The Undeniable Tour Update – So Much To Do, So Little Time!

I can't wait to see the sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf! Give him some lovin' by Prayitno from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I can’t wait to see the sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf! Give him some lovin’ by Prayitno from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Holy crap! The Undeniable Tour is less than two weeks away! I feel like all the big pieces of this trip have been taken care of (speaking gigs, airline tickets, rental car, lodging, dog sitter, etc.) and now I feel like I am a little overwhelmed with all the little details that go into planning such a big trip. I want to make the most of this adventure both for my audience and for myself (professionally and personally), so I am trying to figure out how many people and what awesome things I can see and do between my speaking engagements.

I will admit I am a bit neurotic and I generally thrive when my life has structure, so now I am trying to plan out what I will be doing each day and determine how many friends I will be able to see during my down time. My prediction is I will have a full itinerary of meetings and fun.

I am also trying to make sure that everything is shipshape on the home front before I leave town. I found an amazing pair of Canadian snowbirds to be my house and dog sitters, and because I am an over-prepared dork, I am creating a manual for them information about taking care of my home, caring for my dog, and fun things to do in my city. One of the benefits of staying with locals is you get to learn about all the awesome things in a city that a typical tourist would not know about. I am treating my house sitters like they are my guests and I want to make the most of their experience.

Even though I am a minimalist, I decided I wanted a memento from The Undeniable Tour, so I bought a wooden arrow at the craft store, painted it metallic green, and I am going to ask many of the people I meet with during this trip to sign it. One of the take away messages of The Undeniable Tour is, “Keep moving forward.” This arrow will be a physical embodiment of that message and the people I will asked to sign it are movers and shakers in the legal and social media worlds who exemplify it in their work.

On top of all this, I am trying to get through as much open client work as I can before I leave town so that there is not much that I have to do for them while I am on the road. I will be checking my emails and messages, and I can always find a coffee shop or co-working space if I need to work on a project for a client, but I prefer to “clear the decks” as much as possible when I am going to be out of the office for more than a few days.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

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Unsolicited Advice for Law Students: Expand Your Network Beyond Lawyers

Photo by Sarah (Rosenau) Korf from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Photo by Sarah (Rosenau) Korf from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

When I was in law school, the career service office did a good job of regularly having events that brought different types of lawyers to the school to meet students. I’m actually going to a new student/alumni event at my law school this week. (Yes, I’ll be wearing my signature Legal Rebel high tops.) A lot of firms also hosted mixers at their offices and invited law students – usually 1Ls – to visit at the beginning of each year.

Meeting local lawyers is a great way to learn about different areas of practice, the local legal industry, and to build a network of contacts that can help you find internships and a job after graduation. These will hopefully be people who will eventually refer work to you, but if they’re in the same area of practice, they’ll only refer cases that they can’t take or don’t want to take.

Many law schools don’t stress this, but it’s imperative that you have a life outside of law school – for personal and professional reasons.  This is especially true if you plan to live where you’re going to school after you graduate.

1. It’s important to remember what typical life is like. From what I can tell, the lifestyle of a law student or lawyer is not normal.

2. You’ll need things in your life that help you stay balanced and healthy – recreation, hobbies, exercise, spiritual life, etc.

3. Get involved in the community that you think will be your future clients. Understand what their lives are like – on a professional and personal level. And don’t “network” in the shake hands/exchange cards kind of way. Form real friendships with these people. This is your community – be part of it. Someday you may be in the running to become a partner or you may open your own firm and you’ll want a strong network of connection to build your book of business.

4. You never know where you’re going to discover a niche. You may become the go-to lawyer for football fans who need help with their child support arrangements or members of your church who get in car accidents. I never would have considered flash mob law as a career path until I got involved in the flash mob community.

5. Lawyers are everywhere. It may be easier to meet a lawyer at a legal networking event, but you’re more likely to form a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with one if share mutual interests. Some of my best lawyer contacts have come from introductions made by my non-lawyer friends. One of my favorite fellow lawyers is a guy I met at the dog park. We both have basset hounds.

One more thing – as you network with people, you’re going to need a way to keep track of your contacts. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a stack of business cards of people you met once and after a few months you won’t remember who’s who to do any effective follow up. You can probably make due with a spreadsheet, but I recommend getting a contact database like ACT! by Sage. It’s the only way I can keep track of my 1850+ contacts (only 333 of which are lawyers).

If you want to chat with me more about effective networking,  feel free to connect with me on TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle+YouTube, or send me an email. Or if you really like me, tell your school you want them to be part of The Undeniable Law School Tour – happening in the spring of 2015.