» Marketing, Practice in General » Getting Internet “Clients”

Getting Internet “Clients”

I’m a big deal. I have a blog. The ABA even gave me a little badgy thingy despite the fact I placed last. Regardless, I’m a badass. Check out what my enduring internet fame has given me:

Is my plea going to get better? Do prosecutors quit giving offers after it’s set for trial?

And this:

Can I possess a firearm?

Or have a look at this one:

The police are at my door. I’m in New Jersey. What do I do? Need free advice ASAP. No money, LOL.

I’m making these up, of course, but the real ones are worse. Trust me.

Sadly, these types of messages are the fruits of my labors. I’m no Eric Mayer of Unwashed Advocate fame (have a listen here), but I work the interwebs real good. They get me the clients. And by “clients,” I mean people who have real problems that will take time to solve but who have little if any chance of ever actually hiring me to help them. In most cases, I’m not even admitted to practice in their jurisdiction.

This is all my fault. When we got a fancy new website, the web guy insisted we needed to create a dialogue with visitors. I was skeptical, but he persevered. Our website ended up with a little contact form.

After a series of progressively more complex captchas, the messages from “captaindonkeydong” with a url of “bigweinerpills.biz” telling me I would one day become “a most famousest of the bolggerz” stopped (for the most part), but something far more troubling began. Real people began asking serious legal questions I could not possibly answer in an email.

I pride myself on being on top of things. I don’t neglect calls or emails. I don’t ignore people. When someone needs a lawyer, I call them back as soon as I possibly can. It pains me to leave any message unanswered. My current situation is my own unique version of hell, though admittedly a mild one.

I’m left playing email inbox whack-a-mole trying to respond to people who need real help but who I know are simply not a good fit for my law firm. I should’ve known this would be a problem. Although I was never one for religion, I still recall this one from Sunday school:

As you sow, so shall you reap.

If I earn a client by writing some words that appear on the internet, what have I really done to earn that client? What should I expect?

I’ve sown the easy seed. Why should I expect to reap the kind of client lawyers are rightfully supposed to earn with years of tireless work on behalf of the people they became a lawyer to help?

Needless to say, the contact form will be long gone very soon. I guarantee that’ll be the last time I let a web guy’s insistence trump my gut reaction to a suggestion.

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2 Responses to "Getting Internet “Clients”"

  1. shg says:

    In the early days of Avvo, I signed up to find out what it was all about and how it could be gamed. Because there weren’t too many lawyers around there yet, I got an inordinate amount of attention from nice folks with questions and unlimited calls on their cellphones. It was not unusual to get 3-4 calls a day.

    These nice people have very real concerns, and often required very real legal advice and representation. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a position to pick up shoplifting cases in Peoria or public urination cases in Des Moines. I told them that I was unable to help.

    They were outraged. OUTRAGED!!! The internet promised them free legal advice, and doggammit, they expected me to deliver. When I didn’t, they would say mean things to me and call me unflattering names. I don’t know if I will ever get over the trauma. But I will try.

    1. Matt Brown says:

      People on the internet can be so mean when denied the free professional services to which they’re all entitled.

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