Thursday, April 1, 2010

Handy Checklist: Hiring A Social Media/Blogging/Marketing Expert

As the dream of going right from law school to an irrelevant BigLaw job has died, young lawyers everywhere are being advised to invest their time and money into other more important aspects of today's lawyer - twitter, blogging, web marketing, and SEO.

In an effort to assist young lawyers everywhere in making sure they hire the right "expert" to launch their marketing campaign, I've created this check list:

1. Is the expert a lawyer?

If no, ask for 5 references. You are now done with this check list. If yes, proceed to next question

2. How long has the expert been a lawyer?

3. What type of law does the expert practice?

If at this point it is learned the expert/lawyer no longer practices law, skip to 5.

4. Where is the physical office of the lawyer/expert?

If the answer has the word "virtual," or looks like a laptop, politely say "thank you," and end the interview.

5. If the lawyer no longer practices law, ask how long they practiced and why they no longer practice.

This is a difficult question, a question that 99% of desperate young lawyers don't ask. I have no idea why they don't ask, but the majority of lawyer/social media experts bank on you not asking that question.

6. After receiving an answer to 5, Google the name of the lawyer/social media/blogging expert and verify. That's right, you're a lawyer - verify that the answer is true. If nothing comes up, check the state Bar website of the Bar to which they claim to have been admitted.

7. Ask if the expert has ever been legally found to be an expert in what they claim to be an expert. If the answer is "no," and it will be, ask for 10 references.

8. Ask how may legal clients, that means clients with legal issues, the lawyer/social media expert/blogger obtained through social media as a lawyer.

If the answer to 8 is vague or causes you to say something like "I'm not clear on your answer," don't ask again, just take the previous advice listed after question 4 - politely say "thank you," and end the interview.

9. If the lawyer/social media expert uses the term "Rock Star," "ghost blogging," "link exchange," or "automatic feed," again, politely say "thank you," and end the interview.

There you have it, print it out, carry it around, use it. It's free. You're welcome.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.



Extreme Attorneys said...

Thank you, Mr. Tannenbaum, for your tireless contribution of content regarding the Social Media consulting business. We at Extreme Attorneys like to think we rise above the rest of the crop, and we'll be keeping a careful eye on what you have to say. I will now bookmark this post for later use.

David V. Lorenzo said...

The wackos are going to be be coming out of the woodwork after this post.

Social Media is just one form of media. It should complement your marketing. If it is the only thing you do, you will become a house-bound agoraphobe.

Experienced lawyers: Before you hire someone to help you with social media try the following:

*Speaking engagements in a local setting where you educate people on your area of expertise.
*Networking at local events or in a local group like BNI or the Chamber of Commerce.
*Teaching at a local university (yes this works).
*Serving on the Board of a Charitable Organization.
*Writing articles and having them published in trade journals.
*Serving as a consultant for the media on cases in your area of expertise.
*And the 74 other things that work BESIDES social media.

Young lawyers: Don’t pay anyone to help you with marketing (any marketing) until you know what you are doing. Learn how to be a lawyer. Put on a suit, hit the streets and meet some people. Call other lawyers and ask them if you can come to their office for an INFORMATIONAL interview. If you do this with 100 law firms you will get about 10-15 meetings. In one of those meetings you might even get a job offer. If that fails, offer to do volunteer work in any capacity just to get into a law office.

Paying for social media consulting before you have tried everything else is like paying to learn how to make ice.

Olin Hyde said...

How about just be a damn good lawyer?

Blogging is about sharing information. The best lawyers seem to do this really well and know when to hand over the retainer letter.

Surprised more wackos have not yet responded.

Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

These points are all irrelevant. The only consideration is SEO. Google "New York criminal defense" and see who comes up on p1-2 of search. Ask your SEO consultant what kind of SEO results he is likely to get you. See other clients and google relevant search terms to see where they come on search results. Why should an SEO guy be a lawyer or know anything about law in the first place?

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, you don't want a marketing expert that works with a bunch of other lawyers (or at least any other lawyers in any related filed within 100 miles). Having a bunch of lawyer clients just means that your marketing campaigns will mirror your competitor.

PluggedInLawyer said...

Maybe this would be news to you, David, but those coveted jobs come to experts and the best way to strut your expertise to the widest possible audience is online. That's all social media marketing is -- demonstrating your expertise online. A lawyer needs to understand his or her own expertise and be able to articulate the same, but don't be bullied into believing that it's not okay to get a little help from the experts who best understand the technical aspects of spreading that message on the world wide web.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and if the lawyer/expert use the term "Rockstar" or "Extreme Attorney", again, politely say "thank you," and end the interview.