I just received a note of congratulations from LinkedIn letting me know I have one of the top 1% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. Considering that they just announced passing the 200 million member milestone, I think that’s quite an achievement. I attribute it to the relentless pursuit of creating and reposting content, which I hope is meaningful and helpful to attorneys and law firm administrators. In this medium, content is King! If it gets me an occasional visitor to my profile or web site, so much the better
Category: Social Media
I’m amused when someone thinks they’re too old to learn to use a computer, social media, or whatever. One is never too old to learn if willing. The reality is that they don’t care to learn. Ok, I get it. We all have varying interests. But there are some skills that should be required. And in fact a lawyer is required to keep abreast of the proper usage of technology in the practice of law, both in service of clients, as well as in the efficient management of their practice.
My 89 y.o. mother was forced to stop working a few years ago when her health took a dip. She is doing well now, but her retirement remained permanent. However, her mind is sharp as a tack, and she continues to love to learn. Her computer skills are decent, and she cruises the internet daily in search of knowledge, and the occasional game of bridge. She wanted to know about social media, or, as she worded it, “whatever’s taking up so much of your time on that darn computer and phone!”
This past Saturday was lesson one. We went to her favorite deli for early-bird dinner. As soon as we sat down I pulled my iPad out of my pocketbook. (Yes, my pocketbook is that large and heavy!) I took a lovely smiling picture of her perusing the menu. I showed her the picture so that she could be satisfied she looked young and vibrant. A few pictures later and I was ready to post.
After we ordered dinner, I opened Facebook. I have a personal page, and a business page for Freedman Consulting. I took her to my personal page. There she got to read what some of my friends and our family are up to. She found it fascinating. Then I created a short post which said “Saturday nite early-bird special at Ben & Irv’s fabulous Jewish deli makes my 89 y.o. Mom very happy.” I added the picture of her smiling face to the post. I allowed the locator to capture the location. And I hit POST. Mom was astounded by how easy what I did was, and how fast I did it. At this point our soup arrived.
Before soup was done, we had 2 LIKES and 3 comments. All of which I shared with Mom. Two of the comments were from people who worked for me decades ago at the law firm I managed. Mom worked there in accounts payable. Another was from someone I went to junior high and high school with, who was just happy to hear I was lucky enough to still have my mother in my life. (AGREED!)
The instantaneous nature of the communications astounded her. “Wow, this is way better than email. I don’t have to think about who to say anything to. If they’re my friends and relatives, and we’re connected, I can just say what’s going on, and they’ll respond if they want.” Yes, exactly. She got it.
Then we want onto my business page. I wrote, simply “Words of wisdom from my 89 y.o. mother: at this age buying green bananas is a risk!” It’s one of her favorite old-people jokes, and she says it every chance she gets. She was greatly amused.
Within just seconds of hitting POST we picked up the first LIKE. Again, mom was amazed. Her quote is getting a fair bit of attention, which I share with her. She is delighted with each additional LIKE. So for her sake, I hope it goes viral. (For her, viral would equate to about 12 people!)
This isn’t really very scary stuff, folks. Setting up your social media presence takes some skill, mostly in the writing area. It’s not and shouldn’t be legalese. There are tons of people out there who you can hire to assist. Some are expensive, some are not, and price is not necessarily an indicator of quality or skill. So check references and check their work product.
It takes time for sure, because ultimately it’s all about content. Just having connections means nothing unless you have something to say, which is of value elsewhere. (In this case I’m only speaking in a business context. Personal pages serve an entirely different purpose.) But with the right tools (smartphone and tablet) you can keep the time under control. I have increasingly translated down-time into productive social media time by using my Smartphone and tablet, and downloading the mobile components of each social media app. That means that less and less time is taken away from work production. Yet I am creating a larger presence. And that’s a very good thing from both earning and marketing perspectives.
Bottom line? No matter what your age, these are tools you should understand. And they’re not that difficult. Really. You might consider them a burden, a distraction, a continual noise droning on in the background. And you would not be incorrect. At least while you’re getting used to them. But they are also incredibly important methods of communications, and sources of information which may be relevant to your clients’ matters. Ignore them at your own risk.
The year isn’t over yet, but it’s unlikely anything will top this one.
Thousands of law-related blogs vie for attention from peers and prospects. Only 100 make the coveted ABA list each year. Congratulations to those from PA. To achieve this level of recognition requires consistent effort and dedication. The payoff is a decided elevation in name recognition. Does it pay off in clients? Let’s hear from those of you who’ve been nominated.
As Nicholas Wagoner from Circuit Splits points out, Howard Bashman not only continues to churn out links on this appellate news-watch blog but also points readers to high-quality reporting on the subject. Bashman, practicing out of Willow Grove, Pa., also sends readers directly to federal and state court opinions so they can brush up on the latest appellate news from original sources.
It’s a close call, but this blog from Philadelphia plaintiffs-side tort lawyer Max Kennerly is more about civil litigation and being a trial lawyer than tort law per se. Lengthy posts dig deeper than the mainstream media into the cases of the day—usually tort cases. But other posts cover First Amendment topics, law practice topics and legal news of import in Pennsylvania.
