Mike Mandell, the social media influencer whose legal tips have drawn over seven million followers to his social media accounts for Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, chose to practice law to help those in need.
“My father and my uncle are partners in a personal injury firm in Southern California, so I grew up watching them improve the lives of their clients,” said Mike.
Inspired by the work that his family was doing, Mike decided that he wanted his life to be about helping people as well. The skills required to succeed as a lawyer, including oratory, persuasion, and research, came naturally to Mike. Consequently, the life of an attorney seemed like the perfect career choice. However, after graduating from Duke University and starting his career, he was forced to come to grips with the reality that most legal jobs required a degree of moral compromise.
“I started working in product liability defense, which is defending clients like manufacturing companies and pharmaceutical companies when their products cause harm to people,” Mike says. “Everyone deserves a legal defense, but I did not want to enable practices like that myself. I felt like I had fallen short of reaching my full potential, and I strayed far from my original goal of being an advocate for regular people.”
Unwilling to give up on his dream, Mike signed on with his family’s firm in October 2020. Soon after, he launched a plan to promote the firm on social media. Noticing very few lawyers on TikTok, Mike expected that he could stand out on the platform; however, it never occurred to him that by the end of 2020, his TikTok followers would number in the millions.
“I went to bed one night with one million followers and woke up the next morning with two million followers,” Mike recalls. “I was working from eight in the morning until six in the evening at my family’s firm, then trying to assist all the people who were reaching out to me on social media, in addition to creating new video content. I was getting very little sleep.”
Soon, Mike’s social media efforts brought so many pleas for help that he needed to leave his family’s firm and start his own.
“I literally thought that if I put out some videos, my friends will see my face, and their friends might see it, and if someone gets in an accident or gets hurt, they’ll call me,” Mike explains. “I thought I might get one or two clients a month because of social media. I never thought it would blow up as it has.”
Mike’s dream of helping people took on a new dimension when he realized that social media allowed him to connect with real people who had real problems that required legal help. He saw an untapped synergy that he could generate by combining knowledge of the law with the power of social media to change many people’s lives for the better.
“Once I saw the power of social media and how what I was doing was helping, I realized the opportunity I had to help people by educating Americans and potentially people around the world about their legal rights,” Mike explains. “I could help people understand how to be smarter when dealing with the police, dealing with lawsuits, dealing with lawyers, and dealing with judges.”
During the past year, Mike has focused on creating new content to guide people by providing legal tips. As a lawyer, he understands that the law intersects with everything we do. He believes when people are educated about the law, they are better equipped to deal with everyday life.
“Few non-lawyers learn the law until they need an attorney themselves,” Mike says. “It does you little good if you begin to understand the law in prison or inside a courtroom facing suit. My goal is to educate everyone to know their rights and be smarter, understanding things about the law that we all should have been taught in school. I can’t understand why legal knowledge has been kept under lock and key for so long. By getting tips out there, you not only help the public, but you help the whole legal process.”
Explore the videos that Mike posts on Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok, and you will find practical tips on common problems that people are experiencing. The topics, which include what to do when the police crash your party, what you can do when you are getting evicted, and how to dress for court, to name just a few, are inspired by situations that Mike sees playing out all around him. Also, he encourages followers to weigh in with suggestions for topics they’d like to learn about.
For those who might want to follow in Mike’s footsteps and become TikTok famous, he has some tips. In fact, he’s planning an online course that will teach social media business, and his top tip is about authenticity.
“The big mistake is not being true to yourself,” Mike says. “Don’t try to design a character that you think will appeal to people. Be yourself. Anything else is a recipe for failure. People are watching you, and they can sense inauthenticity. Give people credit. They can tell if you’re being insincere.”
While Mike’s journey as the top lawyer on social media has been a whirlwind so far, it is clear that his practice is providing a much-needed resource that is helping many people. In a recent five-star review posted by “Megan M.” on Yelp, Mike’s efforts are described in the review as going “over and beyond the job description… Because he actually cares about people.”
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