Year-end Legal Marketing Coffee Talk holiday extravaganza 2021: zany costumes, beloved pups, heartfelt sentiments, plentiful laughs, and maybe a show tune or two

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Facebook: https://fb.watch/9XP8lzXK6-/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/robkates_legalmarketingcoffeetalk-legalmarketing-lmct-activity-6875147102234648576-j7aF

YouTube: https://youtu.be/GVE6T6Ye32k

We had a ball this afternoon with our year-end holiday broadcast. Yes, there were zany costumes, beloved pups, heartfelt sentiments, plentiful laughs, and maybe a show tune or two. (Yes, I sang – about midway – WITH prerecorded accompaniment because I’m fancy like that.) So grateful to be part of this fab Legal Marketing Coffee Talk crew: our fearless leader Rob Kates and fellow hosts Tahisha Fugate, Jessica Aries, and Andrew Laver. The kind words offered during the show about my late mom Susie Sexton, our honorary sixth cast member, were so appreciated and healing.

Thanks to today’s incredibly brilliant special guest stars, including Gina Furia Rubel, Amy Payton Verhulst, Nancy Leyes Myrland, Brenda Pontiff. You are such beautifully authentic souls.

Shout outs aplenty during today’s show: Heather Morse-Geller, Gail Porter Lamarche, Terry Isner, Nikki Girard Sherrill, Toni Wells, James Barclay, Ed Lovatt, Marcia Delgadillo, Nikki Bagdady Horn, Scott Lawrence, Nathalie M. Daum, Jay Harrington, Heather Harrington, Jennifer Forester, Cyndy McCollough, Timothy Corcoran, Jenna Green, Rachel Shields Williams, Shade Vaughn, Jennifer Simpson Carr, Trish Desilets Lilley, and likely many more I won’t remember until I watch again tonight! 🤣

Thank you to Kates Media: Video Production and By Aries for supporting this show and to amazing Katelynn Audrey Wynn McGuire and Clarita Bonilla for the exceptional promotional work on our collective behalf.

See you in 2022! #LMAMKT

Postscript … I am truly lucky to have a wonderful friend with whom I also happen to work. I’ve known Megan McKeon maybe about 10 years now? But we first actually collaborated in 2015 on a Legal Marketing Association – LMA International annual conference quick start panel. Fellow panelists Heather Morse-Geller and Gina Furia Rubel said, “We gotta get Megan to join us!” They were absolutely right. Few people are as devoted, as hard-working, as caring as Megan.

Flash forward a few years later, and Megan introduced me to Clark Hill. Heather told me that I MUST take the job – as she saw it as the right next step for me. Don’t tell Heather I said this, but she’s darn right 99% of the time! 😉

This community blesses us with guardian angels at every turn, and three years ago when I received the distinct privilege to work with Megan my life improved for the better. I’ve never worked harder in my life, been challenged to be a better professional, or had someone so consistently in my corner as I have had with Megan, and our wonderful boss Susan Ahern, and our incredible colleagues.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s late. And I’m in a reflective mood. And this magical surprise (pictured) appeared on our front doorstep today. Admittedly, one can argue it’s a year early as I will be president elect of the international association next year and president the following. Nonetheless, when my husband opened this, thinking he was going to find new floor mats for his Jeep 😅, we both squealed with delight. Of course, being me, I couldn’t get this on our movie poster wall fast enough.

This gift puts such a big smile on my face after one hell of a year, and I won’t lie that it tickles me to be side-by-side with fellow Hoosier James Dean here. Everyone knows I love movies obsessively, but Megan has a distinct giftgiving prowess and somehow she found somebody who could turn me into my own movie poster. The tagline is hysterical: “Only the marketing is legal.” 🤣

Fun fact, Megan took this picture of me – and it is one of my favorites. We were in Chicago, on a sidewalk patio, shortly after I had started with the firm (halfway between a couple of my quarterly nervous breakdowns 😂), waiting for Ray Koenig and Susan to join us for drinks. Little did that naive Roy know what incredible adventures were ahead. But I’m looking at this poster, reflecting on the past year, the past three years, the past 10 years, incredibly grateful for what our legal marketing community has given all of us and for this friendship with dear Megan. Love you, Megan.

Photographer Scott Lawrence joins us on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk

VIDEO LINKS …

Facebook: https://fb.watch/9Fi1RyjuDv/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB7GvGtRrX0

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/video/event/urn:li:ugcPost:6871173503022964736/

Scott’s website: https://scottlawrencephoto.com

VIP package referenced in show: https://www.mellermarketing.com/holiday-bundle

Thank you, delightful and talented Scott Lawrence of Headshots by Scott Lawrence, for joining Rob Kates and me today on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk. A robust and lively conversation about the power of smart, authentic portrait photography in legal marketing efforts and how to put your subjects at ease, how to introduce a contemporary and accessible feel, and how to incorporate styling for different digital audiences and individual branding needs.

