally, and more importantly, Do Grow. Have a difficult but worthwhile relationshp. Read Hunter Thompson, and Francois Villon. Travel. Talk to people who aren't like you at all. Leave a legacy. Be original in some productive way. And at least play your old Yardbirds, John Mayall, Byrds and Kinks albums. Loud.

But get out of your cars and dance. Have a great 2007.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:41 PM | Comments (0)

Are book agents spoiled, lazy vultures with staffs from Hell?

Query: Does anyone know a reputable and skilled business book agent with even the crudest of: manners, organizational skills, and instinct for the Client as an Asset?

Forget all the unkind, if accurate, things I have said about my client service-challenged fellow corporate lawyers recently--well, at least for the weekend. And color me naive. Three business book agents with good reputations--WAC? is seriously considering naming all 3 in a future post, and to hell with the consequences--are showing interest in a WAC? book proposal. WAC? was/is quite willing to become a humble and eager student of the difficult business of developing, marketing and publishing a book. It's hard to find a good literary agent. I never expected Easy--and I heard and read that most good agents were the new royalty, and treated first-time book writers like troublesome peasants, servants or turds. But be patient with the process, I was told. They are busy and get all manner of queries and proposals, many of them terrible, from misguided or full-of-themselves writers. And do listen to what they say.

I had no illusions. The Student was ready.

And apparently, I lucked out, in my first time out. So, as the proverb goes, the Teacher(s) (i.e., agents) started to appear--but none of them are quite "all there". They are 10 times worse than I had been told and read. To summarize, none of the agencies or agents have any people or business skills, two appear to be mildly retarded, and one is clearly flat-out insane. They keep losing things--and the things these cretins lose are my things. They have unhappy robot office staff from Hell. The are like third-tier "customer satisfaction" employees at a utility or insurance company--phony, dumb, mean and 100% cartoon.

My would-be agents say they want to help me develop a book on 'client service', and 'building and leading service cultures'....but how could I ever let them any of them help develop such a book--unless my own hypocrisies suddenly had no bounds? Sure, these people are nuts--but so am I for letting them in on a project which, due to their own dysfunctional business cultures, they could never be expected to understand without a serious 28-day client service rehab/charm school and the latest in "pro-client" medications. If they can't treat the neophyte Client-Writer as an Asset, how could they ever really buy into a book on "Client Service in the new global services economy"?

I feel stupid. And I am done, for now, with these miserable, spaced-out screw-ups. Guys, you win, I lose--but please go away.

And give me back my stuff.

Posted by JD Hull at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Mercy! Them Eighty-Eights at BR #88...

Who has ever argued with Music and won? Well, the moment of truth has finally come, at David Harlow's HealthBlawg. Welcome to Blawg Review #88, " where you can sit back while some of the masters of the form tickle the ivories".

Posted by JD Hull at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Industry-Based Practice Groups

Tom Kane at Legal Marketing Blog is reading WAC?'s mind these days--and gives a suggestion which my firm will institute at the beginning of next year, starting with our firm's practice for clients in the automotive, steel, manufacturing and energy industries. See "Form Industry-based Practice Groups". Clients want you to know their business, their industry.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2006

Blawg Review #87...

...is up at Legal Literacy. Do see this one.

Posted by Tom Welshonce at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2006

Women and start-ups: This Week's "Baby" Show.

"I'm There for you Baby", hosted by WAC? friends Neil Senturia and Barbara Bry, airs from 1-2 p.m., West Coast time on San Diego's CASH 1700 AM, or listen live via simulcast on the CASH website. This week includes a discussion with female entrepreneurs.

Posted by Tom Welshonce at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Ms. Bry stars in "The 60s" - All you need is love, and a shrink.

She is actress, producer, writer, Renaissance babe, mom, ex-stunt girl (for fun, Google her name re: the Superman movies), and WAC? friend and advisor. Ellen Bry stars tonight in the Trish Soodik comedy "The 60s" at the acclaimed Pacific Theatre in Los Angeles, 703 Venice Boulevard, at 8:00 PM. Directed by Paul Linke.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2006

On your lower left: 20 new non-U.S. blogs.

The ever-growing Directory of Non-U.S. Blogs, on the lower left side of this site, recently grew by 20, with new sites from or about the law in Columbia, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic and Korea. We appreciate the the tips re: good and active non-U.S. blogs (legal and, in some cases, non-legal).

Posted by Tom Welshonce at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Good Legal Writing, Plain and Simple.

