It probably won’t have surprised you to have found out that 90% of law firms are not using twitter at all. It will no doubt reinforce the fusty, antiquated perception some still have of the legal profession, although as anyone who works closely with lawyers will tell you, they are on the whole a switched on, tech savvy, dynamic and progressive bunch. So why the disconnect?
A lawyer’s training reinforces reticence, confidentiality and equivocation, all things that Twitter in particular cuts through and certainly does not encourage. But nevertheless pioneers in the legal profession have embraced the new media swiftly and have swiftly established themselves as significant presences online, gaining influence, visibility and authority that far exceeds their scale, gaining advantage that even a six figure marketing budget could not achieve. Some of the law’s most effective tweeters share their thoughts on what works for them, and how twitter can drive business through your door, set the agenda, and effect real visible change.
For civil and commercial firms in particular it is a great way for them to engage with clients, promote themselves and take part in legal discourse. It is still a good forum to raise their firms profile and to engage in legal discourse and with the media.
I think we will see more and more firms and advocates come onto twitter as lawyers see the advantages social media can bring to their business. @NiallMcCluskey
Let people learn from you
I think that social media is an important interface between the legal firm and the public. It is a useful marketing tool for a legal firm but is also a very useful way for potential client to get an insight into the experience and ethos of a firm.
By posting articles on the law, posting successes and posting interesting snippets of the life of the firm allows clients to feel more involved. It also allows potential clients to feel that they already know the firm and its experience.
Clients can, for example, watch on Twitter the debates taking place between the Solicitors, Top QCs, leading academics, students, social workers, graduates etc on relevant issues of law. @ThePrisonLawyer
The real benefit of social media for potential client, stakeholder or commentator seeking a dialogue with a law firm is it allows interaction beyond the sales brochure and directly into the culture, ethos and DNA of its fabric – but only if unregulated and beyond the control of policy police. @digbybrownllp
Use the force
There is no faster or more direct and powerful way to get a message out than twitter, and I can give you two recent examples.
I tweeted with Bank of Scotland on behalf of a client over their refusal to accept that she could legally unilaterally cancel a payday lender's continuous payment authority, and very quickly this developed into a debate which was picked up and investigated by @PaulLewisMoney on BBC Money Box and BBC Breakfast, with many UK banks conceding they had got it wrong.
When I saw the Cheque Centre was promoting and advertising the encashing of school uniform grants (a Councillor in Belfast had posted a picture of this on twitter) I tweeted the @ChequeCentre and was written to by the CEO's office confirming they would stop promoting this in their cheque shops.
Tip your hat to twitter, it's a powerful tool to get acquainted with. @mikedailly
When some people look for a lawyer they have chosen my firm because they are aware of it simply as a result of activity on Facebook and twitter. Some firms are better than others. I think the successful ones are those that combine (1) keeping up to date with developments in relevant field (2) a bit of personality and (3) an awareness of wider political issues. @TaitMacleod
The great thing about social media, like twitter, is that demands honesty. As old Polonius would say, you can only speak with your own voice about issues that really matter to you. It exposes lawyers and law firms true nature; and that may cause some difficulty. But, my own experience is that it develops relationships with clients and potential clients that will endure and will benefit my firm commercially as much as it shall provide a platform to affect legal and social change. @ThompsonsPat
Use it or lose it
I was pleased to discover that many of the 105 firms had Twitter accounts I could learn from as a business lawyer, as a tutor, and as a potential client. I was also satisfied that many accounts would give students some insight into the day-to-day life of legal practice, and that they too could learn by following such accounts. However, there were some firms with Twitter accounts that were underused. @EKbusinesslaw
Be where the clients are
To me the equation is simple. My clients and targets are on social media, therefore I need to be as well. It allows me to stay in their thoughts, build trust, and be proactive rather than reactive. Delectus personae can materialise if you choose to engage with personality – allowing you to win business through demonstrating experience, reputation and chutzpah, as in any other walk of life. @LicensingLaws
Give them a peek behind the curtain
The vast majority of firms have failed to grasp that twitter can create opportunities for bringing in new business, build connections and let potential clients have a taste of the firm's ethos. @JamieJKerr
Let it work both ways
We find that Twitter allows us to develop a very low level of contact with a person and that may evolve into a business relationship, a referral or just a nice piece of feedback providing some insight or new information about our area of practise. @roadtrafficlaw
Interviews were conducted by The Firm's editor Steven Raeburn
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