Law Firm Retreats, CLE, and Marketing Training

Law Firm Speakers and Retreats is a comprehensive Speakers Bureau designed exclusively for the legal profession. We detail 100 of the most-popular lawyer marketing training, law firm retreat, and MCLE and Ethics programs and presentations -- all thoroughly vetted.

From Marketing, Social Media, and SEO presentations to the Future of the Legal Profession, we offer the best law firm retreat speakers. You'll also find special resources, from magicians to musicians, as well as exclusive discounts and special offers. If you're looking for a proven presenter for an important law firm retreat or other program, start your search here.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A speech that's "good enough" isn't good enough.

In the 1990s I was a Marketing Director and Marketing Partner at a couple different law firms.  We did some pretty interesting marketing back then, and I was frequently invited to speak on those topics, e.g. to a bar association or Legal Marketing Association (LMA) chapter.

I usually spent a few hours preparing, sometimes when I was very busy, I had my assistant prepare my PPT slides.  I thought it was enough -- my content was good, and in that narrow area I was a legitimate subject-matter expert.  

I thought that was enough.  I stood up and told our story.

Boy, was I wrong.

It wasn’t that those speeches weren’t fine, I’m sure they were.  But in retrospect, they couldn’t have been too more than that.  They were good, maybe even very good.

But no one cares about "very good." No one wants to waste their valuable time out of the office and money to watch a speech they’ll later rate as a 3.5 out of 5.0.

They deserved great.

Looking back, I’m embarrassed.  No one ever complained, and I actually got quite good reviews.  But I’m trying to make up for it now with fast-paced presentations and lots of visuals.

Today, 250 presentations later, I have a better handle on how to give the audience what they want (entertainment), while also giving them what they need (education).

I'll never forget what my old friend Paul Lisnek once told me - "If they want good content, they can go read an article. What they're paying you for is A SHOW."

That was probably the best presentation advice I ever got.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Don't miss this Friday's "Build Your Book of Business" ABA Webinar.

Don't miss this ABA marketing webinar on Friday at 12:00 noon CST!  

Moderated by the terrific Kathy Morris, I'm co-presenting a marketing webinar with the verbally formidable Julie Eichorn.  Just 45 fast-paced minutes, we're going to pack a lot of content into a very short amount of time.

Click HERE to register. 
Kathy Morris

Here's the general description:

Build your book of business
CareerAdvice Live! is a free monthly webinar series that offers practical tips on selected topics — some for seasoned lawyers and others for new lawyers or law students. Experienced career counselor Kathy Morris, an author and speaker at attorney career programs nationwide, will host the 45-minute webinar at 1 p.m. ET on the second Friday of each month.

Building Your Book: The Nuts and Bolts of Business Development

1 p.m. ET, Friday, March 14

Surviving and prospering in today's highly competitive environment requires learning and implementing improved business development techniques and marketing strategies. Solo practitioners, small and mid-size firm members, and big law senior associates and newer partners will all benefit from this fun and fast-paced program highlighting proven approaches to building your business.
Join our series moderator and two internationally renowned business development and marketing experts who will guide you regarding:
  • Best practices for business development — what works and what doesn’t.
  • Ways to overcome typical lawyer concerns about business development.
  • The top 10 differentiators lawyers use to market to prospective clients.

I hope you can join us - it should be lots of fun!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Don't miss Ross's popular Chicago Bar Assoc "Rainmaking" CLE breakfast program, January 23

Breakfast Basics: Client Development - How to Become a Rainmaker.

Often called "the best marketing program I've ever seen" by associates and marketing partners, Ross Fishman's presentation just might open your eyes to a more efficient, more successful, and more fun approach to marketing your law practice.

Attendees will learn:
  • The number one thing clients are buying today, and how to offer it to them
  • The Top 10 differentiators lawyers use, and how to select the right one for you
  • How to use LinkedIn and social media more effectively
  • How to identify and dominate an industry
  • Ways to identify your unique strengths and differentiators
  • How to get started
Speaker: Ross Fishman, CEO, Fishman Marketing, Inc.

Moderator: Jonathan S. Jennings, Partner, Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson

You can attend either in-person (register here to register) or via webcast (register here): 

We look forward to seeing you!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Simple solution to the Backwards Name Tag problem

I was presenting on "law firm marketing and cutting-edge websites" at an international law firm network conference recently, and encountered the very-common "Backwards Name Tag" problem. 

Providing lanyards is an excellent idea, particularly helpful for women who (a) might not have a jacket lapel to clip a name tag onto, or (b) might be unwilling to affix a big "Hello, My Name Is" sticker to a silk blouse. 
The challenge with lanyards is that precisely half of them have the name and contact information facing backwards. And that doesn't help anyone.  

(Actually, although it's statistically implausible, it always seems like 2/3 of them are worn backwards.)  

The simple solution?  
Print the attendees' names on BOTH sides. 

For conference organizers who are trying to facilitate effective networking, this can be a cheap but very helpful solution.


Looking for a entertaining speaker for an upcoming law firm retreat, an interesting CLE Ethics program, or a law firm marketing training program?  Give Ross Fishman  a call! +1 847 432 3546 or

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Olympic Scoring and Dishonest Speaker Evaluations.

“But the Russian Judge Gave Just a 5.2.” 

