Protests, calls for discipline as lawyer exploits 911 in marketing ploy


Today is a day when Americans pause to remember the terrorist attacks that took more than 3,000 lives on September 11, 2001. My wife and I took a moment to remember where we were when we first heard the news and saw those terrible images.

I’ve received emails and Facebook posts with photos and sentiments marking the occasion. Everyone has been respectful. No one has said anything inappropriate or controversial.

Nobody wants to be accused of being unpatriotic or unsympathetic to the families of the fallen. Nobody wants to be seen as exploiting a tragedy for commercial gain. If a lawyer were to have a headline written about him like the one atop this post it would destroy his career.

Or would it?

Don’t they say all publicity is good, “as long as they spell your name right”?

Look, just because 911 is a solemn occasion doesn’t mean it is off limits for marketing purposes. There are many things you could do to leverage the memory of that day that are respectful and appropriate. For example, you could:

  • Sponsor a golf tournament, 10K run, or bake sale, with all proceeds going to one of the many 911 memorial foundations
  • Offer free disaster preparedness supplies or information to anyone who comes by your office
  • Use your newsletter or blog to promote a blood drive or CPR training

These are tame and unlikely to get any complaints or disagreements, unlike the following:

  • Write, lobby, in support of closing our borders
  • Campaign for candidates with a Second Amendment agenda
  • Write an editorial for your local paper denouncing the ongoing practice of allowing foreign nationals to enroll in flight school without verifying their immigration status

Most people who hear about your efforts will applaud them. You may get some positive press. Your clients and professional contacts will help you spread the word and more people will learn your name and what you do.

There may be cynics and malcontents who accuse you of exploitation or political incorrectness. Don’t listen to them. Do what you believe is right and say what you believe needs to be said. You may prosper as a result of your efforts, but you are also making the world a better (and safer) place.