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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Just what the world needed

We've blogged here before about Portland Monthly, which sells tons of advertising by creating issue after issue of "best of" lists. Top 25 neighborhoods, top 50 lawyers, top 75 restaurants, top 100 doctors, top 500 schools, yada yada yada. Works like a charm -- the honorees who make the list buy vanity ads to go with the "editorial" recognition, and everybody in the industry buys a copy at the newsstand either to see their own names, or to see who got mentioned while they were left out. (That latter group also kvetches over the selection criteria.)

More legit publications such as the O and the Times usually don't scrape this hard, but today both of those publications enclosed somebody else's advertising tabloid that does, this time with the legal profession. The somebody else in question was an outfit called Law and Politics, and the advertising "supplement" was an extremely slick 36-pager called Oregon Super Lawyers 2006.

It's just what you would expect -- puff pieces about some of the area's better counselors at law, and a pack of ads that are hysterically funny, even though they're not trying to be. Some advertising gurus picked up a few bucks cranking out these gems:

Two law firms decided to go head to head with the Superman theme:

Anyway, to those who made the list, congratulations on the lukewarm achievement. To those who didn't make it, my condolences -- don't take it too hard. And to anyone who actually read all 36 pages of this exquisite nonsense, my deepest sympathies. Try to get under some full spectrum light real soon.

Comments (15)

When I first saw the Super Lawyers cover I thought it was some photoshop joke.

Now I don't know what to say. I'm... speechless.

In the world of glossy local mags, this kind of thing seems to come along around once a month any more.

How about a little "analysis" (i.e. kvetching) about who made the list and who didn't?

For that matter, who DID make the list?

Readers, have at it. Kari, if you are curious, you should pick up the thing yourself. I haven't parsed it, but I noticed there's a lot of overlap with the several other such lists that have been generated in recent years.

Yea, like being a poor rat I can afford a lawyer. What we need is a list of paralegals who can helps us with family law, wills, and work issues, but paralegals are probably illegal in Oregon.
Its for Dreamers in the City that works if you're connected.
The Nickle

Right from the start I, too, have cringed at each sighting of that magazine, and always hope that we will return to trying to be once again a low profile city that values excellence in things educational, cultural and environmental, as well as all things small and human. But on so many fronts it seems as if the more superficial (but powerful) world of cheap growth, quick development, and exploitation of our local culture, is irresistable to our cities monied and political elite. (Almost NO cities of Portland's size in the U.S. have been able to resist these powerful outside "macroeconomic" forces----forces that drive cities like ours into the realm of just another "trashed" city, as the local monied class, hand and hand with clueless and self-deceived local politicians, gradually sell "out.")

I wish the O would stick with Spiderman Comics. The last time I remember seeing lawyer and super hero in the same sentence is in the old Spidey strip when he had to represent himself because he couldn't get representation that wouldn't sell him to his enemies. Maybe they weren't really sell-outs: they were just balancing their careers with family towns and didn't understand what the heck was going on.

that's careers with family time..

It's a popularity contest, folks. What's to "parse"?

Yes, we know of the pressures on lawyers to "brand" themselves and to stand out from the crowd -- a pressure not limited to the legal world, by the way -- so is "Super Lawyers" any surprise? For what it is worth, "SL" appears to be a very seductive marketing lure.

But, on the other hand, it's hard to see how such high-school "vote for me" behavior in any way advances the image of the profession -- the very issue lawyers repeatedly tell bar leaders is their No. 1 concern.

Bullet firmly esconced in foot...

"But, on the other hand, it's hard to see how such high-school "vote for me" behavior in any way advances the image of the profession -- the very issue lawyers repeatedly tell bar leaders is their No. 1 concern

Imho, if lawyers were less concerned about image and more concerned about addressing actual problems, both within the profession and in society, they would have less of an image problem.

Cynthia, lawyers concerned about addressing actual problems, you must be kidding. It's all about billable hours, who cares about actual problems.

Jabba the Hut looks _super_ pissed with her arms crossed like that.

You can hardly blame her with the many of us out here who do dumb things that make her job much harder.

Ah, lawyer celebrities? This dubious "honor" is undoubtedly a firm marketing vehicle. This culture is so caught up in ego nourishment we've lost sight of what really matters in life. The "super" lawyers I know, and there are many, toil for justice, equal access to representation and practice their craft in a manner which helps shine the light of truth on the vagaries of human behavior. What makes them "super" is the fact that they promote an ideal larger than themselves and to a person would be loathe to appear in a glossy magazine touting them as "super". For those basking in the celebrity of it all, they will get the clients they deserve.

Right on, Genop.

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