(Response to Scott Greenfield’s posts at http://simplejustice.com)
“[O]ne has to wonder why someone would need to scour social media in search of a lawyer engaged in one of the more common practice areas.” –Scott Greenfield
The biggest advantage the tech savvy have today is that they don’t look at the internet as a place or a “virtual world” – instead they see it as an extension of real life. The internet is just another tool that helps us communicate and connect.
The less tech savvy cohort, for some reason, haven’t figured out that the Internet is a tool and not a place, and think that relationships are somehow diminished or less real because they began online. Try and tell that to 1 in 8 married couples from 2007 that met online.
I see the internet and all the great social media venues as powerful tools to spread a message. The less tech savvy should think of it as the telephone on steroids. The endless power to freely connect in a way not limited by geography is mind-blowing. Some people still don’t get it though.
There are many lawyers out there. The streets are littered with them. Why would Adrian’s Texas client need to twit to ask blindly for a lawyer? It suggests that the client can’t find anyone locally who would deal with them. Perhaps they’ve gone through all the local lawyers and been tossed out on their butt, whether for being unduly annoying, demanding or cheap.
I know it may be hard to contemplate this Scott, but some people don’t trust the yellow pages, billboards, and television commercials to vet out good lawyers. Some people also want to “ask around” to see what type of reputation that lawyers has. Tools like LinkedIn and lets face it, applications like Twitter make it unbelievably easy to vet a lawyer and handle due diligence.
In the old model, I could ask a lawyer for references, (talk about a biased sample) but now I can use the power of Google to find past clients, old law professors, and the past 10 employers of any attorney I am looking to hire. Try finding that information in the yellow pages.
In addition, some people want to get to know an attorney on a more personal level before hiring them. Individuals want to hire attorneys that they like, they trust, and that they feel know a lot. In that order.
The whole concept of individuals finding attorneys online must be terribly threatening to those of you in established law offices. Your attorneys have spent decades billing 2300 hours a year- and suddenly they are facing unexpected competition from all over the map. They can’t even see it coming. Biglaw has blocked Facebook and Twitter from the server- so as your competitors are chatting it up with your best clients- you have no clue.
It may be quite innocent at first, it starts with sharing a favorite podcast or book, and then turns into a phone conversation, and then a lunch. Before you know it, you and your best client are splitting up. Its not because you didn’t do a good job, its just because you weren’t around. How can you possibly know what your competition and your best client are saying to each other if your firm is blocked from the most basic social media applications?
Get with the times. If you don’t, your competitors will. I’ve written a more complete analysis of the changes in legal marketing as part of my Rainmaker Alert. I hope you’ll check it out.
One final note Scott, some extremely bright attorneys like Alexis Neely, who finished first in her class at Georgetown, have figured out how to provide excellent client service AND manage to have a life. You could learn a lot from someone like her.