A recent Wall Street Journal article on young attorneys who are building buzz through their regular use of Twitter made an interesting observation:

The old tools of branding—snazzy ties, confident bluster and gimmicky ads—are being replaced by a prominent web presence.

Focusing on a couple of Manhattan’s young gunslingers trying to earn a reputation for themselves in that highly competitive criminal law marketplace, the article explored the way these attorneys are using Twitter and a blog to aggressively market themselves.

One of the partners at Galluzzo & Johnson – Zachary Johnson, 34 – said, "It’s a very cost-effective way of marketing. Facebook and Twitter are becoming so prevalent amongst consumers of all services, we would be doing ourselves a disservice as a law firm to not use these channels to reach people."

On the other side of the fence is well-known Bronx criminal defense attorney Murray Richman, 73, who finds any type of law firm advertising – including social media marketing – distasteful.

Richman noted in the article that when he started his practice, he got clients by going to “bars, clubs and pool rooms on a Friday night. By the end of the night I had five, 10 or 12 new cases because they got to know me."

And that is the crux of the matter, really – getting potential clients to know you. Back in the day, Mr. Richman went where his potential clients could be found, in bars and clubs. Today, Messrs. Galluzzo and Johnson meet their potential clients online, tweeting and blogging about their experiences and opinions on cases in the news so they can become known.

Different times, different methods.

Mr. Johnson concedes that a solid legal reputation is built on what you do in the courtroom, saying, “At some point you have to win big cases. No amount of blogging or tweeting is going to put you on that level.” 

He goes on to add: “But can you get a big case using social media? Absolutely."

And as we all know, you gotta get ‘em before you can win ‘em.


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