5 years in: my thoughts on social media in legal

by Adrian Dayton
Contact

Five years ago this week I walked into the law offices of Jaeckle Fleishmann & Mugel well rested. I had just finished a 4-day surprise birthday cruise my wife had put together for me to celebrate my 30th birthday. I had a great job at a well respected firm in town. I was tan, relaxed and had no idea how much my life would change in the next few days. The partners were very polite when they came in, closed the door and explained to me that they had to let me go. They let me work the rest of the day and get all my files in order, and that was it. I had no idea my life as a practicing lawyer was over.

That night my friend Noah who had joined a very successful growing company was in town, “You can come work with me!” he offered. True to his word, after a couple of phone interviews, I received an offer from his company. I could make more than I was as a lawyer, but I would have to leave the legal industry. It was a very good job opportunity and at first I was very persuaded to take it.

“They’re going to give us full health care benefits,” I explained to my wife Natalie, “as well as a laptop and a projector.” The healthcare benefits were especially important. We had an 18 month-old baby and a growing family. Then my wife asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks,

“Are you trying to talk yourself into taking this job?” She continued, “you don’t need to take the job for me.” And that was all it took. I had seen the potential social media had for the legal industry, I had already brought in business to my firm through Twitter and I had the sense that social media was about to explode. Over the next month I wrote the book Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition. I just wanted to get it written, I didn’t care if I had to give it away for free. I was fortunate enough to meet the ARK Group in the UK who immediately decided to publish the book and distribute it internationally.

I started out with a goal to change the legal industry. Truth is, it didn’t really need much help from me, when I started out Twitter had fewer than 8 Million users worldwide and LinkedIn was much smaller. Now there are over half a billion Twitter users and LinkedIn has gone public. I’ve been fortunate enough to ride the wave and enjoy some pretty amazing experiences along the way, including working with some of the most respected firms in the world as well as opportunities to speak in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Switzerland, England, Canada, most of the United States and next week I fly for my first time to Taipei, Taiwan to give a talk on innovation in the legal industry.

So what has changed in 5 years of talking and writing to the legal industry? Firms in large part have embraced social media as a relevant part of the marketing mix. At the very least, most firms now have some sort of online presence beyond just the website. A firm Twitter account, a group LinkedIn page and maybe a couple of token blogs.  What surprises me most is that engagement in social media continues to be very low by individual attorneys.

The formula for success online for attorneys is still very simple. Write about what you know, share it online, build your reputation, bring in more business. Repeat. I’ve been preaching this gospel of social media for a while now and although the idea of social media is inspiring to most lawyers, far too few turn that inspiration into action. Based on my experience analyzing multiple firms, in a given month at the average law firm less than 10% of the partners ever share articles on Twitter or LinkedIn. It’s a simple formula, yet it hasn’t seemed to catch on.

It requires work and diligence to share updates on a regular basis, but so does everything that brings in business at law firms. I guess what is somewhat discouraging to me is when people don’t understand: Not everybody can be the smiling rainmaker that knows people, but anybody at a firm can share quality content, write useful information, and gain credibility in their industry. You don’t have to be the extrovert, in fact, you can be completely introverted and still find success using social media. Yet few lawyers seem to be taking advantage.

Social media has exploded globally — it’s everywhere. But insides law firms, for the vast majority of lawyers, it hasn’t caught on. Having a LinkedIn profile is not enough. I’m talking about daily active engagement. Firms are just starting to scratch the surface. Once social media reaches a critical mass within law firms, with hundreds of active, engaged users, only then do I think we will really see the potential of social media. Social media isn’t about controlling the message, its about empowering the messengers. Will firms ever get there?

Lawyers will eventually catch on, they just aren’t there yet. To all the innovators out there working to move the ball forward, keep preaching.

Written by:

Adrian Dayton
Contact
more
less

Adrian Dayton on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.