I recently went to PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association) Spring Summit in Atlanta. The trees and plants in Atlanta were all about 2 weeks ahead of the plants in NC and it was beautiful! The winter of 2010 is finally OVER! There were about 110 attorneys from across the US all talking about the state of the country, “post” recession (not really – “post”), how they had fared, how things were going in 2011 so far, taxes, where they felt they were headed and what seemed to be in the forecast for 2012. I couldn’t help but realize that the reality of the situation was as always: the times they are a changing! Change, change and more change seemed to be in store.

I thought that 2008 was a biggy year for change – Obama for President, the start of the recession, the mortgage crisis, unemployment heading upward and everyone screaming – CHANGE! For me personally, 2009-2010 were 2 big years for change, acquired and became President of LMA, I met Michael, moved to the farm, got engaged, then I got married! I also thought that the economy would really start to turn around in 2010. I guess that it did,….? So now, 2011, what does it really hold? Because I believe the answer to that is change, I also believe the reality is a positive and optimistic future. See, I know that change is good. It can be great depending upon how you see it and what you do with it.

Most of the attorneys I talked to in Atlanta have already recognized the need for this change and have forced themselves to focus on the positives that can come from a proactive approach to change. Most have begun to transition their practices not solely to SSDI (social security disability), but to make sure to develop and grow/at least add a SSDI practice/division. In doing so they are ensuring their futures when the tides of change from tort reform and the reality of extended life expectancies force them into something they never anticipated even 5 years ago. They are also realizing that they must look at many various methods for communicating with these new clients/prospective clients – everything from books, newsletters & e-newsletters, hearing videos, websites (that aren’t just static, but are optimized, interactive and contain video), social media, TV commercials and much, much more! Marketing and firm development are more than simply Yellow Pages ad and business cards. Today word of mouth is only as good as your latest Facebook page post and your latest Tweet! We’re in the 2nd quarter and better late than never, as I always say. If you haven’t started your marketing plan for 2011 then today is the day! When is the best day to plant a tree? Yesterday, the second best day is today!

So, to answer my original question: are we really ready for all of this? YES. The resources are out there. You only have to look as far as your mobile phone, email or website. Realize that change can truly be a great thing and that the more things change – the more they REALLY stay the same.

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