@whataboutparis

September 14th, 2011

J. Daniel Hull

Corporate Lawyer. Lobbyist. Fixer. Traveler. Writer.

Partner, Hull McGuire PC

Author of the What About Paris? / What About Clients? law blog

Today we’re tweeting with @Whataboutparis, the online persona of Dan Hull: int’l lawyer and “father” of the Slackoisie Movement

Two corrections: It’s the Anti-Slackoisie Movement, Lance. I am the Mother. @ScottGreenfield is the Father. Got that?

  1. @Whataboutparis, thank you for joining us on Twitter. Tell us, who is @Whataboutparis?
    WAP? is just the Twitter version of What About Clients? which started in 2005. Has been 5 or 6 writers off and on since that time.
    -
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    It’s Fun. Client industries include manufacturing, transportation, energy. Most (90%) long-standing. A few public figures, writers.
    -
  3. What types of work do you do for those clients?
    Clusters of work for each: in’l corp. tax, IP, environmental, labor, cross-border disputes, federal courts, straight-up lobbying.
    -
  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    The Costs of Litigation. In B-2-B disputes especially, we need more Arbitrations Done Right & new concept of what “Winning” is.
    -
  5. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    You ask GC/client rep what he/she Really Needs. 2. Then you just Shut Up. 3. You Listen.
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  6. Sounds about right. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    Representation of German co. sued by Spanish co. building steel mill in rural Kentucky with Atlanta arbitration under Ohio law.
    -
  7. Wow. Why do your clients hire you?
    Most “hires” = repeat business. But my guess: they first come & stay because we think lawyering is not about the lawyers. Ever.
    -
  8. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Litigation. In a Recession, you’d expect it. But it is not that much more than usual.
    -
  9. You’ve built a thriving int’l practice w/out setting up outside the US. Is that the right business model for all?
    No. You need very energetic lawyers who (1) want to “work abroad” & (2) could do that at almost any Western firm. Not 4 everyone.
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  10. OK. Would you do the same again today? Or are the costs too high, the risks too great, the law too different?
    Great question. We worked internationally/nationally before that was cool. Am sure we’d try to enter market. Not sure if we would.
    -
  11. Your firm has been part of the Int’l Business Law Consortium. What is it? What’s it mean for your clients? For you?
    IBLC “unbundled” lots of legal talent & gave even largest clients more choices abroad. 80+ firms in major cities around the globe.
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  12. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    Varies. But I don’t use the word “lawyer” until I have their attention. Even sophisticated users of lawyers think we’re Wankers.
    -
  13. How do you market your int’l law practice? To whom? Did you always do it that way?
    We research thoroughly & pitch 4 new targets a year. If we get work from 2 inside of 18 months from first meeting, that’s success.
    -
  14. Your blog, What About Paris?, is many things to your readers. What is it to you?
    Mainly fun. And to pitch a few ideas: art of the client, working “in the world”, cultural literacy/wholeness, lawyering as hard.
    -
  15. OK, I gotta ask: what’s the Slackoisie, and why should they matter to the rest of us?
    The Slackoisie thinks Work is About Them–not about Buyers, Customers, Clients. The Slackoisie doesn’t matter. Just avoid them.
    -
  16. :-) Let’s switch gears now: What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    For decades now the Wrong People have been going to American law schools. Schools attract mainly “nice, smart” people. Not enough.
    -
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    1. Bigger & ultra-efficient in-house depts. 2. GC jobs more coveted than partnership. 3. Non-lawyers doing things lawyers now do.
    -
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    Hard question. Most likely I’d work as either a Travel Writer or a Talent Agent (authors, actors).
    -
  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    Seriously, I’d be very honored if folks around me said I made them do 2 things: (1) Feel Alive, and (2) Think On Their Own.
    -
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Travel, Read, Run, Do Stuff Outdoors. I love water. Been a fisherman my whole life–but took up fly fishing late. I love Europe.
    -
  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Legal skills/reasoning=10% of what great lawyers have/use. Use Everything you have. Don’t play by “the rules”. Think on your own.
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  22. And the last question of our “longest” interview: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    For decades the vast majority of folks (i.e., 90%) who’ve attended U.S. law schools should not have attended. Don’t be among them.

Solid advice. Thanks much for tweeting with us (twice!); was great to get to know you and your practice better

PS Sorry I couldn’t end on an “up” note. But we do need the right people/personality types to become lawyers. :)

Indeed. And it’s good advice.

