Marketing Mavericks … LIVE! May 25th

What would you learn and how could this impact your ability to develop more business as a lawyer? Let’s find out together with podcast host of BE THAT LAWYER, four-time author, and top lawyer coach in his own right, Steve Fretzin, as he brings together his best lawyer marketing maverick friends, Ashley Robinson, Michelle King, Conrad Saam, and yours truly to share our collective wisdom with you.

This show is LIVE, so we don’t know what direction things will go. What we do know is that there will be laughs and plenty of learning by you, the ambitious attorney attending.

When: May 25th at 1:00 PM CST

Where: By Zoom

Cost: It’s FREE for highly motivated attorneys and law firm leaders only!


Cloud 9, part three: Sequins, Inclusion, Innovation, and Community … #LMA23

Something extraordinary happened in Hollywood, Florida, at the recent 2023 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference.

[Original post with hyperlinks here:]

As the saying goes, people support what they help create. Now that the dust (and sequins – more on that later) have settled and we’re back at it at our firms and organizations, I’m reflecting on what was extraordinarily created at LMA’s recent 2023 Annual Conference in Hollywood, Florida…abundant COMMUNITY. Nearly 1,200 of us coming together in person to network, learn ― and sometimes commiserate! But the energy and sense of community at this conference was unique, motivating and palpable. In addition to the many standing-room-only sessions taught by leadership and thinkers on top-of-mind issues in legal marketing, there was a widespread feeling of community, shared experiences and belonging – always LMA’s “special magic” and never more on display than at #LMA23.

True to our conference theme of “Amplify” (our voices, careers, teams, work), the stellar education sessions covered everything from how law firms are or are not using ChatGPT, what works/doesn’t work/needs fixing in the eyes of General Counsel (spoiler alert – they’re FOR using AI!), the crucial value of storytelling and narrative in client connection, how DEI can and must be a pillar of firm culture and evolution, the latest vistas in martech, how to develop and retain talent, and the crucial role of client teams in the engagement and growth continuum among myriad other hot topics.

One of my favorite a-ha moments came from Aarash DarroodiFender Musical Instruments Corporation General Counsel and Executive Vice President, and a compelling and provocative “contestant” on our GC panel “game show” (expertly moderated by conference co-chair Jennifer Dezso). He said, and I paraphrase, “Wining and dining is fine, but don’t take me to a football game. Come visit me AT my company and see our culture firsthand and learn what we do. THAT will show me you care.” He and the other panelists *might* have also noted (accurately) that marketing and business development ARE key differentiators in a firm and are crucial to clients’ understanding of capability and connection. You can take that to the bank! 

And getting back to sequins, our 2023 conference theme, Amplify was kicked off with a highly-caffeinated, strobe-lit bang in our opening session. In a move to underscore LMA’s inclusivity and encouragement to amplify ourselves, we opened the conference with yours truly singing – well, big old community theatre-style belting –  Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and sharing the stage with renowned drag queen and community activist Athena Dion. With a crowd on its feet singing along and cell phone cameras aglow, we kicked off the conference with an “everybody say ‘love’!” wake-up call (sorry/not sorry to those whose coffee hadn’t yet kicked in)! Sequined suits, rainbow chiffon and all.

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Athena, Laura, yours truly

The message (I hope) was clear – each of us is born to be special and we should bring our authentic selves to our work and lives every day. And as my mama taught me, and I offered to the beautiful assembly: “Tell others what they mean to you IN THE MOMENT when it will mean something to THEM.” (You can watch the full opening production here on Facebook; Thank you, Kates Media and By Aries, for the excellent video support!) Just after that, fabulous, motivating and authentic-badass-wrapped-in-a-warm-hug best-selling author Laura Gassner Otting, delivered a rousing keynote address about how each of us can and should live limitlessly and, well, get out of our own way, removing boundaries and inhibitions to achieve our true potential: Conquer Doubt. Dream Bigger. Be Limitless. Perfect for our Amplify theme!

(In what I think is an unprecedented move, our keynote wrote about her experience at the annual conference on her blog – it’s a lovely Valentine to all of us, so give it a read here.)

