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Should you self-promote in your blog posts? | Finding a lawyer via Google vs. social media

Posted Apr 11, 2014 8:35 AM CDT
By Sarah Mui

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Real Lawyers Have Blogs' Kevin O'Keefe noted a post at Business 2 Community titled "10 ways businesses can blog better." Tip No. 7 was that business blogs should append a "call to action" at the end of every blog post—a "call to action" being a sentence or two describing your business, credentials and contact information interspersed with some "call now!" type language. O'Keefe thinks putting this information in each post is the wrong way to go.

"Look at pieces in business journals, reviews, and publications," O'Keefe wrote. "Look at insight from doctors, engineers, professors, and commentators in these publications. You don’t see a 'call me for this or that' at the bottom. It’s just not done. Why accept that you and your blog posts are any less authoritative than pieces published by these folks? Why feel so vulnerable that you’ll offer your expertise but only if it includes a quasi-ad? People have no problem finding out who you are, what you do, and how to get a hold of you once they appreciate your passion, knowledge, expertise, and care. They’ll click over to an 'about' and 'contact' page on your blog."


When word of mouth won't do the trick

At Legal Productivity, Rocket Matter's Tim Baran shares the experience of a friend who needed a lawyer.

"Because of the very personal nature of her problem, my friend (let’s call her Beth) didn’t want to approach friends or post on social media asking for lawyer recommendations," Baran wrote. "So, she performed a Google search."

Beth was happy with the lawyer she found via Google at first, but "then things started to go south—primarily due to a lack of communication and tech savvy: they only communicated via telephone—no email or portal. And, they often failed to return a call. Deadlines were missed and blamed on the client for her lack of 'being on top of things.'"

Beth wanted to start over with another lawyer, and had Baran make a Facebook post on her behalf. She hired one of the lawyer recommendations Baran received and is so far satisfied.

Baran's takeaway: "Google search is effective in helping you find a lawyer. The lawyer you find might even be great—mostly because their website says so. Social media also helps you find lawyers who might be great—mostly because others say so. Much better."


Zero for effort

Jonathan Turley wrote about a recent example of zero-tolerance discipline at a New Jersey school. In this case, News 12 reports, a student who says he was twirling a pencil in class was suspended after a classmate blurted out: "He's making gun motions, send him to juvie."

It's school policy to investigate every time a student reports that he or she is threatened, Vernon Schools Superintendent Charles Maranzano told News 12. But how much investigation was really done?

"What I am unclear about is the absence of any discussion of witnesses," Turley wrote. "Surely, despite the superintendent’s statement, there is some basic duty of inquiry—particularly when the act allegedly occurs in a classroom. There is also no word on what the obligations of a school might be when there is a false allegation."

Zero-tolerance rules in schools seem to always be applied blindly, Turley wrote. "If you do not have to exercise judgment, you can never been blamed for any failure. Conversely, even when the public outcry results in a reversal, teachers and administrators never seem punished with the same vigor for showing no judgment or logic in punishing a child."


What about the men?

You wouldn't know it from reading most of what is published, but male lawyers sometimes dress inappropriately for a legal workplace, University of Denver Sturm College of Law professor Nancy Leong writes.

"Male lawyers wear pants in aspirational sizes, with the result that the outline of their genitalia is clearly on display. Male lawyers wear suits in linen and other thin fabric that I’m sure is very comfortable, but that—in certain lighting—is also exceedingly translucent. ... The point is that male lawyers dress sexually all the time." Leong wrote. Though she "personally wouldn’t characterize any of the displays I’ve described above as sexy."

Male lawyers can also dress inappropriately in nonsexual ways. "They wear light-colored shirts with yellow perspiration stains under the arms. They forego undershirts, choosing instead to display chest hair sprouting from the collars of their button-down shirts. They wear 'creative' socks with formal suits."

Women, as it is pointed out again and again—also dress inappropriately, sometimes in a way that could be deemed too sexual. "There’s nothing inherently sexist about having this conversation. Here’s what is sexist: singling out women for an issue that concerns both men and women," Leong wrote. "Let’s continue the conversation with the recognition that dressing professionally is an issue for both male and female lawyers, and that focusing exclusively on women reinforces the sexist tradition of policing the way women dress while giving men a free pass."

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