What an Incredible Superstar Merry Neitlich is -- On and Off the Ice!

Merry Neitlich is a partner with EM Consulting and a leader in legal marketing and business development solutions.
With over 25 years of experience, Merry provides clients with tools to grow relationships and to successfully identify, court and convert targets into clients. In addition to proven client development programs, she has extensive branding expertise capturing a law firm’s unique distinction and integrating it with all marketing efforts. Merry implements social media programs, and creates websites and client satisfaction programs that inevitably lead to new business.

With extensive experience in change process management, Merry is often called upon to assist firms implement comprehensive marketing programs.

She has interviewed hundreds of clients for law firms and corporate legal departments across the country. Her work includes a variety of training programs in business development, client retention and satisfaction programs, advanced facilitation skills, creating TED Talks and other memorable presentations.

Merry has been an active member of the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) serving as national Vice President and Co-Chair of the international LMA conference. She was inducted into the LMA Hall of Fame in 2017.

She is a frequent national speaker and author and has published articles in numerous national publications such as the National Law Journal, Corporate Legal Times, ABA Journal, Strategies, AmLaw Alert, Firm Governance, and Marketing for Lawyers. In 2012 Merry was inducted into the prestigious College of Law Practice Management.

As an accomplished nationally ranked adult competitive figure skater, Merry has claimed 17 national podium finishes at the U.S. Adult National Championships including Gold medals in 2001, 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2015. She is currently ranked third in the country by United States Figure Skating.

She is currently ranked third in the country by United States Figure Skating.

She is currently ranked third in the country by United States Figure Skating.

Merry received her B.A at the Ohio State University and a Masters Degree in communication from the University of Bridgeport.

Merry Neitlich

Contact Merry:

Merry Neitlich

EM Consulting
2222 Martin, Suite 255
Irvine, CA 92612
Connect on LinkedIn

Everyone Needs a Little Jim Jarrell in Their Day!


Business Development

Jim Jarrell, a graduate of George Washington University’s acclaimed Law Firm Management Master’s degree program, is a senior legal marketing and management consultant based in New Jersey.  Jim helps clients develop and implement marketing and business development strategies through coaching and group training programs and works with clients to refine business processes and roll out management and leadership training for their firms.  He has enjoyed a career spanning more than two decades leading the strategic marketing and business development programs for professional services firms. Stints in leadership roles at two AmLaw 100 firms and management roles at a handful of smaller regional firms and boutiques have helped shape Jim’s national reputation as a leader in the field.

I asked Jim to tell me a little about his background and he said:

I help my clients by building structure and accountability into customized business development plans and through one-on-one or group dynamic coaching programs. I have developed and conducted formal training programs on a variety of topics that are often eligible for CLE credit, including business development planning, cross-selling strategies, personal branding, social media and delivering the perfect elevator pitch. I am also a certified “Yellow Belt” by the Legal Lean Institute for legal project management and process improvement.

I asked Jim What compelled him to offer his services and he said:

I’m a natural teacher. I spent 7 years as a high school teacher, 4 in a private school in Ohio and 3 in a public school in Florida – nothing prepares you for the myriad personalities and communications preferences of the world of lawyers quite like being a high school teacher.  I, quite literally, have seen it all and could write the book about it.  😊

How can lawyers benefit from your services most? What I counsel and train lawyers on is about how to incorporate business development into the normal course of their business – how to make it a disciplined effort, vs erratic or only when they think about it (which is usually when they don’t have work, which is often too late).

I asked Jim to name three things that people misunderstand about what he does and to set the record straight. Jim said:

1. “My business development plan executes/implements itself.” (write the plan, put it on the shelf and voila, new business comes)

2. “I’m a good lawyer and that’s the best kind of marketing for my practice.” – maybe 10 years ago, but not anymore.

3. The legal sales cycle can sometimes take years – success – like Rome – was not built in a day, and sometimes you have to stick it out.        

I asked, “What actionable advice or tips can you give lawyers”? He said:

Block out 15 minutes one day per week to spend time at least thinking about business development. Use the time to conduct personal outreach, follow-up, and nurture your existing relationships. Without the relationship, you face an uphill battle getting any new business.

