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A while back, Chicago lawyer Kevin Case wrote a fascinating article about the commoditization of symphony orchestra musicians. He describes the lamentable fact that many managers in the arts world view artists as faceless, interchangeable parts of a big machine instead of the uniquely talented individuals they are. It isn’t just a problem in the music world.

I regularly get emails about the next big thing in lawyer marketing. People only find lawyers on the internet, I hear. They use search terms I’d never expect or go to sites I’ve never heard of. Old-timers clinging to antiquated marketing ideas are supposedly destined for failure, so lawyers must adapt. We’ve been commoditized, and we’re being traded primarily on the internet. Those of us who don’t adapt will soon become extinct.

It’s a two-way street because clients too have been commoditized. They’re things lawyers can track with Google Analytics. They’re as faceless and interchangeable as the lawyers they seek. A good match is a person with an internet connection and a checkbook.

If you’re looking for a lawyer and your criteria all center around finding a person who happens to be the interchangeable top hit on Google whose promotional website blurb best fits your preconceptions about what you want from a lawyer, what makes you think the lawyer you find is going to treat you differently?

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