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    How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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Comments

Rob Hyndman

One could write a book - several perhaps - on how the profession has squandered trust. And it would start with the billable hour, no doubt. And this is not just about lawyers - as a society we have had problems lately with trust in a wide variety of contexts. Enron. Worldcom. Martha. Priests. Athletes. The list goes on. Are we watching the slow death of trust?

But back to lawyers. Perhaps the profession has gotten too cozy believing that it knows best. Well, there is no question that this will change. Clients will require it. They have more power now, and this will go a long way to changing the way the profession behaves.

For myself, trust is one of the main reasons I left BigLaw to do it on my own. And building a brand to convey trust was the first thing on my mind as I established my practice.

Blogging, of course, changes everything. I wrote recently on my blog that blogging is the killer app of community - well, for similar reasons, it's a killer app of trust. People can come to my blog and learn about me. They can read what I stand for, they can find out what I believe, they can learn what I know. I blog because I think and because I write, but I also blog because I want the people I deal with to know who I am - to build trust. It's my way - the first way, at least - to create that relationship.

P.S. Thanks for the tip about the book - I've just ordered it.

Prof. Yabut

I'm not sure what your prescription is for building trust, Abnu. I believe consumers are smart enough to know that the tacky ads do not represent every sector of the legal profession, much less every lawyer. The profession's image problem existed centuries before lawyer advertising existed.

As I discuss in the post Brand LEX, most efforts at branding that I have seen and read about seem to be aimed at "gaining your trust so that we can charge you more." (see also my jackals post).

With over a million practicing lawyers, our profession is far too diverse to be "branded" and the consumer/client knows that lawyers play many roles and come in many tastes and sizes. The task of being seen as a Trusted Advisor can't happen overnight, but comes down to each lawyer and law firm practicing in a manner that gains that trust -- giving advice that fits the client's needs and truly puts the client's interests first (including financial interests), rather than the lawyer's goal of maximizing income and his or her own authority and prestige.

JR

"Believe it or not, most lawyers don't understand that the professional services business they're in is the business of the Trusted Advisor. Trust me, this book should be required reading for law students. It might be too late for lawyers."

Abnu: That book is assigned for me to read over spring break, i.e. right now. So, at least one school, Southern Illinois University, is making law students read the book.

BrandomaticEsquire

Hey, I advertise. I have a helluva brand. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it

Evan

Mr. BrandomaticEsquire: Do your clients choose you because of your wit or your charm? Or both? Please do tell!

Adam

Abnu, that pirate clip had me in tears.
Defenestration. Classic.
Thanks much.
-Adam

Abnu

Evan, Thanks for the opportunity to be a Guest Blogger here. It has now been posted over at Wordlab, too, with this footnote:

This piece was written as a Guest Blogger's post for the entertainment of lawyers and law students on Evan Schaeffer's Notes from the (Legal) Underground, a lawyer's weblog with a difference. It's not so stuffy.

It was fun to write, and I enjoyed reading the comments by your peeps, as well.

Jeremy, I'm glad to see that some law students are required to read The Trusted Advisor, and I hope others take advantage of the tip and read this book even if it isn't required by their law schools.

It was nice to hear from Rob Hyndman that at least one of the lawyers, whom I had practically written off as beyond taking a tip from a blogger, were quick to pick up on the real takeaway from this post and ordered the book, too. I hope other lawyers don't miss my point and think that this book is just good for law students.

David Giacalone can't find many answers in my post, allowing that I raised a few good questions, if I understand his post about it on his f/k/a blog. I found his take on branding by law firms, as a ploy to overcharge, a bit too cynical. Maybe I overlooked his tongue in cheek as much as he appears to have missed mine.

Adam was quick to pick up on the "pirate clip" as being the real point of all this. A while ago, I sent this clip to Evan by email and we shared a good laugh. When Evan didn't follow-up with a post about the pirate lawyer advertisement, I begged him to let me do a Guest Post about it. I'm really glad he agreed.

So, that's the story behind this post. I hope nobody got too offended when I said, "Lawyers don't have a clue about branding." I was overstating the point just a bit, for literary effect. Too few do, but some of those who hang out around here obviously have a very good understanding of branding. You know who you are.

Taco John

The biggest problem with not knowing what business you are in is that it's not just a marketing or branding problem, as many people (especially lawyers who didn't get enough business training) believe. It's a strategy issue which prevents you from probably growing your business and maintaining a competitive advantage. Too many law firms, especially tv-commercial personal injury lawyers and mega-firms believe what they are selling is the ability to win cases or get a better deal in a negotiation. More people and emphasizing large cash settlements or judgements are what you would do to further that strategy. But rarely is that really what a law firm is selling. And then on the flip side, there are law firms who think the idea of producing a product or service which is just like anything else is beneath them.

Abnu

The street is a sideshow from the peddler to the corner girl

Life is a carnival, it's in the book

Life is a carnival, take another look

Nancy

Personal branding is the best career marketing tool today to get you there. And branding generates the kind of chemistry that helps hiring decision makers pre-qualify you as a good fit and sound hiring investment. The branding for lawyers especially requires you to bring around multi facets of your business together, the multi faceted values for your law firm includes the goals, the values, the strategies that you may want to implement in your business.

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