This is a post about the internet, and yes, it’s about small law firms.

You’re still in the race to page one of Google. Nothing is more important. It’s tiring. Your marketeer tells you that blogging is king. You don’t have time to blog, you need clients now — you aren’t interested in waiting for some client to think you had something interesting to say in your blog, and in turn, call your office, or some lawyer to read what you wrote and refer you a case.

Not a problem, says the marketeer. It doesn’t matter what you write, as long as your website is linked throughout the posts, like this:

Recently, this Craptown family lawyer read about a father being held in contempt for failing to pay child support. This case was not in Craptown and did not involve a Craptown family lawyer. As a Craptown family lawyer, it is important that anyone in Craptown who has a problem with Craptown family law call a Craptown family lawyer. It is unclear whether the father sought the services of a Craptown family lawyer, but contempt is a bad thing and is a reason to seek out a Craptown family lawyer. So for those of you fathers that are broke, it may be time to call a Craptown family lawyer.

These blogs all suck, say nothing, and exist only based on the marketeer’s promise of clients finding you via Google and dropping off a pile of cash at your office. The authors are very very very proud of their prose, as the marketeers cheer on their attempts to game Google. “Hey man, that last post was great, you had 27 links to your website.”

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the vast amounts of Biglaw associates who read every single word of this column under duress every single week while waiting for their next assignment, but for those small firm and solo practitioners, I have a question: Does it work?

Really, I’m asking.

Do clients call your office and say, “I read that great post you wrote and couldn’t get enough of your website every time I clicked a link”?

I often get accused of being a hypocrite when it comes to the internet and internet marketing. I understand the criticism; people are just that stupid that their ability to read doesn’t extend to an ability to comprehend.

I think the internet is a great and horrible tool for lawyers. I participate on Facebook, Twitter, to a lesser extent that worthless site, LinkedIn, and I blog. I blog. I write things. I don’t write things for the search engines, and I don’t write things hoping to “get clients.” If a client reads something I wrote and it causes them to call me, great. But it is not the reason I write. I know, impossible for you to believe. That’s because you do nothing that doesn’t involve an attempt to “get clients.”

I do not, nor have I ever, paid someone to teach me to use the internet or social media. I do not, nor have I ever, paid someone to blog for me, teach me to blog, or ask others to link to my blog. The fact that no client has ever asked if I’m on Twitter doesn’t mean I’m not on Twitter, I am. I do things on Twitter like… talk to people. I don’t repeatedly post automated links to my website. So when I say that no client has ever asked if I’m on Twitter, it simply means that no client has ever hired me because “hey, I saw you posting links over and over and over and over again on Twitter.”

Are they hiring you for that reason?

Again, and again, and again, I think internet marketing can be a great thing. If you’re honest, clients can get an honest picture of who you are. If you’re a lying or automated or link-baiting piece of crap, there’s a place for you in internet marketing as well. If your goal is simply to be read first, then it doesn’t matter to you what you write, and you will continue to just be a target for calls from shoppers and broke clients looking for a shoulder to cry on.

So I ask again, does it work? Does your fake, automated, link-filled internet presence work? Do you like telling other lawyers the name of the company that “blogs for you?” Do you get satisfaction writing a blog post that has 48 links to your website? Does that make you proud to be a lawyer? Do you like giving up your ethics to a marketing company that has the keys to your Facebook page or Twitter account? Do you like when a national story explodes on Twitter and your marketer has automated your tweets so that in between all the talk of another school shooting, you keep coming up with posts about personal injury with links to your firm?

Here’s some free marketing advice:

Stop the multiple links in your blogs, and stop automating your social media accounts.

Fire anyone who you hired to do this for you.

Stop being an internet marketing whore, and start being a lawyer.


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 [email protected].


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