When I graduated law school, the most important goal was getting a job, learning how to practice law, and to those that wanted to, developing a reputation that would attract clients. Sure, some went right from graduation to the yellow pages, but that was rare. Very rare.
Today, the chronology is graduation, creation of website, creation of facebook fan page, twitter account, and all in the name of an online reputation. An offline reputation is secondary. No one's really checking anyway. It's all about the fee. It's all about the ultimate "how much do you charge" question.
The internet is an amazing tool. You can be the best attorney in the world on the internet, even if you've only been practicing a few months. Any good internet consultant will tell you to leave off your date of graduation if you're a bit green, as those that look for attorneys on the internet aren't really looking for a great lawyer, they are just looking for a great price.
Aren't we all? Don't we always turn to the internet to find the best deal?
It's no different when searching for a lawyer.
I get emails all the time from internet experts telling me they can help me with my website ranking, that I'm "miss out" on clients. Apparently, when someone is looking for a lawyer that does what I do, I am not first, and because I am not first, I am nowhere.
Therein lies the issue. The assumption that every lawyer wants that call. The call that comes from the potential client that isn't asking around for referrals, isn't really interested in credentials that are verified by others, but looking for the language on the internet that makes them feel good.
I get those calls. I get those e-mails.
"I found you on the internet."
Has anyone who "found me on the internet," hired me? Sure. Is it the norm? No.
Now someone out there is reading this and saying "of course, you don't get it. If you were first, or close to first, you would get more calls, and more clients."
More calls? Yes. More clients, no.
Because I don't compete on price. I compete on quality and service.
I remember a plumber once telling me "quality, price, and service. I offer two, pick the two you want."
Being first on the internet of course attracts calls and emails.
But I'm not looking for calls and e-mails.
I'm looking for clients that are looking fcr a particular lawyer.
Those clients normally don't find me on the internet.
You can have the others.
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.