how to get lawyers to use social media

We are very pleased by the strong interest in The Social Law Firm Index and the white paper we recently published. We’ve heard from many firms – those who ranked well as well as those who did not; we’ve also heard from many small and mid-sized firms not covered by the scope of the initial survey.   And the consensus view is that our research efforts have proven very fruitful in helping drive the discussion and build awareness about the growing importance of social media in the legal market.

But still, even with the survey and with the mounting evidence of social media’s growing importance, the number one complaint we hear from law firm marketing directors is that lawyers in the firm just don’t seem to get it.  The most frequently asked question we hear is  — “How do I get individual lawyers to start taking this seriously?”

While most firms have a few “all-stars” who understand the importance of building a personal brand, most lawyers stay focused on the legal work itself.  They go about their day immersed in the practice of law, dealing with matters they consider far more important than playing around with all that social media stuff.

Clearly, they don’t get it. Question is, will they ever get it? My guess is some will, but most wont. The reason being is that they don’t truly understand what social media can do for their practice. They regard social media as something that the marketing department should deal with, not lawyers themselves.  But this view completely overlooks how the business world is changing and more importantly to them, how the business of law is changing as well.

Next Friday I will be attending a conference called ReInventing Law NYC, a free and open public conference devoted to law, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the legal services industry. The premise behind this conference is that the markets for legal services and legal education are undergoing major upheaval and that the only way forward is to focus on innovation in technology, design and delivery of legal services.

The speakers at this conference get it. They see the change that is coming in the practice of law and are doing something about it. And the social business movement is an important part of this trend.  Up until now, the innovations in social business have primarily been evident in the corporate world, most particularly among the ranks of the Fortune 100.  But that is changing too and the legal market is being pulled inexorably in this direction simply due to the financial pressures on law firms that continue unabated.   Social technologies and processes are emerging as a key element in how to rebuild legal practice for the 21st century.

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