April 27, 2011 § 4 Comments
Today, Scott Greenfield responds to an article by a Trust Advisor stating that Scott is logically flawed and often wrong. I read both, and it essentially revolves around marketing and its necessity (or lack thereof) in the legal profession. My take involves a bit of dicta from the Trust Advisor’s post.
To provide background, Greenfield made this statement as part of a previous post on marketing:
We don’t sell used cars. We are responsible for people’s lives. We used to be, anyway. And people who are responsible for the lives of others don’t think of them as leads or consumers.
My gripe comes with the following quotes in response by Charles Green, the Trust Advisor:
When someone starts talking about being “responsible for the lives of others,” get your megalomania sniffer out.
Scott says he’s responsible for his clients’ lives. I suggest that’s a bad rule for the rest of us.
We’re not responsible for our clients’ lives; they are. Our job is to help them—not live their lives for them.
Well, then that makes me a megalomaniac, because I know, firsthand, that I’m responsible for my clients’ lives.
Green talks about his experiences with lawyers and law firms. Just how deep is that experience?
I can’t speak for all CDLs, but I like to think that my experiences are similar to that population as a whole.
I’ve talked a client through a situation that might result in a loss of freedom for the rest of their life.
I’ve watched a man hug his wife and kids for the last time for many, many years.
I’ve held a mother as she cried when her son was led-away in hand irons and shackles.
I’ve helped to explain to a 5-year-old that “daddy wouldn’t be home for awhile.”
I’ve had clients detail to me, for the first time, the sexual abuse they endured throughout childhood.
I sat in a room trying to talk a tearful client through upcoming testimony and cross examination.
Countless times, I’ve had my hand upon a trembling shoulder as a judge asked the jury president “What are your findings?”
To think, the fact that I see that as taking a man’s (or woman’s) life in my hands makes me a megalomaniac (or at least a worthy target of a megalomania sniffer). If that be true, then I gladly accept it as a life sentence.
Frankly, I find every representation to be the most humbling experience of my life. I feel small, and my only goal is to help the kid standing next to me as much as I can. I want them to be free. I want to ease their pain. I want them to move forward and succeed. I want their kids and family to smile. They hire me in the hopes that my presence and abilities might improve their chances at getting any of the aforementioned opportunities. They bring me into their life. They show me their most shameful skeletons. They introduce me to their family. They tell me of their continuing desperation. Each takes their life, places it into my hands, and says “help me, please.” That’s humbling as hell.
For us, holding a person’s life in our professional hands is not a rule. It is a reality. Like it or not. That person’s life is our priority. With it comes their good name, future opportunities, and future happiness. For us to place that charge upon a pedestal signifies the importance we place upon each individual client. That dedicated prioritization is what gives us the ability to call ourselves professionals–not a degree, website, fancy suit, or search engine rank.
I don’t pretend to understand what Green sells. From what I see, it involves Trust Diagnostics, a Trust Roadmap, Trust Workshops, and Trust Based Coaching. He also offers a list of Trust Quotes and an exceedingly fun Carnival of Trust. For a fee, you can even learn your Trust Quotient. So much trust, so little time.
From my vantage point, he is a marketer, and he doesn’t like others disparaging his wares. Luckily, he’s not a megalomaniac like us CDLs. Of course, I’m sure he would change his mind if we opted to pay for some Trust Raisin Bran or an invigorating Trust Enema.
(Ed. Note: I considered juxtaposing his use of the word “Trust” with that of the word “Victory” in Orwell’s 1984, but I opted against it because I’m above such low blows. OK, I’m not above low blows. I was just lazy.)
As for me, I’ll keep affording people the chance to hand their lives to me in the hope that I might be able to safeguard them, if only for a bit. I’ll continue to take their lives seriously, while treating myself with opposite consideration.
As for marketers and their gnashing of teeth, I’m not personally affected by them. I don’t earn enough money to cause a blip on their radars.