Some Days, It’s Not About the Marketing

As attorneys, we can be very driven professionals – driven to succeed, driven to achieve the best results for our clients, and driven to beat the competition. This drive is one of the reasons I started Attorney Marketing Profits. I was driven to learn all there was to learn about internet marketing, and change the nature of attorney marketing for the better. No more are the days of newspaper ads, yellow pages and highway billboards. The internet can be a law firm’s billboard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If you set up your law firm marketing systems correctly, you can market to potential clients while you sleep, eat, vacation and even work!

Attorney Marketing Profits Logo

Attorney Marketing Profits

I’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars to learn the inside scoop from the best in the business and stay updated on changes that are made in internet marketing every day, and that’s how I know I can help attorneys change their marketing for the better. If you still have any questions about whether I ‘walk the walk’ as well as I ‘talk the talk’, this screenshot of a search for “attorney marketing” doesn’t lie.

That’s my site on page 1 of Google only 3 months after it was launched, and I’m competing with almost 99 million pages for this keyword.

Attorney Marketing Search Results

Attorney Marketing Search Results

But enough about marketing. As I indicated in the title of this article, “Some Days, It’s Not About the Marketing.” Yesterday was one of those days for me.

As I’m sure you all know, yesterday marked the 11th anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, as well as a thwarted attack aboard United Flight 93. I read several articles about the events of 9/11 yesterday, but most of the day was spent in remembrance of my experience that fateful day and the impact it has had on my life. This is my story.

On September 11, 2001, I was an associate in a thriving law firm in Washington, DC. I had been an associate in one of those 300+ attorney firms in Washington for a while, but on January 1, 2001, a group of attorneys, including myself, left our ‘mega-firms’ to join forces and form our own boutique firm. We had completed all the necessary steps to set up our new firm, and 2001 had been a year of growth and excitement for me up to this point because we had been working hard to ensure our new law firm succeeded.

The location of our firm was a few blocks from the White House, and I can still recall how bright and clear a morning it was in Washington, DC as I completed my daily commute to my office on September 11, 2001. I arrived in the office extra early that morning at the ghastly hour of 7am. Anyone who has worked in a law firm in a big city knows that’s really early because most of the time we worked late into the night before stammering home for some much-needed rest.

I had to be in the office early that morning because we were finalizing a brief that was due to be filed later that day in a federal court proceeding in Louisiana. I had been tasked with final drafting and editing of the brief before review by the litigation partner on the case, and I wanted to make sure everything was in tip-top shape before the partner came knocking on my door. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the knock that occurred.

I don’t know the exact time, but I would wager a guess that it was between 8:30 and 9am when my legal assistant knocked on my office door. She knew I was working on this brief, and usually she was pretty thoughtful about not bothering me when I was under a major time constraint. However, this morning she did interrupt me, and she reported that she was hearing disturbing news on the radio at her desk about the events unfolding in New York and across the Potomac at the Pentagon. The radio was reporting news of a possible helicopter or small plane crash near the Pentagon, so she was a little frazzled. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I told her to go down to the gym in the basement to see what information the TV news was reporting about the possible crash. I had no clue what was in store when she returned.

World Trade Center Attack

World Trade Center Attack

I continued working on the brief until that point when she and others came up from the basement and told me about the horrific terrorist attacks that had happened in New York and at the Pentagon. I was shocked and stunned beyond belief.

Our managing partner called everyone into the main conference room, and we discussed the fact that no one should get on the metrorail system, no one should cross any bridges out of Washington, and anyone who needed a place to go could come to his house a few miles away. I was on board with that plan. You see, my normal morning commute began each day by taking a bus from my house to the Pentagon, then boarding a metro train that took me through tunnels beneath Washington to a station a few blocks from my office. Given all the conflicting reports we were hearing of bomb threats near the White House, at the State Department, etc., there was no way I was going back into the unknown. So I hopped in a car with several of my colleagues, and we were off to the managing partner’s house to ‘hunker down’ and find out what was going on in the world.

You wouldn’t believe the chaos we encountered in Washington that morning. The streets were jam packed with every car in the city trying to get out of what we perceived to be harm’s way. There were traffic jams at every turn. As an example, one of the partners in our firm who lived in Arlington thought he would be able to drive home across one of the main bridges over to Virginia. The traffic jams were so bad as a result of all the people trying to flee Washington that he left his car on the side of the road and walked most of the way home. Lucky for me, I was with a multi-decade veteran of Washington who knew every back alley and side street between the office and our destination, and she got us there with a lot of effort but not a lot of delay!

On our drive, however, was one of the worst parts of my day. Because of all the chaos that morning, most of the cellular telephone lines in Washington had been tied up. I had talked to my wife earlier that morning, but she had no idea I had left the office and was headed to a safe location because I couldn’t get in touch with her. What made the situation that much more volatile was the fact that she was 7 months pregnant at the time. When I finally did get through to her, she was an emotional wreck. She cried and sobbed during the entire call. I would hear from one of my high school buddies a few days later that he had called our home to make sure we were okay, and he had also received the full emotional wave from my wife because she hadn’t been able to reach me and she finally had someone to talk to (or more truthfully cry to) when he finally got through. Wow – that was one for the ages, but I was glad to let her know I was safe!

I spent the rest of that day like most people I’m sure – watching the news coverage about the events and being in awe as we saw the World Trade Center collapse to the ground. Who would have ever imagined that such an attack would occur on US soil and it would lead to such a massive loss of life?

Pentagon After Terrorist Attack

Pentagon After Terrorist Attack

The evening came to a close for me when it was late in the evening and we were fairly sure it was safe for me to drive home. One of my fellow attorneys let me borrow her car because we still didn’t trust public transportation, and I got directions back to our home in Virginia. I didn’t really think about my route when I started to head home, but as I was leaving Washington, I drove right by the Pentagon and witnessed the massive wreckage and fire still burning brightly hours after the crash had occurred. It was a sight that I will never forget, and I hugged my wife and only daughter (at the time) extra tight when I finally arrived safely at home.

September 11, 2001 was a traumatic day for me and many others. By God’s grace I was not injured; I was not threatened in any real way; and I didn’t have to charge into a burning building to save the lives of others. Many people did face those very situations that day, and there were many heroes who lost their lives as a result. So when you’re frustrated by your marketing efforts or when you’re having a bad day at work, which will happen to all of us from time to time, I hope you will recall these fallen heroes and remember that the situation could be a whole lot worse.

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Written by Richard Martindale - About the Author: Richard Martindale is a practicing attorney and the President/CEO of an internet marketing company in Austin called Clockwork Social Media. Richard also publishes the Attorney Marketing Profits Blog. Naturally this article is connected to Richard’s profile, Twitter, Facebook and to LinkedIn so check him out in all these places.
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