Advertising and marketing your law firm’s services can be dicey and expensive. It can also be confusing, given the choices between Yellow Pages, late night television, or autotweeting about car accidents. On top of that, you often must comply with state disciplinary rules, which typically involve complex manipulations of the First Amendment.
Sandwich boarding, however, provides a simple, inexpensive, and ethical alternative. It’s immediate, potentially powerful, and allows you to target your advertising, whether at a NASCAR race, the opera, or white-water rafting. For the extrovert, it’s much more personal and affirming, particularly if you are adept at using a megaphone and can exude carnival-like “fun” as you work.
Interestingly, criminal defense work is a prime area to use sandwich boarding. In addition to sandwich boarding at perp walks, consider wearing a sandwich board at casinos, 7 Elevens, banks, and corporate shareholder meetings. If you are able to snag an invite to a dog fight, a well-crafted sandwich board will definitely set you apart. Boxing matches are another great venue, as are biker bars, provided that you hit the dance floor with your sandwich board. Finally, walking along a highway late at night with a sandwich board could land you in the hospital but reward you with significant DUI or personal injury work.
While the opportunity for criminal defense work seems limitless, it’s not the only area of law that could benefit significantly from sandwich boarding. Others include admiralty, legal malpractice matters, clergy abuse, and Third Amendment law.
Don’t worry if your primary marketing strategy is online. Sandwich boarding works well on the web. Photograph yourself wearing a sandwich board and post it to Twitter through photo-sharing services, such as Plixi or Twitpic. Potential clients use Twitter extensively and often hire an attorney based on the attorney’s Klout or interestingness. So, consider checking in through Twitter or Foursquare with timely posts, such as “Practicing law @starbucks til 3 with my peeps. Got my sandwich board. Hire me. #yayz”
Finally, a word to the wise. In some jurisdictions you may be required to submit your sandwich board to the state bar for review and evaluation. Take into account the postage associated with getting sandwich boards to the appropriate disciplinary authority. Better yet, show up in person with your sandwich board and megaphone so that the review agency knows the full extent of your public advertisement or communication. Unlike traditional advertising, remember that context counts with sandwich boarding. Good luck and post your successes here or on Twitpic. We’ll definitely retweet them.