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Is becoming a lawyer a bad investment?

I saw an interesting article in Time magazine that asked, “Is becoming a lawyer a bad investment?” , and it shows that what I thought was a great, stable career isn’t really that way anymore. The article talks about how attorney jobs are drying up due to the down economy, but the number of people earning law degrees is still high. Some students are staying in law school until the economy improves, but by the time they enter the labor force, they still might not have good opportunities.

It’s surprising and discouraging that the legal profession isn’t as promising or lucrative as it used to be, but there are things that an attorney can do to stand out: it’s time to invest in personal marketing. If you’re already in a firm, become friends with the marketing person there. If your firm has a social media and public relations expert, then ask them about what tools would work best to promote your area of expertise. If you have your own practice, hire a marketing or public relations consultant. If you want to be published, find a niche a write a blog, or submit an article to a specialized publication or website. A good resource for information and assistance is Real Lawyers HaveBlogs.

 

It’s important to think about marketing and promoting yourself because it not only distinguishes you from other attorneys, but also helps your find new clients and retain your current ones so that they give you referrals. After all, you worked hard in law school, you passed the Bar, then established a practice or entered a good law firm, and now work diligently on cases. Why stop there? It doesn’t take a lot of effort if you develop a plan and work with a professional who can help you. My father used to say, “What’s the point of having a $1000 silk suit if your shoes aren’t polished?” because it makes you look bad. The same is true about what you do to promote yourself after getting a fancy education.
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$29,000 for a Twitter Account?

I’m originally from Philadelphia, so when I see the city get some media attention, I pay attention too. However, it’s too bad that a big story from there is about a councilman who wasted thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on his social media campaign. I found out about what he did in the article, “Socially Inept: Councilman Kenney pays private firm 29G to tweet for him” which also says that he was the only councilman to pay someone to tweet for him.

Councilman Kenney doesn’t want to take the time to understand Twitter, which is why he hired a company to do it, but what is more appalling is that Kenney is already paying a communications consultant who doesn’t know how to use Twitter either. Twitter is a basic communications tool that is easy to use, so it obviously shows that his communications consultant doesn’t know what modern communications is. Also, the company that he hired to do the tweets sometimes just types what he tells them, or they put out misinformation. It’s not only a waste of money, but money badly spent on people who don’t know what they’re doing or how to communicate with their client.

The point of social media is that even though you can get help with it from an outside consultant, you can’t buy your reputation through your social media efforts. There has to be a sincerity in what you do which includes what you say and how you’re saying it. Councilman Kenney ended up buying a lot of negative buzz through the mistakes he made, and it’s obviously reflected badly on his communications staff as well. It’s best to be responsible and know who you’re dealing with when it comes to your publicity efforts.