The New Madison Avenue: Web 2.0, Blogs and Social Networking for Lawyers
The New Madison Avenue
Web 2.0, Blogs and Social Networking for Lawyers
New Jersey Association for Justice
Boardwalk Seminar Technology Panel
April 23, 2009
Steven D. Josselson
Josselson Consulting, LLC
So What is Web 2.0?
• Web 2.0 (or Social Media) is just shorthand for a new
type of Internet-based technology.
• Three Categories:
• Blogging (e.g.: WordPress)
• Micro-blogging (e.g.: Twitter)
• Social Networking (e.g.: LinkedIn)
• Social Media can only be understood by comparing it
with its predecessor Web 1.0.
Okay, So What is Web 1.0?
• Web 1.0 describes the major technological innovation
introduced in the ‘90s: online search engines, or
• A web portal is a free service which allows businesses to
quickly search through millions of web pages for the specific
info they needed.
• Based on the keywords entered into the website, the portal
creates a list of web addresses matching the search terms
you provided, with the “best” matches showing up at the top.
• Previously unimaginable amounts of info could now be
aggregated, organized and then sent from the company to all
of the end users, creating a powerful new resource for
Why Does Social Media Represent a New
• Social Media is all about user-generated content and allowing
for this content to then be shared in real-time between the
contributor, directly to the millions of other users.
• This transfer of data, ideas and opinions can be multi-directional
and doesn’t rely on the web service to serve as an intermediary.
• Like web portals, your message is broadcast to millions of people
who are already interested in it for free, but now your message
can be part of a two-way conversation between you and others.
• These conversations create the opportunity to gain fresh insight,
connect with new clients, and expand your business network.
Why you should care
• A cost-effective way to complement your business development
efforts by reaching your intended audience, and having the
ability to make your message interactive!
While it does require a time investment, most social media
services don’t cost any money.
• TV and radio are expensive platforms for broadcasting your
message, and inefficient in reaching the right audience;
• Nobody checks the White Pages or classifieds section anymore
because of the efficiency of web portals.
• You can get real-time feedback on how your audience is
responding to your message.
Creating a Game Plan
• It’s very important to decide what your goal is, what your budget will
be and who will manage this.
• Pays to hire an experienced consultant, so you can spend your time
working on your client’s cases.
• There are three main types of social media platforms, and you should
try to incorporate one of each type:
• Online Social Networking
More Tips for Planning
• The specific goals you want to accomplish should
be measurable so that there is accountability for
• Which web service(s) from each category you will
• The specific audience you trying to reach and/or
influence with the content you publish (message).
• Many companies offer the ability to publish your writing - in the form of
“posts” on the Web.
• Adding your original content to the Web is “blogging” and the webpage where
it is instantly published and can be seen by anyone is your “blog.”
• You want to make the blog look professional and distinctive, and signal to
your audience that you take pride in it (like the lobby in your office)
• Pay to create (or “register”) a memorable web address that will stick in
people’s heads or will pop up near the top of the list if someone does a search
on a portal.
www.personalinjuryreporter.com (already taken)
• Having someone take care of this for you, as well as “host” or store your
blog’s content on their computer is not that expensive.
• I highly recommend using WordPress for your blogging platform.
Advice for Managing a Blog for Your Practice
You graduated from law school, you’ve won a lot of tough cases, you attend industry
conventions and probably have published some writing = YOU ARE AN EXPERT
• The wonderful thing about publishing (“posting”) short articles on your blog is that it presents
an ideal forum for demonstrating your expertise in your field of law to your readership
• Always keep in mind who might come across your blog: everyone.
• Make it a place where other lawyers and people looking for legal information can read
informative, entertaining content
• Upload and link to lots of photos, .pdfs, and even videos that will showcase your
• Customize the appearance of your blog, perhaps by adding your firm’s logo to the
header, but keep it easy to read.
More Blogging Tips
• Create and continually update a “blogroll” - or a list of links to other
legal blogs that are part of the online community.
• Pick blogs that are updated somewhat regularly and have solid
• This will signal to your audience that your blog is part of the
community and that you are following other experts to stay on
top of the latest news and opinions.
• Perhaps more importantly, the other blogger may end up reading
your blog if you comment on one of his posts, and may add it to
his or her blogroll.
• This will increase the size of your audience!
• Micro-blogging lets you publish a short (>250 characters) “status update” which the
website sends to anyone who is following you.
• Start off by searching your list of business contacts to see if any of them are already active
and subscribe to see their updates whenever they post them. (Import Address Book)
• These people will usually start subscribing to follow your updates as well, since they are
want to know what you’re working on.
• But since this is Social Media, you can also see a list of other people your colleagues are
following and start following their posts.
• Then, some of these people (who you’ve basically met through a mutual connection) may be
trial lawyers, and they may start following your updates after they see you are one of the
people your mutual contact is following.
• These people become not only an informational resource, but potentially part of your
• You can also search for people based on their location, profession, etc.
More On Micro-Blogging
• Micro-blogging is great for business development for your firm
because it takes relatively little time for you to post updates (“Tweets”),
and is a very convenient format for others to follow.
Use your judgment in how many “tweets” you send out within a 24
You should refrain from posting anything that could hurt your
reputation or land you in legal hot water!
• There are also free services called “aggregators” that will
automatically publish your update from one network to multiple
accounts, which will save you a lot of time and help you reach
and meet many more people.
Online Social Networking
• Online Social Networks allow you to create a proﬁle with your professional
contact info, photo, bio and other info, and then invite other lawyers you
know to connect.
• You will then have access to their business info all in one place and can can
send messages back and forth.
• Again, you will get to see who else your colleagues know in their network of
lawyers, and you may see and connect with others you have lost touch with.
• Better yet, you may see someone in your colleague’s network who you don’t
know, but whom you would like to be introduced to. Your mutual contact
can then arrange an online introduction for you, and this new person may
become part of your network.
Online Social Networking Tips
• You can also search for members by keywords like location, industry, etc.
• The idea is to create a free account, create a proﬁle with a headshot and your
basic contact information and search the website’s directory of members.
• You will then ﬁnd some people you know . . . some of whom you haven’t seen
since your ﬁrst year of law school . . . and you request to add them as a
• Now, you have all of your friends’ contact information, where they are
working, what they’re up to, and who is in their network of friends.
• If the people you have been associating with since embarking on your legal
career have similar interests to you, you may be able to ﬁnd jobs, new clients
or other non-legal professionals with whom you can do business.