THIS WEEK’S BEST LEGAL POST: Tannebaum’s What Will Always Matter In The Legal Profession

 Finding powerful messages in legal posts is a rarity.  All lawyers and law firm owners need to make this a required read.   

With his permission we are posting as a guest post.   Brian Tannebaum is an attorney in Miami, Florida. 

What Will Always Matter in the Legal Profession by Brian Tannebaum

The internet flows with messages to lawyers about what they need to have to be successful. No more is it about cross-examination skills, negotiation skills, people skills – it’s all about toys, apps, and placement on the world wide web. It’s sad, and we lawyers have done nothing to attack the commoditization of our profession.

Mark Britton of AVVO frequently says that “if you are not on the internet, you don’t exist.” He tells the story of his search for a toy for a child. It didn’t matter how many toy stores sold this toy, all that mattered was which merchant came up (on the first page of Google) and was a click away from shipping the toy.

Mark makes a good point, but his point is not inclusive. If you are not on the internet, you don’t exist to those looking for products and services on the internet.

The internet is a wonderful source of information and merchandise, including information about services – like lawyers. At it’s lowest common denominator, the internet is where people go to find the best deal on whatever they are going to buy.

If your goal is to be the best deal as a lawyer, then I recommend you put every single marketing dollar, dime, and penny into internet marketing.

This is not a criticism. We need low fee lawyers for clients. People need access to legal representation and if someone can do it, or claim they can do it, for $500 instead of $5,000, then the client should have that choice, we just hope they make an informed one.

But not every lawyer is in that market. Not every lawyer is looking for every client with a few dollars to spare.

And not every client is looking for a lawyer with the most toys, or best ability to get to the top (of Google).

So we come to my point.

Regardless of who is telling you otherwise, there are things about the legal profession that will never change, no matter how many toys Apple makes, how many social networking sites are invented, or how many tips and tricks exist out there to play the marketing game.

There are so many tech and toy related “10 tips,” “5 tips,” “20 things every lawyer needs to know,” lists.

But here’s what will always matter about the profession.

[1] Most clients come to a lawyer when they have a problem. They are looking for someone to understand the problem. People understand problems, toys don’t understand problems. It will always require a person, to understand a problem.

[2] Cases and disputes are resolved between people. They will always be resolved with people talking to people. Always.

[3] Reputations of lawyers are not ever going to be determined by which lawyer has which toy or placement on the internet.

[4] Real clients with real problems will never hire a lawyer because of the toys they own, or the tech they use, ever.

[5] The best tech a lawyer can have is ears.

[6] Marketing may get you a call, or an appointment, but it will never get you a happy client.

[7] Happy clients will always be the best source of referrals, not Google.

[8] Even unhappy clients will be a good source of referrals, if their unhappiness is not viewed as your fault.

[9] Being on the first page of Google means just that, you are on the first page of Google. There are plenty of unethical, crappy lawyers on the first page of Google, and the clients will never know that until it’s too late.

[10] Your ability to persuade a judge, jury, prosecutor, opposing civil counsel, client’s boss, client’s wife, or licensing board will never be determined by the success of your marketing.

[11] There will never be a toy or app that will make a client feel better about their situation. Only you, and your words and actions will ever make a client feel like they are in the right hands.

[12] Machines have no emotion, no ability to care, and they break. The best thing your client gets from you is your voice, after you use your ears.

[13] No one will ever become great merely because they own something.

[14] There is no app, toy, or marketing technique that will get you a “thank you” from a client for saving their life, or making it better.

[15] The amount of people you “know” on-line has nothing to do with you getting a client who needs a good lawyer.

So go, be on the front page of Google, “exist” on the internet, buy all the cool new toys.

There’s a whole world out there that doesn’t care about any of it, but they are looking for good lawyers.

Maybe like you.

Author:  Brian Tannebaum, Attorney, Miami, FloridaHis blog:  My Law License

Permission granted by author 2.16.11 to repost