Come See Me, an “All-Star”, Talk on Ethical Online Marketing in November

I’ve gotten a little stingy about my availability for speaking engagements. Long story short, it’s sort of a pain in the neck.

But, I agreed to teach for the Tennessee Attorneys Memo group, because they have the best marketing materials. Specifically, they lead with the line: “The 12th Annual Tennessee Law Conference boasts an all-star cast of prominent Tennessee judges and attorneys, featuring David Anthony, Gail Ashworth, and James Bryan Moseley.”

So, if you give me top billing and refer to me as an all-star, I’m there.

I’m teaching on November 15, 2018, for the section titled “Ethical Online Marketing.” This is a “dual” credit course, meaning you’ll get ethics and general CLE credit. Plus, I am probably the most prolific blogging, tweeting,  and social media’ing lawyer in town. (Edited: Since publishing this post, this assertion has been questioned by a local attorney.)

The real challenge will be keeping people in their seats and paying attention at 4pm, so I plan to super-charge this talk with lots of examples of terrible and/or unethical online marketing examples.

Attend the TBA Creditors Practice Forum

The Tennessee Bar Association has asked me to teach at the 2018 Creditors Practice Forum, on September 26, 2018.

This half-day seminar is a well-attended and well-produced CLE event, designed to provide both the basics, as well as some advanced “deep-dives,” into a variety of topics in creditor’s rights practice in Tennessee.

This year, the topics will include presentations on:

  • Charging Orders and Theories of Successor Liability
  • Telephone Consumer Protection Act
  • Bankruptcy Court Stay Violations
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Ethical Considerations

The full agenda can be found here.  Also, lunch is provided. If you’re going to CLE, might as well get a free-ish lunch.

 

 

Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Accepting Bad News From a Judge with a Smile

In March, I suggested/implied/explicitly promised to provide professional lawyer advice to you all. Sorry for the delay.

I saw this tweet recently, though, and I am reminded of an important lesson for you litigators out there…

No, not the part about the client dinners.

The part about how, as the Judge recites his or her oral ruling, you have to sit there, listening, and taking furious notes. And, no matter how wrong the Judge gets the decision, at the end, you have to politely smile and thank her for the ruling and consideration.

Side Note: Don’t get me wrong, if there is more argument to be made, you present that argument as quickly and respectfully as you can. If the Judge clearly gets the facts or case law wrong, then you have point that out and see if you can get them to change course.

But, here, I’m not talking about that situation. I’m talking about situations where you’ve argued your position so thoroughly and completely that the Judge has no question about the substance of your surely awesome and unassailable legal theory, but nevertheless rules against you.

In that case, my advice is to learn how to take exact and detailed notes, smile, thank the Judge for their time, and then appeal or attack the ruling (if necessary).

A few months ago, I won a hotly contested hearing and, obviously, my opposing counsel lost. And he disagreed with the Judge. A lot. And it showed. His tone toward the Judge expressed frustration, anger and condescension. To avoid any confusion, after his final efforts to get the Judge to change her mind, he threw his argument notes down on the counsel table with an audible sigh.

Don’t ever be that guy.

One, I refuse to ever acknowledge defeat, even in the face of clear defeat. Instead, I go back to the office and confidently call the other lawyer, tell them we’re preparing an appeal, and try to settle. I mean, what else can you do?

Two, judges don’t like being disrespected, and, if this Judge had any doubt in her mind about her ruling, this definitely erased that.

Finally, when you express anger or frustration at the judge, you’re showing a lack of tact and professionalism to everybody in Court, including opposing counsel. Plus, this Judge is going to remember this lawyer.

This is always a fine line to walk, between preserving your reputation for being respectful toward the court and zealous advocacy. I’m sure the lawyer’s client would have appreciated the show, but, in the end, there are definitely down-sides to an emotional outburst.

Why Are Lawyers So Expensive?

A few nights ago, I suddenly woke up from a deep sleep at 3 a.m., and my mind instantly recalled some obscure procedural issue that I had overlooked on a case that was set for Bankruptcy Court at 9 a.m. that day.

This, law students, is what you have to look forward to.

Being a lawyer isn’t one of those “Hey, my shift ended at 5 p.m., so you need to call __________ to deal with that problem.”