All of this would not be possible without the leadership of our outstanding 2023 LMA Annual Conference Advisory Committee (ACAC) Co-Chairs, Jen Dezso, Megan McKeon and Lee Watts, along with the entire ACAC. They fueled innovative thoughts and formats, brought together top thought leaders to share insights and knowledge, and helped more than 115 speakers share best practices and approaches to successful law firm marketing and business development with nearly 1,200 attendees. For those who couldn’t attend, attended but missed a session, or want to relive and review a session you attended, the CONFERENCE RECORDINGS will be available later this month, so watch your inbox. The recordings are included in the Conference registration and are also available for purchase if you weren’t able to attend.

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The BEST conference co-chairs Jen, Megan, and Lee (with some crazy man in sparkly pants!)

There’s really nothing like being in person at an LMA Annual or Regional Conference. The connections you make, the important information imparted, the nuanced tips and tricks shared among colleagues that are immediately implementable, and meeting with and learning about the new services, platforms and technologies available to make our work better through vendor partners (90+ at #LMA23!) make for an invaluable experience. I strongly encourage each of you to plan now to attend the 2024 LMA Annual Conference that will be held next April 3-5 in San Diego. Registration will open this August (with an Early-Bird Discount) and there will be a Justification Kit available to help you gain approval to attend. I can’t wait to go “All In” at #LMA24 and hope to see you there! 

In the meantime, the party continues over the coming months in the events and get-togethers of our eight dynamic regions and more than 40 local groups. They provide of-the-moment learning, support and community year-round. Check out the upcoming events and the fall regional conferences here ― and go! You won’t regret getting involved. I’ve had the privilege of chatting with our amazing regional presidents the past few days, and I know they have BIG things planned for this fall. You won’t want to miss these unique opportunities to reconnect with your regional communities and continue the conversation begun at #LMA23.

Whether you were at #LMA23 in person or not, take that AMPLIFIED, limitless mindset, enthusiasm for our profession and all the incredible learning – (or upcoming learning through the conference recordings) – back to your firms and organizations and use your own version of “sequins” to be your most authentic, amazing, amplified and successful selves. Without authenticity, you never achieve brand differentiation – for your firms, for your companies, for yourselves. And with a “community” like LMA, anything and everything is possible.

P.S. In a wonderful and authentic moment of serendipity, GrowthPlay‘s Deb Knupp stopped me in the hall late on day one of #LMA23 and said she was so motivated by the session opening that she found her key mentors – including CLIENTSFirst Consulting‘s Chris Fritsch and Content Pilot LLC‘s Deborah McMurray among others – and told them that they were instrumental in her setting off and developing her business. And that they needed to know that. Shortly thereafter, who do I run into, but Chris Fritsch who says, “Craziest thing! Deb Knupp just came up to me and told me how important I had been to her career and her personal and professional growth!” Funny that! Don’t hesitate to tell people the positive impact they have had in your life. It makes a big difference to them. And to you.

P.P.S. Thank you to our amazing LMA HQ team – Danielle Gorash HollandAshley StengerHolly AmatangeloKaitlin Heininger, Ellie Hurley, Jennifer WeigandKelly Bache Shatzer, CPASarah LoganSydney JaneckeKathy Sveen, Robyn Haynes, Ashley Nunzio, Meredith HalperinKristin Frankiewicz, and a host of others I’m likely missing – for their consummate, loving, detailed support of this event (months and months of hard work!). And a special shout out to Lisa M. Kamen, CAE for helping corral all my popcorn ideas into the message above and for smiling and agreeing a year ago when I ran up to her and said, “Um, I’d like to sing a Lady Gaga song next year.” She calmly replied, “Will you be arriving in an egg?” And then made all my crazy gay boy dreams come true.

Thank you all for being you — it’s an honor to be part of this marvelous community!

Love you!


