The end of Lawyer1point9

Lawyer1point9 is dead.

My role has changed to head of Learning and Development here at Mogers Solicitors in Bath.  As a result I will be concentrating on a broader palette of development issues.

At times those will overlap emergent and disruptive technologies and their role on the legal profession but I will have less time to commit to those developments.

This blog, and Lawyer1point9, are no more.

It’s been fun.


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The Law Firm as a Learning Organisation

“The shift to a learning culture is an aspiration; in practice it will take a long time and success in any organisation may be patchy, or even go into reverse on occasion.”  pg 15 Learning and Development 2020: A Guide For The Next Decade

It seems quite apt that my blog post following on from the previous one should look at this issue of developing a learning culture.

The quote is taken from Martyn Sloman’s excellent, and free, report on learning and development.  Follow the link above.

What do law firms have to do to develop a learning culture?

What unique obstacles are there, if any, within law firms?

What examples are there in the market place that demonstrate this learning culture aspiration, and how do they respond to it?

My own view is that competence is often narrowly evaluated within organisations including law firms.  We might see an excellent lawyer as someone who has the most remarkable knowledge of a certain area of law, and the ability to exploit that.

At the same time, however, we might see other skills as being sorely lacking.  Communication, presentation or effectiveness might all be close to nil with these shortcomings either overlooked or covered up.

It can be very difficult to accept that although we might be exceptional in one area that we are verging on the incompetent in others.  As a provocation I put forward the suggestion that future legal service providers might need very little in the way of specific legal knowledge.  They will always be able to access that particular commodity.  The new excellence may well, instead, be measured by accessibility, flexibility and alternative funding structures.

To my mind, the learning culture aspiration opens up a curiosity and an appetite to learn new ways of dealing, serving, working and thinking.  If we can do something to turn on that curiosity then my hunch is that we would see much more fluidity and responsiveness in the emerging legal services market.

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Filed under The Changing Legal Market

The Joy in Domesday Thinking – Leading Change In Law Firms

I made the following comment on Julian Summerhayes ace blog but it got lost somewhere.  It draws upon my thoughts that I have been exercising here for whole freaking years now, thoughts which are now consolidated via Kotter’s Leading Change, my own change leadership work as an associate coach with the excellent Wilsher Group and a recent McKinsey article on wargaming.

In reponse to Why Lawyers Fear Change

Personally I think there is a need for some Domesday thinking.

Far too often I still hear “Oh, it won’t be all that different” or “We’ll get through it.”

This is likely to be well intentioned. Keep calm and carry on. Don’t panic. Don’t upset the ranks. Keep morale up.

But the results can be soporific.

By adopting a Domesday scenario I am not suggesting despair. Instead, I am advocating a form of make believe play, or Scenario Setting.

“What would we do if a competitor came in with a new form of legal service provision and attracted 30 – 40 – 50% of our client base? How would we respond in that situation?

The response is the critical bit.

What are our thoughts?

How would we implement plans?

Who would be responsible for what?

What resources would we need to access?

Who would we need to bring on board?

What would our practice look like, post-event?

How would we fit in to that?

How would it match our own personal goals and aspirations?

What, out of all of the things we have looked at today, might deliver benefits now?

Why shouldn’t we start implementing those aspects right away?

It is about walking up to the wall and meeting it, rather than hitting it 6, 12 or 24 months later.

Brilliant ideas can emerge out of well facilitated conversations and games such as these.

The question is, “Who wants to play?”

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Filed under The Changing Legal Market

The Futile Fightback Against Spam Begins Here

Dear Sirs

Thank you for your email setting out, amongst other things, various articles about things that you have written about and which I had not expected.

Thank you for that.

Thank you that you have given me the opportunity to form a view and build a relationship with your company that has instructed, in turn, I must presume, a marketing company to send out your email setting out, amongst other things, various articles about things that you have written about and which I had not expected.  Or requested.

If I had not received your email then I would not have known about your company, not least because I am in Bath, over 200 miles away.

Still, your marketing people will know better about that and no doubt there are all kinds of reasons why it was a good idea to send me this email, and charge you for it, setting out, amongst other things, various articles about things that you have written about and which I had not expected.  Or requested.  Or desired.

Now that I come to read as far as the second paragraph I see that your newsletter has a typographical error within it.  We’ll let that go.

