Monthly Archives: April 2009

Visibility – Credibility – Profitability

Thanks to Umberto Fistarol for the picture using Flickr's Creative Common's Licencing

Thanks to Umberto Fistarol for the picture using Flickr's Creative Common's Licencing

I am currently working on a training session for my colleagues in the Family Law department at Mogers Solicitors, here in Bath.  The title is very broad,  looking at the changing shape of the internet and the opportunities it presents.

I will be visiting the concept of Web 2.0 which we need to remember is not in fact yet part of everyone else’s daily language. 

I have been struck as I read around this sphere online that very often we are preaching to the converted.  I am mindful of posts on other blogs that suggest that initiatives are frequently supported at the outset only to fail for lack of contribution or involvement.

At the Legaltech show, in particular, I recall that there was a well attended session on Twitter but that the questions were largely from the panel itself, not the delegates.

A librarian complained that a Wiki she had set up faltered for lack of contribution. Apologies for not having the links to hand.

The challenge seems not to be getting people to see the point but getting people to engage with it.

Our session will explore a progression that I have taken from real life networking thinking, namely Visibility – Credibility – Profitability. 

We need to make ourselves visible within the marketplace.  We need to demonstrate credibility, either through establishing trust, or expertise, and only then can we expect commercial relationships to develop into profitable transactions.  For profitable, incidentally, feel free to read “Beneficial.”

This may well be why many people lose interest in blogging or Twitter and the like so quickly.  They do not realise that the progression can take several months, even years.  Furthermore they measure their efforts in one metric alone, namely pounds and pence.

They sign up to Twitter, or LinkedIn thinking that the streets are paved with gold and that they will receive work and referals by the act of opening an account alone.  But that is not the point.

Establishing your presence, through visibility, providing a foundation of trust and credibility upon which to build a relationship and carefully developing that relationship is essential. 

No rocket science or web 2.0 magic there.

If we blunder into online networking spheres and just expect work and profitability as a given, then we will fail.  Ecademy, I fear, seems to suffer particularly badly from new members who spam other members with contact requests without first establishing their visibility first (no profile completed) let alone even thinking of credibility.

Twitter attracts its fair share also.  Those new members with 687 followers and only half a dozen tweets.

A final point, and this is a reminder for myself as much as anyone else.  I feel a peculiar tension about super-imposing a real life commercial networking model, such as visibility – credibility – profitability, upon Twitter, Blogs and the like. 

The tension arises, I think, because to do so risks reducing blogs such as this, Twitter, LinkedIn and all of those communities and activites to purely commercial activities.

They are not.

There is something far less tangible about why we do what do online; Something that blurs the commercial and the social breaking down barriers that previously fragmented our professional lives from our personal lives…

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Communication is a let down

Why do lawyers insist on the mystique of elaborate, elevated or simply obsolete language?

This week’s Law Society Gazette provides more interest.  The Susskind debate rages on with this letter complaining about the adoption of “the terminology of the looming competition” whether grocery stores or broader business models.

The letter ridicules the use of “Transparency” in favour of the author’s language such as “Concatenating”. 

Conca… what?  To save you time, I have already googled it.  Click here for the definition if, like me, you are unable to understand this kind of language.

Most sweetly, the letter is entitled in the published Gazette, albeit presumably by the editor, not the letter’s author, “Mind your language”.

The very same page in the printed Gazette also contains the following correction.

“In last week’s Comment, the sentence which read “English Law, as the locus regit actum, applies to the extension of the document’ , should have read “…-applies to the execution of the document”.

To reiterate the opening question, why do lawyers insist on the mystique of elaborate, elevated or simply obsolete language?

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Lawyer1point9 is not immune

Picture courtesy of Flickr's frenkieb

Picture courtesy of Flickr's frenkieb

When I started this blog, I was feeling rather self conscious about trumpeting profound changes to the legal profession whilst still safely ensconsed within it.  I was aware that posting, excitedly, about new shape organisations and practices might come across as being rather priviledged at a time when many have lost their jobs and, feasibly with it, their livelihoods.

It is with some relief therefore that I now write to explain my on current circumstances.

I have switched to a consultant role within Mogers solicitors.  This means that I am therefore self employed, although I still service Mogers clients and the family law clients that are referred to me are, essentially, clients of Mogers.  The Consultant title tickles.  It is the kind of thing that 68 year senior partners usually do when they are too frightened or institutionalised to retire fully and let go of their practices.

I am far from being 68 years old.

The result is that I am free to explore the broader fields of the changing market under my self-employed banner.  It means that I can write from a position of authority of what it means to be outside the conventional models.  And hopefully it means that I avoid the hypocracy highlighted above.

The result for my former employers is that they save a not insubstantial sum in no longer having to pay my salary –  a crucial consideration in this most difficult of markets.

My immediate thoughts on this model are that the opportunity to lawyer and organisation are manifold and mutually beneficial.

I am not obliged to be at my desk, looking busy in an office where there is inadequate work to keep me busy.  I have the opportunity to explore this beast called the portfolio career.  I have the time and opportunity to get a book written on my other specialism, namely conflict dynamics – see www.embracingconflict.blogspot.com – and to present training sessions and keynotes on how we trip ourselves up in conflict situations more frequently.

I wonder whether part of the changes we are experiencing will see many more following such a path… and I continue to wonder where all of those redundant lawyers currently are?  What are they doing?

Perhaps there is a need for redundantlawyer.ning.com.  I haven’t set it up yet, but if anyone wants to steal a march and go for it then do so.  If it isn’t soon, I will probably get around to it later.

In the meantime, the portfolio career, the consultancy and the like are all part of the journey into law2.0 that I anticipated at the outset of this blog.  Let’s see where it leads and who else is coming along on the journey.

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