President, 2023 LMA International Board of Directors

Roy E. Sexton

Director of Marketing

Clark Hill Law

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Save the Date! #LMA24 I April 3-5 I San Diego

Cloud 9, part two: “Inviting the entire audience into this world …” Laura Gassner Otting, Athena Dion, yours truly, and #LMA23

Fate brings people together at just the right time and just the right moment. Laura Gassner Otting is such a gift. This message below had me beautifully gobsmacked. I’m honored and touched – but more importantly I love how she sees our Legal Marketing Association – LMA International community. These are special souls and her message will mean the world to all.

Original post:

She writes …

This past week I keynoted one of the most fantastic events ever. It was the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference, and while you might think that an association conference could never be exciting or even surprise you… you’d be wrong. Dead wrong.

And here’s why.

Roy Sexton is the chair of the association, and Roy knew his members, and he knew what his members needed: an emotional release, unbridled joy, and amplification of their truest selves after a long few years of taking it on the chin. And, he decided to give them exactly what they needed in the form rainbows, sequins, wigs, and platform heels.

Yes, my friends, there was a drag queen duet to start a conference of 1100 legal marketers. Because why not, right?

My call time for the stage was 9am. At 8:15am the doors opened. All 1100 of the legal marketers in attendance filed in and found their seats. (My parents, who had never seen me speak, were also there and filed in alongside the attendees.) People were subdued, back together for the first time in years, an early morning after late night travel, and while they were excited to see each other, there was a palpable nervousness in the air.

At 8:30am, the room went dark, and Roy, backstage and bejeweled from head to toe in a rainbow-sequined tuxedo tails and silver shirt and pants started singing the opening bars to Born This Way by Lady Gaga. The audience started clapping in time as he came out from behind the curtain and performed the first part of the song.

But, wait! There’s more!

As he began to belt out the chorus, Athena Dion, The Greek Goddess, strode out to join him, and together they sang. The audience was on their feet. The room was pumping. The audience sang and danced as they worked the room like a runway.

The joy was everywhere. (And you can watch the video here.)

Regardless of where you stand on the nonsense fight going on about drag queens — I mean, let’s face it, with the existential climate crisis and rampant mass shootings, don’t we have bigger fish to fry?!? — you can’t help but fall in love with love.

(By the way, if this week’s newsletter offends you, feel free to show yourself out here by unsubscribing. It’s cool.)

Roy wanted to open this conference — the first time they were all back together in three years — with a message: a welcome mat laid out wide, love for all, amplification for every one of us.

Here’s what I know to be true this week: There are million billion miles between being loved and being seen. (Tweet this.)

So many of us feel unseen. Even if we feel loved, we stand nervously on edge, worrying about whether of not people will love the real us when we show them who we really are. Roy blew the doors off of that notion, inviting the entire audience in to his world, and showing them that they could invite him into theirs.

Oh, and, from now on, I’m going to insist in my rider that a drag queen opens every keynote for me.

Cloud 9, part one: Being named one of this year’s “Notable Leaders in Marketing” by Crains Detroit Business + #LMA23 Legal Marketing Coffee Talk LIVE! (redux)

I’m not sure I gave this its proper due last week. I had a *bit* going on with Legal Marketing Association – LMA International’s #LMA23 annual conference – drag queens, sequins, stellar keynote Laura Gassner Otting, and off-the-chain content and networking with THE best legal marketing pros in the business. Last week was, well, epic. And I will be on Cloud 9 for months/years to come as a result.

Still, being named one of this year’s “Notable Leaders in Marketing” by Crains Detroit Business is truly one of the honors of my life. 20 some years ago I remember sitting down and reading the paper edition of Crain’s every week and looking at lists like this with admiration and wondering if I would ever make it on to one of them. So this recognition really means the world to me, and particularly to be acknowledged in the broader category of marketing, regardless of industry supported, feels truly special.


Sexton manages a staff of 12 marketing professionals, a seven-figure marketing budget and two public relations firms at Clark Hill Law. There, he is also responsible for internal and external communications and social media content. His efforts to ramp up video marketing through social media helped increase online video views to 500,000 in 2021 and more than 750,000 in 2022. 

