“I’ll BE BACK” !

 I’m going away, but I’ll be back….

So all you nice people who read my blog can be assured that after I spend time with my children and grandchildren and old friends, I’ll return with an outstanding blog for Monday, January 2, 2017.  How did it get to be 2017 without my knowing it?

So, here’s wishes you all the best Holiday you deserve in this terrible time of trouble in our beautiful country.  Rest assure, we will not let those idiots ruin the climate change agenda and we will continue to fight for the rights of all humans. That’s my pledge for the New Year and I hope it is yours.



Dear Readers,

As the year comes to an end, you know I like to give advice about how to handle the new year.  Well, this year is no different. Both you and your clients have had some real difficult times and some very unique challenges this past year.  Between the stock market behavior , job problems and the election debacle, doom and gloom has run rampant.  Many lawyers have suffered significant disruption of their businesses as clients and employers try to keep their heads above water.

Now, some of the experts tell us that the recession has turned around.  Other experts tell us that there is more disruption to come as the government goes crazy.Whatever happens, guess what?  WE STILL ALL HAVE THAT PIECE OF PAPER THAT SAYS WE ARE LAWYERS! Most people in the world don’t have that piece of paper. We have infinite possibilities to use that piece of paper to not only provide us with a living but to give us job satisfaction as well.

In line with that thinking, for many of you it may well be time to review your work situation and make decisions about how you might want to change your practice in the coming year. Take a minute and do a quite survey about your present career situation by answering the following questions:

  1.  Am I making enough money to cover my business and personal expenses?
  2. Am I making enough money to fund my retirement account each month?
  3. Do I like to go to work each day?
  4. Do I like the people I work with?
  5. Do I like most all of my clients?
  6. Can I get my work done in 40-50 hours a week?
  7. Do I have enough time for my family each day?
  8. Do I exercise enough?
  9. Am I eating a healthy diet?
  10. Am I taking enough classes to keep up to date in my practice areas?
  11. Do I often feel lonely?
  12. Do I have mentors?
  13. Do I play and have fun on a regular basis?

OK, OK, you get the idea.  If you answered NO to a lot of these questions, then you need to start on your New Year’s resolutions early.  Think of change ( which is scary) as MORPHING.  Morph yourself into a more fulfilling career.

How do you do this?  Look at the “nos” above. Now decide one thing you could do today to start changing  that answer to a “yes”. Some people call that shifting your outlook. Yes, it takes work and focus but its certainly better than being whiny ( you know I hate that) and depressed. Call me.  I’d love to discuss 2017 with you.

Wishing you all a glorious and prosperous New Year…..


LAST NIGHT I WATCHED “SECRETS OF THE DEAD” ON PBS AND THE SHOW WAS ABOUT VAMPIRES. I learned how their existence got started and how it remains today. I felt virtuous for watching such foolishness  because it was on Public TV.

How many people will dress as Vampires tonight? How many children will want to be the “walking dead” while accepting real live candy?  What is the fascination with dead people who have come back to life?

The PBS show seemed to explain part of this by the fact that ancient people couldn’t explain why they had disease and barren crops much of the time.  It was easier to blame dead people who came back to haunt the living with catastrophic events.  Their solution was to dig up the buried person and cut out their heart and burn it in the village cross roads.  This supposedly took care of any further disasters from that Vampire. There were plenty more out there in the grave yards though!

The more modern Vampire, of course, was first made famous by Mary Shelley and other writers. Readers were quick to enjoy the threat of being scared by the monsters imagined to be rising up from the dead. Vampires had big front teeth to pierce the throat and suck blood from the living at night.  Then, they would go to their coffin and sleep during the day.  Then they didn’t need to have their hearts toasted, but just be stopped by a stake through their heart.

Today, this gives way to finding Vampires in all kind of normal circumstances.  Since Dracula was noted to be quite a gentleman and downright sexy when he was behaving himself, that image grew into young ladies swooning over them. Vampire stories are quite popular with teenagers.  Parents don’t seem to be discouraging this fascination on any great level.

So, I guess we have to just learn to live with the fascination of Vampires and even believe a little in their existence within our world. We can even dress up like Dracula and feel good about scaring people.  I guess we are also comforted by knowing that germs cause disease, not Vampires.


How to Make the New Year Yours

HO HO HO,  here we go again with a new year after playing and eating ourselves into oblivion!

So, let’s make 2015 DIFFERENT.  We have been talking about CHANGE.  Why not really make a change in 2015.

You have all the tools. You know how to find the goals you want to work on.

  • You know how to prioritize those goals.
  • You know how to put those goals in your calendar each week.
  • You know how to get a good ANCHOR to keep you on tract.
  • You know how to visualize the goal outcome
  • If you don’t think you know how to do this, read my old blogs!

Now all you have to do is pick one thing you want to change in 2015.  Is it making more money?  Is it spending more time with your family?  Is it finding a hobby?  Is it doing charity work?  Is it making a complete change in your career? Is it losing weight or exercising more?

