@venturelawyer

June 23rd, 2009

tom_bowden_smThomas Bowden

M&A, corporate transactions and corporate finance lawyer

Counsel at Sands Anderson Marks & Miller, PC

Today we’re tweeting with @VentureLawyer, cyclist and business, finance and real estate lawyer in Richmond, Virginia

  1. @VentureLawyer, thank you for joining us today on Twitter. Tell us: who is @VentureLawyer?
    Thomas L. Bowden, Sr., Counsel at Sands Anderson Marks & Miller, in the Business Transactions Team
  2. Tell us about your law practice.
    It is mostly a mix of transactions and general legal counseling – some Venture deals, angel deals, private M&A
  3. What type of clients do you represent?
    I represent entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses – people with drive and vision, and who interest me
  4. What is the single most important legal issue affecting your clients?
    Capital – finding it, attracting it, closing the deal, prtecting it and investing it
  5. Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
    I helped a company grow from $3 million in sales to $4 billion. I helped buld a company that won a $400MM contract
  6. What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
    Clients should expect me to share my experience as an entrepreneur in addition to my legal counsel
  7. Why do your clients hire you?
    Easy to deal with, not just a technician. I get on their side of the table and think like an owner/general counsel
  8. How are you and your firm responding to financial difficulties your clients may be experiencing?
    We help them find funding, work with their struggling customers, make adjustments & tough choices
  9. Your career has been split between in-house and private practice. How does this help you better advise your clients?
    It’s invaluable. I have walked in their shoes, experienced the challenges, frustrations, joys and pains of entrepreneurship
  10. That’s valuable experience. 15 yrs ago you were Racing Across America on a bike. How did that impact your practice?
    I learned that I could accomplish what at first seemed impossible, and not to see limits as absolutes – to never give up
  11. It’s a tremendous accomplishment! What would you say has been the most satisfying aspect of being a lawyer?
    Seeing a client succeed in their business, achieve their dream, or survive a threat to their existence
  12. How do you market your practice?
    Word of mouth, networking, and increasingly, social media. And we have a terrific marketing team!
  13. I read a few years ago that “cycling is the new golf” for biz dev. Do you cycle with your clients?
    –Yes! in fact one of my clients is building a velodrome! He is faster for now, but not for long..
  14. Now THAT’S dedication to the sport! Besides Twitter, what other Web 2.0 tools do you use?
    LinkedIn mostly – just started a Facebook page. Some blogging starting discussions in LinkedIn groups.
  15. What specific impact on referrals and/or client engagements have your Web 2.0 activities provided?
    It’s really to early to tell – I am fairly new at this. But I am adding followers even as we are doing this! Cool!
  16. How much time do you spend each day developing / enhancing your brand?
    .5 to 2 hours, depending on events, my reactions to them and whatever is on my mind
  17. Let’s switch gears: what’s the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
    We must align our interests more with clients needs and goals Clients want results, they don’t care about our timesheets
  18. Indeed. What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
    Flatter – technology will continue to level the playing field and larger firms will have to adjust or die
  19. Interesting perspective. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
    Start another company, maybe technology related, maybe not. Probably less about an invention, more about service
  20. You’ll keep us posted if you do that in your spare time, won’t you? How do you want to be remembered?
    As a good husband, father, friend and counselor, both professionally and on a personal level
  21. What do you do when you’re not working?
    Cycling, photography, kayaking, boatbuilding, a little inventing here and there
  22. Perhaps we can have you back to talk about your inventions… What advice do you have for people in law school today?
    Decide what you want to be, not what Biglaw wants you to be. Then make it happen.

That’s useful advice. This was a great twitterview; thank you very much for answering our questions today

You are most welcome!

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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

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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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!
  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.
  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.
  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.
  12. How do you market your practice?
    Traditional ways 1st:Face2face contact,Community work (World Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee).Then Internet “stuff.”
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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?
  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.
  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!
  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?
  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.
  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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