Tag Archives: LinkedIn

More Lawyers Blogging As Social Media Gains Ground Within Law Sector, Survey Says

If you’re reading this blog, you’re not alone.

The legal profession, it turns out, is becoming inundated with law blogs. It only takes a quick Google search to realize all your major competitors have a blog for their firm.

According to a recently-released survey of social media in the legal sector by LexisNexis and Vizibility, 81 percent of survey participants reporting they already use social media marketing tools and another 10.1 percent saying they plan to deploy social media marketing elements within six months.

With so much interest and activity flurries within the legal blogging world, you may be surprised to find that this new industry is still fairly unstructured.

When asked, “Does your firm have a social media policy or guidelines for social media,” however, only 61.2 percent of legal professionals responded yes.

And, a small niche of lawyers continues to rebuff smartphones in 2011. At least 12 percent do not use a Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or other smartphone in their business, including scanning QR codes.

So, to those 30.8 percent of legal professionals who find social media to be extremely important to their firm’s overall marketing strategy (and the 48.8 percent who admit it’s somewhat important), here are three ways to propel your firm forward into the world wide web of successful social media users and profiteers.

1. Formulate a strategy

It’s a legitimate and smart step toward success to start a blog for your law firm. However, what next?

Many firms are stymied when it comes to creating a social media strategy. These days, companies (like this one) are available to walk you through the process.

Or, for “do it yourself” firms, come up with a game plan and series of goals for your social media use. Is the primary purpose recruitment? If so, gear your law firm articles toward law school students. Have your first-year associates control the content to keep it pertinent to the generation.

Is the main goal of your blog to attract new clients? If so, perhaps a managing partner or firm administrator should be the major contributor. Write about key case wins and other newsworthy successes. Add interesting profiles and photos of your most promising attorneys to garner attention from the outside world seeking counsel.

Allow third-parties to subscribe to your blog or newsletter, and aim its content toward business ideas or legal developments that would be of interest to your prospective clients and also ones that will show off your firm’s expertise.

2. Implement guidelines

Not only should your firm create a social media strategy, but it should also write a social media policy.

Social media policies should explain to associates expectations for their participation on sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

What is your stance on associates having personal blogs? There’s nothing to stop free speech in this country, but you can certainly address for associates how your firm would like its image to be portrayed on the Internet.

3. Encourage associates to use social media

As the aforementioned survey details, social media has infiltrated the legal profession. Used as a marketing strategy, firms benefit from having their name saturating the digital world.

Encourage your associates to belong to these networking sites. Or, to blog about their experience with the firm. The Internet is undoubtedly the first place that prospective clients and new employees will look to be introduced to your firm.

Robert Ambrogi, legal blogger, writes about the trend on LawSites, “For readers of blogs, there is a coming feast of abundance. For writers of blogs, the game is on to produce quality, thoughtful posts that will keep your blog from drowning.”

Don’t keep your acclaim or successes a secret. If your firm is part of the 19 percent who have yet to use social media as a marketing tool, it’s not too late to start today.


Attend one of the Center For Competitive Management’s courses on social media, including “Developing a Social Media Policy: Clear Guidelines to Prevent or Reduce Employment-Related Problems.”


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To Increase Your Business With Gen Yers…Be Cool!

Gen Y-ers are everywhere. These not-quite-yet-30-year-old children of Baby Boomers (or, depending on how narrowly you define the segment, of Generation Xers), are recognized as having a “speak your mind” philosophy.  And one of the things they are making no bones about expressing is that they want to do business with entities that are cool.
And that, my dear barristers, includes law firms.

Notes Erin Blaskie on today’s Lawyerist blog,   “In today’s society, there is a growing trend among Gen Yers, and it is affecting major buying decisions everywhere. It essentially boils down to this: you have to be cool in order for me to spend my money with you.”

But just how cool do you have to be?  And isn’t being cool a tad too unprofessional for pragmatic lawyers?

Not necessarily.  Let’s analyze the definition of cool, as seen by this financially savvy group of consumers.

According to Blaskie, an entrepreneur tuned into the phenomenon of media:

 “Being cool means providing your clients and potential clients more reasons to want to do business with you, aside from the obvious ones. What do you do in your law practice that people will talk about? How are you making a difference in the community you live in? How can people connect with you in the places that they are presently hanging out?”

So it means being bigger than yourself.  Hanging out a shingle that announces to the world that you care, and that you put your money where your mouth is…that your actions show that you  are socially conscious and that you do something about it.

Here are three of Blaskie’s recommendations for positioning your firm in a position that’s head and shoulders above the rest in the cool factor.

