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MySpace helps attorneys get clients

myspace gets attorneys workMySpace helps attorneys find clients reports Brenda Sapino Jeffreys of Texas Lawyer.

When Missouri City, Texas, entertainment lawyer Leslie Warren Cross launched a page in 2006, he wanted a way to provide up-and-coming musicians basic information about the legalities of music contracts.

But Cross says that as he acquired ‘friends’ on his MySpace page, he realized the Internet social networking site is a great marketing tool for his firm, Les Cross & Associates, and a way to stay in contact with his vagabond musician clients.

‘It’s been really good,’ says Cross, a graduate of South Texas College of Law in Houston.

Cross, who opened his entertainment firm in 1997 and counts Paul Wall and Snoop Dogg among his clients, says he has landed a few clients through MySpace contacts, but he also spends a lot of time answering basic questions about music contracts from prospective clients who send him e-mails after seeing his MySpace page. He calls himself Music Attorney Cross (The Street Fighter) on his MySpace page, which features the music of client Jai Mike.

Cross and other Texas lawyers with MySpace pages that advertise their firms say it’s a legitimate way to reach prospective clients, particularly younger people who aren’t likely to look in newspapers or in telephone directories for a lawyer.

Though Cross and others highlighted in the article get most of their business by word of mouth’ either traditionally or through MySpace, traditional legal marketing expert, Deborah McMurray, wouldn’t recommend MySpace to the large Texas firms.

I think McMurray is being a little naive. MySpace, FaceBook, and other social communities may well be the Kiwanis, Rotary, and College Alumni clubs of today. Would a large firm tell their lawyers not to network in the offline clubs of old? Of course not.

For entertainment lawyers, in small or large law firms, MySpace is a big deal. According to MySpace, which is owned by Fox Interactive Media, more than 3 million artists and bands use MySpace to promote albums and interact with fans. Each month, more than 106 million people from around the world visit MySpace, according to statistics from comScore Media Metrics.

And it’s not just entertainment lawyers who benefit from MySpace.

Mark Meisinger, a 28-year-old criminal defense lawyer in Dallas, says his prospective clients are on MySpace. Meisinger says he defends people from charges involving drugs, driving while intoxicated and probation violations, as well as from traffic tickets. He also does juvenile law.

‘This is my perfect age group. The people I’m going after [as clients] are on MySpace,’ says Meisinger, who graduated from Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Neb., in 2004, and office shares at Gioffreddi & Associates in Dallas. ‘A whole bunch of people who party, who drink, whatever, those are the people on there who want to be my [MySpace] friend.’

The MySpace page for the Law Office of Mark Meisinger features the slogan ‘Representing Those Who Mess With Texas.’

Meisinger says he started using MySpace to promote his practice after a client told him she had 20,000 friends in her MySpace network and he should become one of the friends on her page to promote his practice. So Meisinger says he became a ‘friend’ on the client’s MySpace page and also posted a copy of his business card, which includes tips to ‘Be DWI Prepared.’ Meisinger says he then started becoming a MySpace friend to other women, added his business card to his own MySpace site and started networking with MySpace pages for bars in Dallas.

‘I have gotten cases off there [MySpace]; there’s no doubt. One month, I got four DWIs off of there. It’s way more than the phone book’s doing for me,’ he says, noting that promoting his practice through MySpace is inexpensive advertising, because his only cost is the time he spends networking on MySpace and managing his page.

‘I’ve been licensed two years now. I don’t have money to throw into the phone or TV ads,’ he says. ‘It works out perfect for me.’ In comparison, Meisinger says, he pays $700 a month for his Yellow Pages ad.

Traditional legal marketing professionals all laughed at the advent of blogs. “No lawyer or large firm would use a blog for professional marketing.” They were saying that only 2 or 3 years ago.

Open your eyes folks, the world is changing. Things that look a little different today, will look very acceptable in a couple years.

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