It was the fall of 2016 when Clarke Silverglate managing partner Francisco “Frank” Ramos Jr. resolved to use his social media accounts to post lawyering tips and anecdotes every day, including weekends and holidays, reasoning that eventually it would became second nature.
Almost four years on, Miami litigator Ramos has 51,000 followers on LinkedIn, regularly features in legal webinars and podcasts and is working on his 16th book. And with a little perseverance, Ramos says anyone can replicate that success.
Ramos began posting to promote his second book, “The Associate’s Handbook,” but soon discovered a hunger within young attorneys for nuggets of advice about litigation, marketing and life in general.
“I think a lot of young lawyers, especially in our environment, don’t really have anybody to talk to. They don’t have any mentors. They don’t have really have anybody who can give them real guidance,” Ramos said. “And LinkedIn sort of provides me a forum to just project and promote my thoughts on the practice to others.”
The more Ramos shared on social media, the more he got back, until readers viewed him as an expert in his own right.
Before Ramos knew it, he was agreeing to meet for coffee with young lawyers in Miami and on his travels, and his weeknights and weekends had filled up with calls and texts with “questions we all ask ourselves at some point during our careers.”
While Ramos concedes he doesn’t have all the answers, he says being a good listener is more important.
“I think we all kind of know for ourselves what our goals are and what we really want, and sometimes we’re looking for confirmation or permission,” Ramos said.
Ramos’s next book, ”The Associate Whisperer,” will reflect on those chats — anonymously, of course — to reveal how firms could do a better job of hiring and retaining young lawyers.
“They’ve shared with me why they stay, why they leave, what they like about firms, what they don’t like about firms, and it provides a certain perspective that I wouldn’t have but for speaking with them,” Ramos said.
Ramos’s posts have snowballed into dozens of invitations to take part in webinars, give presentations, write articles and feature in podcasts. And his reach isn’t limited to the U.S.
“I’ve done webinars for Nigerian lawyers, for lawyers in London, for lawyers in South America, and what’s funny is, even though we practice law differently and have different forms of jurisprudence and ways we handle a matter, we’re all pretty much the same,” Ramos said. “We all have similar value systems, we all have similar rationales, purposes, dreams and visions. And on a more universal level, how to live out own lives and how to make a difference in the profession, that’s kind of the same for anybody, wherever they’re practicing.”
Most striking, Ramos said, has been hearing about the sacrifices that some international lawyers have had to make to get where they are, whether that’s because of sexual harassment issues, pervasive rich-poor divides or major obstacles blocking the path to university.
“It seems to be a higher mountain to climb. And what’s interesting is that they all seem very happy to confront it. No one’s complaining about it,” Ramos said. “I think we sometimes take things for granted in our country on a whole variety of levels, in terms of a lot of the freedoms and opportunities we have, so that’s been very eyeopening.”
All of Ramos’s books are free — with the exception of one, written for the American Bar Association — because he reasons that free information can reach more people.
“I have a day job and I don’t really need to make more money selling books or speaking,” Ramos said. “And if I’m helping other people, that’s great.”
Ramos wrote his first book, “From Law School to Litigator,” for the Florida Bar in 2007. And after a nine-year hiatus, more than a dozen followed, including, “Attorney Marketing 101″ and “Confessions of a Latino Lawyer.”
Ramos’s ABA book, “The Practice and Process of Law: Checklists for Every Occasion,” stems from the notion that everything lawyers do in their profession can be reduced to a series of checklists.
“I know there’s a certain craft and an art, but in terms of the actual craft of it, in terms of knowing what to do and what steps to take, If you really think through it, there’s a logical process to pretty much everything you do,” Ramos said.
While some lawyers worry about posting on social media for fear of saying the wrong thing or sparking a tweet storm, Ramos says he’s learned to treat his posts the same way he would a public presentation or article.
“I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything that I wouldn’t share with my own children, and that’s kind of my barometer,” Ramos said. “Am I posting something that my sons would be ashamed of, or would raise an eyebrow, or my wife would be upset with, or my partners would be angry about? It’s easy to sort of fall into click bait and say things to be controversial, and there are certain lawyers out there that do that and are very good at it. But that’s just not my schtick.”
Writing has always been “like breathing” for Ramos, who spent his middle school days writing short sci-fi stories inspired by old episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and other television series he had watched growing up in Chicago.
For anyone who wants to publish a book or become a regular poster social media, Ramos has a simple recommendation: “Pick a word count you’re comfortable with and do it everyday.”
‘Odd way of getting a podcast’
“One day, one of your songs is going to feature in a podcast,” Ramos used to tell his two sons when they were aspiring musicians in high school, spending Saturday afternoons driving around listening to public radio show “Here’s the Thing,” which always opened with a jazz song.
Years later, Ramos had a revelation: he could get their songs on a podcast by creating his own.
Ramos pitched ”A Conversation With” to the Defense Research Institute, where he had moderate unscripted conversations with members, some of whom he’d never met and knows nothing about. His only condition: the podcast would end with music by his son Michael.
“That’s an odd way of getting a podcast, but everything seems to be interconnected,” Ramos said. “The best part of each show is when I close it out and say, my name’s Frank Ramos, this is A conversation with, and Michael will play us out now.”
Ramos’s eldest, 22, is an aspiring orchestral conductor, while the youngest, 19, is a jazz musician.
Ramos has defended an array of civil cases at Clarke Silverglate since 1998, including products liability, employment and catastrophic personal injury cases.
Francisco “Frank” Ramos Jr.
Born: October 1971, Chicago
Spouse: Ana Ramos
Children: David and Michael
Education: University of Miami, J.D., 1997; Florida International University, B.A., 1993
Experience: Managing partner, Clarke Silverglate, 1998-present; Associate, Hinshaw & Culbertson, 1997-1998
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