Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
A LexisNexis survey of 110 international law firms discovered that while 77 percent used at least one social network, fewer than 3 percent engaged in conversation. The are two excuses for such a minuscule degree of engagement. First, firms are so concerned with controlling the message that their social sites — whether LinkedIn pages, Twitter or Facebook sites — are far too impersonal. The second is that allowing individual lawyers to participate will dilute the brand. I predict that 2012 will be the year this mindset begins to change. According to the same survey, even though 85 of the 110 of the surveyed law firms had a registered LinkedIn page, many of them didn’t recruit or handle client development through LinkedIn. They have official profiles, but they aren’t using the tools. The way firms are using social media is like owning a fighter jet but rather than flying it, rolling it around on a dolly. Firms need to stop using social media sites as billboards and start using them to connect with people who would be difficult to reach otherwise. Firms fixated on controlling the message silence their best messengers — the lawyers themselves. Firm managers rack their brains trying to figure out how to micro-manage a handful of accounts when they should be providing their lawyers with strategies to get out there and engage in a meaningful way. To extend the metaphor, firms have grounded an entire fleet of fighter jets for fear that someone will make a wrong move. If managers are wondering how to engage, they can start small. Firms I have seen make the jump successfully started with a small pilot group. This allows them to do two things. First, to see that the sky won’t fall if they allow lawyers to tweet and otherwise engage. Second, once they realize the benefits of having a few lawyers use social media, it will be far easier to sell the idea up the chain of command. Firms are beginning to wake up to the absurdity of the restrictions they impose on their lawyers. Placing a blanket limitation on Twitter or blogs is analogous to banning lawyers from chatting at cocktail parties. “But this is so different,” the firms tell me. “This is all recorded.” Yes, it is all recorded, but it is the recording of the information that makes it so powerful. It allows potential clients to find you in a way that wasn’t possible five years ago. For conscientious lawyers to use social media to discuss law, policy and economics — where is the harm? If your lawyers tend to engage in racist, hateful and offensive language in polite company, you may want to restrict them. For everyone else, let them speak. Will 2012 be the year that all law firms wake up and start using social media the right way? This is an extremely conservative group, but we are seeing a shift in the way lawyers talk about social media and in the begrudging respect even the most senior lawyers are beginning to show for these tools. We may not see all firms jump on the bandwagon, but 2012 may be the year that many overcome their fear. Adrian Dayton is an attorney and author of two books, Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition (ARK 200) and LinkedIn & Blogs for Lawyers: Building High Value Relationships in a Digital Age , co-authored by Amy Knapp. (Anticipated in January 2012 by West Publishing). Learn more at http://adriandayton.com or by following him on Twitter @adriandayton.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.