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Social Media For Lawyers Ibj 2009 1


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Helen W. Gunnarsson\’s cover story on Social Media for Lawyers in the June 2009 issue of the Illinois Bar Journal

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Social Media For Lawyers Ibj 2009 1

  1. 1. Are you Linkedln? Facebooking? Tweeting? Or still figuring out what its all about and why you should care? Heres a lawyers guide to social media. Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook, Oh My! By Helen W. Gunnarsson Helen v. Gunnarsson, a lawyer in Highland Park, is an Illinois Bar Journal contributing writer.288 I ILLI!OOIS liAR .I0UR!OAL I JUNE 2009 I VOL. 97
  2. 2. ou log on to the Internet every morning as soon as you get to work, How do these media work? LinkedIn, Facebook, if not as soon as you get out of bed at home. Though you carry and Twitter are three social a cell phone and return voicemails promptly, e-mail, which you networking sites particularly popular with lawyers. All check throughout the day, is your preferred and frequent means of three prominently invite us-communication with your colleagues, your clients, your friends, and your family. ers to write notes for public consumption, but each has its own distinctive personality and features. Together they Your law firm or employer and others looking to enhance sultant Simon Young explains provide good illustrations ofhas its own Web site. You their practices, businesses, ca- social networking in a Decem- how lawyers, among others,routinely research matters not reers, job searches, or public ber 23, 2008, entry on Den- can use them to benefit pro-only using Fastcase through profiles. ver career coach Carol Rosss fessionally as well as person-ISBA, but also by Googling This isnt news to law stu- Weblog "A Bigger Voice" ally.names and other search dents and newly admitted (http://www.a biggervoiceterms. Sometimes you even lawyers, and early tech adopt- Linkedln - thepost questions or comments ers have been Facebooking real-world.html), "Theres a "professional" optionon ISBAs Internet discussion for years. But social network- myth around that the virtualgroups. All in all, youre satis- ing is part of the broad main- world is somehow a different The most purely profes-fied that youre using technol- stream now, encompassing place from the real world we sional of the three applica-ogy effectively as part of your nearly every demographic all live in. tions, LinkedIn provides us-21 st Century law practice. group. If youve been waiting "Interestingly, its a myth ers with the ability to post a Guess what? Somebody for the critical mass to build found only among those who resume-like profile and invitemoved your cheese. before learning more about it, havent tried out social media others to become "connec- Voicemail is becoming wait no longer. and social networks. Once tions." Register for free at you dip your toe in the online, and LinkedIn conversation, you find that prompts you to post a virtu- blogs, Facebook, Twitter - al CV using its template. Its and on and on - are all elabo- easy to use; assuming that you Mark Wojcik says he maintains rations on (not replacements already have a resume in elec- of) the art of one human re- tronic format, you can simply a Facebook page in part to remind copy and paste portions of it lating to another." his students that employers Som, Ross, Young, and into the template. others have embraced social In addition to the usual will check out their pages. background information any networking applications and are using them to make con- CV contains, the Linkedln nections that benefit their law template asks you to catego- practices, their businesses, rize your position by industry and their careers. Fastcase, and geographical area. At thepasse, and Google searches which provides ISBA mem- bottom of the template, you Networking isand e-mail, fast and efficient bers with free online legal may list your goals by check-though they are, are no longer nothing new research, joins Starbucks, ing boxes. Career opportuni-the latest and hottest develop- Networking is nothing Borders, and other companies ties, getting back in touch,ments on the Internet. Social new. The Internet simply who have Facebook pages consulting offers, expertisenetworking media such as Fa- presents us with more oppor- and tweet away to their fol- requests, and new venturescebook, LinkedIn, and Twit- tunities to interact with more lowers through their Twitter are some of the goal optionster - also known as Web 2.0 people more efficiently than accounts. offered. Theres also a spot- are now what everybodys in person or over the phone. Nonprofits and education- to add a professionally takentalking about. And all are free "In cyberspace, youre attend- al institutions, as well as those photo to your use. ing the worlds largest cock- espousing political and other Linkedln offers various Though both Facebook tail party. Everyone is there," causes, use Facebook and free applications to add someand Twitter have been the comments Chicago lawyer LinkedIn for providing news pizzazz to your profile. Youbutts of Internet humor (see, Sonya aids Som. And even and facilitating discussions can upload a slide show fromfor example, a March 2009 though the connecting may and networking among their PowerPoint, Google Presenta-story line involving reporter occur through electronic me- alumni and fans. Indeed, ISBA tion, or SlideShare Presenta-Roland Burton Hedley in dia, at its heart are the same itself has a group on Linke- tions to showcase an exampleGarry Trudeaus Doonesbury human-to-human interactions dIn, moderated by Board of of your work.comic), those sites, along with that occur at in-person social Governors member and John Other applications will en-LinkedIn, Weblogs, and on- functions. Marshall Law School Pro- able you to synchronize yourline discussion groups, can be New Zealand writer, sto- fessor Mark Wojcik, that all blog, if you have one, withsupremely useful to lawyers ryteller, and social media con- members may join. your Linkedln profile. Com- VOL. 97 I JUNE 2009 I ILLIIOIS BAR JOURNAL I 289