1.  You’ve got to give back. You need to get involved in good causes.  With all the thousands of non-profits that are out there, you won’t have any trouble picking one that you can donate your time and money to.

Make their cause your cause.  Caution: make it a genuine passion.  Gen Y-ers have a “realization that life is short,” notes a USA today piece on Money and Generation Yers.  Thus, they value it more…and expect their business associates to do so, as well.

2. Definitely go social.  You must, must, must be “LinkedIn”.  Getting your firm to develop an online presence that’s engaging and active will do wonders for your cool.  Not only is it where a huge customer base exists—including Gen Y-ers—but you will be going where this particular demographic hangs out.

Blaskie met her lawyer on Twitter, she tells us.   She asked her followers for a referral.  Interestingly, the author relies on social media for 100% of her business referrals.

Do you think you don’t need to be a part of the conversation to pick up that kind of business?  Think again.  Here’s Blaskie on that topic:

“I may not want to pop out of Twitter to send an e-mail or pick up the phone and call you. I want to get answers quickly and I want to find out if you can help me now. Gen Yers are antsy folk.”

And, finally:

3.  Strive to be a horse of a different color. Do something your target audience will remember.  One of the suggestions Blaskie makes is to set up an Open House at your firm, where you can invite potential clients and answer any and all questions to win over a new clientele. “Think of how you will be changing your potential client’s experience,” she notes.

Are you ready to connect with those discerning Gen Yers? If so, you just might end up with their dollars and, more important, with their vote for coolest firm.

Graphics courtesy of the Lawyerist.com.


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Internet Censorship Sends Wrong Signal To Associates—Checking Social Media At Work

Is Facebook an open window on your computer screen while you’re reading this blog post?

If so, you’re not alone.

Studies show that among business professionals, 58.5 percent check Facebook regularly, nearly 50 percent check LinkedIn regularly, 23 percent check Twitter, and 22 percent consult blogs (hint: that’s you) while at work.

Although younger generations spend almost double the number of hours on social media sites per day than older generations (1.8 hours for Generation Y versus 1 hour for Baby Boomers), social media use among all professionals in general is on the rise.

Administrators seem to think this is point of concern. About 54 percent of companies have blocked social networking websites at the office, reports digital consultant Arik Hanson. And, according to a study by Steve Matthews and Doug Cornelius, 45 percent of law firms have done the same.

However, before you make an appointment with your IT Department to follow suit, consider Kevin O’Keefe’s points for “Why law firms need to stop blocking the use of social media,” on his site Real Lawyers Have Blogs:

  • Nearly all companies (94% per Digital Media Wire) are investing in social media as a marketing/communications tool. Assuming your law firm is investing in social media, but you limit social media’s use by your employees, you are saying, per Hanson, “We believe in the power of social media to help us market our products and services, we just don’t trust our employees because we think they’ll waste an inordinate amount of time on Facebook.”
  • More of your lawyers are relying on social networks to do their jobs. How often do you turn to friends and colleagues online for advice? How often do you read blogs to keep up with industry trends? Data suggests 25 percent of employees rely heavily on social networks in the workplace. It’s probably higher for your star lawyers and other professionals.
  • You’re going to lose lawyers and other professionals to competitors. Per a study by American Express, 39 percent of younger workers won’t even consider working for a company that blocks Facebook. Facebook has become the communication tool of choice for many young professionals. Why would they work for a law that’s going to block its use?
  • Smartphones and tablets. By the end of this year 50 percent of all Americans will own a smartphone. The fastest growing use of mobile? Social networking. Everywhere I travel I see lawyers with two mobile phones, a blackberry and an iPhone or Android. Your lawyers and other professionals are already using social media.
  • Breaks equal more-productive employees. Recent research suggests employees who are given short breaks to surf the Web or connect with friends on Facebook are more productive than those who don’t. No one stopped lawyers from stopping to have a cup of coffee with others, why block social media?
  • Lawyers receive work because of their relationships and word of mouth reputation. Social media and the Internet doesn’t change that. Social media is just an accelerator of relationships and the spread of your word of mouth reputation.

Consensus among the blogosphere is that blocking associates’ access to social media sites sends the signal that administrators and firm partners don’t trust associates to manage their own workload.

More importantly, managing partners should pay attention to the performance of their attorneys in the form of personal interaction instead of relying on spyware or internet censorship software.

One-on-one training and mentorship is more important a concern than worrying about your associates’ facebook friendships. So stop blocking social media websites, and start focusing on the delivery of high-quality products to your client—even if the multitasking methods your young associates use are less than traditional.


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Social Media Recruitment On The Rise, But Should Your Firm Follow Suit?

