Social media enables us as lawyers to make it easier for clients to understand us and work with us.
I was at an excellent meeting last night with 9 other motivated and energetic collaborative lawyers.
Our purpose was to consider what client centered practice, within collaborative law and family law generally would look like. This was a discussion that Woody Mosten, a leading collaborative practitioner began back in February.
Various aspects were discussed – better aligning the first interview process, broader consideration of the changing legal market place and ABS and the like.
I was advocating social media as a means of client centering.
I had suggested that we look to communications and adult learning theory. Part of this suggests that we need to have “warmed up” the listener, let’s say our client, so that they are ready to hear the advice that we might have for them before we first meet with them. We give them a context, or as De Bono might say, an array, in which they can easily place us and what we have to say to them.
How do we reach clients before we meet them? Website, yes, Yellow Pages (increasingly few I would hope) but what about our blogs, our LinkedIn accounts, our personable and professional Twitter account?
When we use social media in this way, we throw out indicators as to what we are about, what and how we practice. The result is that clients, to a modest degree, already have some idea of who they are working with.
The other day I was meeting with an excellent training company. I wanted to know a bit about the chief exec who I was due to meet with, and so I went to my social media circles.
I was pointed towards a book that this man had written. What was more, the first 60 pages or so were on Google books.
I read what this man had been able to get out there and was really excited. The connections between us were obvious.
As a result I was very relaxed about the meeting. I was able to ask him questions about his book and about stories that he had written within it.
We were able to progress to a level of mutual interest and shared connections very quickly indeed, probably within two minutes.
There will be some who tut tut and want to stay behind the impermeable membrane of the conventional company website. And that’s fine.
But to be truly client centered, give the client a chance to know who they are meeting and working with.