I read an interesting post at Above the Law about judges who have “punished” misbehaving attorneys by inviting them to a “kindergarten party” and “a ‘special’ emergency refresher course in first year ethics and civility.”
It’s an obvious case of a “shame-on-you” discipline program, and both of those special “invites” sound like harsh reactions to immature attorneys, but it makes us all think that it’s important to watch our behavior, no matter where we are.
Not all behavior is as extreme as in this video of a Cleveland courtroom, where a defendant throws a backpack at the judge’s bench and beats up the public defender. However, not presenting truthful information or whining is not acceptable, not just in a courtroom, but anywhere.
Even though most of us aren’t videotaped, we still have to be careful about how we act. One judge cancelled his kindergarten party, and the other judge was replaced by someone who canceled the refresher course, so the attorneys didn’t have to “waste” their free time. But their behavior was publicly exposed, and they probably felt humiliated. Hopefully attorneys can avoid public embarrassment by acting like grownups.
Working with both IP and PI attorneys has helped our agency get a complete view of legal marketing. And both now have a news hook to weigh in on, and possibly cash in on the BP oil crisis.
Intellectual property lawyers who specialize in green technology and alternative energy have a golden opportunity to help their clients capitalize on the U.S. government’s desire to more quickly advance energy innovations.
For personal injury attorneys the question becomes: Where does the harm and damage end with the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?
What inspired this post was a story I read at ClickZ titled BP Oil Spill Fuels Legal Marketing Machines. While the article focuses on lawyers who are marketing to find aggrieved businesses and property owners seeking damages, it really opens up a whole new discussion on law firm marketing. Here are my thoughts:
Genuine opportunity to focus on helping others: There’s no question that relief efforts for the people, wild life and natural resources are a top priority. However, there are legal matters that need to be addressed almost as quickly. Attorneys who have a genuine interest and expertise should market to help the region recover and get what is fair and just from settlements with BP and the government. Lawyers might even get creative and help their reputation by finding ways to connect with non-profit organizations involved in the clean-up.
Moving Beyond the Disaster: While we know it will take months to fix the gushing oil leak and years to get the region somewhat back to normal, there is still something to consider beyond that. The attorneys that have been practicing in environmental law and alternative energy development stand ready to think through the legal implications of what can be done now in setting the agenda in the courts and in perhaps litigation that will set the stage for a greener environment.
There’s Nothing Wrong with Marketing Your Services When There’s A Need Due to a Disaster: People buy life insurance from trusted companies. The Red Cross mounts massive fundraising campaigns right after a tragic incident. Some people talk to a funeral director to make arrangements for after they’re gone. While people may not see how such services relate to attorneys, I would argue that attorneys who have the expertise to help, should get out there and make their services known in an ethical fashion.
Most law firms still take the slow conservative approach to marketing. What’s ironic is that attorneys, especially trial lawyers, aggressively go after the win in court without reservations. Why the dichotomy of lion and lamb when comparing legal practice to legal marketing?
Around the holidays, I had a great conversation with Kevin O’Keefe who is best known as the brains behind lexblog. When he saw that I quoted him in a previous blog, he reached out to me and we pursued setting up a phone conversation. We did everything right.
My blog linked to his website, he watched for his name being used, he reached out to me, I was honored to have someone with his expertise contact me, and the love goes on. The point is, we did everything right in connecting with other people. Yes, it started out as a social media/social networking/citizen journalism exchange (or whatever you want to call it). However, we connected and learned about each others expertise and experience in a way that means I will never forget him. Too bad that so many lawyers don’t get public relations.
I just noticed an article at the American Bar Association titled “Why Law Firm Public Relations Fails.” Wow, what a great find for me. (Disclaimer, the author is not on the ABA staff, but it was written by a former journalist turned public relations professional). The article references the book “The Expert’s Edge,” which spells out how consistently presenting specific and targeted expertise in various formats (e. speaking, writing articles) will increase your public relations success and get more calls from the media.
Here’s the PR laugh for me. Lawyers are very smart people. They know the power of precise words and how those words can land you in court or prevent you from unnecessary litigation. They also know that it takes time and often teamwork to get those words right. Yet, too many lawyers think that a press release, one speaking event a year, or contributing a generic article on their area of law will make a difference. However, when they decide to follow a strategic public relations plan consistently or find a trusted advisor inside/outside the law firm, then they can expert to garner the media attention that shows their smarts.
By the way, check out the video below. Do you think this is genuine public relations for this lawyer interviewed or a pay for placement?