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YouLaw: Nurse, There's a Malpractice Lawyer in My Operating Room

By Gerry Oginski | Monday, April 6, 2009

Watch the Video

TechnoScore: 2.0
1 = Lowest Possible Score; 5 = Highest Possible Score

Michigan Medical Malpractice Attorney Lynn Foley of Cochran, Foley & Associates strolls into the delivery room and pulls your heartstrings with B-roll footage of the operating room, the recovery room, and other hospital scenes. Other than explaining that she knows her way around the hospital as well as a courtroom, the video does little to explain to me how she can help a potential client.

The video consists of a 30 second commercial followed by a PowerPoint presentation about her success stories. Admittedly, her successes are remarkable. However, the use of this video is, in my opinion, the wrong way to promote her achievements.

I was totally shocked to see her standing in an operating room with doctors and nurses who actually appear to be operating on a patient. The doctor is in the background operating while former nurse Foley is telling us that she is a medical malpractice attorney!

"Hello, Doctor! Wake up. Do you realize you have a medical malpractice lawyer standing next to you asking potential malpractice victims to call her? Hello? Anybody home?" I'm waiting for that "Gotcha" moment when I expect Foley to yell out "Doctor, you've just committed malpractice. I need to see your license and checkbook please."

"I can help you and your baby," is how she ends her comments. What bothers me most about this unusually placed video is that she fails to explain to a viewer how she can help. It's not an educational video. Rather it's a clear play on emotion. If you don't believe me, just listen to the soundtrack after Foley stops talking. I'm ready to get out my box of tissues. Doom and gloom devastation music — a bad tone for people already overwhelmed by the economy and constant gloom an doom in the news.

The video runs 1:55 and is short on education, long on images and music to make you think the world is imploding.

Tip #1: Location, Location, Location

Shooting your video in an operating room? During surgery? That rises to the level of chutzpah. "Chutzpah" means "nerve," "gall," and "guts." I say, "Ask the lion to open his mouth and stick your head inside." Then look toward the crowd and say "See folks, he's such a nice little lion," and moments later, the lion decides to eat you for lunch.

I'm sorry, but as a New York medical malpractice trial attorney, I can't imagine any doctor letting me into their operating room to videotape a clip to show how knowledgeable I am about going after negligent doctors. Maybe these people were actors, I don't know. But when choosing where to film your clip, use a little more tact.

Tip #2: When it Comes to Music, Go Upbeat and Keep it in the Background

Background music. Some lawyer videos have a soundtrack. Some don't. It's really a personal preference. If you use it, however, choose it with care and use it wisely. Remember, you are responsible for your content. You are responsible for your background music. Do not let someone else dictate what they think is good for your video. It's your call.

What impression to do you want to make? What is more important to you? The content? The images? The music?

My advice: Put the music in the background. Include more content in your message. In this video, the content was limited and the music was overwhelming.

Tip #3: Educate Your Audience (and Use Visuals Wisely)

I want to contrast this video with a video by fellow trial attorney Ben Glass. Glass interviewed DUI attorney Bob Battle in the middle of a field. Yes, a field. What makes Glass' video so different is that Battle discusses his recent legal victory involving a defective breathalyzer.

Importantly, Battle describes a story about how a defective breathalyzer was used in his client's case. He describes the steps he took to challenge the accuracy of the product. He then continues telling the story and explains how he accomplished his legal victory.

Watch the video to see how it differs from Foley's operating room setting.

Battle's content is excellent. He educates his viewer. By the end of the (somewhat lengthy) video, a viewer could easily believe him to be an expert — an expert out standing in his field — literally. Get the pun?

The sound is good, the content is relevant to someone charged with DUI in Virginia, and importantly, he doesn't sound like a salesman trying to sell you something. Instead, he explains.

I should tell you that Ben Glass is a friend of mine. Glass is one of the biggest proponents of education-based marketing for lawyers. But that's not why I highlighted his video. I did so because it's the perfect contrast to Foley's hospital-based video.

What's different about Battle's video compared to the Foley operating room video? Everything. As a potential client looking for an attorney, ask yourself which video portrays expertise and knowledge?

Yes, Foley's video shouts her achievements, which are impressive. However, many lawyers fail to realize that video is the best way to deliver your educational message to a viewer looking for an attorney. Don't squander it by saying "Come to me because I'm great." Instead, explain to your viewer how you helped prior clients with similar problems. Explaining what you did to accomplish that great settlement or verdict will provide much more credibility without you ever having to say "I'm the best."


I was really amazed at Foley standing in the operating room while a doctor operated on a patient. It's just not right. You know what I mean? It's bad enough that the public portrays personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers as ambulance chasers. In this video you don't even have to worry about the ambulance. She's looking over the doctor's shoulder while he operates.

For the choice of shooting the video in the operating room, I gave a chutzpah award of minus two points. For the devastatingly depressing music I had to deduct another point. Give these viewers some hope that you can help solve their problems. You can't do it with such tragic music.

Finally, don't shout your message. Explain and educate. The bottom line is that a viewer wants to hear how you can solve their legal problems.

Till next time, see you on video!

The Back Bench

Certified Family Law Specialist and online video producer Kelly Chang Rickert says: "Wow — I liked this video a lot. Lynn really comes across as credible and trustworthy because of her noteworthy status as an attorney and a nurse. I believe "birth injury attorney" is a highly-specialized niche, and she should market herself as such, not just "medical malpractice attorney." The only thing that confused me is that the video seems to repeat itself, and doesn't have a logical beginning/ending. It seems to end ... and then restart ... and then she repeats herself. Other than this — this video really captured her as an attorney with a human heart. Great job."

TechnoLawyer publisher and online video producer Neil Squillante says: "Isn't is negligent to walk into an operating room in street clothes? Just kidding but this video marries some strange though attention-grabbing footage with a repetitive script. It would benefit from some surgery courtesy of Dr. Final Cut Pro."

About YouLaw

YouTube offers law firms a free advertising platform with tens of millions of potential clients. But a poor video can hurt more than help. In this column, lawyer and online video expert Gerry Oginski reviews and rates the latest law firm videos. A panel of fellow experts (The Back Bench) add to Gerry's reviews with pithy remarks. We link to each new YouLaw column and all other noteworthy law firm marketing articles in our weekly BlawgWorld newsletter, which is free. Please subscribe now.

About Gerry Oginski

New York trial lawyer Gerry Oginski has created more than 150 informational online videos for his medical malpractice and personal injury practice. Realizing that most video producers don't have a deep understanding of the practice of law and what potential clients look for, Gerry launched The Lawyers' Video Studio, which provides free tutorials and video production services. If you need help producing a video, please contact Gerry now.

Contact Gerry:
T: (516) 487-8207

Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Videos | YouLaw
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