Client Centered Practice? Try Social Media.

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.

An example.

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.

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7 Comments

Filed under An End To Silo Thinking, Law, Lawyers and Social Media, The Changing Legal Market

7 responses to “Client Centered Practice? Try Social Media.

  1. poolefamilylaw

    Very relevant and insightful comments Neil. I agree that in these exciting and changing times for law generally, and specifically family law, we must adapt and change how the public sees us. Long gone are the antiquated days of lawyers in their ivory tower dispensing legal solutions. The public need information about how collaborative lawyers think ie. we facilitate problem solving, not simply give stock answers. I see it as a “drip drip” approach to introduce collab principles over time, which still seem alien to the public at large (and still far to many family lawyers too).

  2. Colin, thanks for taking the time to comment.

    In the specific field of collaborative law lawyers face an additional challenge, as you identify, of educating a market that is culturally conditioned to litigation based processes about the alternatives.

    This is just the kind of warming up and “Sense making” exercise that we see in other disciplines as well, although the specific challenges will be different from group to group.

    Thanks again for stopping by.

  3. Stephen G Anderson

    Neil, we’re privileged that you’re sharing your ideas with us. Lesser mortals would be jealously guarding them to build their own profile only.

    Last night I realised that I needed to blog about what we discussed, and your blog has only reconfirmed this. So I hope there’ll be a MediatioNotWar page somewhere soon.

  4. Hi Neil

    You know me…never one to shy away from a comment!!

    What is happening, (and in truth it has been happening for a long time), is that many people use the ‘web’ and all its tools to search and find out…the ‘finding and solving journey.’

    Test this theory out. Next time you pick up a business card I bet when you get back to the office, (assuming you found the person interesting), and you go and click on their website. What you experience when doing that is a huge influence on whether you go on any further or not.

    So it could be a lawyer, an event, a product, a video, a joke or just about anything that we are searching for.

    What is critical for lawyers is to ensure that when clients start searching that you are…to be blunt…interesting, relevant and engaging, that you are talking along the same lines as them. This is important, don’t believe yourself…go ask someone, say a friend who is not connected with your firm, see what they think.

    Remember you don’t have to relevant to everyone.

    Your firms website is going to become, at last, very very important. It will cease to be a brochure and start to become an engagement tool. You don’t even need high end tech to make it work…just some well thought out, clever and relevant language.

    Position it with irrelevant disengaging language is going to be a big mistake. Because whilst you may be tapping your fingers waiting for the phone to ring, they (customers) are checking you out over the web. And if they don’t like what they see well there are plenty of other options for them. Trust me…PLENTY!

    Most problems are solvable via a conversation. You just need to show people where the conversation starts and how it could be carried out.

    Over and out!

    Jon

  5. Before you’ll spend a penny with anyone ( I mean literally not metaphorically) you have to like them.

    And you can like someone you’ve never met if other people you like like them. Or if you hear/read/understand what they are about from another source. (Social media).

    The more you give the more you get. It’s simple.

    PS if Bing goes Facebook and Social media starts to enter their algorithm in a heavier way solicitors should build up their social profile now.

    I’m sure 5000 facebook and twitter followers recommending you would help.

  6. Hey you guys, thanks for the comments.

    Stephen, if you want help with that blog thing then let me know, I’ll be more than happy to help.

    Jon, great thoughts as ever. You ring the bell that may yet save the website, but only on the condition that it recreates itself as a conduit to engagement as opposed to a broadcasting tool.

    And Boyd, thanks for popping by and welcome to the blog. I think we are broadly in agreement here. I followed through to your website and was really pleased with what you are trying to do there. You’ve got a couple of deadlinks though on your page selection bar.

  7. Some excellent thoughts Neil, and I agree entirely.
    Whilst not a lawyer, what you say can apply to other professions as well, ours included.
    I’m on a personal crusade to get others in my office to embrace social media and some of your comments will assist me in that.
    Thanks
    Paul

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