Monday, March 22, 2010

The Ethics Of Lawyer Marketing, And Other Lost Ideals

When I was in law school, the internet was in it's infancy. Cheesy lawyer marketing was limited to billboards, bus benches and sending "I heard you got arrested" brochures to client's homes. I remember my torts professor (of all subjects) say "I better never see any of your names on the back of a bus." Funny thing is that I never have - seen any of my classmates names on the back of a bus, and yes, I always look.

Yesterday's lawyer marketing still exists, the billboards still the darling of personal injury lawyers, the bus benches mostly reserved for ticket and foreclosure defense lawyers. But today, it's all about the internet. It's all about getting to the top of Google, and nothing more.

Everyday we lawyers get emails about how some kid in shorts and a t-shirt sitting at Starbucks can get us to the "#1 spot on Google." I always wonder how everyone can be #1 in this seemingly "race to the top," which is really a race to the depths of shameless marketing.

Here is the secret to Google - linking. Every chance you get, link to your website. Google will pick it up. This was better said by a recent commenter: How does google do it? Is it magic? .. slight of hand? .. divine intervention? No, it's done by robots. Yes, robots. They mindlessly crawl around the web and look for magic words that people like you and me use to find plumbers, dentists and lawyers.

I recently wrote about this, here.

And received these comments:

I'm working with Justia to create a better blog platform (will be up in a few weeks), and they want me to write that way. They've got some good ideas but that one is lame.

It is just advertising. If you are practicing law to make your living and not as the idealogical lawyer for a cause, what is the problem?

Exactly - this is lawyer marketing today - it's being taught, and those whose BigLaw dreams have been shattered and have to suffer through trying it on their own find nothing wrong with the race to depths of shameless marketing. It's all about getting clients, even if getting those clients means typing mindlessly for the sole purpose of being number 1 on Google.

I guess after all those years of college and law school, you have to try to be good at something.

Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.


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