Competing Against Free – The Commoditization of Continued Learning

Marketing in an age of easy access and free consumption. How one company employs old school methodologies to combat dynamic shifts in technology and mediums.

At least once a week we at Legal Learning Series are approached by attorneys, law firms, experts, service providers and the like who provide seminars, lunch-and-learns and continued learning programs for the legal profession. They tell us how they are fully capable of putting on their own programs and organizing their own events as well as, if not better than, us. They tell us how there is little barrier to competition to what we do and challenge us to explain why we are better or should partner with Legal Learning Series. This makes us smile because it is our chance to shine though we know you are all very serious. We all begin with the same truth, you are not competing against us, you are competing against free.

Legal education programs are available everywhere. Many are critical to improving your practice and ability to assist your clients. Many are free. Right away we understood if what we do is just about a Continuing Legal Education credit we are doomed to fail. We also understood that those of you providing these seminars as a means of generating business for what you actually do or for the greater good, have an even greater challenge. Since there is no secret sauce to Legal Learning Series we are happy to share what makes us a great marketing partner, advertiser, sponsor, and collaborator.

Doing what you do well and helping us all do what we do better is what it is all about. That is a mouthful. Legal Learning Series is a legal events company that, like the mighty Spartans, trains nonstop to put on events better than anyone. The real work is in cultivating an audience, a following that trusts in the quality of education, the thought leadership, the great networking opportunities and venues that make competing against free possible. Businesses are about people. Legal Learning Series is defined by its people. We make an effort to be active participants of our legal community, showing up at important events, supporting our members, investing and playing a role in the future. We seek out the legal leaders and legends that share these beliefs. We challenge ourselves to identify issues and topics that have the most impact ethically, practically and professionally.

If you are not a legal events company it begs the question why would you want to try to be one? Remember, do what you do well. If a seminar is given in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? We credit you for putting together a program; we are happy you presented at local or state bar association; elated you have it available online. We truly believe there is no better way to market than by providing thought leadership. We built this weapon, we honed our craft and established this platform to assist. How loud is your bullhorn? Whether large or small as our partner it becomes our job to amplify your message, share the word and grow your audience.

The medium is the message. This is a fundamental marketing concept. If you are a vendor providing free education to the legal community it still seems solicitous and agenda oriented no matter how well intended. Even if you are a lawyer or law firm to put on your own event seems self aggrandizing. We have all become accustomed to the free donuts, Starbucks gift cards and all the warm and fuzzies available to garner our business. Free legal education is part of that now and equally superfluous. Like we said, there is no secret sauce to what we do. We work really hard and truly care about the work we do. After all, we are competing against free.

This is Legal Learning Series, and we will defend it!

Robert Friedman