Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just Some Questions For A Social Media Expert

The culture of the social media "guru" "expert" "bullshit peddler" on twitter is a cess pool. There is no code of ethics (other than the rules of professional conduct that these non-practicing "shhh, don't tell anyone" lawyers have long forgotten).

And it's time for it all to stop.

Social media folks who market to lawyers on twitter are looking for one type of lawyer - one who doesn't "know how" to use blogs, twitter, Facebook, or the dozens of other social networking sites, and who wants to learn for the purpose of "getting more clients."

This is a time of desperation for many lawyers, who are willing to pay and listen to anyone that appears to know what they are talking about in the arena of making money. Anyone with a twitter account and a keyboard can project success, regardless of truth.

In order to make the naive lawyers think the social media guru has credibility, said self-proclaimed guru has to present themselves in a way that leads the lawyer to believe they are formerly successful lawyers who decided to leave their wildly successful practice so they could travel the $10 breakfast and $20 lunch circuit.

And that's the great thing about the internet. Anyone can say anything and cross their fingers and hope no one finds out otherwise.

Speaking of twitter, and twitter for lawyers: I have some questions for Adrian Dayton.

Adrian literally wrote the book on twitter for lawyers. I congratulate him on this publication and hope he finds much success. Here's a link to his book. I've received no money to promote it.

Adrian has put himself out there as the expert on twitter for lawyers. As anyone who puts themselves out there for the world, even the twitter world to listen to and buy from, he is fair game for some questions.

Like why he has a couple different bios that appear to say a couple different things.

Adrian claims he can teach you to be a rainmaker as a lawyer - "rainmakers" bring in business.

A summary but not complete background is that he knows how to use twitter, and he worked as a lawyer at a law firm for 8 months.

(NOTE: Adrian tells me today that he "assures me [he] is still a practicing lawyer." His Linkedin profile states that "My first position out of law school was with Jaeckle Fleishmann & Mugel where I worked in the corporate department. Soon after I left to start my own company specializing in social media strategy and online marketing for attorneys and other professionals." That company is 2 Comrades, Esq, which according to Linkedin, started in January 2009, not after he left his firm, but while he was there. He lists his current positions as [1] Buffalo Urban Outdoor Education Foundation
(February 2009 — Present (10 months)) and [2] CEO, 2 Comrades LLC.(Marketing and Advertising industry) January 2009 — Present (11 months) (Providing training and consulting services to lawyers and other professionals on the power of social media. With a special focus on blogs and Twitter, Adrian Dayton provides companies with the tools they need to grow their business while eliminating traditional marketing costs).

I could not find any description of a current law practice, so as a result, I looked him up (enter letters to view page) on the New York State Bar website. He is listed as having been admitted in 2009, and currently working at Jaeckle Fleishmann and Mugel. The law firm though, doesn't have him listed as working there in any capacity. Also on Linkedin, he lists himself as an associate beginning in September 2008, 4 months before his admission to the Bar.

Now, back to my questions. I don't know how many clients he brought in to his firm in 8 months, he doesn't say. He did say on today's podcast that he started on twitter because while at his firm for 8 months, 2 of those months he had no work.

UPDATE: While editing this post and before it was published, Adrian chimed in on a comment I made about this on twitter and told me I was "very close to libel."

Anyway, on JD Supra it says that Adrian, a 2008 law school graduate, is "an experienced corporate attorney who has worked on mergers in excess of $450 million dollars.

This differs from his bio on his website, which says:

"He has spent almost a year working as a corporate attorney with Jaeckle Fleishmann and Mugel where his team closed a merger worth approximately $450 million dollars."

The questions are numerous. How can a member of the Bar, with a straight face describe themselves as a rainmaker and an "experienced corporate attorney" with 8 months experience, 2 of which there was no work? And in those first 8 months was he an integral part of one $450 million dollar merger, or was it several $450 million dollar mergers? Which bio is true? Exactly what role did he play and what relevance does it have to teaching lawyers to use twitter? Was he using twitter before the merger? Did twitter get him the merger client? Someone, anyone?

According to Adrian, he has been "quoted by the Wall Street Journal, the ABA Journal, Above the Law...." He also states that "Adrian Dayton is recognized as an expert specializing in Social Media for attorneys by The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, the ABA Journal, and Above the Law."

I searched Adrian Dayton on the Above the Law blog (a very good blog, but not one I ever knew to knight experts) and couldn't find where they named Adrian an expert.

On I found this article, but it only refers to Adrian as a "New York Attorney and Author."

How about the American Bar Association (ABA) Journal? My search for Adrian Dayton came up with no reference to him as an expert.

I think I'll stop searching these respected publications and blogs at this point and invite anyone, including Adrian, to find where each of them don't just regurgitate, but actually name Adrian as an expert. I'm happy to loudly apologize should I be proven wrong. Again, I'm just asking questions here.

I did find this reprinted blurb promoting his book:

Adrian Dayton is recognized as a leading expert in exploiting social media for business development within law firms.... Since creating his Twitter account: - He has gained over 30,000 followers - Is consistently ranked in the top 50 most popular Twitter accounts worldwide - Has ranked number 1 in the state of New York ahead of CNN, Fox News, and Anderson Cooper.

But I don't know who wrote that.

I often wonder if any of the lawyers on twitter, who flock to these "experts" take the time to learn their backgrounds. Actually, I don't wonder - they don't.

As a result of this, the other social media guru's on twitter will huddle together, console each other, and tell each other how mean I am. While they're at it, while they're busy trying to make a living creating an "image" for others on the internet, I hope they work on their own, real, persona.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Please visit



Anonymous said...

Just commenting on your point of his firm "start date." I'm not sure if you know how long the admission process takes in NY, but it can be months after getting the bar results, which usually don't come out until the end of November. Those who start their jobs right out of law school usually start in September, before the results are in. I don't know any attorney who lists their start date as an associate as of the day they were admitted. It usually when they began work. As a recruiter, I can tell you this is the norm and there is nothing wrong with that. I realize you never worked for a big firm so this may not be normal to you, but it is to the rest of the legal community.

My Law License said...

A start date has nothing to do with when someone can refer to themselves as an "associate" attorney.

Anonymous said...

I don't know any State bar that would hear a grievance on that one. If you have a Florida Bar grievance file where the Bar punished an attorney for listing himself on his resume as an associate as of his start date, while his admission came a few months later, please share it with us.