And so last week I wrote about mentors, questioning whether today’s young lawyers considered them crucial to professional and personal development. I questioned whether the high calling of being a lawyer has today been reduced solely to a desire for cash, and as such, nothing more than the hope to be “first” on Google and have a “game changing” web presence.
Which brings me to what you can call “Part II” of last week’s mentoring post, and an example of a lawyer to emulate.
There are certain lawyers that bring to mind a one- or two-word description. David Boies — Bush / Gore, Morris Dees — Civil Rights, Clarence Darrow — Criminal Defense, and when I hear “First Amendment,” I think Marc Randazza.
When I hear “first page of Google,” I can’t name one lawyer, and if I can, it’s not a lawyer that matters, except maybe to a bunch of lawyers looking to be the next internet sensation. Being an internet sensation as a lawyer is no different than having been a yellow pages sensation in the previous generation. Ever seen an obituary of a lawyer that said: “She was respected for her two-page, multicolored ads that were placed ahead of all other lawyers in the yellow pages”?
Marc Randazza isn’t an internet sensation. He’s only got about 275 followers on Twitter (and is therefore clearly on his way out of the profession if you ask any social media expert), but Marc Randazza matters.
Would you like to matter in this profession? Will you ever do anything important — anything that causes others to think of you as “that” lawyer for “that” type of case or issue? Or are you just hoping to win that stupid lawsuit against your law school for forcing you to go there because they promised you a job? Or maybe you’ve just bought in to the lie that to survive as a lawyer, you must vomit all over the internet with whatever your marketer tells you is the latest trick to game Google?
And before the commentariat’s collective head explodes, yes, Marc Randazza is my lawyer. I’m in the group currently being sued by Joseph Rakofsky….
Recently, I’ve noticed some discussion of Marc Randazza by other bloggers, and even his undergraduate university (where he flunked out three times). Maybe you don’t know Marc Randazza. Maybe you haven’t read any of the stories about his work. Maybe you’ve never heard of Righthaven.
So I ask the question: if you are interested in First Amendment Law, which nationally-known First Amendment lawyer have you watched, read, contacted, met, stolen ideas from, thanked for writing a brief that inspired you, or simply created a plan for yourself to become a lawyer like that lawyer? Or are you just hoping your SEO hack can create 47 websites for you, with crappy blog posts full of links in the hopes you can “appear” as the go-to lawyer for First Amendment law?
The same question goes for family law, employment law, criminal law (prosecution or defense), or any other discipline.
Who are you trying to become? Who? Has that question even gone through your mind, or are you simply on the train of lawyers accepting the lies that your future will be created online?
When I type in “First Amendment Lawyer” on Google, Marc Randazza comes up not first, or third, or fifth – he comes up eighth. Not only does he come up eighth, but he comes up because someone else wrote about him. It’s not his website, not due to his SEO prowess or marketing strategy — it’s because someone else wrote something about this important lawyer. Some other lawyer thought Marc Randazza worthy of a post, a thought, a collection of words about the man.
Is anyone writing about you, other than your marketer, other than you? Has your marketer told you that all he can do is create posts and websites and blogs for you, and that none of this will result in another lawyer or university writing about how great you are as an advocate or counselor?
In order to create something — something important — you have to first learn from those that have created ahead of you. So who’s on your list? Who’s the lawyer(s) you aspire to be like?
Marc Randazza is one of the most prominent First Amendment lawyers in the country, yet he isn’t first on Google. He isn’t even on the first page by any marketing he’s paid for — he’s just there, in the middle, because he’s caught the attention of another member of the Bar.
The question is whether you want to be a lawyer that other lawyers write about (positively), or whether you want to just pay for or create a fake reputation.
If you want to be a lawyer like Marc Randazza, then watch Marc Randazza, say “hi” to Marc Randazza, and find other lawyers with a reputation like Marc Randazza. They can’t sell you an internet marketing package, and they can’t help you buy your way to the first page of Google.
But they can give you advice, either directly or by way of watching their actions or reading their words — advice that may result in some lawyer writing about you on some blog someday.
Brian Tannebaum will never “get on board” at the advice of failed lawyers who were never a part of the past but claim to know “the future of law.” He represents clients, every day, in criminal and lawyer discipline cases without the assistance of an Apple device, and usually gets to work (in an office, not a coffee shop) by 9 a.m. No client has ever asked if he’s on Twitter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.