Social Networking for Lawyers: Legal Marketing Tool or Faster Way to Chase an Ambulance?

A few weeks back, the Wall Street Journal ran an article titled: Using Social Networking as Legal Tool. It features lessons and case studies from law firms that represent plaintiffs in personal injury and disasters (think Life of a Trial Lawyer: Boots down for BP Oil Spill Lawyer). A New York-based firm set up the website http://www.bigspills.com/ to capture clients from the BP disaster. Interestingly, as of this post, there were only four comments online for the Wall Street Journal article. (I’ll leave my readers to interpret the lack of interaction on a social media article in one of the world’s largest newspapers.)

The article has several lessons that can apply to almost any area of law:

  • Speed matters and it can be relative for marketing purposes: There’s no question when there’s an accident that impacts many people, lawyers are trying to capture those cases. However, even lawyers that work in areas like real estate and intellectual property can be on the lookout for new laws and regulations that can be a disaster for the clients they serve and proactively market their expertise to those markets.
  • Thought leadership wins, selling loses: The smartest legal marketers know that when a law firm wants to attract new clients, posting thought leadership white papers on their website and writing articles for business publications their clients and prospects read, always wins the long-term marketing war against competitors. The law firm that simply puts out more sales and marketing copy at their websites on a particular issue, particularly for business to business legal matters, will lose.
  • Relevant Communication Channels Do Matter: If a law firms managing partner or marketing director thinks selling the firm is all about having a website that looks like a printed brochure and the only interactivity comes from drinking at national trade shows, they’re wrong. A law firm needs to master all the best channels of communication in order to demonstrate to clients and even law school graduates that they are progressive in matters of the law and communications.

With the battle of the billable hour and the fierce competition for getting legal work for a variety of practices, all lawyers should look at Sololove Law LLC. This firm spends $12 million annually on digital outreach. While I’m not saying it takes $12 million to get in the game, what I am saying is that a concentrated effort with a solid investment is required for all law firms to succeed and thrive in this marketplace.


God Bless the Atheists

It’s great being in a big city where you get a mix of religious activists and anti-religion advocates. A few weeks back, the Chicago Tribune ran a story with the headline: Atheists ads get OK in Chicago which reported on the Indiana Atheists Bus Campaign that was blowing into the Windy City.

This group has some playful messages like “In the beginning, man created God” and “You can be good without God.” I’ve even seen messages encouraging people to honor God’s day of rest by sleeping in on Sundays.  And when you look at the atheist organization’s website you’ll see plenty of media coverage on their campaigns, including one in Time Magazine from May 28, 2009.

It’s interesting to note that at least with these messages, the value of their messages is playing against whose name? God’s. Without God, these atheists messages would not exist. Reminds me of the story where scientists told God they had found a way to take dirt and create life. God said that He’d like to see that, but the scientists would need to first create their own dirt.

This is a battle that’s sure to continue to get media attention, bu the irony of it reminds me when the psychic network went bankrupt a few years back. I guess they were unable to predict winning lottery tickets to help finance their operation.

By the way, the atheists’ website is asking for donations. As a legitimate non-profit, they have every right to collection tax-deductible contributions. Actually, I think God can help them with their request to raise donations. See what He says about bringing in tithes and offerings in Malachi 3 verse 8. The atheists seem to be relying on Him for everything else.