In the latest edition of “are we still really talking about this?” Jaimie Field brings you a recommendation on why, as lawyers, you should be paying attention to and using social media. I will add this caveat – social media, like any marketing tool, needs to be used when and if it aligns with your marketing goals. But at the very minimum, you should understand what the tools are and how they work, because they may benefit you from a research perspective, because your clients use them and you may need to advise them, or because they fit into your own strategy for business development, relationship engagement, reputation enhancement, etc.

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It’s 2017.  More and more lawyers are using Social Media and the numbers keep growing.  A recent post by Nicole Black writing for MyCase provides some of the latest statistics about  how lawyers are using social media and blogging for marketing and business development purposes. 

Additionally, in their annual survey, Findlaw has determined that consumers use the internet as the most popular way to research an attorney.  Even when provided a strong referral to you, the first place a prospective client will go is to the internet to see if you are the right attorney for them.You need to have an online presence, over and above your website bio.

From a business development and brand building standpoint, social media allows you to become known as an authority in your practice area if done correctly.  It can also destroy your brand and reputation in one post, one tweet, or one blog if done incorrectly.

While you don’t have to participate in social media, or any other on-line activities, ethically speaking, you must become technologically savvy and this includes the use of social media.

No longer is being a Luddite an excuse.

Rule 1.1 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct has long stated that:

A lawyer should provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”

In 2012, the ABA added a comment to the rule which has been adopted in a majority of states.  Comment #8 says:

To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject (bold added).”

And while this comment refers to the use of technology in terms of discovery, and protecting the confidentiality and security of client’s information, the rule can also logically be applied to the use of the internet, blogging, and social media for marketing and business development purposes.

There are many benefits to using social media for attorney business development, and there are subsequent risks.

However, the biggest risk to your career is not learning how to use social media (or technology in general); and from my standpoint, as a Rainmaking Coach and Trainer, the biggest mistake is not understanding the benefits of using the internet as one of your tools for growing your book of business.

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.