Small Law Firms, Social Media

The Practice: The Future of Law Is Officially a Joke

There is a notion (held mostly by the unemployed and unhappy people in the comments section) that I may be the only person writing about the possibility that the internet and those that “sell” the internet to lawyers, as well as this notion of “branding” and spending your day reading self-fulfilling predictions on “the future of law” from the losers of our profession is, well, maybe not the be-all and end-all in the practice of law.

Sometimes I think maybe I’m wrong (no I don’t). Maybe the goal of all lawyers should be to be first on Google, maybe these LinkedIn endorsements will result in something, anything. Maybe I do need to pay some 28-year-old former fired lawyer to teach me how to use the internet. Maybe I’m not using Facebook in a way that will get high-net-worth clients calling my office every day. Maybe instead of building a practice by doing well for clients, I need to be a brand like Coca-Cola or Amazon.com.

There’s a reason all these future-of-law people have an effect on lawyers: lawyers want to make money. Lawyers want to believe. We want to continue to hope that what we convinced ourselves of is true — that a law degree is a ticket to wealth and fame. If it’s not happening for us, we will seek out those that say we’re doing it wrong, and for a fee, they can make everything peachy….

It’s no different than the late-night infomercials from the 1980s promising a real estate empire with “no money down.” We like to listen to, and pay, those that make us believe they can make our lives better. And we don’t even ask questions like, “How long did you practice law?,” or, “Can I have five references?” This is from the horse’s mouth, a marketer told me once that there are no easier clients to obtain than lawyers — they don’t ask questions.

In fact, last week there was a webinar for lawyers about how to make oodles of money. It was hosted by a former practicing lawyer whose efforts to make money teaching lawyers how to make money have resulted in bankruptcy and financial disaster.

Dozens signed up.

Because of this, I’m considering a webinar on how to be tall and Catholic, just to see the numbers of registered lawyers.

Shame on our profession.

But all is not lost. In the past couple weeks, others have noted the joke that we have made of our profession. This silly notion that success in the law doesn’t come from good legal work, but from being able to obtain a volume of calls from a fake presence, a creation of a “brand,” and trying very, very hard to get our hand to the top of the baseball bat of the internet. Sure the internet is a great resource for connections and information, but those that sit at their kitchen table and try to sell to lawyers can only do so through the internet, they have no other way to communicate, get business, and work — and their goal is to convince you of the same.

And so here it is — the internet, the place I often write about, has taken note of the same idiots you pray to as shepherds of numerous and high-paying clients. Here is a video summary of all the things we’re being told — and believing — are the future of law.

Here’s the social media consultant:

Here’s a better social media consultant:

Here’s your stupid “brand.”

Here’s your SEO expert:

All this stuff made me laugh, as good jokes do.

What makes me laugh harder, almost to the point of tears, is when I get an email from a young lawyer sheepishly admitting that they’ve wasted their money on all this crap — because it has resulted in nothing but a dwindled bank account.

At least now you can laugh about it, and I won’t be the only one.


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 bt@tannebaumweiss.com.

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