Good sites on better writing for clients, lawyers and other humans can be found at The Estrin Report. Declare war on "aforesaid", "party of the second part", "oye, oye" and "COMES NOW THE PLAINTIFF, Purple Monkey Corporation, by and through its attorneys, and for its Motion, the following of which is an obsequious prayer, to this Most Honorable Court...." Just say it.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

Weenies in the News: Bill Frist

Staying in both loops, WAC? has dirtied his hands for both Ds and Rs, on Capitol Hill and in campaigns--intern, government employee, legislative assistant, lobbyist and fundraiser. True, it's a mixed, weird crowd that gets off on this stuff. But people from all persuasions are heartened by this anticlimactic news. WKRN.com: Frist Steps Down From Senate Majority Leader. Chattanoogan.com: Bill Frist Will Not Run For President In 2008. The second story is an old political one. Except when he opened his mouth, Frist was the Rs' perfectly engineered dog food; in the test markets, however, none of us dogs ever liked it.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

Intriguing Google Search of the Month.

This morning we found "attorney strategy meetings are useless", at WAC?'s Site Meter, originating from one of our favorite NYC IP firms at 12:20:53 AM Thursday for 2:17 minutes. An associate's cry for help?

Posted by JD Hull at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

$965 Million: Hard Rock Cafe To Be Sold to Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Here's something you don't read every day. From the Associated Press, Seminole Tribe Buying Hard Rock Cafe Business for $965 Million.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

Jim Hassett's Not So Excellent Adventure

Bad service, bad buzz. As Harry Beckwith's young son once said, "too often, service sucks". From Jim Hassett at Legal Business Development, here's "Unhappy customers and my problems with ACT". Don't tug on Superman's cape, dude.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

Kid From Brooklyn sounds off on gay marriage, existential dread.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2006


My mother and brother were born there. As I kid, and like other Procter & Gamble children growing up in the 1960s, I lived there twice before we moved to Cincinnati, the Promised Land for our corporate cult. Until I was about 18, I thought that moving around like that--my birthplace D.C., then Chevy Chase and Aberdeen, Maryland, Chicago (brother David), Grand Rapids, and Detroit (sister Becky)--was perfectly "normal". So, after Detroit, where Becky was born, the five of us moved back to Chicago again and lived, this time, on the North Shore, on Lake Michigan, near Ravinia, in a suburb called Highland Park, a child's perfect wonderland of woods, ravines and beach. That neighborhood is the setting for the movies Ferris Bueller's Day Off (note Cameron's yard, where the ravine swallows his dad's classic car), and Risky Business.

It was a fine and sometimes moving early lesson, thanks to my mother who pushed my Dad to move us there, in multi-culturalism. As two of the only local Gentile kids at our public school, my brother David and I would love the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) because they were ours to play dodgeball all day long with about 10 other non-Jewish kids, or kids from "mixed" families, at Braeside Elementary, at 150 Pierce Road. All our friends had those days off. We did miss them, but enjoyed our all-day recess-at-school. Still, I remember feeling left out and jealous we weren't Jewish. To this day, my frame of reference for looking at the world is broader, richer and better due to my family's Chicago episodes. It stretched us and me.

In the next four weeks I'll be working in Los Angeles, D.C., and Pittsburgh, and maybe NYC--with detours for Christmas in Ohio, and New Years in South Carolina. And back to San Diego, then Nashville. But Chicago will be first, starting later next week. I am going back for a week to work downtown--and excited about being again in the most vibrant American city between the coasts, hands down, and amongst lawyers who get it.

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys...

Chicago, Carl Sandburg, Poetry magazine, 1914.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

The Greatest American Lawyer: Never graduate.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." C. Darwin

Posted by JD Hull at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

Commission: Iraq Policy "not working".

Shocking, breaking news--like Keith Richards likes drugs.

Posted by JD Hull at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

"Have You 'Bothered' To Seek Client Feedback?"

Tom Kane continues the discussion that makes lawyers squirm.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2006

Slick Answers to Lazy Interrogatories.

Color me silly, but I love and respect written discovery during the pretrial process in American federal courts. Years ago, a fed-up U.S. district court judge, throwing up his hands during arguments by lawyers on a motion to compel discovery responses, referred to answers to interrogatories as "slick lawyer answers to lazy lawyer questions".

I feel his pain. Once a new second year associate who worked briefly for our firm (after one year at another firm) complained that we were putting too much thought into a set of interrogatories under Rule 33, Fed. R. Civ. P. Our new hire patiently explained to me that interrogatories and other written discovery were in fact "simply a way for lawyers to bill time so they could make money, and nothing more." He was adamant about it, too.

