To: Brian Sajdak
From: RJon Robins
Re: Answers to your question(s)
Date: September 20, 2010
In a series of public tweets you have posed a series of questions to me, which I have done my best to answer in 140 characters or less. In the final question you ask "…given your past failure at running a law firm, why should anyone hire you to advise them how to do it?"
Question # 1: Am I a "Fake" lawyer?
September 7 You Tweeted: Re: Fake lawyers…er…social media gurus like @rjonrobins don't follow me much. Do you go looking for them @btannebaum, or am I just lucky?
My Response: No, I am not a "Fake" lawyer. I was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1997. I have never had a disciplinary complaint lodged against me. I have never been sanctioned by any court. I am admitted to practice in Florida and in the 11th Circuit. I interned for The Office of The US Trustee and later for then-chief Bankruptcy Judge AJ Cristol who later performed my swearing in ceremony in his courtroom for me.
Question #2: Do I Use A Female Avatar?
September 7 You Tweeted: @DavidSug I was going to correct you but I see @rjonrobins uses a female avatar for @tweet4lawyers. Interesting @antoninpribetic @btannebaum
September 7 You Also Tweeted: Sadly, I actually looked. @tweet4lawyers is @rjonrobins and @DeniseWakeman – pic is hers. @AntoninPribetic @DavidSug @btannebaum
My Response: No, I do not use a female avatar. In early 2009 I interviewed well known social media expert Denise Wakeman for my coaching group and as part of her lesson she demonstrated for us how to set-up a twitter account.
Since Denise was using her computer for the demonstration we loaded a picture of her to demonstrate the process with a made-up twitter name.
You will note that I enjoy a following of more than 2,000 mostly-lawyers. The account you referenced above has been dormant for more than 18 months. It has fewer than ten followers. Clearly no-one is attempting to use that dormant account for nefarious purposes.
I explained this to you in a tweet to which you responded with Question # 3:
Question # 3: What About My Bar Standing?
September 9 You Tweeted: @rjonrobins That's the easy mystery to
solve. Now what about your bar standing? You've avoided those questions.
My Response: In your tweet you imply that there had been numerous questions posed to me that I had avoided.
In point of fact the same day I saw the question I immediately responded not only with independent tweets, but also with replies and even a blog post explaining all of the facts & circumstances which added up to the acknowledgment that yes indeed I missed some credits in my cle cycle that had ended 9 days before.
And I was just waiting to finish making them up online and for The Bar to update records.
Point-being, I never "avoided" the question as your tweet implied.
Same Day (September 9) You Further Tweeted: @rjonrobins Your website says "I am a Member of The Florida Bar in good standing (Fla Bar No.126 713)." Explain: http://is.gd/f1QLH.
My Further Response: You made it as far as to search-out and find my records on The Florida Bar website.
So you were also able to plainly-see that I enjoy more than a 10 year unblemished disciplinary record, I maintain current membership in a number of voluntary sections and that it was simply a matter of some missing CLE credits.
Had you extended me the professional courtesy of a private email from the address listed on that page, instead of a public accusation on twitter I would have been able to assure you in more than 140 characters that, I made no court appearances and let all of my clients know about the situation and was simply waiting for the records to be updated.
Question # 4: Do I Lie On Social Media?
September 11 You Tweeted: @rjonrobins With an easy explanation, there is nothing offending. Other SM folk have lied to me, and it is a problem.
My Response: I was not offended that you posed any of your questions. I was disappointed that the tone of the "questions" were more like accusations. As you correctly pointed out, there was an easy explanation.
Perhaps a different approach could have been an email from you to me along the lines of "Hey RJon I don't know you but I've seen lots of testimonials from lawyers and bar officials all over your website and as a professional courtesy I wanted to let you know you appear to be CLE delinquent on your bar records. By the way, I have seen a number of your tweets in which you state that you are a lawyer. Please clarify the situation with your bar record?"
Brian, I'm pretty sure you would have received back a big "Thank You" from me with assurances that I'd only become aware of the problem a few days before, that I was just about done with the online courses I then-immediately signed up for, and that the bar records should be updated in a few days, along with assurances that none of my clients were mis-lead and no court appearances made.
Question # 5: Why Did I "Re-Tweet" Your September 9th Tweet?
On or about September 19th I did in fact RT the following from you: @rjonrobins Your website says "I am a Member of The Florida Bar in good
standing (Fla Bar No.126 713)." Explain: http://is.gd/f1QLH.
Your Response: @rjonrobins Glad you got everything straightened out. Of course, retweeting my post is a bit disingenuous, no?
To Which I replied: @bsajdak I RT your post b/c it publicly implied I am not what I say I am & included a link to my bar credentials. Not to embarrass you.
My Further Response: The "context" extends beyond only the people who "follow" me. You have hundreds of "followers" who may or may not follow me. Given the tone of the string of emails preceding this one I believed and still believe the only way to put the status of my bar license in complete context is by retweeting your original tweet.
Admittedly this is an imperfect solution to a complex problem. Which is exactly my point about jumping onto one tiny bit of information shared in less than 140 characters.
You presumed I am a transexual avatar using liar pretending to be a fake lawyer who dodges questions. And you made your presumptions publicly, at my expense.
I retweeted one of your public questions in order to alert people who had seen it to the fact that my bar license is in fact in good standing.
Could we BOTH have been more clear in our communications? Of course. That's why triers of facts that have the power to damage a person's reputation, don't limit their due diligence to Twitter.
We BOTH Agree?