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@cyberlaw

September 23rd, 2010

Kevin Thompson

International intellectual property attorney

Member, Davis McGrath LLC

Author of legal blog Cyberlaw Central

Five-time host of Blawg Review: #42, #93, #144, #213, #256

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Today we’re tweeting with Chicago IP attorney, blogger and passionate proponent of Towel Day @cyberlaw

Thanks for the opportunity, Lance. I do know where my towel is! :)

  1. @cyberlaw thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @cyberlaw?
    I am Kevin Thompson, a member of the firm @davismcgrath in Chicago, IL. I am also a husband, father of 3 boys, and friend.
    -
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    I practice Internet, copyright, and trademark law. I help many individuals & businesses with international trademarks too.
    -
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Our clients range from individuals to small & large businesses. We help them protect their most valuable assets online & off
    -
  4. What would you say is the single most important legal issue affecting those individuals and businesses?
    The hot topic is online defamation, with so many small businesses going online and getting unearned negative reviews.
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  5. Imagine that’s a very big problem…. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    After “Hello”, I tell them that we work with them to provide the best service in the most cost effective manner possible.
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  6. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    This year we helped a small local business protect its brand against a competitor, from C&D letter to lawsuit to settlement.
    -
  7. Congrats on a great result! Why do your clients hire you?
    Clients hire me because they trust me, they know I can help them, and that I can do so without breaking the bank.
    -
  8. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
    Trademark applications and clearance of new marks keep me busy. That’s typical, as brands need protecting in any economy.
    -
  9. Indeed…. What’s the next big frontier of IP law? Who will be most affected by it?
    As we expand into more global markets, clients will need protection in more foreign countries as well as the USA. (1/2)
    Small and medium businesses will be most affected when their brands are already taken overseas and can’t be registered. (2/2)
    -
  10. How well do current laws (eg DMCA) protect IP rights? Are additional protections needed? How is the law evolving?
    The DMCA works well for some copyright holders, but for others it is merely protection for an outdated business model. (1/2)
    Better codification of fair use would be appreciated to eliminate some of the judicial gray area. Changes are slow. :) (2/2)
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  11. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
    I help individuals and businesses protect their most valuable assets, both online and off.
    -
  12. When did you become active on Twitter? What were your objectives then? Have they changed?
    I joined Twitter in May of 2008. It took me a while to figure out Twitter, but now I love it. Tweetdeck helps. :) (1/2)
    My objectives are to build relationships and let people know of interesting articles in my field. Same obj. all through (2/2)
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  13. You blog at Cyberlaw Central (http://bit.ly/adZ51o). Who do you write it for? Why should they read it?
    I write for those interested in the “big picture” issues of the Internet, how it affects us, and the law. It’s fun to write.
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  14. It shows…. You also have a Facebook page for your blog (http://bit.ly/drHasy). What’s your read on Facebook for lawyers?
    Facebook has been an interesting experiment. I try to keep my personal profile separate from the blog’s page. (1/2)
    I like the advice from John Jantsch (@ducttape) – Facebook is one more outpost leading people to the blog. And me. (2/2)
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  15. Makes sense…. What specific impact on referrals / client engagements, if any, have you realized from Web 2.0 activities?
    I’ve received some good referrals from lawyers who needed local counsel, knew me and knew we were cost effective. (1/2)
    I’ve also had happier clients who knew their lawyer was a real person who could strike up a conversation about #DrWho. (2/2)
    -
  16. Again, makes perfect sense… Let’s switch gears: What’s the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    The death of old bus. models. Biglaw vs Solo/Small Firms with Alt fee arrangements & providing more cost effective services.
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  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Small firms/solos will dominate due to their ability to be cost effective in providing tremendous service to happier clients
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  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I’d be involved with computers in some fashion. Btwn undergrad & law school I worked in software sales for @UWDoit #badgers
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  19. How do you want to be remembered?
    Thks 2 #7habits, I know I want to be remembered as a human being who did his best for his family, his clients and the world.
    -
  20. What do you do when you’re not working?
    I enjoy Sci Fi TV (#Dr Who, #BSG, #Firefly), reading, and playing with my boys. These days, lots of soccer and scouts. :)
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  21. What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
    Hang in there! Remember you’re in a service industry, so serve the clients you have well. It’ll get better. (1/2)
    For those without clients, consider pro bono service to get experience. Try helping the #EFF, for example. (2/2)
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  22. Our final question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    I tell them to read Outliers by @Gladwell, put in 1000 hours and be prepared when opportunity comes. And to have a towel. :)

Yes, I’m convinced that a towel is good to have on hand. Thanks very much for a great interview; I enjoyed it very much!

