Do you know how to start a fight on Facebook?
In this regard, here is something else I want to share with you. I HATE FOX NEWS! In fact, I do not think it is news. It is mindless, factually inaccurate, conspiracy theory promoting, and often borderline racist commentary that speaks to the worst in all of us.
You do not like this opinion of mine? Well, then you can kiss my @$$!
Is that polarizing enough for you?
Don't worry, I feel about the same in regard to MSNBC.
This said, there is one thing that I have come to realize about the business of Fox News -- polarization sells. It is better for the law business than being neutral.
It might not be a good idea for a neighborhood restaurant, or a car dealership, that might want my business, to play Fox News, or any news for that matter, on TV sets throughout their establishment. But, for lawyers who are suppose to believe in what they do, it is best for demonstrating evangelistic zeal for any chosen practice area.
I know more understand socially and fiscally conservative attorneys who make their living representing the 47% identified by Gov. Romney that they claim to despise. Their zeal in representing consumers is not recognized by me, but it is also not often recognized by their clients either.
My point is this - love me or hate me, I believe in what I do for a living, and I express that opinion every day. I have a fight to pick for my practice area and those I care to represent. If you, as a lawyer do not, then the client is just money to you.
The art or act of being polarizing raises your profile. It is that simple. (Did I call it an "art"? Oh, I believe I did as that is what I have learned from watching Fox News, as that network is very good at it).
But, you ask, cannot the "art" of being polarizing turn off some that might want to hire me?
Mainly, however, it tends to turn off those who do not want to hire you, which excites those that do. In short, it motivates a larger pool of that smaller pool of people who need your services to contact you instead of your competition -- I mean colleagues.
I would remind you that in general 80% of sales (or in the case of law - paying clients) will come from 20% of your potential clients. You can spay or neuter yourself to try and reach more of the 100% of your market base. However, they will mainly ignore you for the polarizing lawyer down the street that recognizes their need and with whom they identify. Clients do not appreciate spending their hard earned money supporting things, goals, issues, or people they do not like, who do not like them, or those they perceive as not on their side.
Look, I am not telling you to spout off in terms of politics or religion. I am not telling you to be completely obnoxious. It does not take this type of controversy to stoke controversy. What I am saying is find the Goliath in your practice area and go after him with an imaginary rock and sling shot every chance you get.
Have you ever heard the term the enemy of my enemy is my friend? Well, if you are a consumer bankruptcy attorney, for example, and big banks are your enemy, and your clients are also the enemy of big bank, then those clients are your friends. But, how do debtors know big banks are your enemy? You are polarizing.
And, let us be clear about one thing. I am not telling you to be like Fox News and make stuff up, just to repeat it over and over. Attack legitimate weaknesses, and attack them legitimately. I said be polarizing, not a crackpot. This will win the attention of those who need to hire you.
Can you believe all of those hardcore social conservatives who stuffed themselves with questionable chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A because someone made them think that consuming large amounts of saturated fat, sugar and carbohydrates somehow represented "free speech"? And, then the company led their followers into believing that the other side started the argument.
The point was that Chick-fil-A started a fight to appeal to those super-rabid enthusiasts that agreed with them. These are the people that would eat at their restaurants night and day, repaying them for their belief that gays are bad.
I say good for them (not because they dislike gays but because they distinguished themselves by being polarizing). I did not eat at Chick-fil-A to begin with, and I certainly was not going to eat there just because they spend money to oppose gay marriage. But, then again, Chick-fil-A was not trying to appeal to me.
In the practice of law, this strategy works just as well. People want to believe their lawyer believes in them, their cause, and will stand up for them.
Let me ask you this. If you are a personal injury lawyer, do your potential clients want you to be neutral on capping medical malpractice awards to the extent that people cannot find representation to sue doctors who make mistakes?
A neutral, you scratch my back and I'll scratch your, idiology might make you popular with a larger group of people, but to those you wish to represent they will think you are just a hypocrite. More importantly for recruiting clients that might pay you money, you are simply not news worthy. You stand for nothing and, therefore, you are not worth anybody's attention.
It is really pretty simple. If you do not believe that McDonald's should be sued for serving coffee so hot, without any warnings, that it literally resulted in massive skin grafts and the expedited death of an older woman, then do not change your position in order to practice in the area of personal injury. Chose a different practice area that suits your disposition.
Let me be direct. If you practice in an area that challenges your ideology you are either up for a conversion, or you will be miserable in your chosen practice area. If you are miserable, then your clients will be miserable with your representation. If your clients are miserable or do not trust you, then the only way you can survive is to compete on fees. This will then leave you equally miserable for the low-life living you are making practicing in a practice area which is unsuitable for you.
When I see an ad for a criminal defense attorney that claims to have worked a prosecutor for 10 years, or a judge, I say the hell with that. I want someone that understands me and who is not now on the other side because the new district attorney decided to let him go. As for the judge, I do not want fair and balanced. I want Fox News. If you are a former prosecutor now representing defendants, slam your former self in your marketing campaign. If you are a former judge, just say the hell with pretending to be impartial.
Clients wish for someone that believes as they do. They want someone that believes in them and their cause. Otherwise, you are just an opportunist taking advantage of of the needs and emotions of your clients for the purpose of making money. Who wants that?
The bottom line is this. You will not get very far being a wandering generality. You must to be a meaningful specific.
Are you ready to R-U-U-U-U-U-U-M-B-L-E!!!!
If not, do something else for a living. Find a more compatible practice area. Otherwise, do not complain to me that you are unhappy with your work, or that you cannot seem to make a proper living.
There are a lot of unhappy people practicing law in this country. That might be for a lot of reasons. However, one reason is that they are practicing in practice areas that do not suit their zeal or lack thereof. It shows. They do not make enough money. They are not happy. They do not like most of their clients. Most of their clients do not like them. Please, do not let this happen. If it has already happened, start working to change it. An expensive law degree is a terrible thing to waste on a poor-ass, unhappy law practice.