It Takes a Village to Raise a Legal Learning Series




When you are a small business with limited resources the first thing you learn is there is never enough time. The second thing you learn is that there is never enough help. For the businesses that survive and thrive it is mainly endurance, long hours, little reward and a foolhardy belief that what you are doing is meaningful and needed. For businesses that reach full maturity, strong and built to last, it takes much more. It takes a village. I do not think there is a secret sauce to Legal Learning Series that can be stolen. Rather, I can speak to the village that has helped raise a Legal Learning Series.

Years ago there was not much to think about. We had an idea to put on some seminars in the legal community that we thought were well needed and that would make us bundles of loot. We were half right. The programs were great. The problem was we knew little of websites, email marketing, social media, venue selection, catering, event management software and just about everything that goes into being a legal events company. We kept at it anyway, and little by little our audience grew. We even added some sponsors who saw what we were doing and got it too. The first two were our video partners Brian Cummins, from Champion Legal and Russ Coker, from Legal Video Services. They were the first two villagers to come to our aid as we were still crawling around.

So, there we were scrambling around month to month looking for speakers, topics, venues and anything we could do to make our events shine. Our two villagers said, “If you live webinar and record your events you could really expand your reach and ticket sales.” That is the day we learned how to walk. There was nothing pretty about it. Our two villagers laughed as little Legal Learning Series fumbled with cameras and webcasting programs while setting up food, checking in guests and running the show. It was around that same time that one of the giants of South Florida legal community Ervin Gonzalez, agreed to be a speaker for an upcoming program.

Having the support of legal leaders who get that there is a collective responsibility to educate, engage and uplift the community taught Legal Learning Series what it is all about. No one gets that more than Ervin Gonzalez. Ervin is a big trial litigator who is an absolute dragon slayer. Google if you must. We have had all kinds of thought leaders, talking heads and best of breed legal pros as presenters but this villager came to Legal Learning Series in a time of need and wowed our audience. We were all about education from the beginning and it was at this critical juncture in our development that we learned how important it was to seek out the “Ervins” of our community and make sure we are teaming up. We get emails and calls after one his presentations thanking us for making him accessible. We have heard from webinars attendees throughout the country who have told us that if it were not for us they would never have had a chance to learn from him and how important it was to them. It feels good to get calls like that.

There have been so many villagers. Karen Chamberlain, co-founder, who jumped blindly into the fire to give rise to this creation. Chris Cardillo, an IT for attorneys guru who helped with web, email, IT and an endless fount of ideas. My sister Rachel, who heard every stupid slogan, catch phrase and marketing shtick I could conjure. I could go on and on about the cheerleaders, volunteers and supporters that have babysat, donated clothes and put up with our terrible teens. If it were not for them, and Legal Learning Series were left to the elements, it is hard to say if it had any chance at all. The wisdom is not new or unique, but certainly worth acknowledging. Legal Learning Series has been fortunate enough to be part of a strong village and has found counsel and guidance from good apples.

The long and the short is that all of our villages matter. They are all important. All of the villagers I mentioned  are with us today. Ervin Gonzalez is speaking for us again next week, our video partners will be by our side and the village will continue to grow. Legal Learning Series is far from grown but we all take up the responsibility for our village together now. Businesses can be looked at and analyzed any number of ways. When I think about Legal Learning Series, where it has been and where it is going all I see are faces, and people and villages. So watch out, because we are coming to a village near you!




Robert Friedman