In this episode of the Legal Marketing 2.0 Podcast, Guy is joined by Christopher Melcher. Business owners, celebrities, and trust beneficiaries across California turn to Christopher Melcher for assistance protecting their most valuable assets in high stakes divorces. With deep experience in complex family law litigation and premarital agreements, he provides tactical representation in the most challenging family law disputes. He understands the need to keep sensitive family matters private, having represented noteworthy clients in the largest divorce cases in California. Clients include A-list celebrities, executives, and tech company founders. He is frequently hired by other family lawyers as a consultant, expert, or co-counsel on significant divorce cases in California. His passion is helping others and he loves the law. His father was a trial lawyer and he’s learned not only how to be a lawyer from him, but what it means to be a lawyer. He has presented about 200 continuing legal education programs to other attorneys on complex family law issues and is a published author. He also wrote the only treatise on California premarital agreement law, published by LexisNexis. He is an adjunct professor of family law at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu. Before entering family law exclusively, he practiced criminal defense and civil personal injury litigation. Christopher joins us today to discuss how he was able to find success through social media as a lawyer.
1. How Did You Get Started in Practicing Family Law, and What Led You to Start Using Social Media?
Family law was by accident. I never intended or wanted to do this area because I felt it was too toxic, and I wanted to do corporate securities law when I got out of law school. Still, in 1994 the economy was terrible. There was no hiring, so I did criminal defense. I did some civil litigation too, whatever came in the door. There was a point in around 2002 where there was a guy down the hall from me who was a solo practitioner and family lawyer handling big cases. He convinced me that this would be a good or better practice area, and through just having lunch with him, I said, wow, this is sophisticated. I had no idea. I just thought people fought over a couch, but when you have these wealthy clients, we’re dealing with every aspect of their life, business interests, investments, and pensions. You’re dealing with their homes and their kid’s psychological issues that are coming up that make it hard for us to settle, so you can never be bored as a family lawyer, and I’m really happy that I switched over.
2. How Do You Determine if Social Media is Right for You?
Pre lockdowns, I was one of the few humans not using social media. I did not need it. I was bringing in more business than I could handle. People kept making fun of me or telling me that I needed to be on social media, but I didn’t understand it. But when the lockdowns happened, I couldn’t connect with that audience, so I started looking at social media. LinkedIn matched my sensibilities as the best of all the platforms because there were other professionals. So I dove into that in April of 2020. This has not been that long of a journey for me, and I think if you’re listening to this podcast and you’re a lawyer in the same boat as I am, do you do this or not? I think, yes.
3. As an Attorney, How Do You Make Time for Social Media?
It’s very hard, and it’s what holds lawyers back because most lawyers are all about billable hours when they’re starting. You’re in court every day. You’re doing your thing. And there’s no time for anything else, and that’s the life of an associate, but you want to progress and start building a book of business, so you’re now originating work. So you can call the shots not only to make more money but to be secure in your profession; you need to do business development now, whether that’s hand-to-hand marketing or social media. Maybe it doesn’t matter, but you got to do it, and then the question is how much time are you willing to invest in yourself to get those results. So I would think, hey, if you’re going to work all day, you should commit to one hour a day to social media. You will find, as I did, that this is enjoyable because rather than spending that on doing legal work, you’re being social and interacting with people. You’re learning from and building connections with folks all over the world, and it’s helpful for you because now you’re building a network of people that you can refer to or ask questions. So this is a resource for you and your clients.
4. Have You Just Focused on LinkedIn or Have You Gone Beyond LinkedIn and Used Some of the Other Social Platforms?
LinkedIn was my thing last year in 2020, and it was working well and brought in a lot of business. But what I’ve found over the previous six months is that the engagement dropped off, and it might just be for me. I don’t know if it’s a platform-wide thing, but it just seemed like there was less engagement as people got back to work. They dropped off because social media was on fire for professionals last year. So I then started using Twitter, and the reason why I started that is that I am doing all this media commentary. There are many reporters on Twitter, so I figured, okay, let me fire up Twitter and start using it, and that is an entirely different thing. So I’ve been using Twitter mostly now, and the engagement is incredible. I’ve also created a YouTube channel where I’m doing legal commentary for attorneys and the general audience on breaking legal issues. There’s a ton of engagement from my YouTube channel. So before I would create a post on LinkedIn, and if I were lucky, I mean a big, really successful post I would get maybe 40 comments that would be amazing. But now, with YouTube, and Twitter I can get thousands.
Social media can open up doors for lawyers and help generate business. Platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter are great ways to connect with your audience and define your voice as a lawyer. Not sure how to improve your current social media plan? Sign up for a social media audit to receive an analysis of your current social media and learn how to meet your business objectives through social media.