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Lawyers: Two Things Never to Talk About on Video

Lawyers: Two Things Never to Talk About on Video

Posted onNovember 18, 2011

You would think that is self explanatory by now. Unfortunately, it’s not. Years ago the production companies would tell lawyers that their potential clients wanted to hear all about their credentials and how great they were. Who were we, as lawyers, to disagree?

1. Don’t talk about yourself

What great knowledge and insight did we have, as mere practicing attorneys, to dispute what these wise production companies had to say? That’s why most video marketing was terrible when video first became popular on the web about five or six years ago. Most video production companies still had the Yellow Pages mentality thinking that if the lawyer talked about his or her credentials and all of their great experience, that would be an incentive to get someone to call.

It sort of makes sense in a weird sort-of-way. However, as more and more people went online to search for information it became apparent that the old-school style of creating marketing messages had changed. It changed so dramatically that viewers no longer cared about what law school you went to and what your qualifications were. The mind-shift occurred because they realized they could bypass the TV ads and the Yellow Pages and find direct content about their particular legal problem.

There was a huge disconnect between what people were searching for and what lawyers and their video production companies were providing to them. The savvy lawyers who were learning to market their practices by learning from others outside the legal community, recognized quickly that potential clients did not care about us as individuals. Rather, the only thing they cared about was whether you could help solve their pressing legal problem. If we could somehow show that we had the knowledge and intelligence to solve their problem, that enabled us to dramatically increase the chances that an online viewer would recognize us as an expert without ever having to say that we were in fact, an expert.

Useful information is more interesting than your bio

There are still some lawyers and video companies who believe that it is important to have the lawyer talk about themselves. I’ve stated repeatedly and lectured to attorneys throughout the country as well as written hundreds of articles about video marketing for lawyers that your consumer and potential client who is searching for you online simply does not care about you. Assuming that fact to be true, why then would you create a video that talks about you?

I have had smart lawyers tell me that they wanted to create an attorney bio in a video to supplement their bio page on their website. I told them that would be a waste of their time and resources precisely because people are not coming to the bio page until they have already determined that they like what you have to say and have begun to trust you based upon the information you have already provided to them.

You gain much more traction by providing useful content than you do talking about yourself or your law firm. Think about it this way: when you go to buy a new car, do you really care whether the car dealer has sold 10 cars that month or 100 cars? Do you really care how long the car dealer has been in business in order for them to sell you a car that you want? The reality is that you don’t care a bit about any of the salesman’s credentials. You only want information about the car that will help you to make a purchasing decision.

2. Don’t Talk About The Law

Again, this should be common sense that you should never talk about the law in your videos because you do not want to establish an attorney-client relationship with someone who’s watching your video at a later time. You also do not want someone to incorrectly apply the information you are discussing since they may inaccurately interpret what you are saying. In addition, you may be providing information that may be out of date the following day, week, month or year. By the time a viewer watches your information they may not recognize that the information is untimely or has changed.

Under no circumstance should you provide legal information without providing a huge disclaimer both verbally and in written form. In fact, I make sure that if a lawyer in my Lawyers Video Studio program is going to discuss a specific law, that they include a verbal disclaimer that the viewer cannot and should not be relying on this information.

That is a responsible way to present information to the general public. It also will comport with your state’s ethics rules.

Ethics rules apply to video

Lawyers must keep in mind that all of their attorney videos must comply with the ethical rules specific to your own state. If there is something that you cannot do online or off-line, take that to heart and under no circumstance should you create a video that risks stepping over the boundaries of what the ethics committee believes is appropriate.

I recently critiqued a video by an attorney who created a video as if he were talking to the jury. He disclosed “secrets” about things that a jury should not know during the course of the trial. Specifically, he disclosed that there is available insurance coverage in a personal-injury and medical malpractice cases. That is certainly the case here in New York. However, this lawyer was confiding and disclosing these “secrets” to these jurors as if they were in the middle of watching the trial.

In fact, the attorney specifically said that jurors are not supposed to know this information, and that he is not supposed to disclose this. If true, then why would he be creating a video that informs the general public about something he knows that he cannot disclose or discuss in front of a jury? I do believe he has opened a can of worms for himself simply because he knows this topic is off-limits yet has chosen to reveal this information to the general public.

Although the video was done as an educational video, he cannot ignore his state’s own ethics rules. Make sure you abide by your ethical rules. Lawyers who participate my video program are told at the outset that under no circumstance will they be creating any video that is in a grey area. It must be either black or white. This way, no attorney will ever have to worry about saying something that is inappropriate or exceeds the boundaries of what is it appropriate for online video marketing.

About Gerry

Gerry is known as “America’s Leading Authority on Video Marketing for Lawyers.” He is a practicing NY Medical Malpractice trial lawyer and has created a video marketing solutions company called The Lawyers Video Studio to help lawyers market their law firms online. In fact, he is the only practicing trial lawyer in the country who helps other lawyers create video to market their practice.

Gerry has written hundreds of articles about video marketing for lawyers, has lectured across the country on the subject of video marketing and loves helping lawyers transform their marketing messages from dull, boring and ineffective into educational and compelling video that teaches your viewers why you have information that they need to know.

To learn more about the the Secrets of Video in the Age of YouTube join Gerry for a Free Webinar where he explains why video marketing is so important to your practice.

Gerry Oginski, Esq.
Chairman of the Board, Lawyers Video Marketing Alliance
Founder, Lawyers Video Studio

25 Great Neck Rd., Ste. 4
Great Neck, NY 11021

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