There’s been quite a bit of buzz about the LCA, an honorary association of 3,500 top trial lawyers. When they receive an invitation in the mail, some lawyers have asked their firms’ marketers what they know about LCA (litcounsel.org/) and whether it’s a legitimate honor. Over the years, many of these marketers have asked for my opinion, so I thought I’d simply post my thoughts publicly.
I know LCA very well. It’s legit.
That’s in contrast to many of today’s fake “honors” that are simply bogus money-grabs by scammy directories and companies who create faux awards simply to sell costly trophies, plaques, website badges, and “featured profiles” to ill-informed lawyers. Professional legal marketers actually began keeping a running list of the Spammy Awards to help keep track of them all.
These organizations can look superficially similar, making it difficult for inexperienced lawyers and marketers to tell which ones are worth participating in.
So, what exactly IS LCA? The Litigation Counsel of America is an honorary network of trial lawyers, founded by the same people who run the Construction Lawyers Society of America (CLSA), see constructionsociety.org. I personally believe that membership in the LCA should be considered a (1) legitimate honor, and (2) great networking opportunity for those who actively participate. I’ve nominated a number of my qualifying friends as LCA Fellows.
A Commitment to Diversity
One attribute I particularly like about LCA is its foundational commitment to diversity. The founder and General Counsel, Steve Henry, created LCA 25 years ago in response to his observation that talented women and minorities were proving unable to gain entrance into the then-existing honorary trial-lawyer societies.
LCA’s analogous competitors include the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC) (which we also rebranded; I can personally verify its quality and vigorous vetting process), as well as the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and National Trial Lawyers Association (NTLA), which I’ve heard good things about but don’t know personally.
The two questions to ask about honorary groups
Generally, there are two things to ask regarding whether to accept an invitation into an honorary organization:
First, does the association enhance your professional credibility, i.e. is membership considered a significant professional credential? For example, if you’ve been selected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, lawyers and sophisticated clients know that you’re vetted and pre-qualified. LCA is building a strong quality brand, to enhance its Fellows’ marketing.
Second, does it offer personal networking opportunities that can lead to referrals? Unlike the “honorary” groups that are pure directories (e.g. Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, or Who’s Who), this type of organization encourages in-person attendance at their regular conferences — which are always at fabulous 5-star resorts.
I can attest to the quality and integrity of the people behind LCA. They’re some of the most white-glove customer-service-oriented people I know. They sincerely seek to make it a valuable resource for LCA’s Fellows. They go above and beyond.
So, in short, if you or one of your lawyers are invited to become an LCA Fellow, I’d say give it a shot; attend a conference and get inducted. You’ll have a great time, learn a lot, and get a ton of CLE credit. I’ll probably be speaking on some hot marketing topic; please stop by and say hi!