Old Fashioned Lawyer Gets Digital Wake Up
Jeffery R. Davis
Jeff Davis Law P.A.
Personal Injury Attorney
Jeffrey R. Davis is a Personal Injury attorney in Miami, Florida. With over 30 years of trial experience, Jeffrey's knowledge and legal navigational skills makes him one of the best choices for anyone who has been injured in the Miami area. Jeffrey is rated a perfect 10.0 on Avvo for Personal Injury law, and his clients say nothing but superb things about his service.
I’m old school. I still read a newspaper in the morning and still buy books made out of paper. As a kid growing up in New York in the 1960’s and 70’s, I learned about lawyers from my father who had a small general practice. He always said that, “Attorneys do not advertise”. Back then, it was not only considered unethical, it was actually unlawful. In the early 1970’s, there were no billboards, TV commercials or advertising for lawyers of any kind. The first lawyers that I can recall advertising was a firm that had a revolutionary idea of “store front lawyering” called Jacoby & Meyers. They were a national law firm that set up law offices in several major cities designed to assist the underprivileged. All the “real attorneys” scoffed at this notion and looked down their noses at them. Jacoby & Meyers became enormously successful and suddenly, things started to change.
By the 1980’s, lawyer advertising mainly consisted of telephone book advertisements, billboards, print media and limited television commercials. The “better law firms” were more creative in their advertising by sponsoring charitable events, hosting legal service organizations and providing sponsorship to beneficial organizations that would offer credible and beneficial name recognition.
By the late 90’s, the internet started to emerge as a new frontier in lawyer advertising. Those savvy enough to see what was coming began buying catchy and easy-to-remember domain names and establishing websites. The digital age began to dawn for computer savvy lawyers that realized the return on investment with internet marketing was exponentially better than conventional advertising mediums. While all of this is happening, I was reading the newspaper and blissfully unaware of the power of the internet and social media. I was still relying entirely on word of mouth and referring attorneys in order to get new clients.
By 2010, the incredible and overwhelming reach of social media became inescapable in virtually every profession – especially for attorneys. My colleagues were blogging, posting photographs and content on Facebook, expanding their websites into multi-media sensations, creating mobile applications and, generally speaking thoroughly embracing the power of digital marketing. I realized that I was a dinosaur. The days of word of mouth advertising, reliance on past clients and a good reputation was woefully inadequate to compete with the other lawyers. I thought it was impossible that an accident victim needing representation would be drawn in by a fancy website or google reviews versus an attorney with nearly 30 years of trial experience. I was 100% mistaken. Apparently, an online presence is paramount. Blogging, google reviews, website content, marketing efforts, emailing clients, press releases, social media campaigns and search engine optimization techniques are critical for the practicing lawyer that wants to stay busy. My colleagues that get up early in the morning and blog, post on Facebook and Snapchat and Instagram and Twitter, work with website developers and constantly upgrade and enhance their online appearance – they are getting attention and new clients. Apparently, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Now, I have learned to surround myself with “twenty-somethings” in order to remain digitally relevant. I understand and believe in the power of social media and, comprehend the enormous reach and scope that it holds. News and information spread like wildfire and it is imperative that the modern-day lawyer be available 24/7. Vacations, weekends, nights blend seamlessly with the 24-hour, 7-day-a-week cycle. The earlier days of “working hours” are long gone and now, the modern client demands instant attention and prompt answers and service. The smart phone, tablet, laptop are the corridors to the practice of law in a way no one like me could have ever envisioned. Now I get it, and I am ready to embrace it to better the service I provide to my clients, to make myself and my firm more accessible and to stay relevant and up to date in order to be the best lawyer I can.