Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 9, 2015

Boot camp-style seminar to train lawyers, firms to be proactive

Tea Hoffman (left) and attorney Kurt Winstead will be in Chattanooga this month to lead a seminar designed to teach lawyers how to have a proactive practice. - (Photos provided)

No attorney wants to operate in survival mode. But some lawyers feel like they are losing the day-to-day battle against mounting competition, client loyalty, and fundamental changes in the marketplace. An upcoming Chattanooga Bar Association (CBA) seminar titled “Proactive Practice Boot Camp” was designed to help lawyers develop strategies, operational plans, and techniques for success.

From beginning to end, the program will provide participants with tools they can use to improve their practice, says Tea Hoffman, managing principal of Law Strategy Corp, the company providing the training.

“Our goal is to change the mindsets of lawyers from reactive to proactive,” she said during a phone interview with the Hamilton County Herald.

The seminar will take place Thursday, Oct. 29 from 8:30 to 4:40 p.m. at Springhill Suites Marriott, located at 495 Riverfront Parkway. Participants will earn 6.5 hours of dual CLE credit.

Hoffman, a major in the Tennessee National Guard, and her teaching partner, attorney Kurt Winstead, will start the day with a session titled, “Strategy, Operations, and Tactics.” Participants will learn how to approach their practice in a more strategic and focused manner; to scrutinize business practices in order to increase efficiency, profitability, and effectiveness; and to implement tactics that create loyalty with clients and peers.

“The session is designed to help lawyers think like battle-tested generals preparing for conflict,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman will handle the next session, titled “The Art of War,” on her own. It will focus on how to develop a strategy intended to help lawyers and firms concentrate on the things that can have the most impact, and can be done within 90 days. Topics will include the benefits of having a plan, overcoming obstacles in the planning process, and implementing a strategy at every level of the firm.

“Few generals would willingly go to war without a battle plan, yet many individual lawyers and firms operate without a good strategic plan,” Hoffman said. “Also, lawyers who have developed plans haven’t implemented them successfully.”

Following this session, Hoffman, Winstead, and Keysha Walker, strategic marketing director at Law Strategy Corp, will help participants begin to develop individual marketing plans.

“Perhaps you want to become the number one workers’ compensation firm in Tennessee,” Hoffman said. “You’re going to need to get in front of the providers who can give you that kind of work.”

Following a break for lunch, Walker will discuss landing leads ethically using LinkedIn and other social media.

“One of the most effective ways to get business is through LinkedIn, but many lawyers either don’t have an effective LinkedIn profile, or don’t have a LinkedIn profile at all,” Hoffmann said. “For example, they’re not connected to the people with whom they went to law school, who could be referring business to them.”

Hoffmann and Winstead will then teach “Time Stealers,” a session designed to help lawyers who struggle with how to make the most of their day by increasing the way they use their time. The instructors will discuss common “time stealers” and how to avoid them, and talk about how individuals can organize their work day around their most productive hours.

The seminar will end with a session titled “Troop Surge: Networking Skills for Today’s Lawyer.” The program will begin with an overview of best practices in networking followed by a 30-minute “battlefield simulation” in which lawyers will have an opportunity to practice what they have learned with each other. Participants will learn which networking events lead to business opportunities, and how to introduce themselves without sounding scripted, end a conversation without offending someone, recognize body language to improve communication, better memorize names and faces, and when to follow-up on networking events.

As a lawyer who has practiced in a firm, served as general counsel for a publicly traded company, and served as the chief business development officer at an AmLaw 100 firm and the chief strategy officer at an AmLaw 200 firm, Hoffman said she understands how hard it is to create sustainable change. But taken together, these sessions will teach attorneys to identify goals and execute the steps needed to achieve them. “We don’t want lawyers going to work without knowing what they want to accomplish,” she said.

Hoffman is a member of the National Speakers Association and the America Bar Association, and will be inducted into the College of Law Practice Management this month. She also serves as senior trial counsel for the Tennessee Army National Guard, where she is a major with over 20 years of service.

Winstead is a practicing attorney with more than 25 years of civil litigation and business law experience. He has served on his firm’s executive committee and as a managing partner. Winstead earned a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2010, and is an adjunct instructor at Belmont University’s College of Business Administration. A colonel in the Tennessee Army National Guard, Winstead served overseas in Operation Iraqi Freedom III, and has served as Tennessee’s staff judge advocate since 2009.

As the strategic marketing director at Law Strategy Corp, Walker is responsible for increasing company revenue through digital products, online marketing, and implementing the company’s three-year strategic plan. Formerly a business strategist and business development manager for an AmLaw 200 firm, she has experience in client relationship management and strategic planning. Prior to her career in legal marketing, Walker was the investor relations manager for a 16-county economic development organization.

To register for the seminar, call the CBA at (423) 602-9430, or email Executive Director Lynda Hood at Lhood@ChattanoogaBar.org.

Source: Some information from Law Strategy Corp