Member Spotlight: Nancy Slome (Lawyers Biography Service)

by Lauren Nussbaum on March 15, 2016

Nancy Slome Nancy Slome

Nancy Slome has an impressive bio in legal marketing.  She offers more than 25 years of experience in advertising, marketing and corporate communications – including a six-year run as a marketing director for two AmLaw 100 firms.  She has been the principal of One to One Interactive, providing personalized and practical marketing strategies and solutions to lawyers and other professional services leaders. 

In 2009, Nancy started transitioning from New York City to Beaufort, South Carolina. Yet she hasn’t abandoned New York City altogether, as she still maintains a place on Madison Avenue.  

That’s Nancy’s bio in brief – except for one major addition.  Nancy has turned her attention to helping lawyers improve their own bios.  She recently launched Lawyers Biography Service in an effort to end boring and ineffective lawyer bios, which have been all too common in our industry.  Nancy shared more of her own interesting life story with Lauren Nussbaum:

You recently moved from New York to Beaufort, South Carolina.  Is that where you grew up?

I’m originally from Cincinnati, which was an amazing place to grow up. But by 14, I knew I was destined to live in New York City. On the way, I went to college at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and majored in Photography.

Q: You didn’t start out as a legal marketer. What was your first job out of college?

The week before college graduation, I heard from a former RIT classmate, who was already living in the City and working for a successful advertising photographer. “We have a studio manager spot open. Can you start next Monday?” Back in those days, a good reference plus a degree from RIT pretty much guaranteed a spot in a top NYC photo studio; no interview required.

So I moved into a teeny apartment in Flushing (Queens) the following week. As a studio manager, I did everything – from schedule the photo shoots, take lunch orders, style the shoots (when the budget didn’t allow for a freelance stylist), and book models. There were some fringe benefits to this entry-level and low-paying job – like getting invited to some pretty crazy parties. I went to Studio 54 (just once), Palladium (too many times to count), Limelight, and Webster Hall. Oh, and being able to take home leftover products from the photo shoots (beer, cans of tuna, toilet paper) helped fill in the pay gap. Regrettably, they didn’t share anything from the DeBeers diamond photo shoots.

So how was it that you got into legal marketing?

I went from working for photographers to being an agent for photographers and illustrators for a few years. But I found that I liked producing the shoots more than selling. So I moved over to what was known as “art buying,” where I was responsible for helping to select creative talent and negotiate contracts for a marketing agency and then a few top ad agencies.  I worked on some great campaigns in the early 90s, like Nikon, Aetna, and The Ritz-Carlton.

I also worked at the ad agency that handled many of Donald Trump’s businesses, including The Plaza, Trump Tower, and the Trump Shuttle. Never met the man, but I did have a meeting with Ivana, who was quite lovely.

I parlayed my in-house agency experience into a Manager of Creative Services position at a small cap company and was involved in corporate communications and investor relations (Think: PowerPoint and annual reports), which I really enjoyed. As the Internet was starting to catch fire, I was paired with one of the IT guys and, together, we launched the company’s first website. I was hooked.

Fast-forward to the summer of 1997 and I joined Addison, the award-winning design and branding agency as its Managing Director of New Media. In my five years with the agency we launched the first corporate websites for Pfizer and The Estée Lauder Companies, along with 70 annual report micro-sites for clients that included FedEx, ITT, Kodak and MasterCard.  It was at Addison that I worked with the woman who would become my boss at White & Case.

You recently started a new company – Lawyers Biography Service. What prompted you to do this? What problem did you see that this service solves?

Having worked on a half-dozen law firm websites, I’ve seen thousands – to hundreds of thousands – of dollars spent on rebranding and website redesigns. Yet, their lawyers’ bios – the pages with the most visits – would remain the same, from the firm’s old website to the newly launched version. The very thought of rewriting bios on a firmwide basis represents such a daunting task for marketers.  It’s understandable why these efforts are avoided altogether. Our service helps everyone from in-house marketers, where we’ll handle the entire process, to solo practitioners.

Why is it important for lawyers to have a good bio?

If lawyers want their bio to help close the deal, it’s critical. According to a survey published in 2015, attorney bios rank #2, in terms of influence on hiring selection by GCs – with the #1 spot belonging to personal recommendations.

And what about LinkedIn profiles for lawyers – are they just as important?

Absolutely. LinkedIn is a social platform, and all about engagement. So a lawyer needs to present his or her profile in the first person.

What advice would you give to someone who is trying to convince his or her lawyers it is time to update their bios?

Offer these data points to support your request:

  • 78% of in-house counsel rely on attorney bios when researching and hiring outside counsel.
  • 90% of GCs believe that law firm websites play a key role in influencing purchasing decisions for legal services.
  • Attorney bios account for 80% of legal website traffic.

What advice would you give to a new lawyer who doesn’t have a lot of content just yet?

Look for that relatable story that transcends your years in practice. And never, ever, ever overstate your experience.

What are your top three tips for creating a good bio?  

  • Tip #1: Start strong. Folks who are super-busy won’t wade through tedious bio so you want to grab their attention with something relevant right off the bat.
  • Tip #2: Don’t be boring. Too many bios include the same sentence construction and phrases. Seriously, how many times have you read, “ Jones is a lawyer in the firm’s ABC group. His practice focuses on ____.”
  • Tip #3: Be authentic. The best bios allow some personality to shine through. After all, people hire people they know, like and trust.

What is your favorite thing about working in legal marketing?

No two days are the same. I understand the daily challenges legal marketers face.  I find dealing with lawyers keeps me on my toes.

Who’s on your playlist and what’s on your Netflix watch list?

I binged the entire (new) season of House of Cards this past weekend. My musical tastes are eclectic. Last night it was the Garden State movie soundtrack.  And while I’m working today, I’m listening to Bach – Lara Downes: 13 Ways of Looking at The Goldberg.

Who do you follow on Twitter? Which thought leaders do you follow?

I’m a total news and political junkie, so I follow Politico, The Hill, and The New York Times… I’m a big fan – and follower of Emily Chang (host of Business 1.0 on Bloomberg TV), Seth Godin, and Kat Cole, having seen her deliver the keynote address at the annual conference.

What is something about you that others would find surprising?

A: To satisfy a gym requirement in college, I took juggling. I still practice and have mastered juggling rings, but am still working on pins.

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