Let’s face it. To succeed in legal marketing, or anything to do with working with lawyers, you have to have a tough shell. I spoke on a webinar this week with Darryl Cross and John Byrne where we discussed social media. We’ve all spoken on the topic in the past. Darryl and I have participated together on a panel. John and Darryl have participated together. But this was the first time the three of us joined forces. The conversation, from my perspective, was fluid. We followed the outline as best we could. There’s a certain chemistry between us that allowed for banter. We didn’t all agree with one another, which leads to a more interesting debate. We did what we were asked to do. And we got slammed in some of the reviews. I was completely shocked. I don’t think everyone is going to like anything that I do or say, but, jeez, a couple of the comments (okay, one specific, but he wrote on and on) were just downright harsh.

The worst …. Unfocused …. Poor quality.

Ouch. I’ve spoken on the subject, in a similar roundtable format, before lawyer groups and have received glowing reviews, as have we all, so what went wrong here?? It hit me quickly. I wasn’t just speaking before a group of lawyers. I was speaking before a group of litigators. And, litigators are a different breed within the law firm dynamic. Litigators are trained to look for loopholes and to then drive a Mack Truck through them. Litigators are more skeptical than your average attorney. Litigators live by the rules, written and codified if possible. Litigators want proof. Litigators are not comfortable with fluid. So what am I taking away from this?

  • We should have better identified our audience. Knowing they were lawyers was not enough. We needed to know what kind and type of lawyer comprised our audience.
  • We should have had a bullet-pointed program, and stuck to it. An outline was not enough.
  • We should have downplayed our camaraderie/chemistry and provided a more fact-based presentation.

I don’t think we would have met everyone’s expectations in the audience. That’s pretty impossible to do. I did, however, hear back from other people on the call who found our presentation informative and interesting. If you follow my blog or have seen me present, you know I am a colloquial writer and speaker. I don’t present from the vantage point of the legal ethicist, nor do I hold myself out to be an expert of any kind on legal ethics. I present from the vantage point of the business developer and marketer. I operate within the confines of the legal ethics.  I look to the lawyers in our midst, the ABA and the state bar associations, for their interpretation of the rules as they apply to my states of operation. However, the legal ethics of social media are presently developing, so right now we’re operating off the current rules of professional conduct. As for me, personally? I’ll take solace that while I got slammed harder than John or Darryl, my overall ratings were also the highest. I guess somebody out there liked me :D.