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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.

How Do You Feel About Résumé Builders?

Showing up for community service events just for the sake of being at events is like being a member of professional organizations just to put it on your résumé. So, if you are invested in the cause, support it. A stronger, more reputable brand will result in more cases for your firm and a higher chance of developing referral sources. What is your firm contributing to its community? For ideas on how your firm can get more active in your local community, contact Network Affiliates today.

This article was also published on Network Affiliates’ blog today.

About Michael J. Evans

Michael J. Evans is a personal injury lawyer who represents people with claims involving defective medicine or medical devices, other defective products that cause serious injury or death, and environmental cases. Evans also handles whistleblower lawsuits in which employees, or former employees, expose fraud or other illegal conduct by the corporation for which they work(ed), Evans organizes litigation groups of plaintiffs law firms to work with him on these cases nationwide. Evans uses social media, blogs, online video, mobile apps and traditional media to connect with clients, and help other prominent law firms connect with clients.. Evans is also an advocate for the rights of consumers. His primary areas of legal practice are mass torts, and advising law firms on the ethical rules and law governing legal marketing via the Internet and social media.

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