Nice guy, and I liked him--I always try to take his cab when I'm in Pittsburgh.

But complex and hard-fought civil cases really do turn about 90 per cent on the quality of the discovery questions and requests, including deposition questions, and the responses to them. And well-thought out and strategically-timed written discovery is the best way there is to prepare great depositions--and get ready for trial.

Posted by JD Hull at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

Boola Boola, Balkin, Blogging.

If you haven't yet, see Balkinization, which focuses on First Amendment and individual liberty issues. Popular, and created by Yale Law professor Jack Balkin in 2003, shortly before the U.S. invaded Iraq, this blog is worth the time of busy people in practice or academia. It's intelligent and lefty without being and preachy and shrill--a risk with this kind of blog. It has a sense of humor. If Balkin promises in a tangible way to help WAC? with battles against lame forms of legalese, faux lawyer professionalism, and/or pointless regimes of "PC", I will: (1) fly to New Haven first chance I get and buy Balkin and two of his talented writing team members dinner, and (2) not turn R over the sight of liberals emascualting the First Amendment, keep reading Mother Jones and the New York Times, and continue raising money for sane Ds. Save me, guys.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2006

Blawg Review (#86) in Purgatory.

Dante's Mount Purgatory. The guide is still Virgil (a/k/a Colin Samuels of Infamy or Praise) on the terraces of Blawg Review #86. See also the Editor's introduction, Blawg Review in Purgatory.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

Canada: Management-side Employment Law Blog

Note that one of the better Canadian blawgs is Thoughts from a Management Lawyer, by Michael Fitzgibbon, with one of Canada's largest and best known law firms. Michael follows labor and employment law in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere.

Posted by JD Hull at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

Jim Hassett: Lawyer Marketing in 7 Words

And they are: Meet the right people, advance the relationship. Or kiss the frogs, sort the princes, and keep moving? Well, Jim's is shorter, better. See Jim Hassett's "Everything You Need to Know About Legal Business Development, in Seven Words" at Legal Business Development.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

France's 24-hour news "through French eyes" to debut.

WAC? is pleased. Here comes France 24, the French CNN or BBC, which will include an English version, first on cable in NYC and DC. About time. Like it/them or not, France is most consistently civilized and enlightened Western nation, and save a few notable detours, that's been true for centuries. The West needs a French lens.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:23 AM | Comments (0)

December 03, 2006

Coming soon: 20 new blawgs to be added to WAC? non-US directory.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2006

Mount Purgatory Warm-up

See "lawyers sentenced to haiku purgatory, without appeal " at f/k/a [formerly known as]. WAC? loves Dante, and serenely awaits guides Virgil and Colin Samuels at next Blawg Review, No. 86.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)

The Vanishing Jury Trial

From The Boston Globe, see "Few Chances for Lawyers to Develop Trial Skills", by Sacha Pfeiffer.

Posted by JD Hull at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

Jack Welch on getting China-ready, and good China IP news.

From Dan Harris's consistently fine China Law Blog, two posts: "Jack Welch On The China Ready Company" and "China IP Protection Rising--Just As Predicted".

Posted by JD Hull at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)

You Gotta Believe--or just sell shoes, drive cab, whatever.

Why WAC?'s Client Service Model & 12 Rules May Not Work.

Answer: Because people are selfish, and WAC?'s 12 Rules of True Client Service presupposes that people are not selfish--that you and your staff will put clients before yourselves and All Things other than blood, country, God, a job at the White House or dinner with Parker Posey. Conservative humorist and writer P.J. O'Rourke said it best, sort of, in explaining in an article for Rolling Stone Magazine in July of 1995, why he went from National Lampoon to jester for the right:

No child ever wrote Santa, "Bring me, and a bunch of kids I've never met, a pony, and we'll share."

O'Rourke is right, of course. People are selfish. Period.

So there's no point in being nice to anyone, even clients, because it doesn't get you anything today, right?

Well, no, wrong. There's a "blind faith"-based and slightly zen-like remedy for the 12 Rules' blissful ignorance of human nature, and here it is: Rule 13: You Gotta Believe.

Get spiritual, get crazy, but somehow get it. History teaches that only Spiritual or Crazy can truly trump and defeat Selfish. So try one of them--Spiritual or Crazy--in your shop, keeping in mind that may be closely related ("Insanity is half-way to Enlightenment," a mildly crazy Duke religion professor once said.) But seriously, folks...somehow, some way, you and yours must believe that for your business to be what it is supposed to me--and to mean anything at all--the Client is first, right, The Main Asset, It, prime, special, All Things, The One Thing, Center of Cosmos, Alpha, paramount, Godhead, the Big Dog, more-important-than-you, more-important-than-dinner-with-Parker Posey--and the key to your success, wealth and happiness.

