Monday, June 7, 2010

Would You Hire Me Based On My Blog?

I haven't been here for a couple weeks. Well, I've been here, just not here. I've been reading, commenting on other blogs, reading other comments on other blogs about me, getting a little depressed about the oil disaster, and then I came to this conclusion:

People think they can tell a lot about a lawyer from a blog.

For example, I read this about me on another blog:

I'm pretty sure Tannenbaum, someone this click of CDL bloggers all seem to like very much, is not someone I'd ever recommend and that opinion is also based entirely on his writing, which tends to be shallow and reeks of self-promotion

The commenter was at least honest - he would not recommend me as a lawyer for a client solely based on my blog posts. It's a risk I take. I'm sure there are more out there that think I'm a complete jerk, based only on my blog posts.

This commenter believes I am what I blog. He's partially right. Those that know me say they "can hear me" through my writing. There's a pretty common thread in all my writing. I don't like whiners, or people who got into law because they thought it entitled them to money. I don't have time for social media "experts" who just couldn't hack it in law or anything else and lie about their backgrounds. I don't like those consultants out there that have no success to speak of, and are only in business to take advantage of broke young lawyers, and I despise stupidity.

But there's a lot more to know - stuff I don't discuss for whatever reason. If I was truly a self-promoter here, I would have a different style of writing, or hire someone to write for me. I would be much better off blogging about Bar Rules all the time as far as Google is concerned. Instead, I just say what comes to my mind. I know that's a foreign concept for the marketing lawyers

But this is my outlet. Have I been hired because of this blog? Partially. I do real work for real clients who, even though they may find out about me here, still have to contact me. Some may do so and think I'm not the right lawyer for them. Some may call and be surprised that I don't jump down their throat. Then again, some lawyers blog and appear real nice and sweet, but aren't.

One thing I'll never get over is how every blogger I meet is either taller or shorter than I thought.

But I digress.

Only those I've actually spoken to, privately e-mailed with, or better, met in person, can truly say they know me - and that goes for everyone else out there. Sure, if you're a serial liar, or resume puffer on your website, I don't need to go further. But just because you write a blog, one shouldn't make the leap that this is who you really are.

Until you've spoken to someone, seen them with their kids, heard their philosophies on issues other than what they blog about, or spoken to others about them, a judgment based on a blog is worthless. It's worse than judging a book by its cover, it's like judging a library based on one book.

My friend who commented above just doesn't like me. He doesn't like me "based entirely" on my writing, and because of my writing, he's not recommending me to any clients. I can imagine the conversation:

I need a lawyer in Miami. I was given Brian Tannebaum's name.

Oh, don't hire him. Have you read his blog? He admitted to making a mistake in a case.

"But this recommendation was from a former client who seemed pretty happy.

I don't care what he did for a client, I read his blog.

Yeah, silly. But hey, decisions are made for lots of different reasons.

Making a decision to hire a lawyer is one that is much more important than a collection of blog posts, at least to lawyers who value that decision.

Whether you are hiring a lawyer because of a blog, or not, you're making a huge mistake.

I know, I've made them.

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


Marcus Schantz said...

Good post, Brian. You never know who is going to read what you publish. I can see a risk in being acerbic with your e-persona. However, if nothing else, you're consistent about who you don't like and why.

I, myself, get zero business from the internet. My client base typically has no online access. I fear my Bar people more than anything else.

My Law License said...

What's interesting about the whole on-line thing, is that there are lawyers who carefully craft marketing schemes to get clients - they really have no on-line presence - it's all robotic. No one comments, nothing real is said, it's all about Google placement. They have nothing but a clickable link to their office phone number.

Those of us who write to write, and discuss issues are often met with criticism (and love too). People think we do it for business, and don't realize that it drives away as much business, and maybe more, than it may bring.

Marcus Schantz said...

In your market do criminal lawyers do that? I could see other types of lawyers doing it. For instance bankruptcy or perhaps estate planning but criminal?

My Law License said...

Plenty of criminal lawyers use the fake robotic blogs to drive traffic.

Marcus Schantz said...

Defendants down your way must have money if someone is putting out that kind of effort.

Josh said...

I commented on this exact topic about a month ago on this site but it wasn't published - perhaps because it was a number of days after the initial post. To summarize the earlier comment, I think that when researching counsel on the internet, an attorney that writes passionately about his line of work scores extra points. I want someone who, despite working hours and hours a day in their field, feels so strongly about it that s/he is compelled to spend his non-billing hours writing about that field. Some young attorneys, and some old, spend all of their waking hours in the presence of other attorney's in the same area doing nothing but talking about that area. These guys are motivated, passionate, have novel theories that occasionally play out, work hard - really hard and love their work. Other older attorneys, and some younger, feel they have it wired (certainly erroneously), are bored, and can't wait to leave work - scarcely considering sitting down and blogging about it. I'd rather have the former rather than the latter any day - regardless of the latter's experience.

mirriam said...

You know how I feel about this. I don't assume that everyone puts everything on the line on their blog - days of the week and hours in a day are too limited for that. I, personally, think you use the word 'whiny' way too often in your blog. That doesn't tell me anything about how you defend clients, just that you have a penchant for a word that I find annoying. Big freaking whoop. I think you've got a shitload more going for you that would make me recommend you regardless of the online identity you choose to give us on any given day.

James Morgan - Puritan Financial Advisor said...

I don't like those consultants out there that have no success to speak of, and are only in business to take advantage of broke young lawyers, and I despise stupidity.