Troubled Law School to Cease Operations At One of Its Campuses

This summer, Above the Law began reporting on the uphill battle the Thomas M. Cooley Law School faced with regard to its declining revenue and student enrollment. In early July, they were the first to break the news that Cooley Law would stop accepting first-year students at its Ann Arbor campus as part of a “financial management plan.” At the time, James Robb, the law school’s associate dean of external affairs and senior counsel, said there were no plans to close the campus.

Plans apparently changed quickly, because at the end of July, they learned that Cooley Law was considering consolidating the Ann Arbor campus with other Cooley campuses by the end of the fall 2014 semester. Once again, Robb assured the media that no definitive plans had been made yet.

Now that we’re almost halfway through the fall 2014 semester, it seems that Cooley Law has begrudgingly decided to lie in the bed that it has made. This may be the first law school campus closure since the public started learning that legal education wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be…

Late this afternoon, Cooley Law students were greeted with the following message on their web portal:

Notice of Intent to Cease Operations at Ann Arbor Campus

Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School intends to cease operations at its Ann Arbor Campus on December 31, 2014, subject to the approval of teach-out plans submitted to its accrediting agencies, the Higher Learning Commission and American Bar Association – Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. Students are requested to contact their Enrollment and Student Services Coordinator with any questions or need for assistance they may have.

One has to wonder what the American Bar Association’s reaction to this announcement will be. Law schools across the nation are in trouble, and the ABA had an implicit hand in their downfall. By failing to institute measures that would keep law schools from deceiving their students as to their likely employment and salary prospects after graduation until the last minute, the ABA invited disasters like this to occur. Law schools were inevitably going to suffer once prospective students learned that all was not as good as it appeared — and was marketed — to be. Cooley Law School just happens to be one of the schools that has suffered the most, deservedly or not.

As we noted in July, Cooley Law is offering a number of concessions to students in exchange for their enrollment at one of its other campuses in Grand Rapids, Auburn Hills, and Tampa, Florida, including:

  •     Early registration for the January 2015 term, continuing through graduation;
  •     Retention of financial aid packages, regardless of campus chosen;
  •     A $1,500 cash payment for their troubles; and
  •     A $3,500 bar review stipend to be advanced during the final semester.

Above the Law reporters reached out to Cooley for comment, but have yet to hear back. We will update this post if they do.

Once again, Above the Law asks that students at this beleaguered law school take the time to consider their options wisely. Please think long and hard about your decision, because your financial future depends on it.

As of October 6, 2014, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School has updated the Ann Arbor campus section of its website with its Statement of Intent to Close. A Cooley student contacted Above the Law about the school’s impending campus closure, and was none too thrilled by the news. Here’s what that student had to say:

“I think this was a long time coming. Cooley teachers do provide a good education, but the administration unfortunately makes Cooley a joke. The expansion that they have done was clearly unsustainable and they are paying the price now. Students have been questioning the expansion for years, and the response has been that they did it with a long-term goal and have been dismissive of students concerns. I hope in the future when students express their apprehensiveness, the administration actually listens.”

Zaretsky, Staci. “Troubled Law School To ‘Cease Operations’ At One Of Its Campuses.” Above the Law. Above the Law, 3 Oct. 2014. Web. 08 Oct. 2014.

The Compleat Bank Lawyer

In 1653, Isaac Walton wrote “The Compleat Angler” a book that is still read by avid fishermen desiring to learn all they can about the sport. One might ask today what makes a complete bank lawyer. The answer is usually not understood by bank senior management. They often fail to differentiate between legal and compliance. Both functions are critically important and they must work together as a team; however, while the lawyer should be a resource to compliance officers in helping them interpret complex or ambiguous regulations, it is not the lawyer’s responsibility to make sure they are followed by bank personnel. This is the role of law librarycompliance.  Why is it important for senior management to be aware of the differences between the two functions and the scope of their respective responsibilities? Because these are key functions and, as in the case of other key functions, they should know what they do, and the knowledge and experience required of the individuals they hire to fill these key positions.

