The Gen Why Lawyer: Using YouTube to Showcase Your Legal Knowledge and Personality with Aiden Kramer
By Nicole Abboud • November 05, 2016•Writers in Residence, Careers, Firms and the Private Sector, Features, Guest Bloggers and Profiles of Women in the Law
I first discovered Aiden on YouTube. That’s not where I usually meet lawyers but I’m so glad that I did. Since then, I’ve gotten to know Aiden and have watched how brilliant she is at marketing herself and building her practice - all on camera! I want to introduce you to this fabulous young lawyer as I’m sure her courage and charisma will inspire you.
I’d love to hear a little bit about your journey to opening your own law practice.
I graduated law school and was admitted to the Colorado bar in 2013. I had been working as a law clerk for a solo practitioner for most of my 3L year, and he had made several casual comments throughout that time about wanting to hire me as an associate. Unfortunately, when the time came, he didn’t have enough business to justify hiring me. In fact, there was so little business that he ended up letting me go shortly after. I recognize that it was a bit naïve of me, but I had put pretty much all of my eggs in that basket and was now left with no job and no real prospects. Instead of spending all of my time preparing cover letters and sending out resumes, I figured that now was as good a time as any to start my own practice. I didn’t have kids, didn’t own a home, and aside from my then-husband, had nobody who was dependent or reliant on me other than myself. So if I fell flat on my face in a pool of shame and despair, the repercussions would be relatively minimal. I was lucky to find a great support system in my friends, colleagues, and other lawyers that I met throughout the course of starting and building my practice. December of 2016 will be my three-year anniversary.
My practice focuses on transactional business law and estate planning. I took an estate planning course during undergrad and really loved it. I’ve also always appreciated entrepreneurs and anybody who is passionate about building a business and being in charge of his or her own life. I love the personal relationship that I am able to build with the families and business owners that I work with. Most clients come to me because something good has happened: they have gotten married, had a baby, or are building their dream businesses. We get to work on happy and exciting things, which is not always the case with many other areas of law.
Tell me why you decided to start recording YouTube videos for your law practice?
YouTube is a search engine. People use YouTube to find information almost as much as they use Google. Why not take advantage of that? I needed a way to set myself apart from other lawyers and stand out so clients would want to work with me rather than the next guy. There aren’t very many lawyers on YouTube. I saw YouTube as a marketing channel that is not already saturated by other lawyers. A huge part of marketing is figuring out how to get in front of your target demographic. Most of my clients are young families and young entrepreneurs. They use the internet and YouTube to research and gather information before making any major decisions. If my clients are on YouTube, then I should be on YouTube.
Were you at all nervous, hesitant, or scared to enter into a space that not many other lawyers are in?
Of course! The internet can be a harsh place and I was worried about negative feedback that I might receive. I was also nervous about how other lawyers would see me. I worried that they may think I was a joke or not take me as seriously. Some people, lawyers and non-lawyers, give me a hard time about giving away “free legal advice.” But I’m really not doing anything new here. All of the information I talk about in my videos can be found on blogs, books, news articles, and all over the internet. I’m presenting the same information, except I’m doing it in a video. What I’ve found is that, for the most part, people are supportive. Most of the feedback I receive is positive. I get negative comments from YouTube trolls here and there, but the overwhelming majority of comments are nice and complimentary. I’ve even had a lot of other lawyers contact me for advice on starting their own channel or producing videos.
You have a very bubbly and quirky personality (which totally works for you). How have you used that to your advantage as a lawyer?
People have this misconception that lawyers are all boring, stuffy old white men. And most of the lawyers on YouTube fit that description pretty well. A lot of them speak like they are talking to other lawyers. It was important that I present information in a way that everybody could understand and to try to make it fun and entertaining to watch. In my videos, I talk like I’m talking to one of my friends. I make dumb jokes, I talk about my dogs, and I use silly hand-written “graphics” to demonstrate certain topics. I think that quirkiness helps me stand out from other lawyers and helps viewers actually learn what they are trying to learn. It also helps give potential clients a sense of who I am. They see in videos that I have a sense of humor and don’t take myself too seriously. Some people don’t like that, but others do. And those who do will contact me because they feel like they already know me. For example, I’ve had my dog, Rocky, in a few of my videos. I get calls from potential clients, and they ask me how Rocky is doing! It’s like I already have a relationship with these people before I even talk to them; I don’t have to start from ground zero to convince them that they should work with me.
Aside from increased business development, have you seen any other benefits to creating content?
Making videos has opened up other opportunities that I probably would not have otherwise had. I’ve made a lot of great connections because of it! I’ve been given opportunities for interviews and speaking engagements, and I think much of that is a result of the videos. I’ve also been able to make it little bit of money from it. YouTube allows you to monetize your videos, which means that short ads will play before a video or be displayed at the bottom of the screen in the beginning of a video. I get a few cents when somebody watches or clicks on one of the ads. I’m certainly not taking lavish vacations with the money that I’ve made from YouTube, but a few extra dollars every month does not hurt!
What’s your best advice for a law student or young lawyer who would like to carve out a special space in the digital world just like you have?
Don’t be afraid to do something different. If you have an idea—act on it! It’s okay to shake things up even if it makes you, or others, uncomfortable. Our culture is becoming very accepting of people who do their own thing and stand out from the crowd. Best case scenario is that it works. You build your business, or your creditability, or you just make a name for yourself. Worst case scenario is that it doesn’t work. Then you scrap it and try something new.
How can readers get in touch with you?
YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/aidenkramerlaw
If you want to hear more of Aiden’s story, you can listen to her interview on The Gen Why Lawyer Podcast here.