And I am left confused.

Why is it a good idea for your company to pay marketing agents to send out emails to people that have neither requested nor desired them living more than 200 miles away?

Of course, I am a solicitor and solicitors use your services.

I get that.

Divorce solicitors do not though.  What?  Your marketeers checked that out didn’t they?  I mean, they do target this stuff don’t they or do they just send it out in a scattergun fashion?  And if so, why would you pay someone to do that?

I’m wondering at the end of all of this, and I’m sorry if it has wasted your time, but was your email spam and how much do you pay your marketeers to send this stuff out in your company’s name to people who neither want it or could have any reasonable interest in it?

Furthermore, the email says that I signed up for this (and I find this really hard to believe) through one of your companies websites.

Go on I’ll bite.

Which one?

I wish you all the very best with your marketing activities but please make sure that I am not spammed in this way again.

With kind regards,




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More Blasted Spam

I seem to be inundated with spam these days, and from people I know, am connected to, or share a group with on LinkedIn. It massively undermines your brand and trust in your LinkedIn efforts.
Inviting me to simply respond with “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the email subject bar does not cut it.
Why not put SPAM in your subject bar and then reconsider whether you want to send that out to clients you are trying to attract?

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Filed under Law, Lawyers and Social Media

The Problem With LinkedIn? Spam Updating Emails.

Many lawyers I speak to have LinkedIn accounts.  Several have gone so far as to start signing up to relevant groups.  They then experience a deluge of updating emails spamming their inboxes notifying them every time something happens.  The result is that many leave LinkedIn well alone for fear of being drowned in spam and mixed metaphors.

Many do not realise that it is possible to  manage (ie Switch Off) these notifications.  This post shows you how.

You set your own rules for how often you want to receive emails.  When you join a group you will be taken to a screen that looks like this.

Controlling the number of LinkedIn emails

You will have your own preferences and you might have different preferences for each group.

On this group, for example, you will see that I have deselected the option to be notified every time someone starts a new discussion.  This is the first circle I have marked.

I have however chosen to receive a daily digest which I find helpful to keep me up to date with what is happening in the group.

I have chosen a daily digest for this particular group because it is one that I find to be highly relevant to my work.

I have some groups that are of less interest and I might select a weekly digest from the drop down box I have circled, or deselect this option so that I receive no updates at all.

Choose your options and save changes.

If you have already joined a group and want to change the settings then you can do so at any time. The next screen shows you how.

Changing email settings for groups you are already a member of.

Select the relevant group from your list of groups.

Click on where it says “More…” as circled above and the drop down menu will appear, as shown.

Click on “My Settings” to get to the email preference screen seen in the first picture, change your settings and save those changes.

Hopefully your use of LinkedIn groups will now be more enjoyable and you can control what emails you receive from which groups.

Incidentally, if you comment on any discussion in a LinkedIn group then you receive an email everytime someone posts a comment after you.  There is a tickbox on every discussion that you can mark to stop these updating emails being sent as well.


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Law Firm Video Envy Is A Joyous Thing

I was sent a tweet today from @colmmu on Twitter with a link to a law firm video promoting mediation.  Many readers will know that this was going to press all my buttons for a couple of reasons.

  1. I work in collaborative law which is itself a form of alternative dispute resolution.
  2. I have an interest in law firm video having produced several with no budget at all over at MogersTV
  3. I am a big believer in law firms and lawyers using social media to develop brands and ideas.

I can be pretty scathing about other law firm videos.  YouTube does not need another talking head reading a script off the laptop screen.

When I got the link this morning I gave it a look and was just amazed.  Here, see for yourself…

There is so much to like about this.

I respect the company for having the conviction to invest a reasonable sum into creating this initiative.

Having got the budget, I love the work done by Lambda films.  There is some very punchy editing.  The break at 1 minute 38 is inspired.  I am horribly envious of the photo-frame effect they have got, and the gag with the mediator in the closet, drinking a nice cup of tea is well done as well.

I also appreciated the Making Of… videos that you can also watch – a good way of maximising value for money.

This is quite simply a brilliant law firm video and it deserves every success… I’ve got to get me one of those budgets.

If you are interested in hearing more then Mark Finch, the guitarist and star mediator will be joining me and my fellow podcast host Stephen Anderson on Monday 13th December for episode #6 of the Collaborative Law and ADR podcast, now available on iTunes, just search collaborative law.

