From the Vault -- Defending Timothy McVeigh
A Nod To Community Service On "Love Your Lawyer Day"
The inaugural edition of Oklahoma Super Lawyers magazine in 2006 featured an auspicious attorney: Stephen Jones of Jones, Otjen & Davis in Enik, Okla.-the man who defended Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Jones gave us an in-depth look at the closely watched case-and into the thought process of a terrorist. An excerpt:
Ten years ago, Jones was at the center of one of the most intense media blitzes in American history. From May 1995 to September 1997, he served as chief defense counsel to Timothy McVeigh, who was accused, and later convicted, of triggering the bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The blast killed 168 people, including 19 children under the age of 6.
A few days after the explosion, U.S. District Judge David Russell asked Jones if he would defend McVeigh, who had been charged with the crime. Jones thought it over, discussed it with his family and law partners, and agreed. The decision changed his life. A small-town lawyer litigating a mix of smalltown stuff - divorces, wills, DUIs, estate planning - in addition to a few capital crimes and representing Fortune 500 companies, he suddenly found himself thrust into the middle of a national media frenzy. Friends and colleagues wondered why he decided to subject himself to such an ordeal.
He took the job, he says, because he believes it is the constitutional responsibility of an attorney to take on controversial cases. "As a member of the Oklahoma Bar, I believed in our obligation to defend the unpopular and the indigent," he says, "even when it came to someone accused of such a barbarous crime as Timothy McVeigh."
Read the rest of the article here on SuperLawyers.com. And be sure to check out the most recent issue of Oklahoma Super Lawyers Magazine here.
Getting The Most Out Of That Social Post
On last year's "Love Your Lawyer Day," we asked attorneys why they chose to become lawyers. After all, the legal realm can be a challenging field, and it certainly isn't for everyone. In the responses we received, we saw two significant trends emerge.
The first: legal work is a good fit for intellectually curious, zealous personality types.
"My Dad started a debate with me daily," quipped Amy Wirtz of Wirtz Legal Solutions LLC in Cleveland. "It was a natural path."
Wirtz seems to be one of the many people who realized they could best channel their natural pugnaciousness, drive and desire to uncover the truth into only one profession.
As another celebration of "Love Your Lawyer Day" is upon us we wanted spread the word about our list selectees and their community service efforts. Because, after all, pro bono and community service are one of the 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement we use to build our candidate pool. And nowhere is the idea of giving back to the community where you live and work than at The Glenn Armentor Law Corporation in Lafayette, Louisiana.
For five-time Louisiana Super Lawyers list selectee Glenn Armentor growing up in poverty as one of ten children in the deep south is a time he won't soon forget. From being forced to wear shabby clothes to school to committing petty crimes Armentor felt cheated and often got into trouble.
But after a tough upbringing and a chance meeting with a police officer Armentor began to figure it out. He earned a bachelor's degree, then went through law school at Louisiana State University with money he earned from a dangerous offshore oil rig job. Then he began to pay it back.
"I started thinking about how I could give at-risk kids an opportunity to go to college," he says. With help from advisers at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he launched the Pay-it-Forward Scholarship program, which provides $10,000 each in tuition to about five students annually to attend the university. The program's funds come directly from Armentor.
For Sarasota attorney and 2017 Florida Super Lawyers list selectee Jennifer Compton, her passion resides with helping fight the gender gap in technology. Compton is on the board and a "lifer" at Sarasota's Girls Inc., which provides after-school and summer education to about 400 girls. While her extended tenure as president is coming to a close this year, Compton has undoubtedly left a mark, especially in the area of technology.
"A lot of our girls don't have access to technology other than at the center," Compton says. "They don't have the luxury of a desktop at home, let alone a tablet or smartphone. So what if we enhanced our technology and did this for our girls? Forget about opening a window; let's open the door."
"By summer, we had five weeks of technology and two weeks of coding at our summer camp, and it was a huge success," Compton says. "Then we started hearing about the Hour of Code in public schools, and Google did the whole Made with Code program. It was a movement that we were in the forefront of and got caught up in, in a very good way."
So good, in fact, that Microsoft granted Girls Inc. $60,000 in software, and also lent employees and space for its 2016 camp. Girls from kindergarten to eighth grade have access to the outreach programs.
For some it's paying it forward in terms of education or battling a gender gap in technology. For others it might be shedding light on veteran's issues or even representing the wrongly accused. Read more stories about our selected attorneys and the power of their good works here.
So, you've been selected to a Super Lawyers or Rising Stars list. Congratulations, at the end of the day only 5 percent of attorneys are selected to the Super Lawyers list with another 2.5 percent selected to the Rising Stars list in each state. Last week we talked about sharing your accomplishments on social media. Now, let's take it a step further and make sure your posts are getting in front of the largest audience possible. After the high fives and handshakes, here are four applicable steps to help spread the word.
1. Don't Forget Your Colleagues
Once you've written the content for your post make sure to tag people and add links. Tagging other attorneys means that not only will the people that follow you see the post, but then gives the opportunity for the people that follow them to see the post. It's beneficial for both parties involved for more exposure. Lastly when adding a link to the end of your post consider a press release if you have it or sending people your biography page on your firm's website.
2. Always Use Visuals
Everyone's heard a picture is worth a thousand words, this applies to social media as well. Visuals on Facebook bring in 40X more shares than any other type of content. Make sure you use tasteful images of an award you've received or a picture of you in your office. If you don't have a professional photographer on hand that's okay, just make sure your picture isn't pixilated or fuzzy and that you represent yourself well. The last thing you want to do is push away a potential or current client because of an inappropriate or controversial photo you post.
3. Sweat the Small Stuff
Did you know there is a right and wrong way to speak about your selection? You're not a Super Lawyer, but you are or have been selected to a Super Lawyers list in your state. Super Lawyers® is a registered trademark and we stress the importance of proper usage of the terms Super Lawyers and Rising Stars.
In addition to speaking about your selection properly, just like your written work, when mistakes appear the assumption will be that you don't pay attention to detail. One word can make all the difference, so take 15 seconds and have someone in your office take a quick look before your post.
4. Put Some Money Behind It
No one cares about your career and success more than you do, so it's up to you to make it happen. That's why paid social media promotion is also necessary. The major platforms all have the option of allowing you to create a desired audience of potential clients using factors like age, location and income level, and then paying to make sure your message reaches their screens. The best part - it's fairly inexpensive. Sure, likes and shares can happen organically (that is to say, without you paying for them). However, organic reach on social media has been declining and while it's still an important element of your marketing plan, it can't be relied upon alone.
The best way to get ahead of the game and make sure you maximize your return is to push the information out to your followers and post in a timely fashion. Make the small time investment in yourself, and let your fans, peers and clients do the rest. For more information and to keep up to date on what's happening in the legal world follow Super Lawyers on Facebook or Twitter.