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Health, The Profession

Dykeman joins forces with marketing gurus for UltimateAttorney.com launch

Toronto health lawyer Mary Jane Dykeman is part of a unique collaboration that has launched UltimateAttorney.com, an online coaching and e-learning platform for lawyers and attorneys worldwide.

“It is designed to help elevate and improve the lives of lawyers and attorneys across the globe through a variety of content, courses, and lessons that will challenge the status quo and create abundance inside a law practice,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com

Dykeman, partner with DDO Health Law, became involved in the learning platform after hiring Redfern Media, an Austin, Texas-based branding and marketing firm, on an unrelated project in the summer of 2016. Its president, Draye Redfern, is also chief operating officer of DHIA Inc., which provides insurance to more than 8,600 law firms across the United States.

Redfern and Dykeman chatted extensively about the law and the challenges insurers know that lawyers face, she says. 

At the time, Dykeman was reshaping her practice and Redfern was developing the Ultimate Attorney platform, primarily to teach lawyers better marketing skills.

Redfern says that while Dykeman didn’t initially see herself as being involved with creating a new learning tool for lawyers, “it was clear that she was, in fact, Ultimate Attorney’s avatar – the group we want to reach: lawyers well into years of practice, who need the tools and momentum to practise better, market well, create more personal space, and set the groundwork for succession.”

Through Redfern’s Ultimate Attorney platform, the two have joined to produce Ultimate Attorney’s broader foundational course, Attorney Essentials, which includes 12 online modules.

The modules cover a variety of topics, including why a lawyer chose law as a profession and how to thrive in practice, how to deal with the overwhelm of technology, prioritizing wellness (including addressing mental health and addiction), marketing, moving away from the billable hour to a value billing model, succession planning, and retention of top talent.

Other courses are part of Ultimate Attorney’s initial release, Dykeman says, with more in development to be released through 2017, including branding and reshaping a law practice, social impact and legacy, and becoming a more powerful speaker. 

Dykeman and Redfern are joined by renowned marketer Jay Abraham, whose Create Your Own Business Success course will be available on the platform shortly. 

Dykeman, who is also president of Cove Academy, an online learning platform she founded with her law partner Kathy O’Brien, was very committed to working wellness into the Attorney Essentials product.

“You cannot reshape a law practice until you examine closely why you chose this profession, what you still like about it, whether it is meeting your expectations, and why things need to change,” she says. “For some lawyers, prioritizing physical health and wellness becomes a priority, while others don’t take the time they need to address these fundamentals."

Dykeman, who runs a busy law practice and loves her work, acknowledges the risk of burnout is high for lawyers; many leave the profession early and others who stay in it sometimes don’t thrive. 

“I’ve never thought about leaving, since the issues we deal with at DDO Health Law are so compelling, as is working with health-care organizations,” she says. “But I have definitely given much thought to whether this pace is sustainable, and how to work smarter and create more personal space for family and other creative endeavours.”

In a recent interview with the Lawyers Weekly, Dykeman emphasized the importance of life balance for lawyers.

It’s critical for lawyers at smaller firms, in particular, to be mindful of how they manage their time, she says. 

“We know we have to run the firm and we know we have to do the core work that keeps the lights on and keeps everyone happy. But you do have to be organized or you will be losing time every single day when you really don’t need to,” she tells Lawyers Weekly

Dykeman estimates that she spends up to 30 per cent of each day on tasks related to running the firm. She says it's vital to have a good team in place so some of that work can be delegated.

“There are very skilled, excellent people out there who provide a service. I think the problem is sometimes we tend to think, ‘Well I need to do it,’ or ‘I’m not sure whether we should invest and spin it off to another group,’” she says. 

“It’s well worth the investment financially to have a good team around you who can come and report to you.”

UltimateAttorney.com is now live and its offerings are available to lawyers in Canada, and attorneys worldwide. A small event associated with the new platform is planned for Los Angeles later in 2017, with a larger event to follow featuring international marketing experts, Redfern says.

Listen to Dykeman’s interview with Redfern on this podcast posted to Ultimate Attorney.

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