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Law firm using twitter to find plainitiffs for class action law suit?

Now I am seeing it all.

Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, a pretty good plaintiffs’ firm here in Seattle, apparently has its PR person, Laura Young of Firmani + Associates Inc., out twittering to find putative class members for a possible class action law suit versus Verizon Wireless. Twitter law suits

Laura, if the goal was to suck me into spreading the word by following me on Twitter, it worked. Looks like you’re following only 2 people other than me and just posted once.

Sample of Twitter responses:

  • ‘[I]t is tweets like @YoungLJ that cause people to think of ambulance chasers and hurts the good reputable lawyers.’
  • ‘Almost as good as “Man Injured in Car Crash” posts on blogs…’
  • ‘You knew that was going to happen sooner or later. As a plaintiff’s atty, crap like this just pisses me off. Have some pride.’
  • Mark Firmani

    Granted, I am completely biased, since Laura works for me, but I see nothing wrong with sharing news of existing litigation that could help consumers learn about their rights.
    This is a very interesting case, and if folks want to learn more, I would suggest they follow the link. Steve also pens a pretty good blog – http://www.classactionlawtoday.com . It gives you a idea of firm’s philosophy.
    As to the naysayers, HBSS – this year alone – has saved healthcare consumers billions (yeah, that is a “B”) through rollbacks of prescription drug prices that affects anyone who takes virtually any prescription medication.
    That is just one of many cases that help consumers and investors.
    This firm takes on the cases the government can’t – or won’t – like a current case in which one of the largest brokerage houses that allegedly sold high-risk junk-bond-laden investments to average investors, telling them, according to the suit, that the risk was no higher than a money-market account.
    If those investors didn’t have the opportunity to learn that they weren’t alone as they sat powerless and watched their retirement accounts burn down to embers, the case might not have happened.
    Information is power, and I don’t think that power should be held only by a few.
    That is my $.02 worth.

  • http://kevin.lexblog.com Kevin OKeefe

    I agree information is power Mark and that Berman has done some excellent work. Just that this cuts both ways with the public.
    Though plaintiff’s trial lawyers do great stuff, there is over reaching at times to get results fast for the firm no matter how that effects the opinion of the public as to lawyers in general.
    I was a plaintiff’s lawyer for 17 years, a board member of my state’s trial lawyers association, and a sustaining of what was then called ATLA. I championed the cause of the little guy too.
    Little question that I was pinged by Laura as to following me on Twitter as a way you guys could get me to blog/twitter your release and to give you the soap box you took in the comments here.
    Creative PR using me like this, I’ll grant you that.
    I would have broke into Twitter more professionally and appropriately than to join perhaps today, add 3 people – one of which is me, and post once hoping I would spread the word for your client.

  • http://www.burke-eisner.com Dave Austin

    Twitter is a great tool if you are using it for your own interested followers. It can replace email in a way. But finding new clients for lawyers??? I don’t know about that, but again great for talking to the people who already want to hear from you.
    I do agree that three followers and then a promotional post is a bit spammy. Twitter is solidly in the Web 2.0 category and thus needs to be used correctly or you’ll get just the opposite result you wanted.
    Dave Austin
    @daveautin (My twitter id) :)

  • http://www.burke-eisner.com Dave Austin

    I really should edit my posts…and read them…I misspelled my own name in my id. I guess I wouldn’t be a good spammer. :)

  • http://halosecretarialservices.com/blog Laurie

    So just curious, would you block someone like that, just not follow them or follow them in hopes that they’ll improve? I think businesses using Twitter is a great thing obviously, but that is such a poor way to get your company into Twitterland.

  • http://firmani.com Mark Firmani

    I can guarantee that we will be more cognizant, and a more informed user of this medium as we move forward. Kevin, I think you give us too much credit when you say we ‘used you.’ Heck, I did not know Twitter was a tool for law firms until I heard you speak about it. If anything, we are a monster of your creation!
    By the way, did I mention Steve’s great Blog? http://www.classactionlawtoday.com?
    Seriously, I do appreciate the constructive feedback and do commit to being a good user and steward of this medium.
    Thanks, all

  • http://www.pixelita.com Joni Mueller

    I’ve got two Twitter accounts, one personal and the other for my web design business. I think this is just a case of marketing; whether it’s good or bad marketing will remain to be seen. But that’s one reason I set up my professional Twitter account. So that I could announce site launches and get my company into public view. In a way, this is no different, other than the fact that, unlike web designers, some state bar ethics rules prohibit lawyers from soliciting business.
    But sadly, both my Twitter accounts are inundated with people “following” me who are self-proclaimed marketing gurus. I don’t know them, I don’t have a personal or business relationship with them and 99.5% of them aren’t even in my same city or state. I find that to be repugnant, so I block them. You can too; this instance or others. Feel the power of the mouse!

  • http://kevin.lexblog.com Kevin OKeefe

    Thanks for the your take Joni. Your points are well taken and perhaps blocking is the answer for me.