Giving a Face to Your Firm

by Erik Cummins on April 26, 2011

Brian "Poochie" Wilson

Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook from excited baseball fans who have been running into various Giants stars like Brian Wilson at San Francisco sports bars like Ace’s and . While I might not recommend bar hopping for members of a team that has lost four in a row, I do think that their presence in the community is a good thing for the organization.

In the not so distant past and from great baseball writers like Roger Kahn, we learned that baseball players lived in the towns where they played and fans could often run into future Hall of Famers like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Joe DiMaggio at New York bars like the famous. That made even marquee franchises like the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers more accessible to their fans, and gave baseball a more intimate, blue-collar feel. That was before players like Reggie Jackson hit the $1 million a year mark in the 1970s, and they became increasingly distant and aloof from their fans. These days, the game could use more players who get out and about, and help reinforce the idea that baseball is still a community affair and that players aren’t really that different than you and me.

Likewise, as law firms are growing ever larger, I think it’s even more important for lawyers to get out and about in the towns where they live and work. And I still think the best way to get new business is person-to-person interaction. The same thing goes for working with the media. When I was a legal affairs reporter, I used to attend all kinds of legal conferences, conventions, fundraisers and MCLE events. Not surprisingly, regular attendees of these events often ended up in my articles as sources. That’s not just because they were more familiar to me. It’s because when I meet folks face to face, we naturally share stories. And those stories help me identify timely trends and developments. For a reporter, there is nothing better than that.

So, to be a face for your firm and for your community will not only be personally rewarding, but it will also give new life to what might otherwise seem like soulless, 3,000 lawyer mega-firms. Certainly, marketing and PR campaigns can always help boost a brand. But lawyers shouldn’t forget that it’s the people they meet who bring them their cases. If you did a survey of the industry’s best rainmakers, they will tell you that being active in the community is their “secret sauce.” Likewise, the GCs I profile for The Recorder tell me that they only hire outside counsel who they know. It seems to be the basic ingredient of a successful practice.

Now, if I run into one of the Giants around town when they return from their 10-game East Coast trip, I might suggest they shave their beards, lay off the sauce and focus on work, so to speak. Then again, they aren’t paying me for my advice.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jonathan Fitzgarrald April 29, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Dropping the F-bomb is always BADfortheBRAND™…period!

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