To become a complete bank lawyer, it is necessary to have both curiosity to learn new things and to have been presented, over time, with the opportunity to provide counsel to all areas within a bank as well as a bank’s board and senior management. Unfortunately, in this age of specialization, young lawyers are not afforded the opportunity to gain this broad based experience. This is why banking generalists are a dying breed. Large banking organizations can afford to hire specialists who concentrate on specific areas of the bank’s operations. Small banks cannot. One solution for them may be to hire a semi-retired generalist on a part-time basis. If this is not possible, outside counsel with experience in the various areas discussed herein, whether found within a single firm or in multiple firms, should be engaged.

It is important for all banks, large and small alike, to have a lawyer present at all board meetings, and not in the capacity of a director. This does not mean just any lawyer, but one that has some expertise in banking law. Some lawyers claim to be bank lawyers because they represent banks in connection with loan transactions, but this, alone, is not enough to qualify one as a bank lawyer. That individual need not be knowledgeable about the full range of legal issues that may be encountered by a bank, but should be conversant with laws such as the following:  Bank Merger and Change in Control Acts; Bank Holding Company Act; laws and regulations governing financial subsidiaries, operations subsidiaries and other permissible investments; dividends; management interlocks between banks and public utilities;  securities law restrictions regarding insider trading; and banking laws and regulations regarding restrictions on transactions with affiliates and insiders. The individual must also be knowledgeable about laws relating to corporate governance. In addition to their general oversight responsibilities, directors are required to review or approve of specified policies and procedures. The lawyer should know what specific reviews or approvals are required and ensure that each director receives an adequate executive summary of the underlying law or regulation.

Here are some things with which a bank lawyer, or the bank’s lawyers, collectively, should be familiar. To begin with, obviously, they should have a thorough knowledge of banking laws and regulations. They should also be aware of the interplay among them. For example, state member bank dividends are subject to restrictions applicable to national banks under the National Bank Act, and certain provisions of the FDIC Act apply to all banks, regardless of who their federal regulator is. A thorough knowledge of Articles 3, 4, 8, and 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code is also required. Collectively, these Articles apply to the core bank functions of receiving deposits and making loans. If the client issues letters of credit, knowledge of Article 5 is also required. In addition, since Article 5 expressly provides that an issuer’s liability can be governed by the Uniform Customs and Practices for Documentary Credit if the letter of credit so provides, it is Complete Lawyerimportant to be familiar with this document as well. The Uniform Customs is published and updated periodically by the International Chamber of Commerce.

If the client issues stock that is sold to the public, it is necessary to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of securities law in order to know when to call for the assistance of experts in this area. Even if the client does not sell securities to the public, securities law questions can arise. For example, SEC Rule 141 could impose restrictions on the sale of publicly traded stock offered as collateral by prospective borrowers, who might be subject to the Rule’s conditions.

These days banks, like all businesses, often face employment law issues, and so a general familiarity with this area of the law is important. However, it is essential that they be knowledgeable about legal limitations on executive compensation under laws and regulations addressing safety and soundness. They should also be familiar with limitations on life insurance taken out on the lives of senior executives, commonly known as “BOLIs’”, a short hand reference to bank owned life insurance.

In the ordinary course of business, contracts will have to be drafted or reviewed, so the lawyer should be acquainted with the fundamental principles of contract law. The same is true with respect to real estate law, not only because of real estate lending activity, but also because the bank itself may be a buyer or seller of real estate. With regard to the former, they should be aware of the legal and regulatory limitations and conditions applicable to bank ownership of real estate.

