Scott Greenfield is the author of Simple Justice. His is a NY Criminal Law blog. Sometimes he comments about other things. I love the blog and I urge my readers to look at it. Scott writes well and posts often.
With that said, however I take umbrage. Scott seems to think that all lawyers do on the Internet is market themselves and that doing so makes us no more than "used car salesmen" (actually he thinks us lower than used car salesmen.) I do not agree. Not only do I think it is our right to market ourselves but I feel it is a duty. Here is my response to Scott's post.
I doubt anybody who blogs for meaning does so only for the work, or only for the clients. For me, my blog and my tweets and my meetings, and my answering questions on Avvo and Lawguru and my time spent on Listserves and bulletin boards and writing articles and speaking at CLEs are all opportunities to teach others about something I love doing...practicing law.
I also like to post about my victories and good ideas (the few I have)because what we do is difficult and often demoralizing and reading about someones win or good idea is a way to encourage others to keep at it.
That said, I would not be able to do all of this other work without the fact that doing this stuff is a way to get clients.
There was never a time when lawyers didn't market. That is how Martindale-Hubbell came to be. The truth is that Big-law always had the upper-hand in marketing so they made the rules about lawyers not advertising. Not because there was some altruism to it but because that would have given "unworthies" (i.e. Jews, Italians and minorites) a chance to flourish. I remember my great uncle telling me the story of the first of his SCOTUS wins (he won 7 times) they wouldn't let him sit in the well because when they asked him his name, they couldn't believe he was really a lawyer. Legal advertising only evened the playing field a little. It allowed lawyers with money to invest to be seen. Of course we were limited to the Yellow Pages and those guys ripped off the young and solo lawyer with their ridiculous fees and bait and switches.
The Internet has been the great equalizer and any lawyer who is worth the work is cheating clients if he doesn't let them know about his services. Instead of seeing marketing as a bad thing for our profession, maybe we need to get off of our pedestals and see that it is the best thing that ever happened to consumers of legal services. Great lawyers who no one ever heard about now had a chance for small investment of time and funds can now compete with the biggest of the advertisers for clients and clients are getting to pick from among a greater and more diverse group of lawyers than ever before.
Clients are not stupid, they can tell the difference between someone who is trying to make a difference and someone who is trying to make a buck. Just like the guy on Twitter who tweets only his own blog or accomplishments is soon a very lonely tweeter, the lawyer who only pushes his own "brand" at people without backing it up will be seen as the fraud he is, now far sooner than in days of old. For the betterment of the profession and the consumers, long live the ethical & intelligent marketing lawyer.
In the name of being an ethical and hopefully intelligent marketing lawyer, you can find my website at www.colleluorilaw.com, and can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/thatlawyerdude