Category Archives: Law, Lawyers and Social Media

Exploring issues around how lawyers and law firms use social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn and, to a lesser extent, Facebook

More Blasted Spam

I seem to be inundated with spam these days, and from people I know, am connected to, or share a group with on LinkedIn. It massively undermines your brand and trust in your LinkedIn efforts.
Inviting me to simply respond with “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the email subject bar does not cut it.
Why not put SPAM in your subject bar and then reconsider whether you want to send that out to clients you are trying to attract?

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The Problem With LinkedIn? Spam Updating Emails.

Many lawyers I speak to have LinkedIn accounts.  Several have gone so far as to start signing up to relevant groups.  They then experience a deluge of updating emails spamming their inboxes notifying them every time something happens.  The result is that many leave LinkedIn well alone for fear of being drowned in spam and mixed metaphors.

Many do not realise that it is possible to  manage (ie Switch Off) these notifications.  This post shows you how.

You set your own rules for how often you want to receive emails.  When you join a group you will be taken to a screen that looks like this.

Controlling the number of LinkedIn emails

You will have your own preferences and you might have different preferences for each group.

On this group, for example, you will see that I have deselected the option to be notified every time someone starts a new discussion.  This is the first circle I have marked.

I have however chosen to receive a daily digest which I find helpful to keep me up to date with what is happening in the group.

I have chosen a daily digest for this particular group because it is one that I find to be highly relevant to my work.

I have some groups that are of less interest and I might select a weekly digest from the drop down box I have circled, or deselect this option so that I receive no updates at all.

Choose your options and save changes.

If you have already joined a group and want to change the settings then you can do so at any time. The next screen shows you how.

Changing email settings for groups you are already a member of.

Select the relevant group from your list of groups.

Click on where it says “More…” as circled above and the drop down menu will appear, as shown.

Click on “My Settings” to get to the email preference screen seen in the first picture, change your settings and save those changes.

Hopefully your use of LinkedIn groups will now be more enjoyable and you can control what emails you receive from which groups.

Incidentally, if you comment on any discussion in a LinkedIn group then you receive an email everytime someone posts a comment after you.  There is a tickbox on every discussion that you can mark to stop these updating emails being sent as well.

 

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Filed under Law, Lawyers and Social Media

Law Firm Video Envy Is A Joyous Thing

I was sent a tweet today from @colmmu on Twitter with a link to a law firm video promoting mediation.  Many readers will know that this was going to press all my buttons for a couple of reasons.

  1. I work in collaborative law which is itself a form of alternative dispute resolution.
  2. I have an interest in law firm video having produced several with no budget at all over at MogersTV
  3. I am a big believer in law firms and lawyers using social media to develop brands and ideas.

I can be pretty scathing about other law firm videos.  YouTube does not need another talking head reading a script off the laptop screen.

When I got the link this morning I gave it a look and was just amazed.  Here, see for yourself…

There is so much to like about this.

I respect the company for having the conviction to invest a reasonable sum into creating this initiative.

Having got the budget, I love the work done by Lambda films.  There is some very punchy editing.  The break at 1 minute 38 is inspired.  I am horribly envious of the photo-frame effect they have got, and the gag with the mediator in the closet, drinking a nice cup of tea is well done as well.

I also appreciated the Making Of… videos that you can also watch – a good way of maximising value for money.

This is quite simply a brilliant law firm video and it deserves every success… I’ve got to get me one of those budgets.

If you are interested in hearing more then Mark Finch, the guitarist and star mediator will be joining me and my fellow podcast host Stephen Anderson on Monday 13th December for episode #6 of the Collaborative Law and ADR podcast, now available on iTunes, just search collaborative law.

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

New Website – Social Media Training For Lawyers

Click to link through to Social Media Training For Lawyers

I have recently had several enquiries to provide social media training for lawyers.  This in part follows on from my conference presentations at Oxford University a few weeks ago, and also as a result of my own social media activity.

It felt right to establish a web presence to support those requests and the point of this post is to show how simple that was.

Step One. Get a specific web address.

I went to www.123-reg.com to find a suitable web address. www.socialmediatrainingforlawyers.co.uk was available at cost £5.99 plus VAT for 2 years.  I bought it.

The web address is pretty long but it says exactly what I want it to say, and what I think lawyers and law firms who need social media training will be searching for.

I did not pay for hosting as I can forward the web address to a blog that I set up on www.wordpress.com, namely www.socialmediatrainingforlawyers.wordpress.com, obviously.

I could have just used the WordPress address but having the full bespoke web address enables me to use socialmediatrainingforlawyers.co.uk as a professional (if rather long) email address.

Step Two.  Prepare the WordPress blog

WordPress is very powerful and with a little bit of familiarisation time (and the book WordPress For Dummies is good enough) you can prepare good, if not dazzling, blog sites that meet all the functionality of a website that could otherwise cost hundreds of pounds.

WordPress is free.

Create a contact page, about, and load up a few blog entries explaining what you are offering, and giving examples.  Don’t forget to register your blog with Google, Yahoo and Bing verification services – instructions are on WordPress under the tools button on the dashboard.

Step Three. Direct email address into existing email account such as Gmail.

Step Four. Promote new website by writing about it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and existing blogs, er, like this one.

Time spent? 2 hours.  Cost? £5.99 plus VAT

Opinions and feedback?  Well, you tell me…

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Filed under Law, Lawyers and Social Media

Making Stupid Comments Online

I was kindly referred to as a lawyer “doing great things with social media” in a blog post today.  Just to prove that flattery gets you everywhere, I’ll gladly link through to Bryony Thomas’  Clear Thought consultancy blog about managing negative feedback.  Click the image below.

