Education about sending exploitative photos via smart phones, using social networking sites responsibly, or blogging too much private information is typically the task of teachers and parents. But, the generation gap where technology is concerned has hit the legal industry in equal force.
YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or blog sites are frequently seen as new-age recreational outlets—and even dangers—as opposed to legitimate marketing or business tools. It can be difficult to demonstrate to those senior partners who *ahem* are of a certain era that social media is not only a suitable system for advertising firm services but also an adept recruitment agent for future associates.
Take, for example, the case of Alec Brownstein. This recent graduate bought a Google banner ad that targeted the Creative Directors of some of New York’s leading advertising agencies. Of course, Mr. Brownstein had a high-quality portfolio to back-up his Internet gimmick, but in today’s economic environment, there are myriad qualified (and unemployed) paralegals or associates just waiting for an opportunity to get hired.
In less extreme examples, social media sites like LinkedIn or legal recruitment web-agenices, including lawcrossing.com, are cheap and easy ways to locate qualified candidates. Even if your firm is not looking to hire, it’s certainly still looking to recruit clients. At which point, social media—blog posts, tweets, or Facebook feeds—become crucial in advertising what services your firm offers, who its lawyers are, and why a client should hire you, as opposed to another firm.
So, to adequately convince your senior partners that social media has added value, implement these simple ideas:
- Start an internal employee blog that discusses caseload, benefits, or calendar items (upcoming CLEs, for example). Then, poll employees about its utility and send the results to the managing partner. Discuss with him or her the various ways you intend to apply the same principles to an external blog site.
- Record the cost of each new hire in terms of recruitment agency fees. Then, identify a few equally qualified associates online (via LinkedIn or similar websites) and calculate the would-be amount saved for the hiring partner.
- Identify a few firm clients who use Facebook or company blogs as marketing devises. Then, make note to lead counsel about how these clients appreciate the value of online media to promote and promulgate business. Point out how opening Twitter or Facebook accounts on behalf of the firm would increase exposure to possible new clients who use such social media tools. For already technology-inclined clients, adding social media outlets makes firm activity and progress more transparent and accessible.
- Write a social media guide for your firm’s administrators discussing risk mitigation. Coordinate with IT so that all security concerns are addressed. This will put partners at ease when it comes to privacy and confidentiality issues.
Finally, if all else fails, perhaps an appeal to senior partners’ traditional side will win over grandpa comma esquire. Vintage signs send the appropriate message that it’s time for your law firm to get with the times.