Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Perfect: The ABA Finds 10, No 9, No 8, No, 4 Lawyers

Well, the 2010 ABA Annual Meeting is in full swing this week. I'm not a member of the ABA. I know people who are, and for many years it was two types of folks: senior lawyers in BigLaw, and young BigLaw associates sent on their way to the conferences looking to pad their resume with important stuff like "member, arts & crafts committee."

So I don't write as someone disappointed that the ABA has now fallen to the depths of highlighting non-practicing lawyers who sell snake oil and other products to actual real lawyers. I'm not a fan of the ABA, I've never seen its relevance to the solo or small firm lawyer, even though they have committees and sections devoted to us common folk. I was recently asked to write an article for an ABA magazine. It was due June 1, and I think someone said they'd "be in touch." I trust someone is saying "who the hell asked this Tannebaum guy to submit an article?"

This year's annual meeting will have all the typical meetings, and speeches. But my question is: has everyone signed up for 10 Ways To Build A Perfect Practice And Career?

Watch 10 of the most dynamic speakers in the legal community describe how to boost your bottom line and manage your career in these tough economic times

Ten speakers, an hour and a half.

Don't blink, or you may miss the next great secret to wealth and fame.

The ABA titled this right. If they left it as "10 Ways To Build A Perfect Practice," they'd have to explain why it appears 6 out of the 10 don't practice law.

But wait, there's more..... 6 of the 10 have something to sell you, right on the front of their website.

Four (4) of the 10 appear, and I say "appear," to be actual practicing lawyers.

Listen, the 6 salespeople may sell very important products. They may be respected sales people who formally practiced law.

But the ABA couldn't find 10 practicing lawyers to speak to lawyers about building a successful practice?

This isn't a seminar, it's a commercial, a 90 minute commercial which may or may not come with a set of knives that you are free to keep even if you don't buy anything.

Having marketers come and speak to lawyers is important. Lawyers need to know how to market their practice, especially if they are the type that sit in an office and wonder why no one is calling. There are respected marketers (not as many as the snake oil salesmen) who have a place speaking to real lawyers.

I just don't understand why the ABA couldn't find 10 lawyers who have built a perfect practice. Are there not 10?

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


jennifer rose said...


You've nailed it on the head about the ABA in this post. The ABA definitely has been seduced by a throng of professional legal marketers who've found a venue for shilling their services. One even sent out a bulletin last fall:

“I'm so excited to announce that the American Bar Association
has called on Alexis to whip small and solo law firm owners into shape by
giving her 3 different sessions this year at the ABA National Small and
Solo Law Firm Conference in L.A.”

Not only is it evident that the ABA couldn’t find ten practicing lawyers who’ve built the perfect practice, the single ABA entity speciously dedicated to serving general practice, solo and small firm lawyers has stacked its officer ladder with only a single solo practitioner – filling the rest of the ranks with two military lawyers, a lawyer in a larger firm, and giving the nomination for its secretary to a judge. There is a contested election which will take place on Saturday morning. Even though 123 free memberships were handed out only a month ago (supposedly amounting to little more than a list of names), in contravention of the decision of the entity’s executive committee decision, the ABA GC’s office determined that those free members should be allowed to vote in this election.

Now, about that article you were asked to write for GP|Solo magazine. I suggested your name to the issue editor of that issue of the magazine. I am returning, after a three-year hiatus, as editor-in-chief of the magazine. I’ve seen the article, and it was terrific. I’m proud of the direction the magazine has taken, even if I was at its helm for a dozen years – but please don’t speak of the magazine and ABA politics in the same breath!

jennifer j. rose

Anonymous said...

This begs the obvious question. Why should you be a member of the ABA then if you are not gaining anything from it. Does membership enhance your ability to be lawyer?