Inspiring, Celebrating & Empowering
Solo & Small Law Firms

The Shout-Out Lawyer

  • Share this on Google+
  • Share this on Linkedin

This tape is remarkable not so much for the content (the abuses of freemium – which is somewhat interesting) but rather, for displaying something that we rarely see:  a client giving a lawyer a shout-out.

If you don’t believe me, skip ahead to 1:38 of the tape, where Ben Chestnut, MailChimp’s co-founder, describes how moving MailChimp from a paid to free model increased the company’s legal costs by 245 percent.  You’d think that at that point, Chestnut would roll his eyes and make a snide comment about useless, money-grubbing lawyers.  But instead, Chestnut put up a slide with his lawyer’s photo and proclaimed – “That’s my lawyer Rob – great guy if anyone needs a lawyer who specializes in Internet Law.”  [unfortunately, Chestnut didn’t mention his lawyer by his full name – a little sleuthing shows that it’s Rob Hassett of]  Later, at 4:25, Chestnut mentions that he’s paid Rob to handle virtually every type of spam matter that MailChimp has encountered, then sighs and exclaims “I love Rob.”

Chestnut isn’t the only satisfied client to give his lawyer a shout out.  In her recent book, Committed, Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) gave a shout out to her immigration lawyer (by name – but I can’t remember it) in the acknowledgments, thanking him for shepherding her then boyfriend’s (now husband) immigration paperwork through the process so that he could return to the U.S. and they could marry.

Today, like everything else in marketing, giving testimonials has become routine.  We do the job, hand the client a survey and ask for feedback, and hope that embedded within are a couple of nuggets that we can display on our websites or marketing materials.  Still, in routinizing the way we gather testimonials, I wonder whether we take away some of the spontaneity and the heart that makes a great  testimonials even better – for both the giver and recipient.

In any event, as you probably realize, getting a shout out doesn’t always translate into a huge fee.  Yet to me, it’s an even better reward.  Because there’s nothing like getting some public and unexpected acknowledgment for doing nothing more than what we lawyers are supposed to do:  serve our clients.

  • In checking out this site as I move from Army JAG to Third Wave Lawyer a la Chuck Newton, this post actually brought back a variety of feelings regarding my own practice of law. Particularly, I remember feeling particularly moved the first time I received a Thank You card from a client's family. My focus is military criminal defense, and, at the time, I was still in the Army assigned to the Trial Defense Service as a Senior Defense Counsel (essentially a military public defender). The card contained a handwritten note, and I was caused to shut the door of my office and reflect on it for a moment. Here's the catch: the client was convicted. Yet, the family felt thankful that someone was willing to stand beside their relative in his hour of need. Truth be told, I learned so much about myself and my profession from this client, that I really owed him a thank you note.

    That case began a chain of events that led to my leaving the Army after 11 years to pursue my own practice and continue to defend some of these truly fantastic individuals (who sometimes make mistakes, but rarely are “hardened criminals”).

    So, thank you for providing this post. My case may not be completely on point, but it reminded me of how profound positive client feedback can be on our professional lives.

    Eric Mayer

Sponsored Content

Running Your Small Law Firm to look like a Large Law Firm

Let’s face it, as a solo or small law firm you’re pulled in multiple directions. Not only do you practice law, but you also need to run AND grow a small business.