Banks are frequently both plaintiffs and defendants in lawsuits. Litigation experience is invaluable. It not only enables the lawyer to understand the litigation process and to assess the quality of the bank’s litigation counsel, but also is it is helpful when drafting documents to have a sense of how they may be perceived if introduced in court someday. The lawyer should also follow case law involving banking industry wide issues such as, for example, the ability of banks to charge a fee for cashing checks of non-customers and how it handles the order of posting checks. Legal questions can also arise in connection with proposed new products or services. Services such as Remote Deposit Capture and ATMs initially raised the question of whether they would be considered as tantamount to a branch, and subject to branching restrictions under federal law. Those issues were subsequently resolved (the issue would be moot today because Dodd-Frank removed these restrictions). Branch personnel often call for advice about how to handle legal processes served on the bank and other claims and demands by prosecutors, private attorneys and customers that the bank take or refrain from taking certain actions respecting customer accounts. It is important to know how to distinguish the efficacy of those coming from out of state tribunals or officials from those issued by state courts and officials and restrictions on release of customer information requested by federal government officials under the Financial Right To Privacy Act as well as other conditions and limitations respecting disclosure of customer information to third parties.

The variety of legal questions that might be presented by branch personnel typically involve a broad range of issues and are impossible to catalogue. Some common questions are: The lessee or joint lessee of a safety deposit box dies, what action should I questionstake; What do we do when a depositor declares bankruptcy?; What documents should we receive to verify the authenticity and signing authorities of business entities (there are typically 6 types of business entities recognized under state law, corporations, LLCs, general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and limited liability limited partnerships); How should we handle custodial accounts under the Uniform Transfer to Minors or the Uniform Gifts to Minors Acts and how are they distinguishable; What are Totten Trusts and how should deposit accounts established by the trustees be handled;  How should we respond to a dispute among stockholders or members of non-corporate entities, each demanding information about or access to accounts in the name of these entities;  Or when do we need to file a suspicious activity report? Although Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) compliance falls within the domain of the compliance department, since it is so critically important, bank lawyers should be familiar with it and implementing regulations of the US Treasury Department and the banking agencies.

Ideally, the bank lawyer should review the Federal Register every day to look for proposed or final rules and regulations of the banking agencies. Hardly a week goes by when none appear. The Federal Register is available on line. The web sites of the federal banking agencies should also be reviewed regularly. They often set forth Guidance and Policy Statements applicable to various bank activities. The bank lawyer should also be familiar with Examination Guides and Handbooks issued by the Federal banking agencies.

If the bank client has trust powers or if it is a non-deposit trust company, the lawyer should be familiar with basic principles of trust law and also the fiduciary regulations of the OCC. Even if the client is not a national bank, these regulations are important because they have been given deference by the other banking agencies. The Federal Reserve has characterized them as being the industry standard. Because of the importance of tax law in estate planning, typically a bank will have separate trust counsel with expertise in tax issues, typically lawyers who have earned a Masters Degree in Taxation.

Finally, the bank lawyer should also be able to handle unanticipated matters, which can make the position even more interesting.  I once heard a great example of this from well-known banking attorney who experienced this while he was serving as the head of a bank’s legal department. Because the bank’s directors preferred to travel to board meetings via helicopter, he was asked to take all steps necessary to authorize a heliport on bank property. This entailed contact with the FAA and state and local authorities and learning about all applicable legal requirements.logo

As you can see, there are a great many banking attorneys in the United States, however, a complete banking attorney is much harder to find.  GLI/Grimes Legal, Inc. A Global Legal Recruiting Network, has partnered with some of the top banking lawyers in the country in order to locate and qualify top banking attorneys who bring the whole package to today’s banks, organizations and law firms.  Our seasoned experts know exactly what it takes to be a truly complete bank lawyer because they have walked the halls of some of the most prestigious banks and firms in the country and they are ready, able and willing to assist your organization in locating the best banking talent in your area.  To further discuss your needs, we welcome you to call.  Together, we will find the complete banking lawyer for you.