Jim Jarrell

How can people connect with Jim?

EMAIL: jjarrell@jaffepr.com

LinkedIn: in/jamesjarrell/

Twitter: @jimjarrell

Wonder Woman in Business, Marla Sofer

VP of Strategic Partnerships at Jemstep

While studying peace and conflict resolution during a college program in the Middle East, Marla Sofer realized her passion for partnerships aimed at addressing significant social challenges. Today, she is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Jemstep, a digital advice platform focused on helping Americans achieve their financial goals. At Jemstep, Marla has established allies across technical, financial, and consulting ecosystems to expand the availability of investment advice, improve the end-to-end user experience, and reduce the cost to serve clients at the country’s largest financial institutions. Prior to joining Jemstep, she was the Head of Business Development at Xignite, and the Head of Third-Party Monitoring and Oversight at Lending Club. Both firms dedicated to democratizing financial services to broader markets.

Before diving into Fintech in 2015, Marla led institutional partnerships at BlackRock, and J.P. Morgan. At BlackRock, she was a founding member of the Global Provider Strategy team responsible for developing and executing the firm’s operating strategy for selecting and partnering with global banks, index licensors, and market data providers. At J.P. Morgan, she established the West Coast Investment Management Segment coverage team, responsible for over 100 asset manager relationships. On behalf of her clients, she and her team led initiatives to improve automation and simplify business processes. Her entry to financial services was at Bank Leumi, where she managed partnerships with branch offices across South and Latin America, and directly with international high net worth clients.

Marla has committed to improving gender diversity at every one of her employers. She was a co-founder of Lending Club’s women’s network and recently launched a women’s network supporting the west coast at Invesco. Marla has been involved in numerous non-profit organizations. She spent several years on the board of the Jewish Community Relations Council, focused on social justice and community engagement in the Bay Area. She also served on the advisory committee of the Jewish Coalition for Literacy,dedicated to improving the reading skills of elementary school-aged children in high risk areas of the Bay Area.

She holds an MBA in business strategy and international business from Rutgers University, completed a program focused on Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University, and a BA in Sociology and Hebrew from the University of Texas at Austin.

I found Marla to be engaging, funny, bright and a joy to interview. You will surely enjoy the podcast as much as I did.

Marla Sofer

To Connect with Marla:


Email: marlasofer@gmail.com

Twitter: @MarlaSofer

Wonder Women in Business, Mignon Crawford

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Mignon Crawford,

Group Vice President of Client Integrations

SunTrust Bank

Mignon Crawford is the Group Vice President of Client Integrations for SunTrust Bank’s Treasury and Payment Solutions division.  She has been with SunTrust for 28 years holding positions in Treasury and Payment Solutions, Global Trade Services, and Receivables Capital Management.  

She is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in International Trade and Finance.  

Mignon lives in Atlanta, GA with her partner Montserrat Miller and her son Nicholas Knoll attends the University of Alabama.  She is actively engaged with her community including St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, The Boyce L. Ansley School, and SunTrust’s onUp Movement.  

Mignon is a spectacular human being — inside and out!

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As my former college roommate at Louisiana State University, I know Mignon quite well and am thrilled to have reconnected with her on this amazing fun-filled podcast. She is quite remarkable. I enjoyed every minute of our chat and you will too!

Mignon Crawford

Connect with Mignon on LinkedIn:


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Wonder Woman in Business Jodie Baker, CEO of Xakia Technologies

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Jodie Baker, CEO

Xakia Technologies

Jodie Baker is an innovator, entrepreneur and business builder and advocate of #LegalTech. Jodie has a background as an in-house lawyer and financial analyst, is a Founding Member and Deputy Chair of the Australian Legal Technology Association and Co-Chair of the College of Law Centre for Legal Innovation. Jodie was the architect, founder and MD of Hive Legal– winner of many of Australia’s leading innovation and law awards. 

Jodie and I had a most delightful podcast this morning, 5:00 AM her time to be exact! It’s warm in Melbourne, Australia right now and she was kind enough to join us from the land down under at 10:00 AM California time. I thoroughly enjoyed the podcast and you will too. In fact, you’ll likely be gob-smacked!


Yes, it is a word. A great word.