Many, many shout outs (you have to watch to make sense of this list!): Gina Furia Rubel, Marcia Delgadillo, Brenda Meller, Sarah Ryan, Pentatonix, Gittings, Gittings Global, Gloria Pak, Nick Lachey, Jeff Timmons, MotorCity Casino Hotel, Laura Benanti, Susie Sexton, Don Sexton, Alan Cumming, Betty Buckley, Cyndi Lauper, Superman, Tiffany Elie, Hello Dolly, Patty Buccellato, Erin Kennedy, Meller Marketing, Zelig, show choirs, Minnie Driver, Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor, Kim Kelly, Ronald McDonald, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Gabby Confer, Lori Mola Compagner, Cleveland Agora, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Chris Marrone, Kathy Cook, and heaven knows who/what else!

And thank you, Scott, for my incredible gift presented at show end!

“These are your ghosts. Not mine.” King Richard, Belfast, and House of Gucci

Belfast

The world has been so upside down for so long that it’s hard to reconcile what “normal” even is anymore … if there ever was a “normal” in the first place. For my family, Thanksgiving wasn’t really much about turkey (vegetarianism tends to hamper the typical American holiday diet) or large gatherings (if you met my extended clan you’d understand). Rather, we typically were cloistered away in the dark comfort of the cineplex – sometimes taking in as many as three movies in a row, much to the chagrin of my father’s aching back and wallet. Tickets are expensive enough, but you’ve never seen us hit that concession stand!

2021 has been rough. It hasn’t been the sweet relief from 2020 all had hoped it to be. I lost my beloved mother, but her spirit is with me every day. I’ve lost track of what letter of the Greek alphabet this virus and its endless variants have adopted as nomenclature. I feel sadder and fatter and more exhausted than ever in my life. There have been bright spots, sure, but I feel myself aching for the mundane joys of life circa 2019 (and earlier) more and more.

King Richard

Hell, writing this blog entry is both comforting and daunting. I crave the click of the keys under my fingers, barely keeping pace with the popcorn thinking in my addled brain. Yet, I also feel like someone has asked me to enter an Olympic pole-vaulting competition as I stare at this blank screen.

My wonderful dad and I started some new traditions this year, with an eye toward our past. We met up with new pals for lunch (try the Lucky Moose/Turtle if you’re in Fort Wayne, Indiana – wonderful atmosphere and service and a menu that goes on for days, including many veg-friendly options), and we rekindled some longstanding friendships (Phyllis and Scott Gates are lovely, loving, lively hosts with a cocktail and appetizer array that deserves a Michelin star). And, yes, we finally got back into the movie theatre, safely masked and distanced with hand sanitizer at the ready. We skipped the concession line, though, for multiple and obvious reasons, and my father’s wallet breathed a sigh of relief.

Thanksgiving collage … with pics of new addition Hudson for good measure

We caught up with three marvelous films over the holiday. As I have the unfortunate habit of forcing patterns that may or may not actually exist on random collections, it was clear, at least to me, that King Richard, Belfast, and House of Gucci – taken together – explore, dissect, and celebrate the power of family – the good, the bad, the ugly, the essential, and everything in between.

King Richard covers the developmental years of tennis aces Venus and Serena Williams and the fierce commitment of their parents Richard and Brandi. This is Will Smith’s best work in years as he imbues Richard with a haggardly leonine focus that walks the fine line between Great Santini-esque obsession and Mister Rogers“you can do anything as long as you’re having fun” positivity. I guarantee you’ll never look at tennis shorts and knee-high athletic socks the same way again!

Aunjanue Ellis is an understated marvel as mom Brandi, a fine counterpoint to Richard’s relentless push, filling in the humanity where Richard’s parenting falls short. Jon Bernthal is a delight as endlessly exasperated yet mindfully hopeful coach Rick Macci. His Dorothy Hamill-ish bob deserves an Oscar. The film – never a bore and consistently entertaining – ends where it should, at the beginning of Venus’ pro career and offers unassailable proof of the foundation to success that involved parenting provides.

In Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical Belfast, the parents play a similar yin-yang role in their children’s lives. Jamie Dornan (shedding all the ooky kink of his Fifty Shades of Grey days) and Caitriona Balfe are on the razor’s edge of heartbreak, their idyllic neighborhood torn asunder by the Protestant/Catholic “troubles” in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. The push-pull of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs hangs over the picture, as Dornan’s character urges the family to leave for greener pastures, and Balfe struggles with her husband’s profligacy and not losing the creature comforts of family and friends sharing child-rearing duties.

Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds are akin to a warm, woolen, slightly scratchy blanket as Dornan’s ever-present parents, and Jude Hill is a luminous find as the young protagonist Buddy, golden child of the family. Filmed in lush black and white, the film is a throwback to coming of age fables set against the backdrop of cultural turmoil like To Kill a Mockingbird, at times a bit too artsy for its own good, but leaving the viewer with a poignant, optimistic gut punch as the family finds its legs again.

“These are your ghosts. Not mine,” Maurizio Gucci (a compelling Adam Driver deftly balancing giddy nebbishness and aloof austerity) declares to his father, Gucci fashion empire scion Rodolfo (a miscast Jeremy Irons, desperately in search of an Italian accent by way of Downton Abbey), a spectre who lives hopelessly in the past. Ridley Scott’s fizzy, haunting House of Gucci exposes the dark underbelly of family survival: love and admiration that curdles into resentment and maneuvering. Much has been written (unfairly) about the film and its script, claiming it’s a loose amalgamation of riffs last seen on Dynasty and Dallas. Hogwash. That isn’t to say there isn’t plenty of escapist disco-era glitzy materialistic fun to be had, though.

And, no, Lady Gaga – who is incredibly nuanced and infinitely watchable as Maurizio’s ambitious, brilliant, tortured wife Patrizia – does not sound like Natasha of Bullwinkle fame. I was fine with the accents and mannerisms throughout the cast, Lyons notwithstanding. Italia! (I’ve never seen so many cigarettes smoked or espressos drunk in my life.) Pacino is in fine form as swaggering yet bedraggled Aldo Gucci, and a thrillingly unrecognizable Jared Leto is heartbreaking comic relief as Aldo’s dingbat-yet-deeply-misunderstood child Paolo.

But the star of the show is Gaga – she continues the stunning movie star path she began in A Star is Born, commanding the screen like Liza Minnelli or Susan Hayward, vibrating with the fiery frustration of a woman who knows the way ahead but can’t quite reach past the male egos around her. Like Liza, her eyes can flare from limpid to enraged in a nanosecond. I’d watch her read the phone book at this point.

Family defines us, shapes us, inspires us, frustrates us, comforts us. These three films unpack in beautiful form how one reconciles individuality in the face of such influence. Highly recommend them as a triple feature. Popcorn, candy, and soda pop optional.

Holiday postscript … in the spirit of new traditions

LINK TO FULL PHOTO ALBUM: https://lnkd.in/e_A5CyUM … It’s the hap-happiest season of all. In part because I sort of dust for once in anticipation of putting up our mammoth tree, at which time I spend HOURS nestling what seems like 1,000 ornaments amidst its branches. I know some might go for aesthetics or theme in their holiday decor. But we’re not much on restraint. No, we go for nostalgia.

Every well-loved, slightly tired knickknack or ornament we unearth reminds us of happy times – and a few not-so-happy – but all essential. Yes, John and I have ordered a personalized stocking for Hudson (on its way). And, no, we don’t want to think about packing all this holly jolly away in a little over a month. We shall just enjoy the season as the world spins nuttier and wilder every day.

And thanks, Don and Corinne, for this nifty shirt from Sechler’s Pickles, Inc., reputedly the purveyors of Frank Sinatra’s fave gherkin. Alas, Frank didn’t accompany today’s festive shenanigans – but Jennifer Nettles, Kylie Minogue, and Taylor Swift kept us humming (and singing) along. Happy holidays!

And thank you, Lori, Andrew, and Gabby – between you all and my mom Susie, you account for about 90% of those thousand ornaments on our tree! ❤️

And shameless self-promotion post-postscript …

THIS THURSDAY AT 3 PM ET …

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/155057871244919/posts/4648251118592216/?d=n  

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YB7GvGtRrX0

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/video/event/urn:li:ugcPost:6871173503022964736/

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is back this Thursday to kick off December with host Roy Sexton and his guest, Scott Lawrence, the man responsible for Roy’s professional headshots. Did you know that Roy moonlights as a superhero? He has the headshot to prove it, thanks to Scott!

Roy and Scott will talk about the fine art of personal and professional branding and how having a range of headshots is essential in this glittering age of digital marketing. Different audiences require different looks and styles to create lasting engagement.

Scott observes, “I believe people hire people, so you must use a professional image that reflects who you really are. … I’m a headshot photographer with a business background. Get noticed with an authentic professional headshot. Leave your selfies behind. I work with individuals in customized sessions. We discuss your personal brand and craft an image that sends just the right message to your followers – both professional and personal. I also help large organizations to properly highlight their people – the most valuable asset.”

Join us Thursday, December 2nd at 3 PM ET right here on Facebook

Legal Marketing Coffee Talk is brought to you by: By Aries and Kates Media.

Gaga for Lady Gaga in House of Gucci

Legendary Megan McKeon joins us on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk

(Screenshots by Nancy Leyes Myrland)

Thank you to my fabulous Clark Hill colleague Megan McKeon for joining Rob Kates and me on Kates Media: Video Production’s “Legal Marketing Coffee Talk,” sponsored by Jessica Aries’ By Aries. Thanks again to Katelynn Audrey Wynn McGuire for the wonderful promotional support.

