Amy B. Goldsmith is co-chair of the Intellectual Property Group at Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP. A strategic advisor, she guides clients in all stages of their development from idea conception and protection, to funding, manufacturing, and enforcement.
Amy protects the global interests of national and international clients in a wide variety of industries, including fashion, cosmetics, pet products, publishing, medical devices, exercise equipment, web-based business applications and telecommunications platforms, and consumer and designer goods.
She is a vice president of the New York Women’s Bar Association. Amy is also on the board of directors of Savvy Ladies, a nonprofit with the mission to educate women to be financially savvy. Amy also was a speaker at and served on the Advisory Board for TedxTimesSquare. She is a key presenter for Lawline, an online CLE provider, and is consistently ranked in both the top female and top overall lecturers’ categories. She is a frequent speaker, author, and quoted expert on intellectual property topics.
Carol Schiro Greenwald (CSG): What is your most successful/favorite rainmaking tip?
Amy B. Goldsmith (ABG): My first essential tip is to be authentic so others learn who you really are. Ask questions, improve your skills. Be sure to schedule your time wisely. Genuinely care about your clients’ outcomes.
CSG: What words would you use to describe yourself?
ABG: Driven, responsive, smart and dedicated.
CSG: What percentage of time do you devote to marketing activities?
ABG: I spend at least 600 hours a year on marketing, which, for me, means speaking, writing articles, attending conferences and participating in business and lawyer networking groups. I use networking as a way of developing and meeting with trusted referral sources. Trusted referrers have always been a powerful source of business for me. I use networking as a way of meeting with them and developing strong relationships.
I meet trusted referral sources in many ways. For example, I am a member of a Vistage trusted advisor group. When another Vistage group wanted to put together a panel presentation on exit strategies for member CEOs, I volunteered to put it together. As conference chair, I was able to ask some of my colleagues to speak at the event and to meet potential clients.
If I could engage in only one marketing activity, I would choose writing since it provides credibility, and reporters often call for comments based on the topic. I just wrote the definitions for 22 words in the Intellectual Property to English dictionary. Once it is published, I plan to send it to attorneys, accountants and other advisors in my network and then ask them to introduce me to their business executives.
Last fall, I wrote iPoems for the NYSBA’s publication Inside. Here’s one:
ZotzToyCo is our domain,
Our brand, our family name,
Located in a real place,
Now known in a virtual space,
Ever watching to maintain our reign.
(Printed with permission from Inside Newsletter, Fall 2017, Vol. 35, No. 2, published by the New York State Bar Association, One Elk Street, Albany, New York 12207)
My iPoems were featured on LinkedIn and Vistage and I received several positive comments from attorneys around the nation.
I believe in keeping top of mind with my trusted referral sources by sending them appropriate material on trending intellectual property topics. I regularly use social media as a vehicle to build my brand and to extend relationships.
CSG: Tell us some “war stories” about getting clients.
ABG: It took me 10 years to get my first major client, who was introduced to me by a family friend of my husband, who was an executive of a major pet products company. He said to me “I’ll open the door. The rest is up to you.” He introduced me to the general counsel. I have represented that client since the 1990s and worked with successive GCs.
My clients come from various types of referrals. My most recent set of clients resulted from introductions from the GC and two of the executives of an existing client. I received my current best client as a referral from a branding agency. My most unexpected client was from a recommendation by an Australian attorney.
As for getting in front of clients, it is almost always through personal introductions, but I have had clients come to me through LinkedIn or through the Lawline CLE classes that I teach.
I believe I’m able to close sales because I provide clear paths forward. If a client plans on having 10 brand names for each of their 10 toys, then I’ll advise them of the current and future costs (both here and abroad) and perhaps we’ll rethink the strategy together. I become a trusted advisor and connector to others who can help grow their businesses.
CSG: Knowing what you know now if you were starting over as a lawyer today, what would you do differently?
ABG: I would keep in better touch with college and law school classmates because they can become excellent referral sources. I am going back to my high school reunion this summer and I plan to bring business cards with me.
CSG: What is or was different about you or your firm that has allowed or enabled you to become a successful rainmaker?
ABG: I’m driven and self-motivated. My undergraduate education at Cornell University took place in a sink-or-swim environment. I had been a lifeguard: I swam. I can succeed on my own, but successful marketing requires team support. At Tarter Krinsky & Drogin, I have a wonderful, supportive marketing team. The firm’s attitude is that whatever you need, within reason, we will provide. The firm’s leadership applauds initiative and shares individuals’ successes in a quarterly internal newsletter.
Our marketing team—the CMO and business development personnel—identify opportunities. We have developed a number of initiatives to give our lawyers the tools to succeed in lead generation and client retention. The cornerstone of these efforts is a business development pipeline program. Participants in this program, who range from first-year associates to senior partners, meet together monthly to brainstorm leads, discuss tactics and outreach, and report back on their progress and roadblocks.
The program also teaches best practices in cross-selling, client service and in-person and online networking. The pipeline program strives to provide our lawyers with the critical skills they will need today and tomorrow to generate new business and develop stronger professional relationships. The program has led to new engagements and strengthened relationships since its inception one year ago.
CSG: How has the world of marketing legal services changed over the last three to five years?
ABG: Young lawyers are expected to know how to market and get clients. But law schools don’t teach those skills. To help my department’s associates and counsel learn business development skills, the CFO and I meet monthly with each person to review their marketing plans and activities. Most of the rainmakers in the firm participate in the pipeline program, so our lawyers can get guidance from them. Recently we initiated a mentor program for associates who are paired with partners from outside their practice area.
CSG: What are your proudest accomplishments?
ABG: My proudest accomplishment has been growing my practice over the past six years since I joined this firm. It is now a multi-million-dollar practice and still includes that first client.
I am also proud of the positive impact of my mentoring activities—the ability to make a difference in the lives of young attorneys and law students. I believe education is a major factor in individuals’ growth, so I am thrilled that the NY Women’s Bar Association was certified as an accredited CLE provider during my tenure as co-chair. Members receive CLE for free. I’m also a strong believer that financial education is essential to an individual’s personal and business growth, and my board service for Savvy Ladies furthers those goals.
CSG: Did you ever spend time on a marketing activity that you thought would not lead directly to clients, but it did?
ABG: I began presenting for Lawline years ago when the platform included live events. I volunteered and continue to do so because I think it serves an important function and I like the opportunity to do a deep dive into various IP topics. Unexpectedly, I have obtained new clients from attorneys who attend the lectures.
CSG: What, if anything, do you plan to do differently with respect to marketing your services next year or in the future?
ABG: I am going to ask clients for referrals. I plan to send them a questionnaire about our services and use this soft-sell approach to create opportunities to meet with my clients’ decision-makers. I am also introducing my female entrepreneurial clients to each other and to investors in a series of dinners.
About the Author
Carol Schiro Greenwald is a marketing and management strategist and coach. Contact her at 914.834.9320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.