Of all of the amazing things that have happened to me because of this blog, perhaps the most interesting (and hardest to explain) is my relationship with LegalMatch.
Back in April 2004 I wrote a short post titled Why I’ll Never Use LegalMatch, in which I took the company to task for its sales tactics. I’d been writing this blog for a few months and thought nothing of the post or the title. The post attracted (and continues to attract) dozens of comments about LegalMatch — some positive, but most negative. I followed up the original post with several more, including some interesting give-and-take with LegalMatch executives. Ultimately, I received an offer from LegalMatch CEO Randy Wells to meet him in New York. The result of that meeting was this Apology from LegalMatch posted on my blog.
LegalMatch next asked me to come to San Francisco to visit their offices and meet with their people. I got a peek inside LegalMatch’s technology, met some of the company’s people, and extended an invitation to Randy Wells to come to LexThink.
After LexThink, Randy asked if we (my LexThink partners Dennis Kennedy, Sherry Fowler and I) would do a “private” LexThink event for LegalMatch in lieu of their traditional management retreat. We agreed, and I facilitated their management retreat last weekend. LexThink, Inc. charged LM $5,000.00 for the event.
At the retreat, I saw forty LegalMatch managers brainstorming about how to make their company better. I also engaged many of them in (sometimes heated) discussions about how their methods had alienated folks like me and countless other potential customers.
Gullibility Break: Look, I know my post and the resulting comments have cost LegalMatch hundreds of thousands of dollars (this figure comes from someone outside of LM). Just Google LegalMatch, and you’ll understand why, though I’m a bit concerned because at least once a week, someone Googles “LegalMatch” over and over and follows each link back to my blog posts — perhaps to keep my year-old post high up on Google’s first page?
I’ve also learned that many of the internal policies (and people) that led to the things I complained about have changed. If my experiences with LegalMatch are part of some sort of “grand plan” to sucker me in to coming over to the LM “dark side,” I’ve got to admit that it has been masterfully planned, acted, and executed.
Starting today, I’m changing the title of my original post to “Don’t Sell Like This.” The comments will remain active, and the content won’t change. The titles of the rest of my LM posts will stay the same, and I’ll keep the LegalMatch category alive.
Full Disclosure Break: While a part of me thinks I’m an idiot for not demanding that LegalMatch pay me $XXX,000.00 for removing all of the LM posts from my blog, I’ve not gotten anything personally from LegalMatch for writing this post or doing what I’m doing. The only compensation I’ve received from the company is the value of two airplane flights, a few nights in a hotel room, a couple of lunches and two dinners for the meetings in NYC and SF. I’ve received no promises and have no expectations.
I’m ultimately doing what I’m doing because I think it is right, and because I’ve gotten to like a lot of folks at LegalMatch. Will I work with LegalMatch in the future? Possibly. Will LegalMatch be involved with LexThink in some way? Maybe. Is this some horrible violation of blogger ethics? I’m sure you’ll tell me so. Thanks for your time, and now back to regular blogging.