Your firm may think that it’s above e-gossip or online blogging. But, that’s also what renown law firm K&L Gates thought before its dispute with online reporter, Law360.
Above The Law writer, David Lat, describes the incident with an excerpt from the Law360 piece in his article, “Barbarians at the K&L Gates.”
“Flat profits and spreading concern about the firm’s ability to keep talent are among the reasons more than 80 partners have K&L Gates LLP since the beginning of the year, an exodus that includes many up-and-coming leaders who had been seen as key to the firm’s future, according to some partners who recently left and other experts,” quotes Lat on July 23, 2015.
“Those leaving the 2,000-lawyer firm include rising partners in prized corporate and financial practices and a number of high-profile veterans, including intellectual property litigation heavyweight Michael Bettinger [who moved to Sidley in San Francisco]. Litigators Greg Jackson and Danny Ashby joined veteran Steve Korotash, a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission associate director, in a jump to Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP’s white-collar group in Dallas in March.”
Although K&L Gates Chair Peter Kalis was quickly ready to refute this depiction of his business—a depiction that also made its way into a Blomberg article—Kalis lacked an online presence. He and his firm were at a disadvantage in spreading their side of the story.
Notorious legal blogger Kevin O’Keefe followed up with his own Above The Law post titled, “Non-Blogging Law Firm Managing Partners And CEOs Playing With Fire?” in which he writes, “[a] memo leaked to Above The Law and Kalis spoke to Bloomberg on July 29th for a July 30th piece reporting that the partner departures were a natural result of the firm’s strategy.”
“I can’t help but see the irony in Kalis calling for everyone at K&L to take a stand in the media when neither he nor they have an effective media presence. Where’s their voice?”
And that’s the problem with being a Luddite in law. The most efficient and effective way to defend your firm’s image and, by proxy, your clients is the world wide web. After all, it’s in the name, the audience is world-wide.
Perhaps you already host a law firm blog but your posts don’t seem to go anywhere. Delivery mechanisms are equally important to social media.
Here are a few tips on how to get your content shared. But, beware, with every benefit to technology comes certain pitfalls of which your firm should be weary.
1. Publish your posts on media aggregators.
Websites like Reddit, Shoutwire, and Digg allow individuals to submit links to websites, blog posts, or any Internet-based page. The community of readers then votes up (or down) the link based on a review of its content. Create flashy titles and you’ll likely see in a flash the rise of your readership.
Beware: Comments by readers can be harsh. The anonymity of the Internet allows people to write down criticisms (NSFW) that may end up permanently cached on the World Wide Web.
2. Add website sharing buttons.
Your firm’s website should have links to all of your social media accounts, as well as ways to share your posts. Programs like “Click to Tweet” make this easy.
Beware: Your firm may need a small amount of Internet savvy to create buttons on your website and restore broken links.
3. Create interesting content.
This is so obvious your firm is likely already doing it! Nevertheless, remember to write thoughtful arguments accompanied with eye-catching photos. There’s so much competition already when it comes to online content, your firm’s additions must stand out.
Beware: Yes, this requires a little more time and thought to write captivating posts and tweets.
4. Do your research.
If you know what time your readers are log on then you’ll know the best time to publish your posts. Maybe you’re getting a lot of hits first thing in the morning. People are remiss to start work at 8am and decide to read legal news or browse the web. With this knowledge, you can now set your social media to publish at certain times to target your audience.
Beware: Due diligence on your casework is no longer enough. Time to do due diligence on your business development, too.
5. Crossover multiple social media platforms.
Happy you finally mastered the art of blogging for your firm? Time to summarize that blog post on your LinkedIn and Facebook page and compile a 140-character hook for your Twitter account. Don’t be afraid to repeat the same ideas on different mediums.
Beware: Now you’ll have to memorize more usernames and passwords. More social media means more potential backlash.
In the end, it’s possible to circulate your firm’s strategy about hiring, firing, and work ethic before a biased, and certainly less-informed secondary source scoops you.
Start small by using the above tips to get your firm’s content shared on social media.
Last tip: proofread, never post when emotional or angry, and generally be sure it’s content that your firm truly wants shared.
The question for organizations is how do you use these tools to open up communications with your workers, candidates and customers, while protecting your reputation as an organization?
Attend C4CM’s course, “Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: Developing a Successful Social Media Employer Branding Strategy.“
If you’re looking for tips on communication practices in the workplace, read C4CM’s guide “Communication Skills for Managers: Tips, Techniques, and Best Practice Strategies to Communicate More Effectively.“
Applying successful communication techniques gives you two important advantages: (1) You’ll create a harder-working and more productive employee workforce, and (2) you’ll be less likely to fall into the clutches of employee lawsuits.