Over at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield continues to wonder whether we are trying to create a new generation of great lawyers, or great marketers.
He's a bit frustrated. He, like me, knows that on twitter and other social networking sites, there are those that parade as lawyers, who have no clients. There are those who parade as the answer to all those wanting a "profitable" career, who have specious backgrounds not worthy of any lawyer's time.
When I started practicing 15 years ago, a senior criminal defense lawyer told me what he learned at the outset of his career - "do a good job for your client and the calls will come."
We no longer teach that philosophy. We teach that there are too many lawyers and getting clients is more about "slick" then it is about substance.
We have lost the notion that in order to market yourself, you must first be good at what you do. By encouraging solo out of law school, we are saying that being a good lawyer is irrelevant to just about anything. No, I don't agree with solo out of law school, even if it means you have to volunteer for a while with a lawyer in order to learn how to "practice law." Law school doesn't teach you how to be a practicing lawyer, and it never will.
The public, mostly hiring lawyers for that first and only time, know no better. They like what they see and hear, and hire. Those that seek referrals from other lawyers pale in comparison to those that read a colorful ad with a pretty picture, or listen while watching Matlock to the lawyer saying he will "fight" for me.
Social media is an opportunity for two things: It allows good lawyers to converse with others and develop new relationships with debates, blog posts, and other discussions. It also allows those that are barely "lawyers" or those that are parading as the answer to all that is "marketing, to create an online presence that is, well, a complete lie.
Lawyers are important to society. So are marketers.
According to wikipedia, "marketing" is defined by the American Marketing Association as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
"That have value."
Lawyers that have "value."
Value to clients, or value to a marketer?
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit www.tannebaumweiss.com