To Your Credit On September 20 You Tweeted: To his credit, he [RJON] was honest and straight forward about it [the cle issue](which is more than I can say for other SM-lawyer-types). Congrats @rjonrobins
My Response: @bsajdak To his credit Bsadjak was interested in & acknowledged the facts (which is more than I can say for others in my "fan club") Tks B
Note: I should think there is no other way to interpret this tweet except in the spirit it was intended: As a compliment to you for being interested enough to inquire and honest enough to acknowledge the facts once they were brought to your attention.
I Further Tweeted To Clarify The Facts: @bsajdak For the record: I am NOT a SM "guru". I teach FUNDAMENTAL law firm management & law practice marketing. SM is new to me too.
Question # 6: Why Should Anyone Hire Me To Advise Them How To Run A Profitable Law Firm?
September 20 (Several Hours Later) You Tweeted: @rjonrobins Now, on the facts: given your past failure at running a law firm, why should anyone hire you to advise them how to do it?
My Response: @bsajdak Great question. 140 char answer is b/c I learned what NOT to do. Then learned what TO do. Then I helped 1,000's attys DO it too.
I then tweeted: D bsajdak: Do you have an email address I can reply to this w/ more than 140 characters? Pls send to firstname.lastname@example.org
And since it's directly responsive to your question I added…
@bsajdak Here's the brief "About Me" version: http://bit.ly/cpiTod w/ a few of my testimonials sprinkled throughout.
@bsajdak …& a few more spec to starting a law firm: http://youtu.be/4TzwY3SFfGE 140 not really enough to tell anyone's whole story is it?
Your Response To My Invitation Above: @rjonrobins No, but you've got a website (presumably a blog) – a great opportunity to answer without the PR buzzwords from you About Me site
So Here's My 140+ Character Response To Your Question:
One of my favorite quotes that I keep on my office wall is by Bruce Lee who in addition to being well known as a martial artist was also a highly-respected entrepreneur. Lee said "To Know & Not To Do Is Not To Know".
I KNOW how hard it is to live with the fear, embarrassment & frustration of having a law firm that does not perform up to your expectations either financially, personally or professionally. I also KNOW how empowering it is to discover some relatively-simple law practice management techniques they never taught most of us in law school, put them to use and almost like magic you start to see your whole practice & your whole life turn-around.
I brought my own law practice back from the brink of financial disaster in only a few short months by using law firm marketing & law practice management fundamentals.
In fact I turned it around so effectively that I ended up being recruited by the legendary J.R. Phelps who was the founding Director of The Florida Bar's Law Office Management Assistance Service.
I called J.R. for help. He told me what to do. I did it. It worked. I called back for more help.
And that's how we got to talking which lead to the offer to come to Tallahassee and work as the only lawyer who has ever served as a Law Practice Management Advisor with The Florida Bar's LOMAS program.
As a LOMAS PMA I would routinely spend about half my month in the office fielding anywhere from 3-10 calls a day from lawyers and legal administrators asking everything you can probably imagine about how to start, market, manage, merge, buy, sell, close etc, etc. etc. a law firm.
The math and J.R. himself verify, in just that part of my job over 3+ years I helped THOUSANDS of lawyers to have a better law practice. And I have a redwell stuffed full of some very touching thank you notes, emails and hand-written letters.
When I wasn't in the office I was out in the field at the behest of the Disciplinary Committee.
Nearly 54% of all bar grievances filed trace their roots to a law practice management problem. So very often the Disciplinary Committee would send me out to find and fix the management problem(s) that lead to the complaint in the first place. I have crawled through the depths of many dozens of solo & small law firms to turn them around. Which is a big part of why I was attracted to bankruptcy law in the first place.
When I wasn't busy fixing broken law firms I was presenting dozens of CLE seminars & workshops all over the State of Florida about how to start, market & manage a small law firm.
I have probably addressed into the tens of thousands of lawyers in literally more audiences than I can count.
And while no-one raises their hand or waits until the end of a CLE program to ask the speaker a private question with the expectation that he will have heard the same question 20 times before, that's the reality of it when you've spoken with and worked with as many lawyers as I have.
Just like you, Brian, have probably handled the same fact pattern enough hundreds of times before to be pretty good at being able to predict and resolve it for the municipality before the whole situation hits the fan, right?
So that brings us to about 7 years ago when I left The Bar and began working with clients privately where the emphasis was more on marketing than management and I ALWAYS offered a 100% guarantee of satisfaction.
In my last "job" working for a consulting firm our average annual retainer was $100,000 and our averag
e performance bonus was nearly half that much at year-end based on new business attributable to our work.
In 2006 I started my current business because I was in love, I didn't want to travel as much and be away from my now-wife for weeks at a time, and I really do like the instant gratification that you can only get with a small law firm that has only one decision-maker instead of a whole committee.
While I profess to know alot about how to market & manage a successful small law firm I DID NOT know alot about how to run an online business that sold mostly educational materials online, and shipped them to lawyers all around the world.
Still, I shipped many hundreds of programs. I got many repeat orders. I ALWAYS offered (and still do) a 100% guarantee. And I enjoyed a return rate of less than about 5%.
Today, after running my lawyer coaching & education business for several years I have "Done" which means I "Know" alot more about this type of business than I did when I started.
And the technology has improved dramatically in just the past few years.
So I've transitioned from only selling educational materials to offering telephone-based coaching supported by educational materials.
I have dozens of "Members" representing all different types of practice areas, from all different States around the Country (even Wisconsin). And we have Members in at least three different Countries too.
Every single month, every single one of them enjoys a 100% Guarantee and I'm proud to say in the past 18 months my business has nearly doubled.
So, Brian, given my past failure at running a law firm, why should anyone hire me to advise them how to do it? I suppose if I were to try & sum it up in 140 characters or less I'd say "Because I Get Results."