The client relationship as a valued asset. You must be willing to sacrifice for it. The idea, and the passion that carries it, can never be the object of derision. It's the one sacred thing. (Nothing else needs to be.) Everyone at your shop must always buy into client service passionately.

It doesn't matter how you get people to buy into client service passion. It just must be real.

You can (a) try hiring or even creating the spiritual Steve Covey-type ("Last night, the Forms of Beauty and Truth appeared to me in a vision, and asked me for alignment of principles with our company's principles, to take place later today, around 2:00 PM in the Lavender Conference Room, and please bring your own toga and sandals...") or (b) take the easier, quicker crazy-about-service route by hiring Wharton, Tuck or Fuqua B-school grads who are already believers ("I'll torture, and then fire, and maybe even kill, anyone who doesn't bend over backwards for every client every moment on my watch...") for whatever reasons, and who are otherwise sane, mainly. It doesn't matter which oddball or zealot you recruit. Just find them. Chances are it can't be taught.

They can be selfish. Even really out there. But they gotta believe in serving clients 24/7.

Anyone who does not buy into true client service must be asked to leave, and leave quickly, without attempts at "rehabilitation". So consider this easy-to-use quick exit interview talk, which you can memorize, and with which we'll conclude:

Dude, Justin[*], you don't believe what we believe about clients, and that's fine. So this is not working out.

Look, we know this firm is not for everyone. You are likely miserable here. We're probably all crazy, Dan Hull, and Julie McGuire, especially--they are real pieces of or work, and especially Hull, what a whackjob, eh? [optional, of course]--but, dude, Justin, real client service is what we really are all about. Julie and Dan are militant about that. They are serious.

Here, client service is not a gimmick or line we tell to clients to get them here. It's something we do ourselves to make them stay here. And it holds everything at Hull McGuire together. It's a religion. Okay, it's a little weird. Extreme. A Passion, Justin. May even be a cult. But there is nothing else. Nothing. Everything flows from it.

Thanks, Justin, and take care.

*All males we fire are named Justin, Brandon or Josh--go figure.

Posted by JD Hull at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

Kid From Brooklyn opines on candor, client expectations.

This weekend, visit the Big Man, the Kid from Brooklyn (links above)--he's "always, always" happy to see you.

Posted by JD Hull at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2006

EU: In 2005, nearly 30% of Euro-US trade was in services.

Increasingly in global markets, goods (i.e., products and tangible things you can see and touch) are just part of the bundles of solutions our clients and we sell globally. As WAC? has ranted about previously, services are becoming the main event. From the Berlin-based Atlantic Review, a news digest by three German Fulbright alumni, here's "Strong EU-U.S. Trade". Note that, according to the European Commission, in 2005 about 30% of the trade dollars in both directions were in services, as opposed to goods:

The EU and US are responsible together for about two fifths of world trade. Trade flows across the Atlantic are running at around €1.7 billion a day.... In the year 2005, exports of EU goods to the US amounted to €250 billion, while imports from the US amounted to €234 billion. Concerning trade in services, EU exports to the US amounted to €108.6 billion in 2004 while EU imports from the US amounted to €93.0 billion.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

So just what and where, sir, is ClientTown?

Well, for starters, it's a wonderful, wonderful place to be. Clients are the main event. It is never about the lawyers.

It really does exist. On most days, in my experience, the clients' towns are Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles--and also Chicago and Boston. In these venues, you are more likely to do well in a proceeding or transaction if you stick to honesty, aggression and the procedural and ethical rules. Those things are more genuinely respected. It's "more okay" to put the Client First and really move things along. Sure, the above are bigger towns--but in bigger towns, raw energy and adherence to the rules are not as likley to be frowned upon. In ClientTown, you are free to work for clients. In ClientTown, clients are more than "equipment". They are always way more important than lawyers. In ClientTown, you are "nice"--but you put the client's agenda first. "Professionalism" is not a phony shield or sanctuary; it means doing the work the right way. You forget about the other lawyers and think about your client. You are not trying to be popular--unless that helps the client. In ClientTown, you conduct all your communications and actions as if the client is at your side, right there watching and listening.

In ClientTown, it is never about the lawyers.

Posted by JD Hull at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)