Thanks, Lance. It was fun! So long, and thanks for all the fish!

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@tommclain

June 11th, 2009

business_20contractsThomas L. McLain

Corporate, M&A and International Attorney

Shareholder at Chorey, Taylor & Feil

Secretary and Executive Committee member of the Board of Directors of the World Chamber of Commerce

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Today we’re pleased to be tweeting with Atlanta-based international corporate / M&A lawyer @tommclain

  1. @tommclain Thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @tommclain?
    Recovering litigator now focused on helping businesses succeed. In August, I will complete my 25th year of practice.
    -
  2. Congratulations. Tell us about your law practice.
    Basically 3 overlapping areas – corporate/M&A/international. In better times, I’d have at least 1 M&A deal going always.
    My international is mostly “inbound” and is deals + corporate. As for corporate, I essentially act as a general counsel.
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  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Typically, businesses and business owners from startups to middle market. I’ve also done work for Fortune 500 companies.
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  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    “Show me the money.” Ok not a legal issue, but tight credit drives all sorts of decisions which evolve into legal issues.
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  5. That makes sense. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    Besides that I actually expect to get paid for my work??
    I’m”all-in.” I often dream up ideas for your business. The more successful you are, the more you can afford to pay me ;)
    -
  6. That too makes a lot of sense. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    Picking 1 is hard. Most would point to a Fortune 500 client or their largest deal but to me significance=problem complexity.
    A JV between a Canadian and Mexican company that took about 12 months to negotiate or combining 5 smaller business into 1.
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  7. Why do your clients hire you?
    Dashing good looks? I think they discover I will invest time to understand their business & combine legal&legal common sense
    -
  8. How has the economic crisis affected your clients’ ability to do business?
    Startups can’t find $. Established businesses can’t find growth capital. Customers and suppliers failing. How depressing!
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  9. Are you seeing a greater demand for alternative billing arrangements as the crisis continues?
    Not really. But we froze our ‘09 hourly rates at ‘08 levels. + when I joined my firm a year ago, I trimmed my rates by 10%.
    Still, most clients want a budget amount which more or less becomes a flat fee. Proper communication is quite critical.
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  10. What’s the international M&A scene going to look like over the coming 12 months?
    I Keep predicting the same thing & eventually will be right. More acquisitions of US business by foreign business/investors.
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  11. So we’ll see an increasing number of foreign companies buying US assets, like the Chinese group that is buying Hummer?
    Exactly (China now wants Volvo). But I think lots of things will be attractive. Real estate, manufacturing, you name it.
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  12. How do you market your practice?
    Traditional ways 1st:Face2face contact,Community work (World Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee).Then Internet “stuff.”
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  13. Why did you decide to join Twitter? Has it proven to be a valuable effort?
    I just kept reading/hearing “you have to.” I haven’t been here 2 months yet, so its too early to tell, but i think it will.
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  14. Perhaps you can come back in a few months and update us. Beyond Twitter, what other Web 2.0 tools do you use? Why?
    Sure. I’m invested in LinkedIn & run a corporate lawyer group there, thanks to @barrettdavid. Nothing else has traction.
    I tend to lump all Internet “stuff” together So blogging, SEO for our website. Avvo Lawyers.com LawLink.com RSS as resource
    The point of it all is to let people learn about your skills, experience and personality.
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  15. Have your Web 2.0 activities had any affect on referrals or client engagements?
    LinkedIn is beginning to get traction. Its hard to track: I’ve seen convergence between Web 2.0 and traditional efforts.
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  16. Indeed. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    My goal is meal with a client or referral source every day, but its probably 3 a week + other direct personal interactions.
    Throw in my work at the World Chamber Commerce and the “Internet stuff” and its at least 10-15 hrs a week.
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  17. With client work makes for busy a week…. What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    Communicating why lawyers are valuable at whatever billing basis is used. How do you value the lawsuit not filed?
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  18. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    You’re kidding! A continuing tension between commoditizing legal services & recognizing a personal touch is often required.
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  19. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    I’d love to be an entrepreneur, but I know too much about risk and am way to risk adverse. Maybe a cowboy!
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  20. I ask everyone this question, but know that for you it has a particular relevance: how do you want to be remembered?
    I admit thinking about this lately due to recent events. A great husband/father/friend. A guy who visibly lived his faith.
    I guess I should explain the “particular relevance”. On 5/28 I found I have a brain tumor. Had a biopsy last Thursday.
    Anybody know any good jokes about lawyers with holes in their head?
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  21. See you’re keeping sense of humor…know many tweeps have you in their thoughts. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Keeping up with 3 daughters (21,19&16) & 1 wife. Living, laughing & loving. Working in yard, being in the woods, praying.
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  22. That brings us to our last question for you: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    DON’T DO IT!! Just kidding.
    Don’t succumb to the pressure – it’s a great time to learn how to balance normal life with the demands of law practice.

