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.



  1. Avatar shg says:

    Who is this horrible hypocrite who says marketeers are evil but lawyers are above reproach? Tell me, Roy, so I can call him mean names and undermine his self-esteem.
    I know it can’t be me, since I was harder on the law firm than on Fairley, but I don’t see you linking to any source. Could this be a bit of a strawman you’re trying to sneak in here? Making stuff up to knock it down? If there is someone who actually did what you complain of, link to it. If not, then why are you trying to fool your readers?

    But your “marketers and lawyers are not so different” argument isn’t particularly comprehensive or persuasive. Lawyers and marketeers are not comparable, despite marketeers most adjective-laden efforts to make it seem that way.
    They have no educational requirements, no licensure, no test for competency, no code of professional responsibility, no fiduciary responsibility, no grievance process, no professional sanctions and no professional liability for their conduct. It’s a bit hard to ignore these distinctions, yet you do so.
    I can appreciate that you’re now a marketeer and want to salvage the dignity of your new revenue stream, but trying to trick your readers isn’t the way a lawyer does it. A marketeer, sure, but not a lawyer, Roy.

    • Avatar Roy says:

      These are your own words and are contained in your post that I did link to.

      Don’t blame Fairley for being a particularly successful member of a particularly disgraceful industry. He sold you a bill of goods. That’s what marketeers do. Didn’t you realize that when you put your reputation, your ethics, your livelihood and your cash into the hands of schemers, you’re going to get burned?

      Your words speak for themselves. I’ll let the readers decide if they think I’m trying to “trick” anyone.

      • Avatar shg says:

        Not the slightest clue what you think that shows, since this is your strawman:

        “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.”
        Do you see anything in there that suggests that lawyers are above reproach? So yeah, trick. Definitely.

        • Avatar Roy says:

          Although I don’t regularly read your blog, I suspect that over the years, you have criticized certain lawyers for doing shameful things. In those posts, did you ever then say that the rest of us are shameful, too. Isn’t that what you are doing to marketers?

          • Avatar shg says:

            Sigh. First, you don’t get to assert something as true while disclaiming any actual knowledge about it. At least lawyers don’t get to that. Marketeers? Maybe that’s the way they roll.
            You want to know what I write? Then read it. Can’t be bothered? Then don’t “suspect” what I say. Either know what you’re talking about or don’t talk. You aren’t that special that you get to make shit up just because you’re ignorant.
            Second, notice I use the word “marketeer”? If you had bothered to read what I write before deciding that it was fine for you to mindlessly assume and embarrass yourself on the internet, you would know what I’m talking about.
            Can I explain it to you now? Sure. Will I? Nope. Do your own legwork before publishing a post that stands as a testament to ignorance, laziness and deceit. Just how deep do you plan to dig this hole, Roy?

    • Avatar Roy says:

      I agree with you about the distinctions you correctly observe, but in a certain respect, it supports my post. My point was that both lawyers and marketers have their fair share of bad apples; period. It doesn’t speak well for our profession that notwithstanding the items you note, there are still a bunch of bad apples.

  2. First, I don’t know what a legal marketer is. Perhaps someone can enlighten me. Second, what’s the point of this post? There are good and bad people in every profession from janitors to presidents etc etc etc. Readers deserve better than a catharsis—there’s enough vacuous content on the Internet as it is.

    • Avatar Roy says:

      The point is that I’m tired of hearing some folks, and not just shg, think that ALL individuals who assist lawyers in their marketing and business developments are “evil.”

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