Simple Justice’s Scott Greenfield calls Jordan Rushie and Leo Mulvihill “two kid lawyers with moxie, a sense of humor and a serious focus on what it means to start out in the practice of law.” These relatively new lawyers joined forces early this year to blog and practice in their own small shop. In posts, they (mostly Rushie) log the unwritten rules they are gradually learning from experience and other practitioners about trial practice and finding clients.
You’ve got a few more months until taxes are due, but you can read Taxgirl year-round. Philadelphian Kelly Phillips Erb blogs about taxes for Forbes, and it’s not just a personal finance blog; she also reports on political wrangling over tax legislation and tax-related news from the media. If you want to know about the tax woes of Prince and Michael Vick, Taxgirl’s your girl.
Daniel E. Cummins, a frequent contributor to Pennsylvania Law Weekly, is an insurance defense attorney in Scranton, Pa. Tort Talk provides in-depth analysis of recent Pennsylvania tort cases and notes CLE events and national tort reform efforts.
You can view the list of all the nominated blogs here, and then click on the provided link to vote for ones you like best. Good luck to our PA bloggers.
While the connection of the phrase social media with the concept of privacy may seem to be an oxymoron, there are some fundamental constitutional principles which cement them together. Think about free speech, freedom of association, and freedom from self-incrimination.
In my last post entitled “Keep Your Nose Out of Employee Posts” I mentioned the passage of new legislation in California designed to protect employee privacy rights regarding their social media accounts. In today’s ABA Law News Now article entitled “Site Unseen: Schools, Bosses Barred from Eyeing Students’, Workers’ Social Media,” they discuss similar legislation in Delaware, Maryland and Illinois. A comment posted to this discussion adds that The Canadian Supreme Court ruled recently that employers have no right to look at an employees internet history as it reveals too much about an individual”, and provides a link to an article about it.
Mostly, the egregious conduct legislation is attempting to stop is the practice employed by schools and employers which compel employees and students to disclose their private passwords, thereby providing access to personal information which is not otherwise publicly available. At some schools, students are even forced to install software which essentially logs everything they type.
Social Media is an evolving medium, as are the ethics and laws surrounding it. Take a look at new legislation in California, the leader in freedoms and safeguards for employees, to see where things are headed. Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed two privacy laws protecting employees and students from bosses and universities wanting to snoop on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, on September 27, 2012.
We know that much of the world of social media is like the Wild West of yore. Eventually laws were developed which tamed the west. We’re waiting for lawsuits, current and future, to wind their way into and through the courts to tame this new frontier. Until that happens, there’s no telling what complexities and conflicts will arise, and how it will resolve. Beware, it’s a dangerous landscape without forethought.
My partner, Jennifer Ellis, is widely known for her expertise regarding social media use in the practice of law, social media marketing, and the intersection of technology and ethics for lawyers. As a result, our firm does a considerable amount of consulting work related to all facets of social media. We both monitor a great number of news sources to try to stay on top of this topic. And we both blog and prevent seminars on this topic.
One source of information I read regularly is HR Hero. They cover a myriad of human resource-related topics. This is yet another business management area that remains fluid due to federal, state and sometimes local regulatory changes. It’s important to stay on top of this in order to avoid liability. A recent article entitled “Social Media Ownership: A Look at Three Cases” caught my attention because it reports on recent cases which touch both areas.
In Sasqua Group, Inc. v. Courtney, a 2010 New York district court case , the court decision makes it very difficult to protect client lists and other lists such as Facebook friends, as trade secrets. Marketing professionals have long advised that the most valuable pieces of intellectual property a firm or company can develop are well-maintained marketing-related lists. Clients. Prospects. Industry CEOs. All sorts of lists. But now that it’s so easy to develop sophisticated lists utilizing readily available tools and the internet, it’s hard to make a case that a list rises to the level of a protected trade secret. At least according to this case.
In Eagle v. Morgan, pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the court will rule on a wide number of issues related to ownership of a LinkedIn page and its connections. Does the company own the page, or the individual who establishes it? If the company sells and the individual doesn’t work for the new company, can the new owner take the page over and continue to use it? Was that part of the sale?
In PhoneDog v. Kravitz, which is pending in the Northern District of California, the court will be wrestling with the concept of putting a price tag on Twitter followers. A proposed $2.50 per, according to the plaintiff. With 17,000 followers at issue, a hefty $340,000 in damages is at stake. Certainly not chump change.
These issues are just the tip of the iceberg. They are important considerations for both your firm, as well as for your clients. Certainly the evolving case law will take time to clarify and tame this new frontier. But in the meanwhile, neither you nor your clients can afford to ignore or avoid the most significant paradigm shift in communications in decades. So it’s important that you ensure your firm has a well-written computer, internet and social media use policy in place at your firm. The last thing you want is to wind up becoming the plaintiff or defendant in the next encountered conflict over who owns what.