Weeknights

January 11, 2012 at 8:19 am | Posted in small law, the book biz | 1 Comment
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In my current job, I need to do a fair amount of networking. When I was a BigLaw corporate lawyer, I spent my weeknights billing big corporate clients. Junior lawyers had no real client interaction, so networking was entirely self-initiated in anticipation of the day when you would want to flee BigLaw (or they let you go).

As a mother, one really didn’t have time to network anyway. You do your work, you go home and put your children to bed, and then you log back in and bill, bill, bill to try to make up the deficit of leaving working early.

Now, however, I work for a very small firm and am expected to generate a degree of business. In addition, as a literary agent I represent a number of authors and am expected to keep finding more. So I have built into my personal “business plan” that I go to an event one night a week. I set that expectation with our nanny, and I try to tell her as far ahead as possible which night that will be. Often, my husband is out with clients one night a week, as well, and while we try to make sure they are different nights, on some nights the nanny ends up putting the children to bed (which causes me a pang of guilt).

On one hand, being in an entrepreneurial environment with small children is challenging. There is of course quite a great deal more business generation I could and arguably should be doing to try to build up my own little practice. And I still do have to bill a certain number of hours in order to cover costs and, um, make money. I don’t think I was entirely aware of this when I left the corporate world.

On the other hand, there is something really great about changing up the “bed, bath & beyond” routine for a night and mingling with creative people, often holding a glass of wine. Of course, when the event is over at 9 p.m. and I have to get myself home and wind down and then the children are up, just as the moon sets at a very early hour, I vow to go to sleep by 8 p.m. the following night.

It’s all a balance and a juggle, isn’t it?

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April 16, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Posted in read this, the media | 2 Comments
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Last night I attended a seminar on social media networking for journalists led by one of my former professors at Columbia J-School, Sree Sreenivasan, who has become a kind of new media/technology guru. At the time, he taught a course called something like, “New Media for Journalists,” in which we learned how to use the Internet for research and maybe how to create a webpage. In other words, there wasn’t much to the class (frankly, I remember finding it irrelevant — no offense Sree. You were just way ahead of all of us — I mean, I only acquired a legit email address in 1995…).

Of course, little did we know back in the mid-1990s how integrated journalism and the internet would become, and how this integretation would “threaten” traditional media. If I were still a print journalist right now, I would be fighting like hell to get as many Twitter followers as possible (Sree mentioned that some guy had just scored a book deal based on his Tweets — blogs are, like, so over) and would of course have a blog. Yet, were my employer a newspaper, they’d probably be fighting me every step of the way, lest I give my content away for free.
>My brother-in-law, the internet-savvy Pax Arcana, had a witty (as always) — but yet astute and insightful — post yesterday analyzing this impass and the looming failure of traditional media. Yes, it will cease to exist as we know it. And until recently I was one of the traditionalists who would argue, “You can’t let a newspaper fail.” But face it Bostonians: someone is going to buy the Boston Globe, sell off its cumbersome assets (printing presses, trucks), outsource weekend delivery, and move almost everything online.
Anyway, the overall point of the seminar was that the conversation (the big, meta conversation) is now online. It’s on Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. So journalists have to get in there — to get story ideas, to make contacts. This may seem obvious, but if you think about it philosophically (or even from a marketing perspective) it can be kind of overwhelming.* And, of course, media companies have to be where the conversation is, as well, so they too need Facebook pages or Twitter feeds. (That’s why CNN and Astin Kutcher apprarently are locked in an epic battle to be the first to claim one million Twitter followers. For reals.)
And, to that end, Marbury v. Madison Ave. has to be there too — so you can now follow me on Twitter (where you’ll get a Tweet each time I have a new post, or with links to other articles and tweets, and/or whatever else I figure out you can do on there).

*And exciting. Last night’s event reminded me how passionate I am about the media on that very meta/philosophical level — as much about the industry and its scope as about the craft itself.

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