For those who would like further proof that I don’t always spend my time wisely: I am collecting (cutting and pasting?) email signatures of lawyers on various listservs that I frequent. Don’t ask. Maybe it’ll make a blog post some day.  Just today, this one popped out at me:

Attorney’s Name

Address/Contact Info/Blah Blah Blah

Concentrating in criminal defense, personal injury/police misconduct, divorce and grievance/disciplinary defense

I guess if I didn’t waste loads of my time on stupid projects (see first paragraph, e.g.) perhaps I could concentrate on five things at once too.


Andy Nolen's Bad Day

July 23, 2009 could have been a very good day for Houston lawyer Andy Nolen.

On that day, one of his clients, “jerry k.”, decided to give him a token of appreciation, a review on Yahoo local of all Nolen had done for him:

THIS GUY IS GREAT. Got to court early and stayed like 3 hours with my family.

Not the greatest thing you could ever say about a lawyer, that he actually managed to show up, and then bothered to spend a modicum of time with the client and his family; but since showing up in the first place is not Nolen’s strong suit, hey, every little bit helps, right?

Unfortunately for Andy, that’s not where the story ends.

(What would that story be anyway? One client out of who knows how many hundreds total that isn’t pissed off that you didn’t even bother to show up? Not statistically impressive – several standard deviations below the mean.)

The plot twist in this sordid tale is that anonymous internet commenter “jerry k.” just couldn’t leave well enough alone. He went on to leave reviews for many other criminal defense lawyers in Houston, and guess what? Instead of the 5 out of 5 stars Andy got for (a) showing up and (b) being off of disciplinary probation from the State Bar, every other lawyer received negative one star reviews.

All on July 23, 2009 at that. Why is this bad news for Andy Nolen, Esq? Well for starters, it’s reasonable to assume that “jerry k.” didn’t actually hire and fire many lawyers and complain about all of them on the same day; it’s more likely that some scoundrel was trying to make Nolen look good and everyone else bad.

I’m actually getting to the blogswarm late, and have noticed that two days after everyone else wrote about this, jerry k.’s profile on yahoo has mysteriously been all but deleted.

Hmmmmm. I’m sure Nolen knew about all the bad press he’s been getting the last few days - the Avvo blog for example, and the news even reached Miami, Florida.  But it's amazing that jerry k. learned about it so quickly.  Nolen didn't have primary access to jerry k.'s account, did he?

Those Who Can, Do

Certainly the most gullible among us must wonder at times why the get rich quick gurus advertising on late night TV don’t make millions for themselves by using their own repossessed real estate advice, instead of selling all of us shmucks the secrets to eternal wealth for just three-easy-payments of $99.

If it’ll only take me an average of 3 or 4 hours a week to show up at the county auction to buy foreclosed properties at pennies on the dollar, which can then be resold for hundreds of thousands, why would anyone let me in on how I could do it myself? Wouldn’t it be more profitable to hire someone to show up at the auction and literally do your bidding for you?

Lawyers should likewise be skeptical of other “lawyers” or “experts” hawking their law firm marketing advice. Again, if it’s so damn profitable, why aren’t they using the secrets to the their own success? Is there any difference between these two types of scam artists?


If You Too Have Driven A Car Into a Pool...

Fish. Barrel. Ka-Blam! (Really, it’s too easy.)

You don’t want to - or is that can’t be bothered to? - write your own blog, so you get someone to do it for you. After all, blogs are the “next big thing” in lawyer marketing. Pay someone a monthly fee, and they’ll… well, what will they do?

For a criminal defense blog they’ll take a story out of the newspaper about someone being arrested; then blurb it without attribution; and finish with a final paragraph that reads something like:

If you too have been [fill-in-the-blank] then call me me me at this number NOW!

Better watch out though. Someone else is “writing” this garbage and sticking your name on it. Here’s an example of some of that fine lawyer marketing.

First, a story in the paper appears about a Florida DUI arrest where the defendant drove her car into someone’s pool. Second, your marketing guy that writes your blog condenses this down to two paragraphs – without linking to the story itself.

But that’s not enough. Sure, that’s fascinating, relevant to your practice, and is going to make anyone and everyone charged with DUI in a 100 mile radius want to call you immediately. But you really need that call to action.

(As Dave Barry often writes, “I am not making this up.”) So you add the coup de grace to your blog entry:

If you too have driven a car into a pool and are in need of an experienced DWI lawyer, contact the [Geographical Location] DWI lawyers of the Law Office of [First Name Last Name] at 1-800-123-4567 to discuss your situation and to determine your legal options.

If you too have driven your car into a pool? Are you kidding me – who hasn’t?