I usually cry when Brian Tannebaum says I’m not a real lawyer. But, after sobbing for an hour and eating some chocolate ice cream, I feel a bit better. And then I carry on. In fact, after being called a fake lawyer now for the last few months, I’ve come to embrace the phrase. Not only that, I have begun to proselytize being a fake lawyer and all that it takes to be one, doling out advice that hundreds of thousands of attorneys have now implemented into their practices. How did I manage to do this in just a few months? Here’s how.
Buy a Domain. This is easy. GoDaddy is cheap, as are many other domain registrars. But buy something cute like technolawgical.com or ninjarocketlawyer.com. Just be aware that some of the best ones, like biglegalbrain, are already taken. Don’t get discouraged by the lack of great-sounding domains for law marketing and legal practice advice. There’s a domain out there waiting for you, just work hard to find the right one.
Use Gmail and Google Apps. Gmail and Google Apps allow you to have up to fifty emails (plus aliases) on your new domain, as well as Google Docs and a bunch of other stuff I’ve never used. And it’s cloud-based, an important thing you can talk about later in your blog posts. Don’t worry about using your real name for email. It’s not the name that’s fake, it’s the lawyering. I happen to use firstname.lastname@example.org because it sounds really fake and totally cool.
Create a Twitter Handle. Last time I looked, Twitter doesn’t care if you are a real or a fake lawyer. They don’t care if you are a dog. That’s super handy for fake lawyers. So, set up a Twitter account with your domain name, your dog’s name, or your real name. Or all three. Then take things to the next step.
Install WordPress. WordPress runs about twelve percent of the internet. Seriously. And it’s easy to set up and use. Pick a cool looking theme and you are ready to get started with the key aspect of being a fake lawyer like me.
Provide Advice. Start providing advice. This sounds hard, but it’s easy for a couple of reasons. First, start following as many law marketing and legal tech gurus as you can on Twitter. They typically come up with hundreds of good ideas every day. Just riff off one of them, or rip one off directly. It doesn’t matter because redundancy today is a social media virtue.
Second, blog about what you do or think about each day, even if it’s cooking, watching TV, or thinking about what you are doing each day. Just relate what you see or do back to the law in some remote way, such as “Law Marketing Lessons Learned from Herb Gardening” or “What Law Firms Could Learn from Glee.” This way, you provide some ready-made and true-to-the-heart advice. For tech-related posts, just blog about what you happen to use on any given day. For example, did you have trouble setting up Google Apps? After you get it figured out, blog about how easy it was to set up and how it has improved your fake lawyering. No one said the advice had to be based in reality. This isn’t high school.
Pimp Your Content. You cannot get far if the only thing you do is blog and Twitter. Take the next step and pimp your content. One of the easiest ways to pimp your content is to provide comments on other blogs. For instance, on someone else’s blog post about social media, comment about how great the post was (it’s important to praise the post, even if it is crap) but then mention you have a post with a similar (or contrary) position. Then hyperlink to it. You stand to gain a dozen or so hits with each comment. Try commenting below to see how it works.
Or instead of strategic comment placement, retweet your content for several days, making sure you preface it with “in case you missed it” or “given recent discussions.” If you pimp your content frequently enough, not only do you begin to build traffic to your blog, but you are likely to capture the attention of social influencers. While that attention may be fleeting (such as a single retweet or even a typo), milk that misplaced attention for weeks.
In the end, if you properly pimp your content, you may get an invite to a conference. Don’t balk at paying the high registration fees and travel costs. Or don’t worry about an invitation. Just Go. Conferences are for personal pimping, which some elderly lawyers still call networking. It also gives you dozens of opportunities to mention and tweet about who you see, hear, or discuss. A single tweet that mentions the live sighting of a thought leader has immense power, even if at the time of the sighting you were in the audience or at an adjacent urinal.
I’ll be honest, though. I’ve not yet made it to a conference, though I did livefake my presence at the New York Tech Show (livefaking is a topic I’ll discuss in another post). While I invited myself to speak at the ABA TechShow in April, organizers rejected me, apparently because they had planned the content of the conference six years ago. That said, though, I will still be at the ABA TechShow as an attendee this year, focusing on law conference fashions, a real niche subject in the blawgosphere.
With proper planning and the right attitude, you can get used to crying about being a fake lawyer. As we’ll see with my first foray at a legal conference, I’m about to take fake lawyering to the next final step. If I do it right, I’m sure I’ll make a number of people unhappy, increase traffic to my site, and burnish my reputation. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Tannebaum. I ain’t scared of you.