Three Doors

Remember Your First Time

(A Great Article for Law Graduates)

By: Brittany Smith

There is a first time for everything: the first time you spoke, walked on your own, moved to a new city, switched schools, attended college or walked in the door at your first firm.  In fact, society encourages change, trying new things, and documenting your first milestones.  Along with your “first” time in doing anything come the butterflies in your stomach mixed with the excitement of taking on a new adventure.  You are running through scenarios in your head of how you think the experience will play out and preparing yourself for anything that will be thrown your way.  Reflecting back on the experience, you either feel a large weight taken off your shoulders or you feel as if you want to crawl into a hole, go to sleep and forget all about what just happened.

Sometimes the thought of bringing these changes upon you can be scary.  However, the benefits of making a change can easily outweigh the nerves of taking that leap.  You very well may have cut your teeth at your current firm, but it is important that you determine, “is what was good for me right out of law school still right for me now?”  If the answer is yes, count your blessings and be thankful because you are in a rare position.  However, working with new people at another firm can help you to further your development, challenge you to be better, and give you a fresh outlook you never thought possible.

It is easy to keep life the way it is but, by living a repetitious life, you’ll never know the greater opportunity just around the corner.  Take a chance and walk down that blurred little alley and, after the haze clears, there may just be a shiny pot of gold waiting for you.  Although first times and new experiences may be scary, in the end they are milestones that help a person grow.  For a moment, think about where you stand and whether or not you are happy where you are in life.  Have you reached your full potential?  Are you looking for a new adventure?  Maybe you feel you just need to shake up the status quo so you don’t fall into a monotonous cycle.  Now could be the time to relocate to a new city, start talking about what a new firm could offer you for growth and support, or go out and buy that sports car you have always wanted but were too frugal to buy.  Life is full of unlocked doors; you just have to open the door to see what is inside.  If you don’t like what you see behind door one, you can proceed to door two and be confident that you didn’t miss out on what else is out there.


Top Legal Recruiter Partners with Industry Experts for Book Writing

Nancy Grimes, who has been a highly regarded legal placement specialist for 20+ years, recently partnered with several legal specialists including lawyers, educators, and recruiters to produce a book which guides Chinese individuals in their journey “investing in the USA.”  Grimes’ segment of the book discusses the job search and career planning upon graduation NancyGrimesfrom law school.  “I’m very thankful to have been given this excellent opportunity to share my knowledge with our readers.  I’m also honored to be working with such an elite group of professionals to publish this book,” Grimes said.

“You can expect that the price for each copy of the book in Chinese will be about $10.  We are also printing a combined English and Chinese version.  We are expecting the book to be released in October or November, and we will be hosting a Book Release Ceremony in China during that time, followed by an additional ceremony in the United States.  We will be updating you as to where you can purchase the book in your respective location.”  Readers will enjoy reading the knowledge of several industry experts in a variety of fields.  The book includes the writings of experts in EB-5 immigration, real estate investment, wealth management, and studying and working abroad in the United States.

Nancy Grimes is an industry leading expert in legal recruiting and placement.  Throughout her GLIcareer, she has sought out and placed candidates of the highest caliber with the most elite firms in the United States and beyond.  Most of the individuals she has placed have gone on to become practice leaders, managing partners and more.  Grimes is the President and Managing Partner of both GLI/Global Legal Recruiting Network and GRG/Grimes Recruitment Group.  While GLI is well-known for the recruitment and placement of top-notch partner and counsel candidates, GRG has a growing reputation as one of the biggest names in associate and temporary staffing.


9 Signs You Should Quit Your Job Now

By:  John Rampton

It’s not uncommon for employees to have a bad day or two — or week. And it’s pretty common for the average person to gripe about a boss or co-worker from time to time. But how can you tell if it’s just “one of those days” or something more serious?

I’ve quit several jobs in my life. I left my first job in an epic way, tearing off my uniform and walking out of a bagel shop after a stupid dispute with a boss. I don’t really recommend walking out on a job, but everyone should know when to quit. While leaving a position can present an inconvenience to your personal life, it may be the best option for your long-term satisfaction.