This was a great twitterview, thank you so much. Know that 22 Tweets followers everywhere are sending you positive vibes

Cool. Thanks, I enjoyed it. And, it didn’t hurt one bit! Now I guess I have to go back to work.

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@danharris

April 23rd, 2009

dan_harris

Daniel P. Harris

Partner, Harris & Moure

Author of the award-winning China Law Blog

Appearances on Fox News, Fox Report, CBC Report on Business, BBC World, BBC World Have Your Say

 

 

Today, we’re tweeting with @danharris: international lawyer, “Sushi grade” China Law blogger, news & movie junkie, and more

  1. @Danharris, thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Who is the person behind @Danharris?
    Me. Just me.
     
  2. Can’t go wrong with that. Tell us about your law practice.
    It’s 99% international law. Maybe around 60% China, 20% Korea, 15% Russia, 5% Misc.
     
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    From Startups to Fortune 50 companies. Most have between $5 and $300 in revenues.
    Whoops. Meant between $5 million and $300 million, not between $5 and $300.
     
  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
    Great question. Figuring out the law and following it.
     
  5. Imagine that’s difficult in those jurisdictions. What’s the single most important business issue affecting your clients?
    Very tough in China, yes. Toughest business issue is the credit crunch.
     
  6. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    “Hi, I’m Dan. ” Hard to generalize much beyond that….. sorry…..
     
  7. It is what it is, right? What was the most significant client representation you’ve had?
    Helping recover $300+ million in assets from Russia RIGHT after fall of communism. Got WSJ cover story out of it. ….
    Funnest was going to Papua New Guinea to recover three helicopters.
     
  8. Impressive results. Why do your clients hire you?
    Three reasons, primarily. 1. Quality 2. Responsiveness/Concern/Personality 3. Price Fairness
     
  9. You’ve become a leading voice on China / China law in a relatively short time. What led you to your China practice?
    It’s actually taken a long time. We were big in Korea & Russia & China was thrust on us by our clients.
     
  10. How will the rule of law in China affect the way business is done in China?
    It already has & it will continue to do so. Foreign companies must follow laws or they run real risk of getting tossed.
     
  11. You may have just answered this in part, but what’s the future for foreign lawyers in China?
    Very bright. Cultural differences are a huge & permanent chasm. This holds true for most foreign countries, even European ones
     
  12. How do you market your practice?
    By never sitting still. Blogging. Speaking. Writing. Lunches. Phone calls.
     
  13. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Every minute I work I am enhancing the brand, so I will say 12-16. As my Twitter profile says, “sleep is for wussies.”
     
  14. You’re the principal author of the award-winning China Law Blog (http://bit.ly/n4k7T). Who do you write it for?
    The SME owner or CFO who is in China or thinking about going there.
     
  15. Have your Web 2.0 activities had an impact on referrals or client engagements?
    It creates huge media publicity, which leads to clients. Clients come in already knowing where I stand on things.
     
  16. That’s very useful, I’m sure. What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    BigLaw costs too much. Firms must move from hourly billing. Abt 75% of my firm’s work is flat fee. Better for clients & for us
     
  17. That’s a lot! Guess we’ll need a second twitterview…. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Mega firms and specialized boutique firms. Mid-sized “national” firms will be no more.
     
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    Radio Talk Show Host……Full time blogger/twitterer?
     
  19. I’m sure you’d be successful at that too…. How do you want to be remembered?
    Too deep for me…. As a great father and a good person.
     
