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Making the Case: Social Media for Attorneys


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Costa DeVault presented “Making the Case: Social Media for Attorneys,” to the Volusia/Flagler Association for Women Lawyers. The program covers the basics of social media, and how to market oneself using this modern medium.

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Making the Case: Social Media for Attorneys

  1. 1. Making the Case: Social Media for Attorneys NATHAN DEVAULT
  2. 2. AT A GLANCE • Founded in 1985 • Certified M/WBE (local and state) • 18 employees • More than 375 awards • Clients range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies
  3. 3. Self Promotion • As little as 15 to 20 years ago, the 15-20 options for self promotion were limited: –Advertising ‣Newspaper ads ‣Yellow pages ‣Radio ‣Television –Public Relations ‣Media relations ‣Community relations
  4. 4. Advertising vs. Public Relations • Advertising: –Allows you to control the message –Requires frequency, frequency, frequency –Is expensive –Is heavily regulated in the legal profession • Public Relations: –Offers 3rd party credibility –Is inexpensive when compared to advertising –Is more widely accepted among professional services
  5. 5. Public Relations and Social Media • Similarities: –Neither can be completely controlled –Both involve sharing information –Both offer 3rd party credibility • Differences: –PR is more effective if it is initiated by someone else –Social media has to be done by the individual
  7. 7. “ It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners. Terrestrial TV took 13 years to reach 50 million users. The internet took four years to reach 50 million people. In less than nine months, Facebook added 100 million users. ” - Erik Qualman, published August 11, 2009
  8. 8. Here’s Why: Growing Market Opportunity “Grown Up Digital” • 77 million Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) = Baby Boomers Gen Y/millenials 23% U.S. population • 81.1 million Gen Y/Millenials (born 1977-1997) = 27% U.S. population • “Echoing” effect = largest swell in U.S. population
  9. 9. NEW WAYS TO COMMUNICATE Where consumers get information: • 70% – social media web sites • 68% – corporate sites • 45% – share content via social media • Information sharing via Facebook surpasses e-mail 70% 68% 45% For the first time, social networking has surpassed e-mail (67% vs. 65%). *Source: Nielson
  10. 10. Is Social Media a Match for You? • Depends on … –Comfort level and enjoyment of social media –Type of law practice (consumer vs. corporate) –Time commitment –How open you are to sharing information • Women Rule –Did you know women outnumber men in the social media landscape? –Based on the statistical data of the most popular social networks, women users outnumbered men in almost every case
  12. 12. Benefits of Social Media • Build your practice: –Offers genuine interaction with clients/ potential clients –Increases your online presence and web traffic –Build better connections with other attorneys –Learn and share information –Establishes you as an authority
  13. 13. Public Relations and Social Media 59% of lawyers have joined an online social network 41% of lawyers have not 41% 59% 48% of in-house counsel have joined an online social network 52% have not 52% 48%
  14. 14. Benefits of Social Media • Build your presence: –75% of journalists start research online –Bypass media “gatekeepers” –Create advocates –Crisis management –Community relations
  15. 15. Social Media Isn’t • Traditional marketing “digitized” • Easy opportunity for new business • Free • Stand alone Photo credit: Alejandrooo !
  16. 16. Social Media Is • Conversational (e.g., not “100% polished”) • Strategic • Valuable … when done correctly Photo credit: g-hat
  17. 17. “ It’s all about getting information out there, providing good backgrounders on the key areas of our practice. The rule of thumb I developed is that if I would have provided a certain amount of information during an initial consultation without fee, I just put all of that information online. ” - Gary Wise of Wise Law Office Quoted from LawPRO (December 2009 issue) 
  18. 18. Social Media Chart Social Media Chart
  19. 19. WHERE TO BEGIN
  20. 20. Questions to Ask • Who are you trying to reach? • How are they using social media? • What are people saying? • Where are they saying it? • Are they talking about you? • Develop a plan for staying in front of clients and potential clients based on this research
  21. 21. Based on the Research • Choose the right tools • Create interesting, helpful content (think information – not selling) • Cultivate influencers • Promote others • Share, share, share Photo credit: batega
  22. 22. Join LinkedIn • Social Network geared toward professionals that allows you to “meet” other people through on online bio • Join professional groups, answer questions related to your field and expertise • Showcase references • Post presentations (e.g., SlideShare) • Good for corporate lawyers looking to make professional contacts (in-house counsel, referral sources)