“Roy’s enthusiasm for his work and community shows through in the way he embraces any activity he engages in,” said Detroit Regional Partnership President and Maureen Donohue Krauss. 

Further, Sexton has championed and executed the firm’s Simply Smarter branding campaign and new website launch, for which Clark Hill received the 2022 Best Marketing Campaign award from the London-based Managing Partners’​ Forum. 

His many community and corporate service efforts include serving on the governance committee for the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit board and his work as chair of the marketing committee for Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor. Sexton also served as a governor-appointed member of the Michigan Council of Labor and Economic Growth.

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk was live and in-person at #LMA23 on April 24th. VIEW HERE:

From the original show description: “If you’ll be at the conference, come by The LMA23 / Kates Media: Video Studio, Booth 100 in the Marketplace, and watch this live event. If you can’t make it to the conference, watch us on the LMA Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube channels.

“Be part of our studio audience, get a chance to be on the show and meet the Legal Marketing Coffee Talk gang, Rob Kates, Jessica Aries, Tahisha Fugate, Andrew Laver, and moi.

“And… If you can’t make it to the live show, we’ll be bringing you #LMA23 highlights live on your favorite social media channel throughout the conference. See you from Florida!”

“Live in your comfort zone.” #lmamkt #lma23

Thank you, Megan Senese , Kathleen Hilton , and Stage! I am honored to be included ✨

Original post:

“stage supports lawyers behind the scenes and BD/marketing teams with our co-sourced model to help OTHERS to shine brighter. 💡

“today’s stage spotlight is on THE Roy Sexton (Clark Hill Law and Legal Marketing Association – LMA International), who embodies stage’s ethos of leading with #empathy. we are excited to share Roy’s stage spotlight.”

“Our presence has meaning to them.” #lma23

We’ve gotten a couple of inquiries through the general LMA inbox – only two through that channel – but nonetheless expressing concern about us having an event in Florida given the current political climate. Below is how I have responded in both instances. There are likely better, smarter words I could have used, but these thoughts come from a place of sincerity. I don’t share this here to stir controversy unnecessarily or to spark debate; rather I am simply offering for collective awareness and for continued mindfulness. My response follows, and my door is always open …

“Hi – I appreciated your note about Florida. I actually addressed this a bit in our recent LMA Townhall. You may or may not know this about me, but I am gay and understand deeply your concerns. Of course, as you might imagine the wheels are set in motion on these events years in advance with long-term contracts and such. But even that isn’t a proper answer.

“What I said in the Townhall is that we have members in Florida and communities we serve who have been negatively impacted by state leaders’ actions. Our presence has meaning to them. Also we are identifying programs for LGBTQ youth and people of color and will be doing outreach and fundraising activities to support. I also have a surprise that I don’t want to spoil with which we will be opening the general session that will be a definitive statement as well.

“I know these words are probably cold comfort to you, but it was important for me to let you know that I hear you and we are doing what we can. Thank you for writing.

“Happy to discuss if more helpful – and thank you for your caring heart. Roy”

Getting ready to amplify! Plus more playlists! #lma23 #lmamkt

Are you ready to amplify? There is so much energy going into #LMA23 in a few weeks, and I for one can’t wait to spend time with this community. We realize not everyone has the opportunity to attend, but hopefully all of you are feeling the excitement and will be able to partake in some fashion, either in person or online. Thanks to Rob Kates of Kates Media and By Aries for their joint sponsorship of live video streaming from portions of the conference. (Be on the lookout for that!) And it’s not too late to register — come join us for what promises to be an invigorating, inspiring few days!

Why amplify, you might ask? When we were exploring themes, I mentioned a bit of theater training whereby actors are urged to “find their light” on stage. You know it when you see it/feel it. As an audience, you know it when the actors DON’T. Literally, the actors are hidden in the shadow unless they land just the right position to stand square in the spotlight. That idea morphed into “amplify” which seemed more apt. (And a bit less “new age-y” — FIND THE LIGHT!).

Our aim for this conference is that it arms every attendee with the tools, career guidance, networking, skills and inspiration to leave for home fully in the zone and ready to amplify their impact, careers and professional standing.

