Welcome! Today I start my first blog… it reminds me a little bit of the first day of school… I hope all my friends are here and am looking forward to meeting new ones.

With this new forum I would like to open a conversation on… you guessed it… marketing, branding and business development, as well as explore great resources and new ideas!

What makes In Black & White different you might ask? The polling I will be doing each week. On Tuesdays I will ask a question that will only take 2 seconds to answer, then on Thursdays I will post the results and invite conversation. I hope you will join in and give everyone the benefit of your point of view.

Yes, today is Tuesday… so let’s jump in with both feet!

Make Your Commitment Absolute.

When it comes to lawyers and marketing, billable hours vs. non-billable hours is a constant struggle. In the end, it’s your career. So whether or not your firm rewards your non-billable efforts…you need to invest in your future.

One of my greatest challenges is trying to find ways to convince busy attorneys to place their focus on business development… when it’s not billable. I discussed this issue with Tom Grella, Managing Partner at McGuire, Wood & Bissette, in Asheville, North Carolina and I think his take on the situation may surprise some…

Treat your non-billable marketing hours as a personal requirement. This means that if you have met your billable hour requirement in a certain week or month, but not your non-billable marketing requirement, you simply refuse to work the extra billable hours until you have met your non-billable obligation. This commitment can be difficult because the lawyer will always find an exception, or special important matter, that simply is too critical to wait. To make such a plan work, the commitment needs to be absolute.

Let me repeat that: The commitment needs to be absolute. To me, that means setting a realistic goal and sticking to it. But what’s a realistic goal when you’re balancing billable hours? How much time SHOULD you spend on marketing? I have my opinion (which I’ll reveal on Thursday) but I’m curious as to yours. Poll closes Wednesday at 5 and I’ll post the results with my analysis on Thursday morning. See you then. Please take TWO SECONDS to answer this poll question, I will close the polling Wednesday at 5pm EST. and on Thursday I will post the results.

So I ask you the question… 
How much time do you actually spend marketing each week?(poll)