The Legal Marketing Association has ended three long-running awards programs that celebrate achievement within the legal marketing industry.
LMA, a membership group and trade association for the legal marketing community, has decided to call time on the “Your Honor Awards”, “Rising Star Awards” and “Hall of Fame”.
Familiar to attendees of the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference, where the winners are announced, the Your Honor Awards recognize excellence in legal marketing across multiple categories.
The Rising Star Award recognizes professionals who are 35 or younger or who have less than 10 years of overall work experience.
The Hall of Fame celebrates individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the legal marketing industry over a long time period.
The LMA said in a statement that its decision to end these programs is part of a broader effort to refocus the organization on external and educational initiatives.
Some LMA regions – the LMA has several regional chapters throughout the US – will continue to offer their own awards programs.
Unsurprisingly, the LMA’s decision has divided the legal marketing community.
One group welcomed the LMA’s move, as they felt that these awards programs were inward looking and self-serving, when the job of a legal marketer is to promote their lawyers’ achievements, not their own.
On the other hand, many feel that the job of a legal marketer can be thankless and a membership organization like the LMA should spotlight the achievements of its members.
There is an irony here in that a section of the LMA crowd has been one of the most vocal critics of lawyer directories and awards over the years, but is nevertheless keen to keep its own recognitions program – “lawyers aren’t allowed to have egos, but we are”.
That said, the LMA’s decision seems odd to me for several reasons:
Awards and recognitions are a big part of what law firm marketers do for their law firm clients, so they understand the importance of third-party recognition in profile raising.
Awards and recognitions are growing – not just in legal, but across industry more broadly.
Many law firm marketers found this program a helpful benchmark as to what is “best in class” in other firms – useful if you’re in a smaller firm, or seeking some ammunition to persuade your own firm to embrace new initiatives.
All groups of workers need some kind of program to recognize their achievements – it’s human nature to want to appreciate others’ achievements, and to be appreciated yourself.
And it’s not like there’s much competition – there aren’t many organizations or publications that showcase legal marketing achievements.
“Like many LMA members, I was taken aback by the recent decision of the board to “sunset” three of our award and recognition programs. By ridding ourselves of the Hall of Fame, Your Honor Awards, and Rising star, we are ceding control of what is excellence within our profession.
You cannot go to school to become a legal marketer. The training is all on the job. LMA and the leaders, many of whom now make up the Hall of Fame, were my mentors and guides. And now, almost twenty years later, here I am. I don’t understand this decision, and I will use my voice to make it right.”