In many cases, I take on a care and concern over my clients’ problems that it greater than my own clients’ cares and concerns over their problems.

I’ve wasted concerts, parties, movies, and spent countless hours of family time being physically present, but, on some level, worrying about my clients’ problems.

All that having been said, that’s Why Lawyers are So Expensive.

Side note, for the potential clients out there; don’t hire a lawyer unless they care this much.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Super Lawyer

I’m generally pretty skeptical of awards and law-honors. Except, you know, when I receive them.

Accordingly, I’m super proud to let you know that I’ve been named a Mid-South Super Lawyer for Creditor-Debtor Rights, Business Litigation, Banking, and Real Estate.

According to Super Lawyers, Mid-South Super Lawyers are selected through a multi-phased process, which includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. The list is produced by Super Lawyers, a national rating service that includes more than 70 practice areas.

They also name “Rising Stars,” which is an honor for younger attorneys who have the best years of their career ahead of them.

Honestly, while it’s great to receive any honor, I sort of which I still qualified for the young lawyer awards. Oh well. Up, up and away to the Courthouse.

 

Get Your Law School Applications In: Welcome to the Profession

It’s that time of year when English, Philosophy, and History majors start wondering what they’re going to do after graduation.

If you’re thinking about going to law school, you’re welcome to read the entirety of this New York Times article, The Lawyer, the Addict,  on substance abuse in the legal profession.

Or, you can read just this part, under the heading, “Rewarded for Being Hostile.” After noting that lawyers “have the highest rate of depression of any occupational group in the country,” there’s this:

Yes, there are other stressful professions…Being a surgeon is stressful, for instance — but not in the same way. It would be like having another surgeon across the table from you trying to undo your operation. In law, you are financially rewarded for being hostile.

I love that image. I mean, I also hate it, as a lawyer who has to deal with lawyers all day long.

The law is a strange profession. Look at the ads in the Yellow Pages, and there they are: “Hostile”; “Aggressive”; “Take No Prisoners”; “Bulldog.”

Aggressive

Here is a law firm using, literally, an angry gorilla to advertise their services. (I found another one with a lawyer holding a ninja sword, but I didn’t post that.)

This isn’t the part where I say that I hate my job, but it’s a note that the legal profession is a strange one.

The next ten years will be interesting, as more of the “old school” attorneys retire and make way for the millennials, who, if we believe the news stories, value quality of life and collaboration. Maybe, we’ll see a decrease in this “law is war” mentality.

But, with a generation raised on social media snark, I wonder whether we’ll see a continuation of the broader cultural shift to a lack of civil behavior, particularly with the wide-spread use of e-mail communication as the primary means of lawyer to lawyer communication and long-distance / remote practice.

What I’m saying, in the end, is: Welcome to the Jungle, new lawyers.

 

I Deactivated Facebook, and I Miss it for Business Reasons (Sort of)

I rolled my eyes, last month, when I saw a few of the New Year’s resolution posts on–and about–social media.

“Goodbye all. I’m deleting [insert name of social media service]. I want to engage more with friends in real life, [etc.]”

But, here I am, a month later, and I’m one of those people. I’ve deleted my Facebook account.

I’ve taught seminars on the pitfalls of social media in family law cases.  (Spoiler alert: If you were born after 1985 and are getting a divorce, it’s already too late for you.)

I’ve taught seminars on the value of social media for lawyer marketing. (Spoiler alert: People don’t want to connect with, hear from, or see pictures of their lawyer on Facebook.)

I won’t go into all the details, but, frankly, I’m sick of all the noise, and, by “noise,” I mean all the ads, and also all the likes, comments, and posts of “friends of friends” (which, in non-Facebook speak, translates to “people who I don’t know”). Simply put, there isn’t a point to any of it.

So, here I am, 24 hours into this grand experiment. And I miss Facebook a little…for business reasons.

I got a call from a potential client, and, using his phone number, I instinctively went to Facebook to search his cell number and look at his Facebook page (i.e. my “Is this a Crazy Person” test).

And, yes, begrudgingly, I’ll admit that Facebook has been occasionally useful for work purposes.

So, here I am, a day into the experiment, and the better play is to delete the App. Or just deactivate Facebook.