This week, the news broke that law firm Seikaly & Stewart is suing legal marketing outfit the Rainmaker Institute over implementation of a search engine optimization program that allegedly broke Google rules and damaged, rather than enhanced, the law firm’s online results.

None of us opining about this development in the blogosphere has a clue surrounding all of the relevant facts regarding the litigation. And I don’t much care who wins or loses.  I’d just like to use this case as a jumping off point to comment on the venom that seems to accompany the term “legal marketer” whenever it appears in the blogosphere.

Let’s get it out in the open. Yes, at times, I earn money by providing legal marketing advice to clients who are lawyers. I guess that makes me a legal marketer.  (I also practice law, and have done so for 30 years.) But it escapes me why my association with legal marketing should make me (and my colleagues) the subject of so many four-letter-words.

Are there some bad apples out there in the legal marketing bunch?  Of course. But does that mean that all of the apples are rotten? I certainly hope not.

I find it a bit hypocritical that some of the bloggers want to lump us legal marketers all together, while at the same time, apparently think that everyone in the legal profession is above reproach.

In case you haven’t noticed, lawyers (of which I am one) are not the most respected profession out there. There’s a reason for all of those lawyer jokes. Just ask any disciplinary official in the 50 states. Lots of unethical lawyers do shameful things to their clients. But the actions of a few do not taint all lawyers. Similarly, why should a few shameful legal marketers taint all legal marketers?

When it comes right down to it, legal marketers are not as different from lawyers as many think. Both sell services that clients find useful. When considering whether to hire a legal marketer or an attorney, clients should weigh similar factors. These include:

  • Credentials,
  • Experience,
  • References,
  • The promise (If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true), and
  • The fees and charges.

Follow this simple advice and you should find value in what either a legal marketer or a lawyer is selling.

(image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bizbuzzmedia/5275942745/)