For being tweeterific, Yvonne McGhee will receive Gary Vaynerchuk's great new book.

For being tweeterific, Yvonne McGhee will receive Gary Vaynerchuk’s great new book.

A few weeks ago, I made a promise to a roomful of lawyers. Today, I’m (finally) making good on that promise.

Standing on a Chicago dais, I was privileged to present to about 400 folks at the ABA Bar Leadership Institute. My topic was strategic communication. (Here is a PDF of my PowerPoint.)

Yvonne C. McGhee, Executive Director of The Virginia Bar Association (and quite a tweeter!)

Yvonne C. McGhee, Executive Director of The Virginia Bar Association (and quite a tweeter!)

I opened my presentation by making the following promise: The best tweet/tweeter from that morning session, as determined solely by me, would be deemed the winner of a great new book by Gary Vaynerchuk. The book is titled #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness. (And you can buy it yourself in multiple places, including here.)

My thinking was that those who were great tweeters—and thus great communicators—might make the best use of Gary’s great tips and insights.

So without further ado, I offer you, as the winner: Yvonne McGhee, executive director of the Virginia Bar Association. In person or online, Yvonne is a consummate communicator.

Below you can see her winning tweet, which shared in my amusement at Facebook’s new emoji called the “ha-ha.”

Congratulations, Yvonne. Send me your snail-mail address and the book will be speeding your way!

Here, by the way, are the new Facebook emoji:

Spot the ha-ha in the new Facebook emoji.

Spot the ha-ha in the new Facebook emoji.

To show how difficult my selection process was, I share also a few other tweets that made me chuckle or even LOL. First, a hilarious comment by Elizabeth Derrico of the New York State Bar Association regarding the likely result of my urging Snapchat use by bar leaders:

Next, Robin Lynn Haynes, Washington State Bar Association President-Elect, gets my props for sharing my love for English majors:

Institutionally, the Albany County Bar shared its love of dogs and then shared their own. Dogs are always among the best tweets:

Finally, Vermont Bar Counsel Michael Kennedy recognized the love my presentation had for Beyonce. Hat tip to you, Michael:

Thank you to the many, many attendees who participated in the tweetup in Chicago. You’re the best!

Abraham Lincoln gives anti-slavery speech at NY's Cooper Union February 1860

Abraham Lincoln gives anti-slavery speech at NY’s Cooper Union, February 1860.

Today, I’m hoping you are out of the office and enjoying a day dedicated to United States Presidents. But if you happen to be in need of great blog reading, I offer a recent post by the Washington State Bar Association. In honor of the day, they recommended some books and movies about Abraham Lincoln. I concur.

In fact, read their nice summary of how we got this honorary day in the first place.

Mount Rushmore (Wikimedia Commons)

Mount Rushmore (Wikimedia Commons)

Happy October! Time for new ideas.

Though I may be three months early for a resolution, I do offer this insight, which grew out of a terrific conference I attended last week.

Surround yourself with smart folks in your industry, and your own work is bound to get even better. That was clear to me as I attended and led conversations about communications strategies.

Among those I met in Portland (some for the first time) was an accomplished communicator from the Washington State Bar Association. Grabbing the opportunity, I told her (OK, I gushed) how much I enjoy the content and approach of their NWSidebar, a terrific blog.

Writing? Thinking about it? Contact us! (great image via

Writing? Thinking about it? Contact us! (great image via

Here’s how the WSBA describes their blog:

“NWSidebar is focused on creating a welcoming, useful, dynamic and engaging communications forum that attracts contributors and readers. We hope to create a sense of community among blog contributors and readers, and provide an opportunity for more organic, member-driven content and interaction on an ongoing basis.”

The communicator I met is the WSBA’s Online Communications Specialist, Julia Nardelli Gross. I told her that I enjoyed her blog contributions quite a bit, and that I’m often tempted to steal her ideas. She was friendly and gracious, exactly the person you want being one of your communications leaders.

As I am considering story ideas for 2014, I came across one of Julia’s posts recently that featured five hot topics that they want to see Washington lawyers write on in the future. The suggestions include the Second Amendment and changes in law school education—and a few notions farther afield.

I’ve done my share of crowdsourcing stories, but that post is so well written and constructed, it’s hard to believe they won’t get a great response.

Like the WSBA, I too am seeking great and interesting writers and stories, both for guest blog posts and for Arizona Attorney Magazine. Contact me anytime. But first head over and follow what Julia’s up to.

A mug for coffee and case names is just one idea for lawyer gifts.

A mug for coffee and case names is just one idea for lawyer gifts.

As if I needed more evidence that I’m living in the past

Last week, a colleague commented that she guessed next Friday afternoon will be pretty quiet around our office’s hallways.

Only half paying attention, I asked why that would be.

She gave me a sideways glance, apparently thinking I was pulling her leg.

“Um, it’s the start of the weekend before Christmas … ?”

“No way,” I responded with confidence. That event is still two full weeks away, not one, I asserted.

She smiled at my idiocy. And my smile faded.

And so it is the case. The holidays are far closer than I suspected, and with them their attendant challenges.

So if you, like me, have been blindsided by a season creeping in like cat burglar, you may be in need of certain last-minute ideas.

Fortunately, the Washington State Bar provides that very thing: a quick-and-easy holiday gift list for lawyers.

You can read all their ideas here. What would you add to the barrister’s bucket list?

Good luck with putting the “ease” back into “season.”

cell phone nomophobiaNomophobia sounds vaguely like a condition afflicting a neighbor I’d like to see move away. But it’s really nothing more than “the fear of being without mobile phone contact.”

If the end of that sentence made your skin crawl, you may want to listen to that cry for help and read this terrific blog post out of the Washington State Bar Association site.

Titled “My Cell Phone Is Ruining My Life,” the post explores all the telltale signs of a disease that affects countless millions. In fact, as I perused the list, I must admit I spotted myself in a few places

  • Keeping your phone constantly within reach during both sleeping and waking hours
  • Checking your phone in the middle of the night
  • Taking your phone with you everywhere you go, including inappropriate places like the restroom
  • Obsessively checking battery life
  • Checking your phone every few minutes, even when interacting with other people
  • Feeling anxious when separated from your mobile device
  • Constantly checking your pocket or purse to ensure your phone is thereno-mobile-phone-circle

Sorry. While you were reading that list, I checked my phone twice. But on this Change of Venue Friday, I suggest you do as I say, not as I do. Read the complete article, without checking your phone once!

Together, we can beat nomophobia (or at least learn to say it without chuckling).

Have a great weekend.