At my very last job I recognized that I needed to quit when my desires to become an entrepreneur overpowered my wishes for a stable paycheck. Indeed many entrepreneurs realize over and over they should leave their job but the financial security it provides often Unhappykeeps them firmly entrenched. I understand this totally as I’ve been there. Save your money wisely so you can become the entrepreneur you want to be if that’s your dream.

Pay attention to the following nine signals. They can help guide you in gaining clarity about whether it’s time for you to quit your job and start your next adventure.

1. You’re bored and uninspired.

Remember when you first started working at your current job? Were you full of passion and excitement each morning? Even if that wasn’t so, taking this particular job may have seemed like a good decision once because of the pay, location or opportunity for advancement.

Now you’re showing up every morning feeling bored, uninspired, defeated and hopeless. I know the feeling well and have watched several people go through this. Consider if you really want to continue putting up with this job eight hours (or more) every Monday through Friday.

2. You keep promising yourself that you’ll quit.

Many people experience a day or two of feeling fed up and ready to quit that crummy old job once and for all. But take another look after a good night’s sleep and keep in mind that you may have just had an extremely stressful day.

I remember the three-month period when I promised myself day after day at my web-hosting company job that I was going to quit. That position became my very last job. While working there I had become increasingly interested in starting my own business. I was making more money outside work than I was on the job. So I took the leap.

Instead of promising to quit your job every day, start being proactive outside work in making yourself presentable to the next company you’d like to work for or start transforming yourself into who you want to become.

While it’s not always easy to leave a job, putting off a promise isn’t going to help your situation either.

3. You don’t fit in.

Hopefully you have an awesome job with a great paycheck. You probably tolerate fairly well most of your co-workers. But you just don’t belong at the company. Maybe you require more structure and your current employer is a bit too easygoing — or the opposite is true. Sometimes there might not really be anything wrong with the job itself but the company or the boss just doesn’t jibe with your morals, ethics or personality.

This is a tough situation because another job might not be any different. Think about what might happen if you reached out to your superior and tried to find a way to better fit into the current operation. If that’s not an option or you can’t find a different department or team that works better for you, it could be time to go.

Threatening Boss4. You don’t want the job your boss has.

One reason you’ve been staying put is that your current company promotes advancement. But what happens once you figure out you that don’t want a managerial job like the one your boss has? If you can’t stand the idea of being in your boss’s shoes, then probably you should think about getting out before your go-getter peers pass you by.

5. You don’t care for the products or services.

Forget the pay, position and all your great co-workers. If you can’t become invested in the products or services sold by your company, then how can you succeed by promoting them or working for the firm?

Remember, companies thrive on having employees who are brand advocates or ambassadors. It’s not fair to the company (or you) if you can’t get behind the products or services.

6. You have a horrible boss.

Sometimes all it takes is terrible manager to push you to the door. Why deal with someone who’s demanding, incompetent, miserable, selfish, immature or controlling every single day? Unless you’re certain that this boss is going to be leaving soon, perhaps you should begin searching for a new gig.

That being said, I’ve been that boss before and all it took was one employee to tell me some of the things I was doing wrong. I was able to change — and I still work with that same employee years later. This won’t always work out this way, though. Only you can be the judge of that.

7. You’re always underperforming.

Despite your capabilities, you find yourself consistently delivering less than the job demands because you lack passion for it. Then again, you might be underperforming because the job is too big or you can’t navigate the office politics. Regardless of the situation, it’s probably a good idea to think about looking for a different job if your performance isn’t up to par.

8. You’re stressed, anxious and unhappy.

Of course you’ll have those days when you wish you could just stay home and sleep in. But if that becomes a common occurrence, perhaps there’s an underlying problem. Work might not always be much fun, but if you’re becoming anxious, unhappy or stressed out just from thinking about work,, then do yourself a favor and get out while you can.