In May, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) closed its investigation into whether or not an “Internet and social media background screening service used by employers in pre-employment background screening” complied with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The reporting agency in question, Social Intelligence, was deemed “a consumer reporting agency because it assembles or evaluates consumer report information that is furnished to third parties that use such information as a factor in establishing a consumer’s eligibility for employment.”

Taken out of legalese, this statement confirms that employers intent on issuing social media checks on employment candidates must comply with FCRA rules.

This means, when FCRA rules apply, employers will need to complete the following actions:

  1. Review the notice and authorization currently provided to applicants to ensure that these documents cover social media searches.
  2. If an applicant is selected for elimination from consideration based on the results of such a social media check—in whole or in part—be sure to receive a pre-adverse action notice that will supply the applicant with the same report received by the employer, or the FTC’s “A Summary Of Your Rights Under the FCRA.” Candidates have the right to dispute any alleged adverse information with the service provider that conducted the social check.
  3. Finally, after rejecting said applicant, release a final adverse action notice to the applicant, which should be written according to the language required by the FCRA.

However, the subtext of this news for employers is equally important as the rule-following.

According to a recent 2011 study conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), as reported by the Workplace Privacy Counsel, 56 percent of employers rely on social media for recruitment purposes. The number of employers relying on social media checks to hire new associates has increased by 22 percent since 2008.

According to the same study, an additional 20 percent of employers who do not currently use social media for recruiting intend to do so at some point in the future.

The sites most used by employers for recruitment purposes are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (certainly makes you rethink that last tweet).


In any case, the SHRM survey doesn’t cover employers who conduct social media searches exclusively in-house, which are not subject to FCRA rules. The market for social media recruitment (and not simply the professional services who conduct them) is on the rise.

But how valuable is this information, really, for vetting possible candidates?

Philip Gordon, of Workplace Privacy Counsel, explains that the two major issues with social media recruitment are compliance and reliability. With compliance issues already briefly outlined, it’s time to question information objectivity and usefulness.

“Court systems, educational institutions, and employers, for example, have an inherent interest in maintaining accurate records for their own legitimate business purposes. By contrast, social media are replete with false, doctored, and biased information about others,” writes Gordon.

“Perhaps more importantly, social media posts apparently created by the author can be forged. I have recently counseled clients on two separate occasions where employees denied having posted on their Facebook wall negative information about the employer or co-workers, credibly claiming that others had stolen their log-in credentials or hacked into their account.”

So what’s left to believe these days?

If your firm decides it still wants to use social media for a recruitment tool, ask yourself what answers you’re hoping to unearth via the Internet. If they’re of a truly personal nature, is this information legal to obtain or consider during an application?

If your goal is professional, are there other, traditional ways to procure more reliable credentials—references, letters of referral, university transcripts, for example—that are less invasive?

Technology is a vital asset to a law firm. But, if the information you seek about potential candidates is more tangential in nature—simply a way of finding a few candidates to that stand out—one-on-one interactions and interviews are often underestimated tools in today’s world of digital profiles.

Just something to consider in between updating your blog.


There are a lot of benefits to online recruitment. Attend C4CM‘s course, “Facebook Recruiting Made Easy: How to Find Talent Today with Social Media” to learn more.

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Can Blogs And Social Media Alone Teach New Grads To Be Good Lawyers?

“It’s 10:00 p.m. … Do you know where your children are?” was a popular public service announcement in throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In 2011, the same question can be asked of young associates. It’s 10:00 p.m. … Do you know what your lawyers are up to?

Well, they’re blogging… and on facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. In today’s new online world, the same predator targeting your children is now after your impressionable first-years. But when it comes to recent law school grads looking for guidance and mentorship, how harmful or beneficial is social media?

Kevin O’Keefe—ironically the author of Real Lawyers Have Blogs—claims social media puts high-quality work product and the clients it serves at risk. “I’m not including gaming Google as a skill you need to provide effective representation,” writes O’Keefe. “For those lawyers, blogging is putting a gun in a child’s hand. Clients who find those lawyers and don’t see through the charade may be in jeopardy.”

In a troubled economy, young lawyers are forced to resort to predominantly digital methods to find jobs, to obtain post-bar card training, and, in the total absence of employment, to market their services as an independent professional. Websites boasting legal advice, information databases, or other legal training are booming. Blogs posting various legal news and developments (like this one) are also popular. Access to information, however, also means access to misinformation. Social media connects people—and attorneys are no exception.