A few things to look forward to…

  • We have dynamic voices and minds leading our sessions at the conference. If you haven’t been checking out our conference speakers’ vibrant and informative session preview videos, give them a watch. 
  • Our keynote Laura Gassner Otting will inspire us to be limitless in our work and our lives. Laura has generously donated a copy of her new book, Wonderhell: Why Success Doesn’t Feel Like It Should . . . and What to Do About It, for each in-person attendee and she will be available after she speaks to meet everyone and sign her book!
  • Our General Counsel Panel — Aarash Darroodi, EVP and general counsel, Fender; Peter V. Nguyen, SVP, legal, general counsel and corporate secretary, The Descartes Systems Group Inc.; and Jodi Trulove, general counsel and chief client relations officer, Bates White LLC — will have a robust, wide-ranging conversation about what they crave (and what drives them bats) in terms of marketing and business development outreach. And to keep things interesting, we will frame that conversation through an homage to classic game shows 🎲🎯🃏— paging Gene Rayburn!

I’d like to extend my gratitude to our incredible Annual Conference co-chairs Lee WattsJen Dezso and Megan McKeon. It was nearly a year ago now that we started the journey to develop this year’s conference theme and offerings. They have put in countless hours and so much heart alongside our fab Annual Conference Advisory Committee and Pre-Con co-chairs. They all have exemplified what is best about LMA: innovation, grace, intellectual curiosity and FUN! And thanks again to our HQ team: Danielle Holland, Holly Amatangelo, Kaitlin Heininger, Ellie Hurley, Lisa Kamen and Sarah Logan, among others. They are the magicians behind the scenes lining up logistics, processes, communications and contracts. I am grateful we have such a collaborative and creative group to support us.

Whether attending this year or simply gearing up for some springtime adventures, I offer you this playlist🎵. Yes, another one. Can you tell this is my love language? Oh, the mix tapes I used to create in college. As you’re packing your bags for Florida, dreaming of reconnecting with your LMA colleagues or just taking a moment to roll down your car windows and jam out on a sunny day, I hope you find something to enjoy here. Yes, I went a bit overboard. Have you met me? But feel free to give it a spin from Apple Music or Spotify

Last but not least, thanks to the 100+ attendees at our recent Town Hall. We had a lively, engaging conversation, and you can catch the recording hereSome quick highlights:

  • Our joint survey with ALM is now live. You should have received an email on March 8 to participate. Thanks to our Advocacy Committee — led by Gina RubelAshley Defay and Alan Dickinson with LMA International Board liaison John Byrne — for this fine work. This is a 360° look at how our profession is viewed/valued — by us, by our internal stakeholders and industry leaders. There will be a joint session with ALM at the LMA Annual Conference to announce and discuss the findings. This data will be critical to continuing to position ourselves as THE authority in legal marketing.
  • Rachel Shields Williams from the LMA International Board is heading up a data governance/planning process. She’s in the discovery phase now with HQ; as the year proceeds, she’ll expand her engagement with LMA volunteer leaders to better understand needs and opportunities. This will inform long-term planning as well as help ensure member value that is segmented and targeted.
  • Our CEO Danielle Holland provided an overview of our growth plan and marketing communications — we have big goals and we will get there!
  • International Board members Jessica Haarsgaard and Tahisha Fugate are heading up a task force around member recognitions, exploring ways to expand our current processes, and looking to other comparable associations for best practices.
  • Our President-Elect Kevin Iredell and yours truly are working with Danielle and the team on long-term financial modeling related to our member growth goals.
  • Four of our regional presidents — Cynthia Voth (West), Laura Hudson(Southeast), Jennifer Shankleton (Midwest) and Kathryn Burke (Mid-Atlantic) — shared some great program offerings ahead for their regions— check them out!
  • Our LMA Director of Education Holly Amatangelo has assembled a member task force to review our education structure and offerings, the content of ourLMA Body of Knowledge and to assess long-term education delivery models…
  • …and more! So be sure to check out the recording

Thank you all for being you — it’s an honor to be part of this marvelous community!

