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.