Archive for the ‘Brian Tannebaum’ Category

Guest Post by Josh Reynolds:  Releasing Our Inner Rachel

February 23, 2012

While Jordan Furlong struggles with unbundling and rebundling legal services as if they were hemlines, because law firms are perpetually foundering on the edge of a precipice, apparently at risk from the weight of flowing receivables, a greater threat to the profession looms from below. South of the border, in a land built on swamps and inhabited by hobbit like beings and New Yorkers preparing to die, stands a man of curious stature.  Yes, he’s standing, even if it’s hard to tell.

Obviously, I speak of Brian Tannebaum, whose invective has sliced and diced the youthful, the innovative, the fresh-faced and perky lawyer who seeks nothing more than to thrive in Furlong’s vexing legal universe.  Tannebaum can’t stand it. Late at night, with the lights dim, he scours the internet for novel approaches to thwart, exuberance to quash and effort to belittle.  He calls himself a bully, but not even a bully can suck the life out of a young lawyer like a Tannebaum.

And so this Tannebaum sets his beady eyes on his victim du jour, Rachel Rodgers, whose crime is to try. To try? Yes, to try.

The facile negativity of the Tannebaum, always as gloomy as the basement where he would resign young lawyers to wallow in their debt and dashed dreams, toward any effort to challenge the status quo, which invariably favors lawyers who have had a decade or two to spend developing their skills and referral base comes like night after day.  Would he prefer they sit on a couch bemoaning their sorry choice, to become a lawyer at a time when jobs are scarce and clients even scarcer?  Would that evil chuckle escape his thin lips, knowing that another young lawyer was left destitute and disheartened by his attack?

Some, the hard-hearted and vicious, will applaud the Tannebaum, his purported emphasis on horse-and-buggy ethics of the sort crafted when most residents of his chad-challenged state were young.  But if there was merit to his sneer, we would still be wearing breeches and a waistcoat.  The edge keeps moving, cutting, expanding, without regard to the narrow limits permanently fixed in the mind of the Tannebaum.  And they are moved because of the youthful exuberance of lawyers like Rachel Rodgers.

Futurists in the law struggle to see what changes technology will bring, just as Bell and Edison pondered the implications at the birth of their devices.  Perhaps not every new idea will be a game-changer, but some most assuredly will.  And it will be both the seers, like Furlong, and the doers, like Rodgers, who lead the charge for change, and who will enjoy, or suffer, for their choices.  Let them!

Why, oh why, must the Tannebaum feel as if its his responsibility, like the avenging angel, to always be the one to call out thought leaders as frauds and fools?  What makes him so confident that they aren’t right, that they haven’t discovered, or at least promoted, a new and effective way to make the law more accessible to those most in need, and simultaneously bask in the glow of being the lawyer with the guts to push the edge away.  Is it not right that those with the guts get to enjoy the glory?

Is there any one of us, any lawyer, any person, who doesn’t want to distinguish ourselves by taking risks and leading thought?  Certainly, many are afraid of being wrong, not to mention being the target of the evil Tannebaum.  Yet, that’s why the few who have chosen not to be afraid, not to cower in the face of evil, deserve both our praise and appreciation.  To the extent we have a Rachel Rodgers hiding within us, we too could be bold enough to lead the charge.

But then, not every new idea will end up being a game changer.  Not every cutting edge concept will serve to better serve clients or make our name a household word.  In fact, it’s quite likely that much, perhaps even most, of what is propounded by those who adore technology will turn out to be massive and horrible failures, causing unforeseen and unintended consequences that could harm so many.  And those of us who embrace our inner Rachel’s will have gone down the path, wreaking havoc with the lives and fortunes of others, and unintentionally have been the font of misery to so many.

If only there was someone who would remind us that his could happen, who would rein us in and calm our ferver.  If only there was a lawyer who cared so little for being loved and adored by others, drawn to him by uncritical positivity and support, and would speak the words that so few want to hear, but so many need to hear.  If only there was a Tannebaum to keep us from making these horrible mistakes and harming others.

A Brand New You

August 1, 2011

Cassio: Reputation, reputation, reputation! O! I have lost my reputation. I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

Iago: As I am an honest man, I thought you had received some bodily wound; there is more offence in that than in reputation. Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving: you have lost no reputation at all, unless you repute yourself such a loser.

-Shakespeare, Othello, the Moor of Venice, Act II. Scene III, 242-249.

