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January 26, 2011

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Dear (firstname, fallback=Colleague) -

During my Thanksgiving visit to London for presentations at the London School of Economics and at BigHand’s annual user conference about Transformative Technology and the Innovative Law Firm, I had the chance to meet Richard Susskind, the famed author of The End of Lawyers? As we concluded our discussion, I asked him for any advice he could share about expanding my writing and speaking in 2012. He smiled and said: “Be bold.”

I have spent much of the past two months considering the meaning of boldness, both personally and professionally. The idea intimidates me, but also reminds me of trying to meet Secretary of State Warren Christopher in 1996 while working in the Office of Foreign Missions during my second summer of law school.

I simply walked into his office suite and asked his assistant whether he was free. Our conversation went something like this:

"Hi, I'm Ari Kaplan, is the Secretary available?"
Confused pause.
"Who are you?"
Signature smile. [A cross between Seinfeld's Kramer and Jim Carrey's Ace Ventura]
"Yes, I'm Ari Kaplan, I work here."
Badge connected to the traditional Washington, DC silver ball chain hanging from my neck swings proudly.
"Who?" [A common repeat question in the sitcom that is my life.]
Less confidently, "Ari Kaplan."
She stands with authority.
"Excuse me."
She walks away.
I can't believe this is going to work. What a great story. Why are these people watching me?
She returns. "I'm sorry the Secretary is busy."
Undeterred. "I just want to introduce myself; I work here."
Unpersuaded. "I'm sorry."
Dejected. I walk away.
The nearby guard enjoying the dialogue asks: "Where are you from?"
"Brooklyn," I respond.
He laughs.
"You've got chutzpah, kid."

For the record, chutzpah alone is not enough.

I am convinced that if I had any reason whatsoever for requesting that meeting with Mr. Christopher, even something like interviewing him for the GW Law School newspaper, that exchange would have been different.

I am going to try to be more thoughtful about the basis for my meeting requests this year. Here is an example of how technology can provide it for you.

Last week, I noticed that that a few people had recently viewed my LinkedIn profile. (Do you ever look at this feature? It is free and can be very valuable.) One of them was the director of marketing for a legal technology company. I do a significant amount of ghostwriting for companies in this area and the head of marketing is often my closest contact. Since LinkedIn already showed me that there was interest, I called and asked if he wanted to meet at the Legal Tech New York conference, where my annual survey of corporate counsel is the subject of a panel discussion on Tuesday. We had a great conversation and scheduled a meeting for next week. Before hanging up, he said: "I hope we can find a way to work together; I have seen your writing."

Thank you, LinkedIn. Thank you, Mr. Susskind. Perhaps another time, Mr. Secretary.

Wishing you the very best,
Ari

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A Great Source of Ideas for Follow-Up: 2012 Editorial Calendars

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Every year I assemble a set of editorial calendars for publications in a variety of industries. They highlight the topics on which each magazine, newspaper, website, or newsletter will focus throughout 2012. There are over 40 in the current set. Please accept them with my gratitude for subscribing to this newsletter.

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*NEW* Free Audio Version of The Opportunity Maker

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It is here at last - the audio version of The Opportunity Maker. That's right - I have acquired the audio rights to my first book and am releasing a new version for your listening enjoyment. Each month, I will include a new chapter. This is the introduction - let me know what you think.

Of course, if you buy a copy of Reinventing Professional Services on Amazon, or if you have one and post a review on Amazon, I will send you a link to download an mp3 of The Opportunity Maker completely free.

I am now also offering it to all attendees of my law firm and law school presentations.

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News Room

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January/February 2012 - Legal Management: Reinventing Professional Services (book review)

“I would highly recommend this book to any reader who is seriously interested in professional service business development. There are many other books on this subject, but I think that Reinventing Professional Services is one of the best because of its unique approaches to digital marketing. Its real value is it gives you practical advice on how to accomplish your specific goals.”

January 11, 2012 - National Law Journal online: Applying the Alternative Fee Model to Law School Tuition

January 3, 2012 - LawJobs.com: Revisiting Professional Development for a Changing Profession

November/December 2011 - Legal Management: Highlight An Extraordinary Culture

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Upcoming Programs

New York, NY - January 31, 2012 (Legal Tech NY)
Macon, GA - February 14, 2012
Athens, GA - February 15, 2012
Los Angeles, CA - February 27, 2012
Phoenix, AZ - February 28, 2012
Seattle, WA – May 4, 2012
San Diego, CA – June 28, 2012 (Keynote - Nevada Bar Association's Annual Conference)

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AriKaplan-Reinvention

The New York Law Journal called Ari Kaplan’s first book, The Opportunity Maker: Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development (Thomson-West, 2008), a “must-have treasure box of marketing ideas,” and CEOs have described his new book, Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace (Wiley, 2011), as “an essential guide” that “expertly showcases the multitude of opportunities the digital age has brought to the professional services market.” After nearly nine years practicing with large law firms in Manhattan, Kaplan, a Fastcase 50 honoree, has become the go-to copywriter and industry analyst in the legal community. He is also a dynamic public speaker, serving as the keynote for the 2010 ABA Techshow, and has been crisscrossing the country empowering thousands of students and professionals with creative ideas for standing out in today’s stagnant economy. Ari Kaplan Advisors provides live programs on business development, career growth, organic networking and getting published at law firms, bar associations, law schools and colleges nationwide. It also offers law-related ghostwriting and personal coaching.

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