Whatever it is, decide on it, write it down and look at it every day.  Then make a plan and write that down how you are going to actually make this change happen.  Then all you have to do is to follow your plan and you will achieve a significant change.


Just a note:  I am leaving on vacation on 12/22 and not returning until 1/2 so no blogging for me during that time. I gave you enough to think about until I return…..

  May all your days be Merry and Bright and this Holiday Season the Best Ever!


When you take a survey of how people feel about Halloween, you usually get answers like: “oh, I love  to get dressed up and go to a party” or “I hate it.  All that candy and the kids get crazy” or ” I shut my door and turn off the lights and hide”.

Here in Santa Cruz, CA the city has a huge parade and the kids get to go trick or treating to all the stores along the main street early in the evening.It is fun to see all the little ones dressed up but things can get a little rough later on when the big folks start partying in the street.  The City even puts up a temporary fence around each tree and sculpture on the street.

Each of us has our own remembrances of Halloween. Mine is getting black all over my face from slobbering on the black mask.  Also remembering my Dad hiding behind a tree to keep an eye on us as we went door to door.  What is your memory?

Later I used to sneak candy out from under the bed where my children thought they were hiding it. In that way I could slowly and very cleverly, I thought, reduce the amount of candy each night.  Later on I found out that they knew I was doing this but as long as I didn’t take out any of the real good stuff, I was OK.

One of the things I have notices about Halloween for both adults and children is that it can be a day or an evening of being someone else.  You see a lot of spider men and super heroes because kids love the idea of being empowered because they mostly feel little and powerless.   I once went to a Halloween party where we adults were to dress as our alter egos or our dark sides.  One guy showed up in a baseball uniform which I thought was weird.  There were lots of Draculas and Witches. I’m too shy to tell you what my costume was.

So share your favorite story about Halloween.  I’m guessing that there is nothing greatly significant that we can gleam from these stories but they can be great fun…..and we lawyers need fun in our lives.


Hi to all,

Yes, I made it back just to check in on you and see if you did the Action Tasks that I gave you before I left.

I’m still too jet lagged to write much but I did want to tell you that my book HOW TO BE A BETTER LAWYER: A Short Guide to a Long Career, is not out and ready for purchase.  I don’t have the correct link yet, but you can go to Shop ABA Store and click into books and then put in title.  If you are a member of the ABA or a Bar Association there is a reduction in price.

Let me know your comments.  Hopefully you will find it useful.  Take the tests and if you don’t understand how to form your goals (although I have fully explained how to do that!LOL ) give me a call and I will help you through that.

All for now.  Will be back next week with more for you to do…….


Exactly what does Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays have to do with attorneys?  At first glance, you would say “not much”.  We are limited in how we can advertise and gimmicks and giving away stuff is not in our best interest to attract new clients.  So it there anything we can learn from all this going on about “shopping days”?

Let’s first look at why these happen.  Retailers have to do something to attract customers, especially those that get most of their profits from Holiday Sales.  These are important times for them to make a buck.  In fact, some retailers count so heavily on Holiday Shopping that they can’t stay in business without it.  So who is to criticize them for having Big Sales on specific times and days?  These times have almost become a necessity as the retailers battle each other.

At this point, it would seem that all of this is getting a little out of hand when employees are required to work during the actual holiday and not be able to be with their families, etc.  Unfortunately, this happened because one guy did it and the rest now have to do it to compete.  We have to look at our values and decide if we are going to support such shenanigans.

But what about on line shopping?  That’s what Cyber Monday (TODAY) is all about.  We are supposed to go to our computers and order up a storm. This doesn’t even involve leaving our homes.  Free shipping and low prices and lots of time to browse without a crowd around, is really enjoyable.  Would we spent more this way?  It appears so but time will tell.

What attorneys can take away from this is that if they make their “product” easily assessable, they will have a better chance of “making the sale”.  Finding out about the “product” without having to leave home is also very desirable, and certainly one the most important clues attorneys can take away from this scenerio.    This entails knowing the client’s “need/weed”.  What problem (weed) does the client have?  What need has not been full filled?  How can you fulfill it?

Then this also means that having a  strong web presence is terribly important so the client does not have to search for the attorney. 

Let’s talk for a moment about the push that is done through advertising these sales on a specific date and time.   Can attorneys do that?  Certainly not in the same way the retailers do but it is conceivable that through a concerted marketing campaign, the attorney or firm can explore different types of growth and communicate this to clients during a specific time.

Sometimes this can happen around Anniversaries.  The firm is 10 years old and has an open house.   The attorney is celebrating his 20th year of practice and sends a delightful card to all his or her contacts.   This creates specific dates to work towards doing something different in marketing.  Never, Ever past up a potential event to contact your favorite clients, old and new and your friends.

What do you think about this?  Could it work for you?  Could you hold a Black Friday or a Cyber Monday for your potential clients?  Let me know.


This is the time of year that I always get asked by clients if Holiday cards to client and friends aren’t just commercialism at its worst.  There might be some truth in that.  This is the time of year that we all get hit with outrageous amounts of advertising.  Since retailers make a great deal of money during the Holidays, it is logical that they do quite a bit of advertising and arm pulling.