9. Your skills aren’t being tapped.

If you keep being passed over for high-profile projects or promotions, then clearly someone up top hasn’t realized how talented you are. Instead of wasting your potential at a place where your work isn’t acknowledged or respected, find somewhere else where you might thrive.

Rampton, John. “9 Signs You Should (Maybe) Quit Your Job Now.” Entrepreneur., 5 Sept. 2014. Web. 9 Sept. 2014.

Today’s Most Satisfied Employees Demand These 4 Things

The employee landscape is changing, and with it has come new needs, desires and areas of importance for employees. This means employee development is no longer just about career development, but also goal alignment, non-monetary offerings, and simply, opportunities to prove themselves.

A quarter of employees would be more satisfied at work if they were given more opportunities to do what they do best, according to a 2013 study by BlessingWhite, and 5 percent directly said career development opportunities and training would increase their satisfaction.

As a leader, it’s critical to keep up with these changes and start investing time into employee development. Here are some ways I’ve been able to do it:

1. Place more importance on non-monetary motivators. Beyond money, things such as career happy attygrowth and even professional inter-office relationships are extremely big motivators of satisfaction and engagement. The BlessingWhite study found that 25 percent of employees believed they would be more satisfied with their job if they had a better relationship with their manager.

Employees want to learn and grow with people they respect and who respect them in return. Maintain healthy office relationships by leading by example. If leaders within the organization get along well and openly work together, employees will do the same.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that, while professionalism is important, it is equally important to know your team on a personal level. Make an effort to have fun with your team and initiate conversations about things other than work.

2. Let employees do – and improve upon – what they do best.No matter their role or level, everyone wants to feel like their strengths are appreciated, effectively utilized and built upon. Companies are getting smart about this: A 2014 Bersin by Deloitte study found that, in the last year alone, corporate budgets for training and development have risen by 15 percent.

Whether you actually have one or not, don’t get stuck in the “corner office” rut and forget what truly motivates employees to keep contributing. Give them tools and opportunities that will help them exceed at their specialties, as well as build new ones. Get them outside the office to learn from other people and pick up new ways of doing things.

Training3. Align employee goals and preferences for a clearer vision.Throughout the company, every employee needs to not only have a good understanding of their personal goals and work preferences, but also of their colleagues’ roles and goals.

When working closely together, employees will naturally learn the work preferences of their team. However, it’s important that leadership learns those and respects them, as well.

Additionally, openly communicate how each role plays into the bigger picture of organizational goals to motivate employees to work harder and more efficiently in their position. This will also encourage employees to help co-workers who may be struggling since they understand how it plays into the big picture.

Constant open communication throughout the company and visual indicators, such as progressive steps to reach an ultimate goal, are great ways to keep everyone aligned in real time.

4. Let serendipitous learning happen. Research has shown that nearly 70 percent of learning happens informally while on the job. Whether it’s from watching others, utilizing various resources or trial by error, this type of serendipitous learning is crucial to employee development.

Encourage this type of development by making employee schedules less rigid and more flexible. Allow time for them to learn their own way and observe the processes that will benefit them. It may be necessary to provide some amount of structure, but keep in mind that employees are more satisfied when they have flexibility in their job conditions.

Lavoie, Andre. “Today’s Most Satisfied Employees Demand These 4 Things.” Entrepreneur., 2 Sept. 2014. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.

How to Determine Whether You Will Give Summer Associates Offers

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on July 21, 2014 10:01 AM

The end of summer is near, and the fall semester of law school is approaching. As your summer associate season comes to a close, there’s one big question looming: will you extend the summer associates offers?

These days, having a summer associate job doesn’t guarantee an offer, so summer associates may have lower expectations. That said, rather than taking advantage of cheap summer labor, you should really put some thought into whether you should extend offers to any of your summer associates.

Here are some things to consider.

1. Workload

The first thing to consider is whether you have enough work to go around in the office. And not just any work, but the kind of work you would assign a junior associate such as research, drafting and document review. If you have the work now, or are projecting more in the future, then consider extending an offer to a summer associate to meet those additional needs.