  23. 23. Tips to Maximize LinkedIn • If you have a good result for a client, ask for a recommendation • Join a group • Start a discussion • Ask a question • Connect with clients, prospects and business contacts
  24. 24. Develop a Blog • A self-published online journal ( or that can be used to present: – Timely articles that clients may find interesting – Commentary on issues or national cases – Information on community involvement – Virtually anything related to your interests and practice • 77% of all active internet users regularly read blogs
  25. 25. “ “I think that personal views (kept to a professional level) are best because that’s the beauty of social media. You have the ability to put out your thoughts on cases, and the area of law that you enjoy in a way ” that personalizes you for clients.” - Christopher G. Hill, LEED AP Attorney at DuretteBradshaw PLC Construction Law Musings
  26. 26. Facebook • Social networking site focused on building online communities of people who share interests and activities – Becoming more widely used for commercial networking (fan pages and company pages) – Good way to stay top of mind among friends and associates – Provides a forum to share real, current information about you and your practice – Can repost blogs and promote webinars, educational or charitable events – Personal vs. professional, or blend of the two – Ultimately driving traffic to your blog and web site
  27. 27. “ If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth most populated place in ” the world. - Erik Qualman, published August 11, 2009 The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females.
  28. 28. “ A few people I knew as far back as high school are now human resources managers or directors who are looking for an ” employment lawyer. - Stuart E. Rudner Attorney at Miller Thompson LLP Quoted from LawPRO (December 2009 issue)
  29. 29. Twitter ( • A free micro-blogging service that enables users to send brief messages (140 characters) to followers who have signed up to receive them –Fastest way to drive people to your blog –Share pertinent articles and information with shortened URL links ( –Can “follow” relevant sources and experts –Tweet about news relating to your community, practice areas and the legal profession
  30. 30. Twitter ( • –Organizes your contacts and tweets as well as offers search functions (e.g., estate planning, divorce, etc.) • –Creates instant tweets of your blog entries
  31. 31. “ The best thing about Twitter is that it provides me with a large group of friends, professional acquaintances, some total strangers and some technology superstars who all voluntarily serve as a clipping service for me with links to news ” articles, blog posts and more. - Jim Calloway, Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association Management Assistance Program Quoted from his article, “Can a Lawyer Really Use Twitter to Market a Law Practice?”
  33. 33. Additional Resources • – Free global online network for legal professionals ‣ Linked to MH database ‣ Enables expansion of professional referral network ‣ Share expertise globally ‣ Contribute to blogs and forums • – Social network for lawyers set up by the American Bar Association ‣ Offers social networking tools ‣ User generated content including articles and news ‣ Engage with peers via blogs, wikis, chats and discussion groups
  34. 34. Additional Resources • –Social network for general counsel and in-house lawyers –Offers discussion boards and search functions –Corporations are using the site to hire outside attorneys • –Online address book and social networking service with more than 40 million people
  35. 35. 5 Getting Started: Five Steps • Step 1: Create measurable objectives • Step 2: Research and listen • Step 3: Choose the right tools • Step 4: Create meaningful, real content • Step 5: Stay with it, and measure what is working for you Content is king - find your voice
  36. 36. “People don’t connect with ‘firms’ or engage with ‘firms.’ They engage with individuals and hire individuals. Therefore, you want to always represent your own views, not those of the firms.  ” - Susan Cartier Libel Founder of Solo Practice University
  38. 38. “ You can become part of a community that will both add to your professional knowledge and expand ” your professional world.” - Scott E. Greenfield Criminal defense lawyer Blawger for Simple Justice
  39. 39. “ Lawyers who look to social media for purposes like writing, educating, engaging in discourse and building relationships are likely to have the most success. ” - Carolyn Elefant, attorney and blogger for, founder of Author of How to be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be and Social Media for Lawyers (spring 2010 publication)
  40. 40. Nathan DeVault Doreen Overstreet