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Do NOT Get Involved In Community Service If Your Heart Isn’t In It

The indented part of this post contains information  taken verbatim from the monthly newsletter of Harlan Schillinger, Vice President/Director of Legal Marketing for Network Affiliates, Inc. I’m sharing it here, with Harlan’s permission, because he makes some great points I want to share with you.

Although people go to law school for a variety of reasons, I believe most lawyers who represent consumers, families and small businesses became lawyers because they genuinely wanted to help people. Harlan Schillinger of Network Affiliates, a legal marketing firm, “get’s it.” This article reminds us that being a lawyer is about more than merely making money (although Harlan can help you do that, too).

Here’s Harlan’s newsletter from today (full disclosure, this is not an affiliate-link post, I am not being compensated for the post, and I don’t have a financial interest in  Network Affiliates). I just thought Harlan’s advice was too good not to share.):

Do NOT Get Involved In Community Service If Your Heart Isn’t In It

Community service is a great activity to participate in for many people and businesses. The difference between a business being involved in community service and a person engaging in community service is that a person will very rarely become involved in community service without having a passion for the cause. Businesses shouldn’t engage in community service unless the people representing the business have that same passion.

Community Service Won’t Build Your Business

While stating that community service won’t help you build your business seems contradictory to our position on community service, it actually makes perfect sense. The act of performing community service isn’t what helps your law firm when your firm volunteers its time. People gravitate towards the thought behind your firm volunteering, not the volunteering itself. Community service is an expression of the values your firm holds. The act of getting out in the community and helping out is merely a demonstration of what is important to your firm. But without having the underlying values that support your community service efforts, what is your firm actually doing?

Your Firm Has to Walk the Walk

If your firm does engage in community service without caring about the cause, people will see right through it. People will be able to tell if your brand cares about the cause based on your firm’s interest level at the events. If people see members of your firm in a general state of malaise and disinterest, it reflects poorly upon your brand. In fact, performing community service without caring about the cause you are volunteering for can actually have a negative impact on your firm’s brand. People will not want to do business with a firm that makes a mockery out of community service and sees the community as a means to an end. Your firm has to “walk the walk” when it comes to community service. If your firm doesn’t actually believe in community service, it will be painfully clear to others and people will not want to bring cases to your law firm. [Read more…]

The Plaintiffs’ Bar Goes Digital – Increasing Information to Consumers

Online legal marketing by consumer lawyers apparently shocks Big Business. Big Business has funded a study about legal marketing on the Internet that’s actually pretty interesting to read.

Would you believe that law firms which represent consumers will spend over $50 million on Google keyword advertising in 2012? That’s the estimate in a 38-page study, The Plaintiffs’ Bar Goes Digital. The study was just released by the Institute for Legal Reform, a front-group for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Multinational corporations have been waging war on consumers’ legal rights by spending millions lobbying in Washington, D.C. and every state capitol. They also have spent the past twenty years or more funding so-called “tort reform” publicity campaigns with millions spent to limit individuals’ legal rights.

Don’t consumer lawyers have the same right as Big Business to communicate directly to the public?

Both consumer lawyers and legal marketers will find lots of interesting nuggets in the study. The study, which is based on its own “estimates,’ say the biggest law firm spending money on Google keywords is Danziger & De Llan. The Institute suggests that the Danziger firm will spend over $16 million on Google keywords. This easily beats spender number 2, The Sokolove Firm, which will spend a little over $6 million according to Institute estimates. [Read more…]

Are most lawyers Luddites?

When it comes to technology, I’ve heard it said that most lawyers are Luddites. In case you’re not familiar with the term, here’s a brief description of Luddites from Wikipedia.com:

The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life.

If you look at surveys of law firms and their adoption of new technology and marketing methods, such as social media, you’ll see that a good argument can be made that most lawyers are in fact Luddites.

I’ve also heard it said that most lawyers can also be called laggards when it comes to both technology and marketing. The term “laggards” comes from the technology adoption lifecycle, which is a sociological model devised by professors at Iowa State University. The professors devised the model to predict how fast farmers would convert from using regular corn to hybrid corn. But the model is most frequently used to refer to the way consumers adopt new technologies. [Read more…]

Humor in attorney advertising? Jacoby & Meyers gives it a try.

A New York Times article reports that the national law firm of Jacoby & Meyers is using humor in a series of new television ads:

AMONG the most derided commercials on television are those by law firms that represent victims of accidents, which often feature tough-talking lawyers promising vengeance, video of car accidents and assorted mayhem, and modest production values.

Now a new campaign by Jacoby & Meyers, a law firm with offices in New York and throughout the United States, is taking the unconventional approach of eschewing lawyers and employing humor.

“Remember that guy?” begins one text-only commercial. “Who came in second in the last New York Marathon? Neither do we. Winning is everything.”

Another commercial opens with the song, “Hail to the Chief,” and shows portraits of the historical figures Horatio Seymour, Charles C. Pinckney, Hugh L. White and Lewis Cass. “Presidential elections are like lawsuits,” says a voiceover, “You’re nobody unless you win.” (The ad does not spell out the victors: Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren and Zachary Taylor, respectively.)

“They say,” begins yet another ad. “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. As long as you tried your best. They probably weren’t rear-ended by a truck. Jacoby & Meyers. Winning serious injury lawsuits since 1972.”

While I haven’t yet seen the ads, it sounds as if they will be a refreshing change from the typical cheesy television ads used by many personal injury law firms. I’ve been a believer in the use of humor in attorney advertising for years. We first used humor to generate buzz and obtain new clients in 2008, when we created the “Yamaha Rhino Complaint Department” YouTube video. Although our Yamaha Rhino marketing campaign is over, you can still watch the video on YouTube.

If you’re an attorney who is interested in using creative television or online video ads to obtain new clients, check out my Online Videos That Attract Clients page.

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No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The hiring of a law firm is a serious decision that should not be based on advertising alone.