Youre-Hired22. Seniority

Think about the mix of attorneys in your office — are they all senior associates? You definitely want to mix in some attorneys that bill at a lower rate than senior attorneys. No client wants to pay a senior attorneys’ rates for junior associate work.

3. Firm Growth

Do you plan on expanding your firm by taking on new clients or practice areas? If so, you’ll need additional staff. Not only that, but hiring a junior associate who you can delegate work to will free up your time so that you can network and get more clients for the firm.

4. Firm Culture

One way to have a strong firm culture is to start early on in your staff’s careers. That is, if you hire a junior associate you can train them and mold them, whereas if you hire a senior attorney that is used to a different type of firm culture, it may be harder to have a sense of a cohesive firm culture.

5. Performance

After you’ve determined whether you even need to hire anyone, then you’ll need to decide whom to hire. Look at the performance of all your summer associates and give them performance reviews. Not only is their performance important, but how receptive they are to feedback and constructive criticism is also very telling. Ultimately, you’ll need to find someone who does good work, and that you won’t mind seeing 60+ hours/week.

Hopefully you’ve already put some thought into whether you will extend offers to any of your summer associates. If you haven’t, then the time to start thinking about it is now.


Khorasanee, Gabriella. “How to Determine Whether You Will Give Summer Associates Offers.” Strategist. Find Law, 21 July 2014. Web. 07 Aug. 2014.


GLI Team Spotlight

It is well-known that the GLI/GRG recruiters are some of the most talented and effective in the industry. However, what you may not know unless you have worked behind the scenes is that the GLI support team is also bursting with talent. In order to more successfully serve our client and candidate needs, we require every team member to give their utmost every day. Having been with us since 2000, Tonya Johnson serves as the hub of GLI’s administrative staff. Over the years, Tonya has learned the ebbs and flows of the legal markets and is especially skilled at performing research and coordinating events. Not to be forgotten, Tonya also has savvy marketing talent and a gift for writing.

Most recently, Tonya assisted our top recruiter, Nancy Grimes, in putting together material that is scheduled for release by a large publisher. Tonya was also an essential team member in the renovation of our website. Tonya is one of those people known for “getting things done.” With an enthusiastic and genuinely friendly attitude, Tonya radiates a sincere passion for delivering value which is of great benefit to our clients.


3 Social Media Rules Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Follow

For all the talk about the drawbacks of using social media, it’s hard to imagine a better all-in-one tool for business owners. If used correctly, social media can boost your search engine rankings, allow you to provide better customer service, build an effective online personality, connect with new business partners, foster relationships and educate consumers.

The basics of social media are simple: create great content, publish it and share it with your network. Most entrepreneurs leave it at that, but promoting content is only one part of the game.

Here are three ways to engage with customers and build your audience on any social media network.

1. Answer questions from customers and clients.

Twitter and Facebook have become customer service platforms. At first, it can feel intimidating to answer a question publicly; you may feel you should be as eloquent as you are informative.

A social media logotypeThe most effective and well-received responses are helpful and timely. Keep an eye on your Twitter and Facebook accounts for when someone mentions you directly in a message. Also pay attention to when someone mentions your company or industry in a Tweet via a hashtag — the # symbol.

Many customers won’t take the time to message you directly, but they will tag you in a complaint. Anyone on Twitter can search for topics mentioned by a hashtag. If you choose not to respond, you could lose an opportunity to correct a complaint.

Savvy entrepreneurs truly excel at customer service through social media. With a little effort, you can build a reputation as someone who values customer service and works hard to answer consumer questions.

2. Use the “Like” feature on your Facebook wall.

When a customer takes the time to mention you, a simple response acts as a virtual thank you.

Most social media platforms have a share option as well as a “like” equivalent — a way to acknowledge you saw and appreciated the message.

