While they don’t seem to take my gentle chiding with the same friendly aplomb they used to, I remain concerned about my good buddies at Avvo. I know they mean well, and I know they want to do right. There’s just this profit-thing happening that impairs their judgment from time to time. And that’s why guys like me give them a nudge every once in a while.
Granted, I think Avvo Answers is one of the worst ideas ever, both from the “legal consumer’s” perspective, as non-lawyers get free answers to questions that assure they are stupider for having asked, as well as the lawyers’ perspective, as non-lawyers come to believe that they’re entitled to free legal services upon demand. But that’s already been discussed, and no need to harp on a sore point.
And then things went from bad to worse as Avvo decided to hop on the marketing train with its Avvocating conference, where marketers and social media gurus offered their advice on whether hot pants made a lawyer’s butt look fat. I wasn’t too kind about this idea either. I feel bad about it, because I want Avvo to succeed.
Now, I learn that they’ve got a new deal in the works, with former TV cutie/lawyer/personality Lisa Bloom as their new legal advisor and analyst. Oh boy. I suppose she’s there to give the non-lawyers someone to admire, particularly since her “blog” is called “Naked Law.” Suggestive much?
But being a cute blond who wants to be a real celebrity despite the fact that she’s only a lawyer isn’t a bad thing. What is a bad thing, however, is writing insipid posts with stuff like this:
Hey friends! Big news. As of June 1st, I have joined Avvo as a legal advisor and analyst, reinforcing my goals of encouraging a more informed legal consumer, making law accessible to everyone and helping people make smarter legal decisions.
You might think this all sounds lofty, right?
Well, not exactly. In fact, not at all. It sounds like a twinkie with the white goo oozing out.
As a civil rights attorney, I have spent my career helping ordinary people seek justice in their lives. But because I have a small boutique law firm, I can only take on a limited number of cases at any given time. The overwhelming majority of people who contact me get turned away (though I always try to find them a good lawyer). It’s always sad when I can’t help someone who really needs answers and guidance. So when the folks at Avvo.com told me the idea behind this Naked Law blog – providing law for the people – I jumped at the opportunity.
Or maybe that’s a bit disingenuous, considering that you hosted a show on former Court TV, wrote a couple books and spend your days twitting about your next interview. It’s awfully hard to find time to “help ordinary people” when you’re so busy trying to be a celebrity. You could take a whole lot more cases if you stopped worrying about your next chancd to hype your celebrity. Say, do you know Gloria Allred?
Avvo.com is truly revolutionary, and I don’t use that term lightly. Because for the first time, ordinary people can get real lawyers to answer their questions – for free! How does it work? Avvo.com is a social media platform that provides consumers with free and direct access to legal (and medical!) professionals. It’s amazing to me that more than 100,000 lawyers are actively participating on Avvo.com answering tens of thousands of consumer legal questions, and embracing the Internet as a way to provide transparency to the profession.
I encourage you to become more empowered, to harness the power of the Internet to get your basic questions answered and get educated before you see an attorney. The law doesn’t just exist for giant corporations with expensive attorneys on retainer. It’s here for all of us.
At least this comes straight from the heart, and not from the marketing department. Much. And I’m not even touching Lisa Bloom’s first post on the Sandusky case, reflecting her very experienced lawyerly view that juries love child molesters and don’t believe victims.
Though neither of my buddies, Mark Britton nor Josh King, asked, I offer some friendly advice. Rather than try to own the twinkie niche, why not elevate the discussion with information that might actually make “legal consumers” smarter for having read something at Avvo? I realize that David Boies isn’t much to look at, but I bet he knows a thing or two about law that might interest readers. There are real lawyers out there who could illuminate the law, with depth and understanding, rather the spout marketing crap and the most ridiculously superficial pap possible. Why not? It just might work. And more importantly, someone just might be better for your having done it.
As for Lisa Bloom, whom I don’t know but who seems nice enough: You may be a great lawyer, for all I know, but one could never tell from the crap you’ve put out thus far. Don’t let the marketing department write your stuff. Spend more than 3 minutes thinking before you let something go out under your name. The “legal consumers” come and go, and they wouldn’t know good if it bit them in the butt. But lawyers know, and there is an awfully good chance they’re going to see the sweet white cream oozing out if you don’t show some massive improvement in the level of thought put into your posts.
I know you want to be a celebrity, and pounding perpetual self-promotion seems to be the quickest route. But lawyers on the internet can be a tough crowd. If you’re half the lawyer you say you are, then show it. I have no problem with a great lawyer being a cutie as well, but a cutie, a self-promoter and a vapid twinkie isn’t going to cut it. Help out my buddies Mark and Josh with some sound thinking. They could use the help.
Just because you’re Gloria Allred’s daughter doesn’t mean you can’t be a decent lawyer and a real person. It will take some doing, of course, but nothing worthwhile comes easy.