One of the benefits of the internet is that is allows people to say things and hope they go unchecked. One law firm makes this claim, one social media guru makes that claim, and although there are those mean people out there (ahem) that still believe honesty and transparency are important to the legal profession, there's enough kids out there failing to take a closer look in deference to the chance to say "congratulations" and hope to have someone thank them on some social media platform.
Womble Carlyle is a law firm. Adrian Dayton is a social media guru, who calls himself a "evangelist of social media for the legal profession."
Womble Carlyle just made the following announcement:
Womble Carlyle ranked #1 for social media outreach among law firms reviewed.
That's great. Awesome news.
Now let's ask some old school questions; who did the survey?
Social media guru Adrian Dayton studied and graded the social media programs of nearly 60 AmLaw 250 law firms. Womble Carlyle ranked #1 with 74 of 100 possible points. The runner-up firm scored a 56.
Great. If anyone should be doing a survey of law firms and how good they are at social media it surely should be the self anointed social media evangelist for law firms.
But there's something else. Adrian isn't just some social media guru doing an independent survey of law firms:
From the testimonial page of Adrian's website:
“After extensive discussions with Adrian about our firm’s social media strategy, we in client development management at Womble Carlyle decided to have him work with group of our top business development-oriented attorneys during the summer of 2010. We are definitely seeing results and have decided to reengage him to work with attorneys in specific practice groups during 2011. As an attorney and as an individual that is extremely knowledgeable about the field of social media, Adrian has been able to connect with both our senior attorneys and associates alike, helping them to see the potential of social media and build their personal brands. He offers an outsider’s perspective that greatly enhances the work we in client development do with attorneys each day. His experience working with large law firm attorneys sets him apart from his competitors and I highly recommend his services to other firms. On a personal note, I’ve attended several conferences with Adrian. He is a tremendous networker – he practices what he preaches and that more than anything has left a very favorable impression on me.” November 4, 2010
Aden Dauchess,Womble Carlyle
We'll get back to that in a minute...
One of the cornerstones of transparency, is being transparent. When the National Democratic Party says their candidate is winning a congressional race, the first question is "who did the poll?" If the answer is "The National Democratic Party," then we disregard it. If the poll was done by an independant media outlet or other private company on their own, we consider it relevant.
But here we're dealing with lawyers. Where's the transparency?
Did Adrian disclose on whatever results he provided that he was a client of the firm?
Did Womble disclose that they hired Adrian?
Or did both parties figure it didn't matter?
We live in an era where there's an award for getting an award. We congratulate people for being congratulated. We are lauded by our clients, and don't bother to acknowledge that some of us are lauded by our clients because we've asked them to be laudatory.
There are things called "client testimonials," and "peer reviews." The titles mean something. It matters what our peers say, and what our clients say, and it matters that we differentiate the two.
So congratulations Womble Carlyle, I'm glad your client Adrian Dayton, who you hired to help with your social media presence, thinks you're number one.
Anonymous comments are welcome as long as they say something relevant and half-way intelligent and aren't a vehicle for a coward to attack someone. I trust you understand.
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.