On Facebook, you can choose to “Like” the post or share it. If someone praises your brand on Twitter, click “Favorite” or “Retweet.” Google+ allows you to “+1” posts and every update on LinkedIn features a “Like” button.

As an alternative, you could comment on the post or tweet. Say something like, “Thanks for mentioning us!” or, “Thank you! We appreciate your feedback.” When you acknowledge someone’s mention, you show that you value their business and their opinion.

Engagement on social media isn’t all that different from in-person interactions with friends and acquaintances. If someone invites you to have dinner or coffee and you never respond, they will eventually stop asking.

You work hard to build a community around your business. The last thing you want to do is ignore someone who finds your information valuable or interesting. Try to engage with every customer.

3. Show gratitude when someone shares your content.

Social media is much less personal than when a customer visits a brick-and-mortar store. Still, the entire point of networking through Facebook or Twitter is to build relationships.

Whenever someone retweets one of your posts or shares your latest blog, send a quick message to thank them.

likeEtiquette applies to social media relationships as much as it does to your real-life friends and family. If an acquaintance makes an introduction and helps you land a sale, you’d thank him. The same applies when a customer does a favor for you on Facebook or Twitter.

For example, if someone on Twitter shares your recent blog post with his followers, tweet him to say thank you. If he regularly posts content relevant to your audience, retweet or share his posts with your followers.

Social sharing is a powerful tool when used well. When you form relationships via social media, you build brand advocates for your business.

Whitmore, Jacqueline. “3 Social Media Rules Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Follow.” N.p., 30 June 2014. Web. 30 June 2014.

5 Rules for Texting Anyone You Do Business With

Walk into any boardroom two minutes before a meeting and you’ll find the same scenario: a table full of executives checking their phones with their heads bowed in the “smartphone prayer.”

BureauText messaging is the fastest way to communicate in business. Quicker than email and more convenient than a phone call, it’s become commonplace. But it’s not always the best choice.

Choose to text message for simple notifications or reminders like “I’m running five minutes late,” or “Remember to bring the report.” As a general rule, consider texting only appropriate for a maximum of two messages — one message and one reply.

Here are five rules to avoid a text message business blunder.

1. Keep it positive.

Like email, the tone of a text message can be misinterpreted by the recipient. Quick messages can make you come off as flippant or harsh. Instead of staccato phrases, write complete sentences. Add polite touches like “please” and “thank you.” Re-read every message before pressing send to double-check your tone (bonus: no embarrassing typos).

2. Avoid serious topics.

You wouldn’t break up with your girlfriend over a text message — to be clear, you should not — and the same goes for business. Never give negative feedback or fire someone via a text message. Any serious conversation should take place face-to-face. It allows for subtle interaction through facial expressions and will ensure clear communication.

3. Don’t abbreviate every other word.

Abbreviations are common in casual texts, but you should be careful how often you use them. Common abbreviations like “LOL” (laugh out loud) and “np” (no problem) are safe choices. However, if you’re communicating with a new customer or acquaintance, take 30 extra seconds and type out each word.

texting lingo

Avoid informal shortcuts like “u” (you) and less common abbreviations like “SMH” (shaking my head) or “MFW” (my face when). Don’t leave your clients and colleagues confused; your texts should convey messages quickly and clearly

4. Don’t text a last-minute cancellation.

There are a thousand reasons someone may miss a text message. Don’t depend on a quick note to cancel a meeting or change a lunch venue. For an important or time-sensitive message, pick up the phone.

5. Double-check the auto correct.

Smart phones can occasionally be a little too smart. Auto correct and voice-to-text features have a sneaky way of changing your intended message into something entirely different and often embarrassing. When using voice-to-text, ensure you’re in a quiet location. It picks up on background noise and may type a nearby conversation instead of what you’re saying.

Whitmore, Jacqueline. “5 Rules for Texting Anyone You Do Business With.”, 17 Feb. 2014. Web. 30 June 2014.