Overview of Associations Collaboration Class #1 Carolyn Elefant Law Offices of Carolyn Elefant www.myshingle.com The Importance of Associations -Even as a solo, no man (or person) is an island. -There are limits to a "one man band." -Groups are natural - we long for community Founding fathers recognized this - the First Amendment protects our right to assembly - to associate Seth Godin - Tribes We naturally seek communities Benefits of Associations Economies of scale Cost sharing and more lawyers to handle work More expertise As a single lawyer, you are limited to being a "one man band" Richard Susskind - the future will see collaborations of solos Sense of community Associations guard against loneliness - Tribes Business development expanding your community expands your reach Conventional Associations Conventional associations have always existed: Bar associations, Kiwanis Club, PTA, etc.... For business, firms typically grow through adding associates and partners or merging BUT.... Problems of Conventional Associations Growing a firm via partners and mergers Can lead to liability exposure and too much overhead and waste -Lawyers tied together - can be wasteful Bar Associations bureacracy can be stifling! plagued by politics always the low man on the totem pole can be costly Why Associations Now? Biglaw is crumbling...but clients don't necessarily want pure solos. As Richard Susskind says, collaborative of solos is key. Bars are disaggregating. Bar associations are underfunded with cutbacks. Costly and bloated. Technology gives opportunities to create your own. Opportunity - so many groups in search of a leader (Tribes). You can be that leader! 4 Main Association Models 1. The law firm alliance / of counsel/project partnership - ways to formalize relationships between firms without creating formal partnerships 2. Posses & Board of Directors & Masterminds These are the groups that "have your back" - bounce ideas off them. Formal associations Business or personal networking groups to build business relationships. 4. Client aggregation - aggregating groups of clients into formal associations to represent all of them (also trade association or non-profit groups) 3. Association Requirements: these are absolute! 1. YOU MUST BE READY TO LEAD! YOU MUST BE READY TO LEAD! An association needs a leader. It must be you. If you are passive, preoccupied or not committed, it will not work. You must lead. 2. HOW CAN I LEAD? I'm a newbie? You can lead because you are willing to step up to the plate. That is all it takes to start. Homework: 1. Read Seth Godin's tribes http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/10/free-tribesebo.html (FREE ebook) I will be posting my favorite passages in the forum for discussion. 2. What kind of association do you want to form? Who do you want to join? What kind of relationship do you want to create? What is your goal in forming an association?