Tag Archives: 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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Filed under Law, Lawyers and Social Media

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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What if it all ended. Today. POP!

As I write, Twitter is going through some fairly unattractive spasms.

I was anxious for a split second – Oh no!  What if it has all gone POP!

What if I have lost

  • my account,
  • my followers,
  • the people I follow,
  • my Tweets,
  • all those favourites that I meant to get round to reading and following the links from…?

And do you know what I realised?

It would be alright.

It would be a pity, no doubt, but not overly drastic.

The reality has to be that of the 1500 or so that I follow, and who follow me, that there is in reality a much smaller core of people that I communicate with regularly.

If it all came to an end, it would be reasonably straightforward to start out again.  In fact, the process of having to recall who and why is important would be a very useful selection filter.

The problem is that I would lose the serendipity that is found in a non-central follower linking to something random and outside of my sphere.

I lose the potential links and references to other Twitter users that might be of interest.

Perhaps I should find a Twitter back up tool, just in case… anyone got any recommendations?

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Filed under General Technology

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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Hey Look! That’s Me! – A Test For Client Confidentiality and Social Media

I spotted a twitter exchange yesterday that caused me some concern.

A case was being discussed on Twitter that referred to identifying features. No names were mentioned and in that sense, at least, the clients were anonymous.  However, the details being discussed, such as appointments, some figures and issues would have been enough for the clients concerned to identify themselves in a flash.

I cannot recall where I learnt this “Hey look, that’s me!” test for confidentiality.  I do not know if it is enshrined in protocol or case law – perhaps a reader might care to tell us – but it makes perfect sense.

If a client can recognise themselves then that is perhaps the lowest cognitive bar we can set.

That is no reason to disregard that low bar, or dismiss it with an argument that “No-one else would know who it was.”  After all, if the client complains to us or relevant supervising bodies, then that will be more than enough to land us in hot water.

This incident also highlighted another issue.  We need to be diligent ourselves in testing confidentiality, but also in pointing out possible problems to one another.

By doing so we can self police effectively.  The alternative is likely to be a blanket ban or some other hysterical over-reaction.

I hope that if I have such a lapse in future that someone would quickly send me a direct message discretely to point out a possible problem.

I also hope that I would receive it with the same good grace and politeness that my Twitter friend did.

In the words of High School Musical “We’re all in this together…”

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Filed under General Technology, Law, Lawyers and Social Media

When Law Firm Social Media Goes Bad.

I was reading through my LinkedIn updates a few moments ago and read the following;

  • Craig Holt
    Craig Holt Unexpected events such as the shootings in Cumbria can leave loved ones in unexpected legal and financial… http://fb.me/By6ukJw9 via Twitter
  • My poor taste alarm bells were ringing in a flash.

    The link did go through to a Facebook page which looked like this;

    Now, I do not know what is going on here.  I have tweeted what appears to be the Quality Solicitors twitter account to ask whether they are being attacked by mischievous sorts and will let you know if I receive a response.

    But given that there appears to be a concerted effort to spread this rather surprising selling message across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, I would be surprised if that were the case.  It’s on their website as well, so I have to presume this is sanctioned.

    At the moment it looks as though Quality Solicitors are genuinely putting out this message.  I hope they prove me wrong.

    What lessons are there to be learnt from this?

    Think very carefully about putting edgy stuff “Out there”.

    Is it going to offend anyone?  If it is, that in itself is not automatically a reason not to do it, but how is that potential offence going to impact your law firm?

    Secondly, think about who you are teaming up with.

    The Quality Solicitors brand is a national service that has high street firms sign up to benefit from the collective name, brand and profile that Quality Solicitors can offer.  Bearing that in mind, how many of those firms will approve of this message and how does it reflect back on the component firms?

    I suspect this story has some way to go, but let me have your thoughts below, especially if you are one of the subscribing firms.

    As Johnny Ball from “Think of a Number” might have said, social media can be a lawyer’s best friend.  It could also be their worst enemy.

    UPDATE

    Having just revisited the Quality Solicitors website I see that the comments seem to have been deleted from the Twitter feed.  Hopefully this might indicate that this was not a sincere attempt to sell but was a malicious event.

    I am aware that I had previously blogged favourably on Quality Solicitors’ initiative.  I want to see them succeed for the sake of the profession and all their subscriber firms. Here’s hoping they haven’t dropped the baton.

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    Filed under Law, Lawyers and Social Media

    How Microsoft Used Community to Manage Reputation and Drive New Business

    Live tweeted from Hit Me Social Media Event re Mel Carson from Microsoft Advertising Live at Hit Me Social Media Event

    So Microsoft invest in social media and advertising… are we surprised?

    What surprises me and many is how far Microsoft have come in turning around their previous incarnation.  They are increasingly acceptable and, crucially, responsive.

    Mel Carson works for the Microsoft Advertising Community.  He enabled the TV program “The Monastery” to recruit their potential monks by positioning the program within search enquiries.

    Try Bing ing Social Media White paper for a bit more on their approach which he calls “Learn and earn”.  He seems to suggest that Microsoft have an interdependent relationship with their advertising and search clients – we learn from them as we work with them

    A brave question from Mel – “What is the first thing that comes into your head when someone mentions Microsoft?”, alluding to my opening point I suspect.  But the point he is making is that Microsoft Advertising is a specific part of Microsoft.  It evolved out of a negative reaction to earlier advertising efforts on the part of Microsoft.

    That reaction was to establish a community and forum – a responsive approach which steps into, faces up to that conflict and criticism. That was back in 2006, and the feedback they invited (and received) was then distributed to other departments.  This feedback has enabled Microsoft to identify changes and possible improvements.

    Now, of course, that means more response, more profit for Microsoft and, says Mel, for their advertising clients.

    But, the community saves cost as well.  On the forum, Microsoft can rely on contributing experts, not paid by Microsoft, to help other users.

    People get recognition if they answer questions and contribute and so they raise their own social capital or profile.

    So, an interesting example of an organisation using community to turn its profile around and respond to users.

    Is there a role for forums on law firm websites?  We’ll fret about regulation and negligence but I suspect that is not insurmountable.

    The biggest worry might be the demonstration that we, as the lawyers, are not the exclusive domain of knowledge any longer, but it really is time that we came to terms with that…

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    Filed under An End To Silo Thinking, General Technology