Click image to go to blog

I was greatly disheartened yesterday by a stupid comment made on a discussion I was having in a LinkedIn group.

I was happy to leave the comment online rather than fan his flames.  It was only his reputation that was going up in smoke after all.

I figured that a fellow lawyer who had got as far as finding his way into LinkedIn groups might just  “get it” regarding social media.

What might he have got?

  • That you don’t post about masturbation and ejaculation on a professional message board talking about professional conduct and best practice- where your own frikking colleagues are going to read it
  • That if you missed that first point, your comment remains in perpetuity for all to see and makes you look a bit of a dick
  • That social media, as Jonny Ball might have once said “Can be man’s best friend, but it can also be his worst enemy.”

Unfortunately, my companion in that discussion was saved from eternal embarrassment by the LinkedIn group moderator removing the comment.

So, Mr I-Do-Not-Get-It, if you are reading this, I would like to thank you.  I have got several training sessions coming up exploring how we lawyers can use social media effectively and responsibly, in a way which is in keeping with our professional ethics and responsibilities – your bizarre outburst will provide an excellent case study.

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Why Lawyers Should Not Use Social Media

The comment I read on LinkedIn yesterday that individual lawyers should only tweet if it is in keeping with the corporate image is horrific.

It reflects an ongoing attitude towards this new fangled social media thing that still persists.  Should lawyers really be meddling with Twitter, Facebook and the like.

Reasons why not?

  1. Client confidentiality
  2. Liability for online comment
  3. Because your clients expect you not to.  Isn’t it for children? I mean, what do you talk about?

Here we go.

Client confidentiality is not a problem, or at least no more of a problem than having conversation with a friend in a pub, at a restaurant, the opera (if you insist), public transport (heaven forbid) or anywhere.  Client confidentiality means you don’t talk about your clients, whether online or offline.  It really isn’t complicated and most lawyers get that.  Really, we do.

Liability for online comment?

I’m not sure this has ever been a problem has it?  Has anyone been sued for someone’s reliance on the legal merit of a tweet, or posting.

Anyway, disclaimers abound, just don’t take my word for it, okay?

The “Client’s expectation” one though is the most pernicious.

Should a profession, whether lawyers, teachers, plasterers, whatever, be debarred or disapproved because they take part in what large parts of society do?  Surely not.

It would be like saying that because you’re a lawyer, you cannot go to a nightclub, or ride on public transport. My! What would people say?

Of course we need to be mature and responsible, as does a bus driver, or councillor, or a dentist, or a parent who runs the home.  But disallowing or disapproving is nonsense.

Rant over.

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Filed under Law, Lawyers and Social Media

Social Media Persona vs Law Website Profile

I am very excited to be presenting a workshop on using social media at next week’s Resolution ADR Conference.  Part of that will be exploring the tension between sanctioned corporate website profiles and a fully, complementary online persona, or presence.

I am grateful to Matthew Homann, author of the excellent NonBillableHour blog for allowing me to use his ingenious venn diagram comparing what website profiles say, and what clients want to know.

I am also musing with adapting the first verse from The Beatles “A Day In The Life…” as follows (join in if you know the words)

I read your profile today, oh boy

About a lucky man who made the grade,

And though the profile was rather dull,

I had just had to laugh…

You know the rest.

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Podcasting – You know, I might be a bit late to this.

I am currently writing my second book,  The Collaborative Law Companion, to be published in true retro paper style by Jordans next Spring.

Part of my efforts in writing, promoting and researching that book will include the website www.collaborativelaw.tv which will host a specific collaborative law blog, articles and my first podcast.

The podcasting process is still in its preparatory stage.

I have prepared a show style/agenda and approached a great colleague to co-present with me who has plenty of fire and passion.

I have approached several guests from the collaborative law community to join us and address a specific issue each show and will be able to interview leading international practitioners when I am presenting in Washington DC next month.

There are just a few things to still resolve:

  1. How to record and produce;
  2. Show frequency; and
  3. What should my theme tune be?

I am toying with the Pamela app for Skype which looks like it can do everything including a Rich Mood Editor, whatever that is.

The frequency might be fortnightly, if not then monthly.  I am hoping that the Pamela add-on makes recording and interspersing other sound effect MP3s so easy that the process will be no more onerous than talking with friends and colleagues for 30 minutes and then pressing “Send”.

I’m slightly surprised to see that Pamela does not seem to support WordPress.  I could be wrong.  Even if I am right, I can still post the podcast mp3 to my domain and then go into WordPress and link through.  I think.

As for the theme, I have recently taken to playing some blues guitar riffs.  I am toying with recording a “Perfect” version or trying to play it live each fortnight and seeing if it comes off or not.

Anyway, the podcast will be going live within the month… more to follow.

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Filed under General Technology, Law, Lawyers and Social Media

Scratching the surface of WordPress

Last Friday I presented one of my conflict dynamics workshop to a Local Education Authority in South Wales.  It was very well received with a very participative crowd.

I have since broken down the participants notes into small “Blog post” size chunks and posted them on WordPress, with password access so that the delegates can re-engage with the material and debate it amongst themselves and with me.

This led me to think what a flexible, beautiful beast WordPress is.

There must be other ways we could use WordPress for our legal work, beyind the obvious blogging.  Networking events could maybe get their own blog with downloadable guest list.  The guests could receive emailed passwords to drive them to the blog and from there to our websites, LinkedIn, YouTube accounts and the like.

WordPress can easily host video from the event, or other resources.

How do you use WordPress, beyond simple blogging?

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