Brian Tannebaum, in his post at My Law License, “No Adrian Dayton, Gaming Google To Create A Reputation Is Not What Lawyers Should Do identifies a “disturbing trend” which will surely catch on among the reputation management crowd:

“A while back, I was trying to establish whether another lawyer was actually practicing law and using the technology they were writing about daily and encouraging other lawyers to use. Questions were raised, and internet chatter began to revolve about the person’s true background. As a result, this person wrote a self-promotional piece about who they “really are.” I found this sad, as manufacturing a reputation is weak and small. Reputations are established by what people say and think about you, not what you say and think of yourself (unless you’re a marketing hack lawyer who has created their own fake reputation to which no one but the naive can attest.)

This post I describe was the inspiration for Adrian Dayton’s latest puff piece: “Who is Adrian Dayton?”. Dayton obviously feels that his view of his background, including his “work” on the 450 million dollar merger, needs to be told, again, and would appreciate if you would write your own self-promotional piece and link to his. By linking to his, you help him with his goal, to have a better Google page. Since the only person telling the story of Adrian Dayton is me, he’s got to tell his own.

So write about yourself, tell us who you really are, and help Adrian Dayton’s Google Analytics.”

This is what we’ve come to in our profession. Those with law degrees who self-admittedly “have no business practicing law,” and are trying to earn a buck from practicing lawyers by playing the “I’m one of you” card, are out there manufacturing their reputations, and asking for your help.

Reputations are earned though.

Have you earned yours, or have you created it? [emphasis added]

Now, most readers will likely figure out that Brian Tannebaum is obliquely referring to Nicole Black, who wrote a post at her Sui Generis blog back on October 25th, 2009 entitled ” Who are you, Nicole Black (aka @nikiblack), and what do you do?. 

What I can’t seem to figure out is what caused Adrian Dayton so much consternation about his online reputation that he felt compelled inspired to dig up a post nearly 2 years old written by his cohort, Nicole Black?

Warren Buffett’s quote: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” now seems quaint in the age of Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the flavour of the week, Google+.

Reputation management consultants will tell  you how important it is to monitor, protect and optimize your reputation. However, their advice is fabricated and factitious. Why? Because their focus is exclusively on what other people say about you online, not offline.

Ask yourself this question: Do I care what other people I do not even know and who I’ve never met in person think or say about me?

If the answer is yes, then you really need to re-evaluate your priorities and self-identity.

No, Adrianos Fachetti was wrong. You are not what Google says you are.

Rather than fretting over what some anonymous troll or keyboard jockey says about you, or, heaven forfend, worrying about another blawger disagreeing with you, try to gain some perspective and insight on why it matters. Fuming over negative references which you perceive as spoiling your meticulously manufactured online persona is likely to be of concern only to one person: You. But it’s not always about You. Most people don’t even know you or care if you exist. Really. It’s true. The Internet Age of Instant Celebrity is fleeting. One week someone links to your post or you’re quoted by the media, the next week you’re last week’s news.

Why not get off the grid once in a while? Call up a client just to ask how they are doing.  Invite a colleague, or better yet, call up a detested opponent out for lunch to discuss politics or how poorly their favorite sports team is performing. Write a love letter to your significant other. Write a love letter to yourself, then crumple up the piece of paper and go back to what you were doing before.

If you must do something law-related, why not write a blog post about an area of law that you are vaguely interested in, but will never practice or that will never bring you a single client. You don’t have to write an informative or authoritative post for the fear of creating a lawyer-client relationship or getting sued. Just write. You do have a disclaimer on your blog, don’t you? So what if you get sued. How can you relate to your clients if you haven’t at least walked a mile in their moccasins?

Over at An Associate’s Mind, Keith Lee in his post, “Facebook You v. Real You or Why Personal Branding is Stupid” says what needs to be said:

Shut up about your “personal brand.” Your brand is only the first step; the foot in the door. That’s it. This sudden obsession with developing a personal brand is insane. No one cares about your brand. Let me say that again: No one gives a damn about your brand. Marketers and social media/branding gurus may say otherwise, but they are merely trying to justify their own existence.

You know what matters for lawyers – anyone really? Their reputation.

Your brand is what you say about yourself, but your reputation is what others say about you.

There is no way to self-create a reputation – or at least no way to buy a reputation that lasts. Reputation is developed through hard work, consistency, reliability, and integrity.

In the end, branding is for livestock, not for real lawyers.

Guest Post by Brian Cuban, “Free Speech on Fire”

April 29, 2011

I am honored to welcome Brian Cuban as a guest blogger.