Jodie Baker,CEO

Xakia Technologies

Xakia was created in response to a widespread research project targeted at understanding the daily demands on in-house legal team management. A comprehensive list of in-house needs led to the building of Xakia and continue to inform the user-designed approach to its functionality.

Xakia was built with a pure focus on legal in-house needs. This is and will remain the core driver of future product development.

Founder & CEO Jodie Baker draws on her own experience as an in-house lawyer and drives the vision for giving corporate legal departments the tools they need to improve visibility, reporting and efficiency improvements.


Jodie Baker, Founder and CEO

Xakia Technologies

Phone: + 61 412 732 002

Website: www.xakiatech.com

Email: jodie.baker@xakiatech.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jodiebakerxakia

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Peer Pod: Takin' It Easy with Mark Beese


Mark Beese

Leadership for Lawyers

Mark is President of Leadership for Lawyers, LLC, a consultancy focused on helping lawyers become better leaders and business developers. He provides training, coaching and consultation to firms in the areas of leadership development, business development and marketing with law firms across North America. His clients range from small, single office firms to global Amlaw 100 firms.

He provides training, coaching and consulting in the areas of leadership development, business development and innovation. He focused his work on helping firms adapt to the “new normal” by equipping firm and practice group managers with leadership skills, tools and direction. Often he works with managing partners, executive committee members, C-level executives and practice groups to improve their performance.

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Leadership for Lawyers

Mark is a former adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, where he was primarily involved in the design and delivery of bespoke and open enrollment leadership development programs for professionals, including lawyers, accountants, consultants and executives. He focuses on issues of change leadership, team development, influence, cross-generation issues, collaboration, innovation and design thinking.

He is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. In 2014 he was inducted into the Legal Marketing Association Hall of Fame, one of only 25 leaders to have received this honor.

He is the former Chair of the Lawyer Leadership Committee of the American Bar Association, Law Practice Management Division. He is also a professional member of the International Leadership Association, the National Speakers Association, the Legal Marketing Association and the College of Law Practice Management.

Mark has more than 25 years experience as a chief marketing officer for professional services firms. He has served as Chief Marketing Officer for Holland & Hart, a 450-attorney law firm based in Denver, Director of Marketing for the New York law firm of Hodgson Russ and Director of Marketing for Kideney Architects in Buffalo, NY.

Mark is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver Sturm School of Law, where he teaches Strategic Marketing and Business Development. He is certified and trained to administer several assessments, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), DiSC, the Change Style Instrument (CSI), Influence Style Indicator (ISI) and the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) among many other assessments and coaching tools.

Mark has received numerous awards including “Marketing Director of the Year” from the Marketing Partner Forum, the “IQ Award” for innovation by the Boulder County Business Report, five “Your Honor Awards” from the Legal Marketing Association, the PR Legal News Award and the ABA Law Practice Management Magazine Edge Award.

Mark received his B.S. and M.B.A. (cum laude) from the University of Buffalo. He is a former international board member of the Legal Marketing Association and past president of the Rocky Mountain Legal Marketing Association. He is a past chair of the Marketing Committee of Terralex, an international association of law firms in 93 countries. He served as a faculty member of the Marketing Directors Institute and is a frequent speaker at the Marketing Partner Forum and Legal Marketing Association conferences. He has spoken to dozens of LMA and ALA Chapters throughout the United States. He is a frequent contributor to law practice management publications.

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Eagle Scouts

As an Eagle Scout, Mark volunteers in the realm of International Scouting, promoting peace, sustainability and collaboration among the world’s 40 million Scouts. He leads expeditions to give Scouts opportunities to build relationships with people who have different cultural, religious and life experiences than them

He is the former chair of the Leadership Denver Alumni Association, and a past board member of the Denver Metro Chamber Foundation. Denver Business Journal named Mark as one of Denver’s 40 under Forty leaders.

Mark Beese, President

Leadership for Lawyers


Leadership for Lawyers                                                    

28843 Cedar Circle                                                                        

Evergreen, CO 80439 USA

Phone: (303) 913-8830   

Email: mark@leadershipforlawyers.com

Website: www.leadershipforlawyers.com                             

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/markbeese