As lawyers we don’t want to be perceived as “ambulance chasers” or crazy car salesmen.   On the other hand, this is the time of year that opens people’s hearts to the needy and to family and friends.  After writing last week’s blog, I thought about the fact that an attorney could also give a significant donation in the name of several clients to a charity.  The charity usually sends the donees a notice of the gift. But again this might be perceived as being manipulative.

So how does the attorney send greetings at this time of year?  Remember it is vital that you be touching your A Contacts at least 4 times a year and this is a perfect time for one of those.  The clue is to be sincere!  If you come to the task with a genuine desire to communicate your good wishes and “touch” the people you send cards to, then it will be accepted as such and not viewed as just another advertisement.  This means that you have to give considerable time to designing your greetings.  The sentiments need to be sincere and meaningful.  Happy Holidays won’t do!!!

Take time to think about what you want to say and wish your friends and clients.  VistaPrints lets you design your own cards and so you can really say what you want.  You can also chose a motif which fits your real belief about this time of year.

Remember your clients are lay people.  I remember one client who called me after I sent her a birthday card to say that it was the only birthday card she got.  Your card or greeting can make an impact and a difference in someone’s life.  If they are sincere, they will not be perceived to be just commercial.

So go forth and get it together to really “touch” your clients and friends, while letting them know you are still alive and kicking.


Here’s hoping all of you have gotten started on your Holiday mailing to your clients and friends and family.  How about putting something special in the Holiday Card?  Maybe your favorite poem?  A short story? Personal Pictures that are of interest?  Forget the newsletter with everything that has happened in the prior year unless you have gotten a good response to that earlier.

In this way, your recipient can see that you personalized the card just for them.  There is much to be said for quality over quantity.

Wouldn’t you like to receive a card with sentiments designed just for you?  Another idea is to have more than one type of card to send out.  One may be filled with Christmas spirit, another Jewish sentiments and a third kind of neutral.   If you have the time, sign the cards even if your name is printed.  ( I just heard that they may no longer teach cursive writing in school—-what is the world coming to?)

For very important people, you may want to put a $5.00 Starbucks gift card in with the Holiday Greeting.  Remember to put more stamps on it. Or how about a call instead of a card?  ” I’m not sending you a card because I would like to talk to you this season and we haven’t spoken in such a long time.”  or ” Your Holiday Card is my phone call”.

 If you have a staff, get everyone involved in sending Greetings to the Clients and referral sources.  Let them even help you select the cards. Once they are involved, you will get a lot more help in completing the task.  Start planning if you will have a Holiday Party for your staff.  Now is the time to select the date as everyone get very busy about this time of year.

There was a recent pole taken of employees who said they would like the day before and after Thanksgiving off instead of turkeys, etc.  How about 1/2 day off before Thanksgiving and then they can take the day after as a “personal” day if they wish?  These small things add up with employee satisfaction.  When you are sitting around deciding on the Holiday Cards ask your staff what they think.  Kindness goes a long way in keeping up morale.

All for now……is there anything that you would like for this Holiday just for yourself?  Let’s start thinking about that.


I just ordered my Holiday Cards.  I send out New Year’s Cards because I don’t like to offend anyone with my Christmas Greetings.  I do love the Angels and Jesus and the Christmas Trees and especially Santa.  I do know, however, that our earth is populated by all kinds of beliefs and I can’t really share my enthusiasm for Christmas with all the people I want to send a Holiday Greeting to.

What are your beliefs at this time of year?  Do you want to find people to share those with?  Hopefully you have found a spiritual home that nurtures you.   Being a lawyer with all of its stress and political shenanigans can sometimes allow you to lose your sense of self.  We are careful about the way we use words when it relates to ethnic groups and certainly this greater awareness has made us a better human being but it has also caused us to be criticized if we make a false move.  What used to be OK language just 10 years ago, is no more.

Now is not a bad time to give this topic some consideration.  You, too, need to pick out good Holiday Greetings to send to your clients, old and new, your friends and family.  What do you really want to say to your sendees?  What are your real wishes for them?  Do you want to inspire them? Or do you want to have them know you understand their wishes and desires?

Do your Holiday Card choosing now.  Don’t wait until you are so rushed that you send out the same old, same old.  Make your greetings sincere and this will give you a real Holiday lift yourself.  Give yourself the leisure of really enjoying the Holiday Season, no matter what your belief is.

Some people have told me that they find Thanksgiving a more meaningful Holiday than Christmas or New Years.  How do you feel about that? Do you really only give Thanks once a year?  Or do you find something to be thankful for every day?  If nothing else, as Woody Allen says,” that you got up this morning is a blessing”.   Being aware of how much life has given you is a very humbling task and one that is very good for lawyers.

Enough with the preaching.  Your hint for this week is to get on the ball with choosing your Holiday Cards.  Enjoy the process as you pick and choose.  Make your gift list.  Start thinking about what would make someone else happy……