Love you!


President, 2023 LMA International Board of Directors

Roy E. Sexton
Director of Marketing
Clark Hill

#Oscars 2023 in memes

Loved EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE about the 2023 Oscars. My posts through the night …

What Law Firm Marketers Need to Do Now To Succeed in 2023 – ALM/LMA webinar March 1, 2 pm ET … #lmamkt #lma23

Looking forward to joining Heather Nevitt, Editor-in-Chief of Corporate Counsel and Global Leaders in Law, ALM; Mark A. Smolik, Chief Legal Officer, DHL Supply Chain; and Mike Gaw, Deputy General Counsel, Mana Common for this crucial conversation. Register here.

In-house leaders are facing a number of issues in 2023 including navigating risk in an uncertain economic climate. Specifically GCs are being careful about expending resources while optimizing technology and headcount to drive better outcomes while keeping costs under control.

This webcast, produced as part of Legal Marketing Association – LMA International’s partnership with ALM’s and its Corporate Counsel media brand, will explore top-of-mind issues for in-house leadership in 2023 and present advice for law firm marketers to better engage this critical audience for success.

Identify the top three challenges facing GCs this year.

Describe what has changed in the way that in-house departments are considering and evaluating legal services.

List some dos and don’ts for legal marketers looking to successfully engage corporate counsel.

Recognize tips for reaching and influencing in-house leadership through the legal media.

Title: What Law Firm Marketers Need to Do Now To Succeed in 2023.

Date: Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Time: 2:00 PM (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time – New York

Duration: 60 minutes

“Teaser days.” LMA President’s message for February … #lmamkt #lma23

Original post here For those of us who live in climates where there are more fir trees than palm trees, there’s a saying my husband and I have for those unseasonably warm days that remind us spring is just around the corner: “Teaser days.”

We had a few gloriously sunny, vibrant teaser days last week ― the kind where it seems our tulips and daffodils might burst spontaneously from the ground in full color. Of course, now we’re back to the arctic blast we typically have this time of year in Michigan. But as we rapidly move through the year, days like this do remind us that good times are ahead.

The news cycle is full of portentous warnings and frightening updates about the economy and job loss, environmental tragedies, violence, political wrangling and what feels like one existential threat after another. It’s easy to lose faith, but these teaser days are a reminder of what‘s redeeming about this world. The promise of change, reconnection to the earth and reconnection to each other make it easier to get excited once again for what the future may hold.

I’m similarly grateful for our community. Whether we gather in person or online, your creativity, your caring hearts and your thoughtfulness feed the soul. I’m watching our regions and our Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) generate incredible content, educational offerings and events. I see you celebrate each other, your accomplishments and your thought leadership. I smile when you post an inspiring mix of the personal and the professional on social media. The warm glow of our collective experience heals.

This is a remarkable community.

In March, I invite you to join me for a Town Hall conversation. We’ll offer updates on what the LMA International Board is working on in advance of our April Annual Conference (see more on that below). A few things you can look forward to during this conversation:

  •  A spotlight on the excellent marketing support (game sees game!) from our HQ team.
  •  An open mic to any of our regional presidents who want to share what they’re excited about this year.
  •  Open dialogue for any concerns, opportunities or celebrations you’d like to share.

In the same spirit of openness, if you’re interested in the work our committees, SIGs and regions are pursuing, click here for a summary of the goals. It’s such a fantastic group of leaders and I think you’ll be struck by the intentionality of their work.

Finally, speaking of palm trees, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer this reminder of our incredible LMA Annual Conference happening this April in Florida. We recently announced our impressive General Counsel Panel and our exciting Keynote Speaker

We look forward to welcoming more than 1,000 of our community to the conference, and it promises to be a fun, informative, energized gathering. Register now and meet me there! Bonus: We have some surprises planned! More on those later, but spoiler alert ― you’ll want to dig out your best fab ‘80s fashion flare for our Tuesday night party. Rad!

Keep dreaming of spring!💐

Love you!


President, 2023 LMA International Board of Directors

Roy E. Sexton
Director of Marketing
Clark Hill