Q: What’s the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer?

A: A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge.

This lawyer joke reminds me of the huge difference I see in lawyers who are involved in public relations for their firms and those who are not.

On one side, I see the lawyers who see no value in managing their reputations outside of the contacts and business relationships they already have. These are the “old school” rainmakers who believe knowledge and expertise are the only things that win them new business.

On the other side, I see the “new school” lawyers who are on Twitter hourly, update their Facebook pages three times a day and try to be a featured speaker at every bar association and business organization event.

Here’s the PR laugh for me. Business is down for many law firms to the point where first year associates who used to start out at $160,000 are beginning at $60,000. Not poverty level for most families, but still it will slow down the tuition loan payments. For the “old school” rainmakers, this is a disaster in the making. Your business is down and you’re likely to hire the less talented people.

For the lawyers who are trying new marketing techniques without knowing what is working for them, they are on the “right track,” but not always going in the best direction. That’s because to do new social media marketing will takes an average of five hours per media platform per week to do it right. If these “new rainmakers” are on three social media platforms, what is the “investment” based on billable rates? It’s a value of $300,000 a year in marketing costs!

So the joke we started with should be rewritten: What’s the difference between a lawyer who knows how to market and one who does not? About $300,000. Not very funny, but the joke is on the lawyers who have not taken the time to “know” what works with marketing and communicate with those audiences.


A History of PR Laughs

With health care reform in shambles, the leader of Iran denying 911 ever happened, and Lady Gaga not in the news in the last five minutes, I decided I needed someone else to give me a chuckle for my blog.

So here are a few funny quotes related to PR:

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.
Daniel J. Boorstin

I think that Jesus had the best team of public relations officers ever assembled (12 disciples were at the core). While He walked the earth for 33 years, somehow his WOMM (Word of Mouth Marketing) has gone strong for about 2,000 years. He still makes headlines. When I did a Google news search for “Jesus” this was the top listing. So if Jesus “hired” some people to help with His public relations, then maybe we all need someone to be our own advocate.

Regardless of your political persuasion, you have to admit the Obama campaign got this right. His communications team had him “loving on” people in a way that made him the “hero” they needed in the midst of wars and a financial meltdown. Now that Obama is in his second year as president, the honeymoon is over, and has the same uphill battle that all presidents have faced. In recent news, the president now is in the “kicking” phase of his public relations campaign. He kicked out his social secretary for “crasher gate” and is “kicking” his fellow Democrats to push through health care reform.

The word “relation” is a pretty big part of the words “public relations,” and how the public relates to your image can determine your future and your success. Thanks to social networks and online media, your greatness and your garbage are easily exposed. So now more than ever should everyone be interested in “arranging their flowers.” I’d suggest petunias.