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The Podcast Grows…

My Collaborative Law and ADR podcast has grown a second episode and I have to admit to being very pleased with how it is going.

The hits for the first show were very good and the feedback was excellent, such as

  • You’re naturals. Can’t wait for the next edition
  • Great clarity. A nice human touch to professional matters
  • Really enjoyed it.
  • A great first show!

The tech I am using is very straightforward – conference calls on Skype recorded using the excellent Skype recording tool and then podcasted using Pamela’s in-built facilities and blubrry’s podcast plug-in on my wordpress based website.

If you are interested in starting a podcast then try this arrangement.

I haven’t yet nailed the full RSS issues but I’ll get that sorted.

If you need to download in the meantime then use this link

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Filed under General Technology

Client Centered Practice? Try Social Media.

Social media enables us as lawyers to make it easier for clients to understand us and work with us.

I was at an excellent meeting last night with 9 other motivated and energetic collaborative lawyers.

Our purpose was to consider what client centered practice, within collaborative law and family law generally would look like.  This was a discussion that Woody Mosten, a leading collaborative practitioner began back in February.

Various aspects were discussed – better aligning the first interview process, broader consideration of the changing legal market place and ABS and the like.

I was advocating social media as a means of client centering.

I had suggested that we look to communications and adult learning theory.  Part of this suggests that we need to have “warmed up” the listener, let’s say our client, so that they are ready to hear the advice that we might have for them before we first meet with them.  We give them a context, or as De Bono might say, an array, in which they can easily place us and what we have to say to them.

How do we reach clients before we meet them?  Website, yes, Yellow Pages (increasingly few I would hope) but what about our blogs, our LinkedIn accounts, our personable and professional Twitter account?

When we use social media in this way, we throw out indicators as to what we are about, what and how we practice.  The result is that clients, to a modest degree, already have some idea of who they are working with.

An example.

The other day I was meeting with an excellent training company.  I wanted to know a bit about the chief exec who I was due to meet with, and so I went to my social media circles.

I was pointed towards a book that this man had written.  What was more, the first 60 pages or so were on Google books.

I read what this man had been able to get out there and was really excited. The connections between us were obvious.

As a result I was very relaxed about the meeting.  I was able to ask him questions about his book and about stories that he had written within it.

We were able to progress to a level of mutual interest and shared connections very quickly indeed, probably within two minutes.

There will be some who tut tut and want to stay behind the impermeable membrane of the conventional company website.  And that’s fine.

But to be truly client centered, give the client a chance to know who they are meeting and working with.


Filed under An End To Silo Thinking, Law, Lawyers and Social Media, The Changing Legal Market

New Website – Social Media Training For Lawyers

Click to link through to Social Media Training For Lawyers

I have recently had several enquiries to provide social media training for lawyers.  This in part follows on from my conference presentations at Oxford University a few weeks ago, and also as a result of my own social media activity.

It felt right to establish a web presence to support those requests and the point of this post is to show how simple that was.

Step One. Get a specific web address.

I went to to find a suitable web address. was available at cost £5.99 plus VAT for 2 years.  I bought it.

The web address is pretty long but it says exactly what I want it to say, and what I think lawyers and law firms who need social media training will be searching for.

I did not pay for hosting as I can forward the web address to a blog that I set up on, namely, obviously.

I could have just used the WordPress address but having the full bespoke web address enables me to use as a professional (if rather long) email address.

Step Two.  Prepare the WordPress blog

WordPress is very powerful and with a little bit of familiarisation time (and the book WordPress For Dummies is good enough) you can prepare good, if not dazzling, blog sites that meet all the functionality of a website that could otherwise cost hundreds of pounds.

WordPress is free.

Create a contact page, about, and load up a few blog entries explaining what you are offering, and giving examples.  Don’t forget to register your blog with Google, Yahoo and Bing verification services – instructions are on WordPress under the tools button on the dashboard.

Step Three. Direct email address into existing email account such as Gmail.

Step Four. Promote new website by writing about it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and existing blogs, er, like this one.

Time spent? 2 hours.  Cost? £5.99 plus VAT

Opinions and feedback?  Well, you tell me…


Filed under Law, Lawyers and Social Media