Facebook VIDEO: https://fb.watch/7b2fOwyVov/

LinkedIn VIDEO: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/robkates_legalmarketingcoffeetalk-legalmarketing-lmct-ugcPost-6827996446755713025-4wjF

YouTube: https://youtu.be/kxzNIpDgjYw

We cover a LOT! 🤣 The relative merit of phone calls, being trapped in Facebook jail, the perils of pool repair, the joys of home associations, and the highs and lows of geriatric pet ownership.

MORE importantly we discuss trends in legal marketing and business development, the crucial differences between those two disciplines AND their complementary nature, how data drives smart decision-making and efficient resource deployment, how the Legal Marketing Association and a commitment to mentoring benefits firm culture, and more.

Shout outs in today’s show to Susan Ahern, Guinevere Lehman Anderson, Marceline Johnson, John Byrne, Timothy Corcoran, Anne Gallagher, Brenda Plowman, Jill Mason Huse, Kelly MacKinnon, Nancy Myrland, Brenda Pontiff, Amy Payton Verhulst, Gina Furia Rubel, Heather Morse-Geller, Gail Porter Lamarche, Gail Paul, Susie Sexton, Connie Harris, James Fisher, Eric Lewandowski, Nancy McKeon, Patrick Fuller, Jay Harrington, Glen Hanson, HunTees, Marlon Brando, and more.

Postscript

That’s me! Always on the cutting edge! LOL. Thanks for the shout out (below), Nancy Myrland of Myrland Marketing and Social Media. She writes, “‘Should You Give Stories A Chance?’ A LinkedIn notification related to Roy Sexton yesterday (discussed in this 2-minute, 22-second episode) is what caused me to record this episode.”

I admit I keep using the damn things as another piece of real estate, wondering if anybody’s paying attention. So she nailed exactly my psychology as a user in her assessment!

Post – postscript …

8/3 – 2 pm ET – ALM Media’s “The Do’s and Don’ts of Legal Industry Content Marketing” with yours truly

8/3 – 2 pm ET – “The Do’s and Don’ts of Legal Industry Content Marketing.” Looking forward to joining ALM Media, LLC’s VP & Legal Markets Leader Keith Edwards, NAM (National Arbitration and Mediation)’s Director of Continuing Legal Education Sharon Vento Pedersen, and Planet Depos’ Director of Marketing Daniel Malgran for this important conversation.

REGISTER (complimentary): https://www.law.com/2021/07/14/the-dos-and-donts-of-legal-industry-content-marketing/

Discover the secrets for creating the most effective content marketing for the legal industry. Top performing law firm and legal solution provider marketers will share their challenges, successes and best practices in creating content that drives thought leadership, awareness and consideration with law firms and corporate counsel offices.

Join this webcast to learn:

The differences between marketing to law firms and to corporate counsel offices

How to create webcasts that drive increased registration, engagement and results with law firms

Best practices in using research to create data-supported value statements to drive legal industry awareness and consideration

Legal industry content marketing do’s and don’ts when creating white papers, blogs, podcasts and other content formats for the legal industry

SPEAKERS:

Roy E. Sexton | Director of Marketing | Clark Hill

Roy Sexton leads Clark Hill’s marketing, branding, and communications efforts, collaborating with the firm’s team of marketing and business development professionals. In doing so he facilitates the law firm’s business growth, crafting communications strategy, and celebrates its culture.

Sharon A. Pedersen | Director of Continuing Legal Education | NAM

Sharon A. Pedersen oversees the Continuing Legal Education Program working closely with former judges and attorneys who make up NAM’s esteemed panel of hearing officers to provide high-quality Continuing Legal Education programs to various law firms, bar associations and corporate legal departments.

Daniel Malgran | Director of Marketing | Planet Depos

Daniel Malgran maintains in-depth knowledge of SEO, SEM, social media, and email marketing best practices, with expertise in identifying emerging market trends and engaging with social audiences.

Keith Edwards | VP & Legal Markets Leader | ALM

Keith Edwards leads marketing services across the ALM family of 20 industry-leading legal media brands, including Law.com, The American Lawyer, Corporate Counsel and The New York Law Journal. As part of his role, Keith advises law firms and legal technology and services companies about how to best drive thought leadership, brand awareness, and lead generation.

New Clark Hill firm photo – thank you to Metro Detroit photographer Scott Lawrence and the entire Gittings Global team, including Barry Benton and Greg Lorfing. Pandemic “groovy college prof” Roy is now preserved in digital imagery. I guess I’ll never get my hair cut now. 😉 #itsokaynottobeokay #itsokaytonotbeokay