  20. More down to earth, then: what do you do when you’re not working?
    Dote on my kids, work out, read, watch TV, go to movies & plays, travel for fun.
     
  21. As opposed to traveling for clients… How many miles would you say you travel in a typical year?
    Maybe 150,000 air miles for clients…. 25,000 for pleasure. Guessing.
     
  22. That’s a lot of time in the air… Final question for you: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Don’t I know it. I would say don’t go to law school unless you know what you want to do with the degree once U have it.
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@dinayin

April 9th, 2009

yindDina J. Yin

Associate at Baker & Daniels (Beijing and Indianapolis)

International transactions and patent / trademark lawyer

Author of Indiana China Lawyer

 

Today, we’re tweeting with @DinaYin, a transactional lawyer currently based in the Beijing office of an international firm

  1. @DinaYin, thank you for joining us today at 22 Tweets. Tell us: who is the person behind @DinaYin?
    Thanks for having me. In no particular order, int’l business lawyer, foodie, traveler, blogger, creative thinker.
     
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    cross-border transactions, IP enforcement, U.S. import & export controls.
     
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    Fortune 500 to startups. Clients come to B&D for international service at reasonable midwest rates.
     
  4. What is the most important legal issue affecting your clients?
    At the moment, how to handle downsizing operations in China yet still work with the recent Chinese labor law changes.
     
  5. Sounds like uncharted territory…. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    When it comes to China, I always tell clients to be VERY patient. Focus on relationship building, not the result….
    You’d be surprised at how a change in focus will help in obtaining results.
     
  6. What was the most significant client representation you’ve had?
    Setting up my first subsidiaries in China and India for a client.
     
  7. Why was it significant?
    It was my first substantive “international business attorney” experience….
    It had all the right ingredients: cross jurisdictional legal issues, players from different countries, time zones…
     
  8. Why do your clients hire you?
    Lawyers at my firm have a reputation for being practical, cost-effective problem solvers…
    But as a “China lawyer,” you have to understand the problem from both a legal and cultural perspective and EXPLAIN it.
     
  9. How is the economic crisis affecting your clients?
    Not much. It’s made them more creative in finding business opportunities worldwide and not focus on the U.S.
     
  10. Have you and your firm had to respond to financial difficulties your clients may be experiencing?
    Tailor fee structure to legal budget, provide set quotes if necessary, work with the client’s time line for payment.
     
  11. How do you market your practice?
    Twitterviews! Web 2.0, seminars, face to face meetings. But most of all, continue doing quality work for existing clients.
     
  12. Can never go wrong with that! How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    Sometimes all day… and now all night… No, probably 3 to 4 hours a day on average.
     
  13. What value have you seen from being on Twitter?
    It keeps me connected to my Indy network, meet new tweeps re China law, updated on developments on China and Int’l matters.
     
  14. Your blog, Indiana China Lawyer (http://bit.ly/jJDsA)=your China experiences. How did U sell a non-legal blog to your firm?
    The firm approached me! The blog is about my experience in China from all facets (legal and non-legal)….
    Clients want to know how to do business in China. That’s the day-to-day, networking, AND legal. My blog=all those views.
     
  15. Interesting take; had not thought of that – How important are your Web 2.0 activities to the marketing of your practice?
    It’s increasingly important to use new mediums for networking and potential clients, especially in an international setting.
     
  16. What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    I agree with @Jayshep on this. There’s an increasing need for the legal profess. 2 think abt alt. fee arrangements.
     
  17. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Lower billing rates, more regional firms rather than gargantuan firms. Stronger networks amongst firms to cross-sell.
     
  18. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    At this moment: probably be a traveling journalist and spend at least a month in Yunnan, China.
     
  19. I liked your blog post on Yunnan; makes me want to visit. How do you want to be remembered?
    Wow. That’s a loaded question. I think for now, just someone who can adapt to any challenge.
     
  20. You’re no doubt getting a lot of practice at that these days. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Trying to see as much of China/Asia as I can this year!
     
  21. What’s been the most difficult thing about the move to China?
    The night vs. day time zone change is the biggest challenge for effective communication….
    Local system works better 4 u when here.. But a Chinese solution for American clients can be hard for them to accept.
     
  22. One last question: what advice do you have for people going to law school today?
    Don’t let the rat race in school bog u down. Connect ur life skills to ur legal knowledge when interviewing — all 1 package.
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