Your Mother Follows This NYC Bankruptcy Lawyer on “The Twitter”

But really, does that matter? Does that make me a good lawyer? Or a better one? No. No it does not. These summer months have allowed yours truly, a Bankruptcy lawyer in Manhattan, to step back and think about my firm. Specifically, the “marketing” aspect of what we do. And it has put some things into focus.

First and foremost, I think it’s critical you understand that we’re not really good at what we do simply because various review sites say we are. I started using review sites years ago when I started this firm because I figured there was no way I could compete with my counterparts in terms of their internet budget. Now everyones joined the bandwagon. But getting back to the issue of reviews, there is a reason why theres an ethical standard attorneys have to follow. Namely, we must always state that past performance is not indicative of future results. Realistically, if I did a great job on Megan’s Bankruptcy (there is no Megan), that, in and of itself, does not guarantee every future case will turn out just as stellar. As I’ve said countless times before, you need to kick my tires. You need to come into my office and have me greet you and you need to ask questions about your case to gauge my competence. Trust me, if you think that you can’t do that with a lawyer, you’re mistaken. Which leads me to my next point…

We have an office. Two, actually. And they’re staffed with employees and coffee and everything. MANY attorneys will differ on this, and I think their arguments about having a “virtual” office are fine, but it doesn’t work for me and it never will. Just because I have an office, that doesn’t mean, by itself, that I’m better than an attorney who works from home. In fact I’m sure many experienced attorneys do this. It is, however, the “new” thing. What it does mean is I’m more than willing to forfeit some profit (for the love of God, a lot of profit) from the firm to ensure that you, a client, always have a place where you can physically meet me whenever you need to. Thats critical for me and its critical for almost every single client I encounter. I believe that’s the way it should be for attorneys. Maybe you’re OK with only speaking with your lawyer over the phone. Maybe some other lawyer can “pass the savings to you” by only meeting remotely. You’re not buying strawberries at Walmart, though. You’re filing Bankruptcy or closing on a home. Sit down and lets talk for a few minutes.

And perhaps most importantly, social media is the most overrated thing to come into the practice of law since the term “hanging a shingle”. The whole shingle thing connotes having a disease. Whatever. As I’ve had some time to use Twitter and Facebook and all of the other goodies that should be increasing my web traffic exponentially, I’ve realized that much of it, for purposes of the legal realm, is noise. In fact, almost all of it. There is a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk. Wrote an amazing book on social media and using it correctly. He sells wine. I practice law. I think it’s a great way to reach some people or to share some information, but its not the end all/be all of a practice. In other words, just because your mother is following me on Twitter doesn’t mean I’m a big deal. It really doesn’t. I’m a big deal because I got in the NY Times twice last month (kiddddinngg). I’m finding more and more lawyers are turning to these mediums without really knowing what in the world they’re doing. They’re just re-tweeting articles that other people re-tweeted, or telling me they got a parking ticket. I can’t do it. Some people can but I can’t…as a means of marketing my firm.

To be honest, the above blog, or at least most of it, was born out of the fact that my firm has been, and currently is, expanding. We’re growing and we will be doing announcing a few things in the next months which should hopefully enhance what we provide you with on a daily basis. And I thought “why not heighten that growth by using social media, setting up a FB page, etc.” Ironically, it was on Twitter that I learned my lesson. A few lawyers who have been practicing for, oh, I dont know, several millennia, made the issue perfectly clear for me. Its the service we provide to you, the actual legal work we do, that should be the reason you’re coming to us. Not some Tweet or the ability to do some Google + hangout. Its us focusing on the work and on making you know that you’re an important part of this firm. Thats good business. I was mistaken when I previously thought that if I just gave my clients the ability to tweet me questions or to have a Skype appointment, that we would reach so many more people. Maybe it will happen someday, but I don’t really care if Im not the first person to that Ball. I want to ensure each client is treated well, with respect, and their case is handled just as well. I cant do that in under 140 characters.