It was like a dream come true. This past week I had the opportunity to speak at two separate conferences on the topic of ethics and online marketing. This was like open mic night - An hour at each conference of combining all my blog posts, tweets, and articles on the topic, and telling 300 people about the sewer that lawyers have made of the internet.
I talked about specific scumbags, yes I named the liars that sell to lawyers. I spoke about how we got to this point - by listening to scumbag marketers trying to and convincing everyone that the goal of a lawyer was not becoming a good lawyer - but getting juice for Google placement. I talked about spamming lawyers, and I spoke about the difference between what you can do, and what you should do.
This was the reaction tweet I was looking for:
@miquelle (who has no bio or name or information as to who it is)
@ social media ethics session @roiconference. This guy basically hates the Internet. A little extreme IMHO.
That response came from someone at the Radius of Influence Conference (ROI) (yes, ROI, for real people), where the theme is:
"The best attorneys, not the biggest advertisers, should get the best cases."
ROI is the brain child of Injury Board co-founder Tom Young (a national membership network of plaintiff attorneys committed to a more constructive way of marketing their skills). In simple terms - this is a group of PI lawyers fed up with the marketing game. When I walked in to the room, Tom was giving the keynote. He said things like "word of mouth," and "referral," and "passion." I knew then that this was not a place for the marketing scum that have permeated the profession.
Without hesitation, I will tell you that if you are a personal injury lawyer, no, strike that, if you are a lawyer who believes there is still room to grow your practice without giving in to the bullshit peddlers that want to sell you space on the internet, attend ROI next year. It's not cheap, but it's a conference where you'll take home a new non-internet sewer perspective on how to grow your practice.
Then I went over to Avvocating, Avvo's national conference in Orlando. As I walked down the hall, my excitement to give the same talk increased with every SEO, marketing, Google placement vendor table I passed. This would be a crowd that would be hostile to my talk. When I entered the room, the first thing I saw and heard was a guy in a Google shirt telling some lawyer the comparison between the "hits" to his website and his blog.
I gave the talk. No one walked out. As at ROI, there were some giggles when I spoke of ghostwriting blogs and tweets, and told everyone to never hire a lawyer for marketing or social media advice.
What fascinated me was that lawyers, both young and old, seemed interested in building law practices outside of faking it on the internet.
Many ask what my goal is in all of this. It is two-fold - one, to put out of business all the snake oil salesmen, and two, to change the message about what it takes to build a practice, even in 2011.
Why do I think we're winning? ("we" is the side of ethical and off-line marketing)
Out of 300 people, 6 told me that the best case they ever got, came from the internet.
Non-anonymous comments 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.