“I’m not sure we should blame a recent grad who cannot get a job in a law firm from reaching out to connect with more senior lawyers.” Instead of directing this public service announcement toward inattentive parents, the message is for distracted managing partners, reminding them that mentoring the younger generation means more than a few in-house CLE sessions or a tour of the law library.

“In the old days… We asked questions of our mentors—whether we called a partner a mentor or not. We got feedback on transactional docs we drafted and briefs and pleadings we crafted. We sat in on depositions and trials, hopefully getting thrown a bone by being allowed to take a witness while our mentor sat at counsel table in court or along side us in a conference room.”

In sum:

  1. Good firms implement training and mentorship programs so that first-year associates don’t have to resort to Google for answers.
  2. Good associates seek out advice from their peers and respect the experience of more senior attorneys. When no formal mentorship program is in place, young lawyers should not hesitate to visit the courthouse or ask questions of court clerks, call the lead counsel on the case or even the representatives at LexisNexis and Thomson-West.

At the same time, the study of law and the structure of law firms are two constantly evolving cogs in this venerable industry. Social media should not be seen as a negative addition to the more traditional aspects of law. Instead, social media can encourage young associates to connect with more experienced ones.

Blogs also keep attorneys apprised to important news and developments, which, thanks to instantaneous Internet communication, stay transparent. LinkedIn is still a premier networking tool for professionals. It provides an affordable means to market firm services, advertise job vacancies, and skim through the resumes of potential employees.

In addition, allowing associates to spend a few minutes a day browsing facebook feeds has been shown to alleviate stress and promote productivity (not to mention, giving you ample “likes” on your firm’s page). Finally, myriad court cases today involve e-discovery and investigation into social media. Having lawyers who are familiar with such sites is to your firm (and client’s) advantage.

Free-access information and information broadcasting over the Internet is a permanent addition to the practice of law. Rather than eschew social media, try embracing it with an official firm blog or twitter, state-of-the-art technology and computers, as well as an internal online chat forum. Whether digital or at a desk, mentorship and associate training, in any form, is key to law firm success.


Read other reactions to O’Keefe’s post at The Lawyerist.

Attend C4CM’s Social Media Policy Course on Thursday, June 9, 2:00 PM To 3:15 PM Eastern, called “Social Media Policy Dos and Don’ts: Employees, Networking Sites and the Law”


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Not Hiring Lawyers – But Social Media Expert Sought!

A successful law firm ignores LinkedIn at its own peril.  Similarly, sticking to a “cookie cutter” approach in the practice of law stymies its effectiveness. Legal Blogwatch and Law Department Management recently touched on both these signs of changing times in what was referred to in LDM as the “Decade of Data”.   As law firms open up their options and seek to stay current in the age of far-reaching information, they seek avenues never before utilized. For instance, LB tells us that BigLaw powerhouse Latham & Watkins (founded in 1934, and now with 2,000 attorneys in its 13 different countries around the globe) has put out feelers for a “Social Media Specialist” to, in addition to its promotional endeavors, lead internal training on the finer points of interfacing on social media. The new Social Media expert would also integrate with the firm’s public relations and marketing efforts.  

So does a law firm really need to be on Twitter? Apparently L&W thinks so.  They are looking for a qualified individual who, among other duties, will “stay abreast of best practices and trends” in the digital and social media worlds; support the design and development and implementation of blogs; and keep a finger on the pulse of whether what they’re doing in the world of social media and digital communications is reaping any rewards. To learn more, go to: http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/ 

And cookie cutter solutions to legal problems are also passé, says LDM’s veteran management consultant Reese Morrison.  Thinking a little outside the box will help the practice of law arrive at a more efficient standard.  Right now, there are many different software systems being used.  Morrison urges that opportunities be taken to “process map”, so that one widely-used system may come out of all this variance.

Morrison (pictured here) mentioned the results of a global benchmark survey on matter management systems.  “Astoundingly,” he says, “They mentioned 30 different systems!” He also compared the amount spent by German lawyers and U.S. lawyers on internal and external expenses, and arrived at the similar figure of $1 million per lawyer. Morrison, speaking mostly of in-house attorneys, says “call me an apologist, but the important work…has a solid proportion of difficulty, unpredictability, variety and craft.” 

Morrison goes on to state that change is needed so that law firms concentrate less on “the process” and more on process improvement. Most important, standardization in a multiple system approach to law management will put everyone on the same page.  

He welcomes the fact that so many different systems are being used and urges variance while everyone seeks the best way to do things.  “Non-lawyers may envisage a cookie factory where business terms go in and, by some recipe and cutter, contracts come out.” In reality, “the more we standardize…the more efficient we will be.”  For more information, go to http://lawdepartmentmanagement.typepad.com/.

Law Department Management

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