[The second part of a two-part series regarding Speaker Evaluations.]

This blog post discusses the integrity of anonymous speaker evaluations.
I spoke recently at the ALA Greater Chicago Chapter’s Educational Conference and Expo on “The Hottest Trends in Websites and Digital Marketing.”  We discussed LinkedIn for Lawyers, SEO, Responsive Design, etc.  There were ~40 attendees, one of whom was a web-development competitor of mine.

25 attendees took the time to turn in evaluations.  About half hand-wrote brief but thoughtful responses to “List specific highlights.”

Every single evaluation was great. 
For example:

Every single one.

Except one, that is.

One terrible unsigned evaluation.  Secretly.  From my "anonymous" competitor:


In the Olympics and other international competitions with a panel of judges, they throw out the high and low scores to reduce the chance of secret bias.  History has shown that judges sometimes vote politically, unfairly, unethically, or use considerations having nothing to do with the actual performance. 

Many of us remember how unfairly the communist countries seemed to score the US Olympic gymnasts and divers during The Cold War:

"5.9.  5.9.  5.8.  And oh, the Russian judge scored her a 5.2!  Too bad!" 

That sneaky negative evaluation? 
I know why he did it.  But it's still not nice. 

CEO, Fishman Marketing, Inc. 
+1 847.432.3546

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Trouble with Speaker Evaluation Forms

In my 25-year experience, I’d estimate that roughly 1/2 of a room’s attendees will fill out the Speaker Evaluation form if they’re encouraged to do so at the end of the program.  And 10% of them will screw it up.

What’s the most-common mistake hurried evaluators make?  
I think that it’s failing to pay attention to the order of the 1-4 (or 5) numbered rating system.  That is, is “1” is the lowest or the highest number?  When you’re in a hurry to get to the coffee break or next session, it’s an easy mistake to make.

I spoke recently at the ALA Greater Chicago Chapter’s Educational Conference and Expo on “The Hottest Trends in Websites and Digital Marketing.”  It was, of course, both beautifully organized and extremely well run.  Anne Jewell, my personal session monitor, ran a tight ship and motivated 24 of the ~40 attendees to fill out their forms. 

Out of that group, here are the two examples of internally inconsistent scoring.

It’s not unreasonable to presume that someone who wrote down “Awesome!” as their only handwritten comment did not intend to then give the program the lowest-possible score:

However the numerical evaluations marked “Strongly Disagree” with each of the six questions that inquired whether the program was: clear, relevant, to the point, and effective.  (And The Law says that in conflict, the handwritten words win….)

Here’s another one, same issue. “Loved it,"

...then panned with six straight Strongly Disagrees: 

That's going to lower my overall speaker score.

The larger point is that if the form’s designers were aware of the frequency of this occurrence, they could find a way to tweak the design to help address this issue and generate more accurate data.  

A special thanks to Diane Brummel, Travis Larson, JenniferWinters, Ony Beverly, and ALA/Chicago’s other Education Committee members and volunteers for organizing a terrific day of programing.

Fishman Marketing, Inc.

Friday, September 6, 2013

George Carlin's 7 Dirty Words and Law Firm Marketing Training and CLE

Many years ago I saw George Carlin on tour. 
It was a smaller club in a small east coast city.  We were surprised it was such a small club with relatively inexpensive tickets; he couldn't be making much money.

We were very excited - he was one of my middle-school heroes. I think his 1972 “The Seven Words you Can’t Say on Television”  (Totally NSFW) was the "Who's on First?" of my generation.

Forty years later, I can still rattle off every enunciated syllable, and I'll bet most of my same-aged friends can too.  It was a watershed moment. (Where were my parents back then???)

We were excited to seeing him - a true childhood hero. Unfortunately, most of his material was awful.  It was offensive but not funny.  Or neither one.  Or simply boring.  Had he lost his edge? Was he over the hill?

It gradually became clear to use, he was simply working on his new material.  His strategy was to perfect the material in smaller clubs without fanfare or the media, then use it where it really counts, on TV or on his national tour.  He was too experienced to try out the new stuff during an HBO Comedy Special. 

So what's the lesson for all speakers? 

Make it great, then make it public.  

If you have an idea for a new marketing training program, a law firm retreat presentation, or great continuing legal education (CLE) seminar, spend 100 hours on the presentation before you show it to anyone. Research it, organize it, write it, and reorganize it. Rehearse it over and over to get the pacing just right. Figure out where the pauses and modulation belong.

If you use PowerPoint, match the timing and animations to the points you're making and how and when they should show up on the screen - what should be revealed, and when. What points can you illustrate more vividly with powerful visuals?

Rehearse in front of a mirror, then videotape yourself.  Consider what works and what doesn't. Everyone's different but I've found that I can't add the jokes until I've given the speech out loud at least a few times. My presentations get funnier over time, as I get to know the material better, and hear myself talk about it.

Try it out in front of friends or family first, get feedback, then fix it again.  Run it somewhere small first, the local public library, perhaps, before asking for money, or risking your reputation in front of NALP, LMA, ALA, ABA, or whatever groups you target.

That's what the true experts do. Follow their lead.

That is, bomb quietly so you can rock in public.

Ross Fishman, JD
CEO, Fishman Marketing, Inc.