Brian is a well-known Dallas attorney and speaker in the areas of social media, hate speech on the internet and medical marijuana.  He writes extensively on these subjects and others on his widely read blog, The Cuban Revolution and discussed on his highly popular Revolution Rant Blog Radio Show. He has appeared on Fox News and has been invited to speak on these subjects at prestigious locations such as South By Southwest,®, BlogWorld, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, The Anti-Defamation League®,and Facebook Corporate®, to name a few, along with various colleges and universities.

Brian’s is currently working on his first book, “Hate Gone Viral“.

Brian (Twitter: (@bcuban)  is one of the Four Horsemen of the Blawgocalpyse ™ (along with Scott Greenfield to whom tribute was paid in a previous post; Brian Tannebaum and Mark Bennett, who also guest blogged before).

Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he cheers on the Pittsburgh Pirates and Dallas Mavericks and watches Scarface, The Godfather and other classic films of the genre, religiously. According to Brian, he is not Cuban. Also, his resting pulse rate is 35-40 beats per minute. In the following post, Brian is sure to raise s0me readers’ pulse rates considerably.

Free Speech on Fire

The Koran is not being burned in Dearborn Michigan but the 1st Amendment has gone up in flames.

In what was a 1st amendment busting egregious display of prior restraint, Koran burning Pastor Terry Jones was prohibited from staging a protest in front of Islamic Center of America.  Jones was briefly jailed when a jury found that he presented a danger of “breach of peace”. He was tried under a Michigan law dating back to 1846 requiring people judged to present a risk to public order to post a “peace bond.” He was released on 1-dollar bond and a promise that he would not go near the Mosque for three years.

Prior to trial, the city had demanded up to a 100k “peace bond” from Jones in order to hold the protest.  He refused to pay and hence the trial.

Let’s start with the fact that peace bonds themselves are an outdated and unconstitutional form of prior restraint.  The case brings back memories of the highly controversial plans to  march on the predominantly Jewish community of Skokie Illinois by The National Socialist Party.  The community of Skokie attempted to pass various ordinances including one requiring the posting of a bond designed to specifically prevent the march. The city used arguments similar to the ones used by the Dearborn District Attorney to block the Mosque protest.  In Skokie, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of the National Socialist Party of America to march. The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, validating the developing national policy that even the most unpopular of speech in the most unpopular of circumstances, merits First Amendment protection.  This is a privilege we take for granted and often willingly disregard when we are offended.  We can try to regulate violent actions but we simply cannot universalize a moral compass where speech is concerned.

The verdict and bond requirement will certainly be overturned on appeal, as it should be.  It is hard on the ears but necessary that the freedoms we enjoy include the rantings of The Westboro Baptist Church, Koran burning, the vitriolic protests of  Pastor Jones and Nazi thugs.  If the 1st Amendment does not work for them, it does not work for anyone.

Bad News for Wannabe Twitter Trendsetters

February 10, 2011

I readily admit that I will never read Adrian Dayton’s ground-breaking, game-changing, paradigm-shifting book, “Social Media for Lawyers:Twitter Edition”. When I joined Twitter back in the summer of 2009, it really wasn’t difficult to open a Twitter account . In about  the time it takes Scott  Greenfield to write a blawg post, I quickly immersed myself in the 140 character Twitterverse. I don’t recall my first tweet, but it was probably embellished with an ornately rococo flourish like “I’m eating breakfast!”. The rest, as they say, is all a rich tapestry.

Perhaps there are some lawyers who just cannot grasp the most basic of user-friendly technologies, or they may have an unfortunate genetic abnormality such as a lack of opposable thumbs.

Yet, the social media law marketing movement marches forward as the Flawgosphere becomes saturated with the denizens of iPadism, The Starbucks Advocates and the Work/Life Balancers. (more…)

My Gift to the Social Media Law Marketers: The Flawg

January 20, 2011

I received an email recently from fellow lawyer and law blogger, Bob Tarantino (Twitter: @bobtarantino) inviting me to a Toronto Blogger Meetup this January 26th at 7:30pm at PJ O’Brien’s (behind the King Eddy hotel).

I will be attending and hope other Canadian legal bloggers (or blawgers as I prefer) will join us.

In anticipation of what will prove to be an enjoyable and collegial event, I noticed that Bob has invited some social media law marketers, as well. I look forward to meeting each and everyone of you. Yes, that includes you, Mark C. Robins.

I doubt we will have much to talk about, except the weather, or perhaps whether the chicken wings and nachos are edible. That’s okay.

You see, I’m not a potential client. I don’t want to monetize my blawg. I don’t want to know about your SEO expertise or why signing up for your legal directory will generate Gardiner Expressway-esque traffic congestion and get me umpteen clients. (more…)


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