Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Protecting Lawyers From Adrian Dayton's Social Media "Help"

Like Paul Revere, professional twitter teacher Adrian Dayton (sorry Adrian, no link love for you) spent much of his twitter day yesterday telling everyone over and over again he had written a post on his blog.

He asked the deep question "Do you believe in social media?" (Can I get an "amen.")

Adrian doesn't just use social media, he's attempting a career at it. He was laid off from his law job after less than a year, claims to have received another one almost immediately, but turned it down to build a career in teaching lawyers how to tweet.

Hey, everyone has to feed their family.

Adrian has said before that "life is too short for billable hours," or something like that. He basically claims to have dumped BigLaw for his new career involving messages of 140 characters.

As Vito Corlenone said "makes no difference to me what another man does for a living."

What's funny though is that reading Adrian's messages now makes it clear he is looking for BigLaw to hire him, to teach them social media. He doesn't want to work there, as a lawyer.

Adrian doesn't like me. He doesn't like me because I caught him being a little less than candid about his background. (Note: Adrian did finally tell the New York Bar he no longer works at the firm that laid him off.)

See, on social media, lawyers looking to make money from the teaching of social media mavens don't care about whether the self-named mavens are being honest about who they are, they're just looking to tweet and blog for profit. Tell me how to make money as a lawyer with my computer keyboard, forget honesty.

So now he ignores any question I ask him, and pretends I don't exist. I don't do good things for his precious twitterstream as he's trying to make a go at getting in-house counsel and BigLaw to pay him to teach them social media.

Now getting to his latest post, he makes this comment:

Lawyers from Scott Greenfield’s camp are protecting other lawyers from social media help, because they didn’t need it. They pulled themselves up by their boot straps to learn social media and blogging, so why shouldn’t you? It’s so easy a caveman could do it. You get the idea.

I am one of those lawyers who Adrian and his other social media mavens consider to be in Scott Greenfield's "Camp." They talk around us most of the time, referring to us with tags and descriptions, but avoiding mentioning our names because they fear a real debate. They need to puff their resumes to get lawyers to take them seriously, because the reality is that the experience as a lawyer is thin or non-existant. They claim their experience as a lawyer is why lawyers should pay them for social media help, and hope no one asks about their practice. Never have I heard that one of these faux experts spoke at a conference where someone raised their hand and asked "tell me about your law practice." It's the question they pray is forgotten.

You see Adrian, I'm not protecting lawyers from social media help, I'm just telling them the truth about you, and the others who troll the internet claiming to be the lawyer lawyers should hire. You still to this day claim that in a short period of time at your firm you worked on a 450 million dollar merger. Do you think anyone believes you were of any significance in that deal being a lawyer for a few months? Or do you just hope BigLaw sees that and thinks you are one of them so they will hire you to teach them the retweet?

I think if lawyers need social media help, they should get it. If lawyers need help learning to put on shoes, I want them to get that help as well - but not from a lawyer who claims to be an expert in shoe-putting-on, and has no feet.

Can you not understand the difference?

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


Anonymous said...

I wonder whether "shoe horn" will become a new social media buzzword.

Adrian Dayton said...

Drum roll please . . . . . . .

(the dots are drum roll sounds)

the moment everyone has been waiting for . . . . .

you are correct Brian, the work I did on the $450 million dollar merger just months after passing the bar consisted of document review. Why they didn't let me draft the darn thing as a 1st year associate I'll never know.

Why I traded 60 hours a week at a mid-sized firm handling document review to help large firms with social media strategy is more obvious I think.

I do need to thank you Brian for your help though. Especially when I started out, I was often over-selling myself and I made some mistakes along the way. I'll own up to that. Some of them you pointed out, and I appreciate it.

You are obviously a skilled attorney and a very good writer, so I'm not looking for a fight with you.

If you want to chat however, I'm always open to that. If your mind is made up about me, I'm not sure there is much more I can do.

My Law License said...


Thank you for finally coming here and commenting. As you are not looking for a fight with me, I am, nor have I ever been, looking for a fight with you.

I am, and have always been, looking for the truth.

Of course the work you did on the $450 million dollar merger just months after passing the bar consisted of document review.

When I was a 3 year lawyer, I went with a lawyer to death row and met a defendant, did some research on the case, and then the lawyer I worked with got his death sentence reversed and got him a new trial. At trial, the defendant was acquitted.

All I did was meet the guy and do some research on the appeal. Is it right for me to say that I worked on a death penalty case where the sentence was vacated, a new trial granted and the defendant finally acquitted at a re-trial? Sure. It's accurate, but not candid.

And so I never would. Because I'm not a death penalty lawyer and I would never want to "puff" that moment in my career to make people think I am the guy to call for death cases, nor did I parade it around 12 years ago to make myself seem bigger than I was. I was a 3 year lawyer, period. One day I would play with the big boys, after many trials, cases, wins, losses, mistakes, in and out of the courtroom. I would not get "big" by making claims that were thin at the core.

So why do you mention this 450 million dollar merger? I know the answer, but the answer should tell you that you should remove it, from everything. You are not a merger and acquisitions lawyer, and couldn't competently advise a client on that kind of work, so what's the point?

You are a non-practicing lawyer teaching social media and hoping BigLaw hires you. Fine, but do it ethically, honestly, and candidly.

I'm tired of members of my profession putting themselves out there as the ones to call for help in the online world, and finding out in 2 minutes on Google that they are not who they say they are. It's embarrassing, to all lawyers.

I know plenty of rainmaking consultants. The ones with big resumes never talk about what they have done or where they came from.

It's like the guy with the porsche who drives the speed limit - because he has nothing to prove, to anyone. It's the kid with the souped up Honda who speeds through the neighborhood, trying to prove to everyone that his car is fast too, when it's not.

The competition online for lawyer's dollars has caused some in our profession to try to jump the fence like a little dog in a way that is troubling. The best lawyers in this world built their careers one case, one client at a time, those that have developed a career are now left to watch lawyers online create careers that don't exist.

I could care less if a lawyer wants to leave the law and teach twitter. I think it's a waste of a law degree, but I again, could care less.

I only care when lawyers act like salesman and pretend that our profession is less than one that requires high ethics. You are a lawyer Adrian, practicing or not.

So again, thanks for having the guts to engage in a conversation. I respect that. The fact that you thank me for what has been strong criticism of your tactics, and that you admit you've learned from it, is extremely commendable. The other night I thanked a mentor of mine by saying that in the 13 years I've known him, he's rarely said anything nice to me.

I hope you desire to develop into a Member of the Bar that other young lawyers can look up to and respect, and not just another social media lawyer guru who claims to have all the answers for their colleagues.