Dunwoody attorney Ryan Schwartz shows off a clip-on magnet that advertises his firm and lets drivers operate their cellphones hands-free. (Photo: John Disney/ALM)

When Georgia’s hands-free driving law took effect on July 1, Dunwoody lawyer Ryan Schwartz was ready—with a magnet personalized with his firm’s logo and website that people can use to park their phones while driving.

To his surprise, hundreds of people wanted one after hearing of it through social media, so he spent his weekend distributing them ahead of the Hands Free Georgia Act that took effect Sunday.

Marketing was on Schwartz’s mind because he’s refocusing his solo practice at Schwartz Trial Law from handling traffic and criminal defense cases all over metro Atlanta to personal injury and criminal defense cases in Dunwoody, where he lives with his wife and two young children.

“I want people in Dunwoody to know: Talk to Ryan Schwartz,” he said, adding that he’s relocated his office from Buckhead to Dunwoody at 4470 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, helped to start the new Dunwoody Bar Association and joined the city’s Rotary Club.

“I’m doing whatever I can to rebrand and promote myself as a Dunwoody lawyer,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Georgia hands-free law was about to take effect. Schwartz said he noticed people on Facebook talking about what to do, and he had the same question himself. “I handle criminal traffic law,” he said. “The last thing I want if I get pulled over is to be a hypocrite.”

He’d seen a magnet that attaches to a car air-conditioning vent and then sticks to another magnet affixed on the back of a cellphone, allowing the user to talk with their phone on speaker and drive hands-free.

“I called my printer and asked if he could do one with my logo and website,” Schwartz said. When he and his wife started posting that he was giving away the magnet about two weeks ago through Facebook groups and other social media, like NextDoor for Dunwoody and a Buckhead mom’s exchange, the requests started pouring in.

People messaged and texted him from Dunwoody, John’s Creek, Sandy Springs, Buckhead, Decatur and Stone Mountain, Schwartz said, all wanting the magnet. He asked his printer to fast-track an additional 250 magnets on top of his initial order for 100.

Schwartz said his wife had suggested charging $2 a magnet, but he decided it was simpler to give them away for free.  

“Lawyers spend so much money trying to figure out what works as far as marketing gimmicks. Pens, T-shirts and cup holders aren’t my thing,” he said. “Even if just one or two people hire me, I’m going to make my money back.”

He replied to each person who requested a magnet, saying he’d be happy to deliver one and adding that he’d appreciate any future legal business.

By last Wednesday, Schwartz had 400 requests to fulfill. Some were people he knew, but most he’s never met. He decided to hand-deliver the magnets so people would have them by Sunday, when the hands-free law went into effect, and he created a spreadsheet sorted by ZIP code.

“Thursday, I’m doing all the 30342s,” which includes Sandy Springs and north Buckhead, adjacent to Dunwoody, he told the Daily Report last week. Friends and friends of family will be receiving their magnets a bit later.

“I’ve asked people—if they like it and are happy with it—to take a picture of it in their car and post the picture to my business Facebook page,” Schwartz said.