  3. 3. TWITTER I Continued pany Buzz will provide you with any concerning projects youre working on, join, if you wish. You can do your own Twitter activity related to your firm or job opportunities or availability, or any- searches to find other interest groups that business. My Travel allows you to share thing else of a career-related nature thats you may like to join. Some businesses, your current whereabouts and travel on your mind. LinkedIn also enables you institutions, political candidates, elected plans with LinkedIn colleagues, facili- to send private messages to others. officials, and others have pages invit- tating in-person meetings for coffee or a ing Facebook members to become fans. meal. Facebook for fun and profit Click on the button to become a fan, and Having created your profile, youll Used by more than 200 million mem- that information will show up on your probably want to find out who else you bers, Facebook provides many of the own Facebook page. know is on LinkedIn, let them know same capabilities and services as Linked- Facebook also offers different levels youve joined, and invite them to be con- In, but with a distinctly more informal of privacy settings. Only members may tacts. The site makes it easy to find people interface. Sign up, and youll be prompt- view other members pages. You may en masse by allowing it to access your e- ed to create your own profile with the adjust your account settings so that your mail address book. (The site promises not identifying information you choose. (The profile is visible to all members or only to retain your password or your address site requires users to submit to your friends. You can also limit your book information and wont send you their names, birthdays, and or your contacts spam.) It also enables e-mail addresses, and re- quick searches for former colleagues and stricts users to one page.) classmates, based on the information in The Facebook template your profile. You can then send contact inquires as to distinctly An active and avid Twitter user invitations to the people you know who personal information, in- now, Carol Ross says her reaction already have LinkedIn profiles. cluding relationship status, Like other social networking sites, political and religious af- to the application after registering LinkedIn offers users various levels of pri- filiations, interests, activi- for and using it briefly in 2007 was vacy. You can decide whether you want ties, favorite books, music, your profile to be visible to everyone or movies, TV shows, and "140 characters, why bother?" only to your contacts. You can also de- quotations; you may pro- cide whether you want your contacts to vide all, some, or none of be able to view your contacts. Chicago that information, as you lawyer Susan Clatter Kamman chooses prefer. It also permits you to keep hers private, since they include to write a short paragraph "About Me" friends access to portions of your infor-clients and, she says, "I dont want other and to include an identifying photo. mation, such as being able to see whos lawyers to poach them." Your site within Facebook includes written on your wall. And Facebook also Another privacy setting permits you not only your profile page but also your allows you to create different groups ofto decide whether you want your con- own "Wall" on which you and your friends, with each group able to accessnections to be notified when you update Facebook friends can post messages, your profile differently.your profile or change your status by, for links, or photos. Youll see a box at the For example, you might group yourexample, changing jobs. And before you top of your own page encouraging you closest personal friends or family mem-start browsing other peoples profiles, to do so with the question "Whats on bers together and allow them access toyou may appreciate knowing that theyll your mind?" Navigate to someone elses all portions of your profile. If youre notbe able to find out that you did - and that page, and youll see the same box, but comfortable allowing your colleaguesyou can find information about who has with the instruction "Write something." and clients to view all of the informationviewed your profile - unless you adjust Facebook also gives you a separate about yourself that youve posted, or allthat privacy setting. page with any photos you may post. You public posts from your friends, or, for Concerns such as client poaching not- can add applications to configure your that matter, the identities of your friends,withstanding, most LinkedIn users allow page to include such matters as listings you might group them separately, re-their connections to view the identities of books youve read or want to read, stricting their access to portions of yourof their other connections. Thats part favorite links, and other media or infor- profile.of the sites attraction and power: when mation. Twitter - not for twits onlyyou can see whom the people you know Like LinkedIn, Facebook offers youknow, you understand whom you can the option of allowing the site to search Media stories referring to Facebookask for an introduction to someone with your address book so you can find people and LinkedIn are now common. But thewhom youre not yet connected. you know who already have Facebook social media application that may be get- You can also ask your connections to pages more easily. If you choose, you can ting the most buzz these days is Twitter.write recommendations for you, which have the site send e-mails to friends who Registered users may submit a picture,become part of your profile - and you have not yet joined Facebook to do so. a short biography, and a website if theycan offer to write recommendations for If youve included your educational have one. Upon doing so, youll havethose you know. The site also allows you information in your profile, Facebook your own page with an empty box at theto find groups you might like to join, in- will make it easy for you to find high top, captioned "What are you doing?"cluding bar and alumni associations. You school and college alumni groups with You can write anything you pleasecan post public messages to those groups their own Facebook pages that you may in that box, from noting that youre en-290 I ILLINOIS BAR JOURNAL I JUNE 2009 I VOL. 97
  4. 4. joying a cup of coffee, to musing upon preme court case of interest to him came to get to some people, but other peoplea knotty question of civil procedure, to down, he used Twitters search function might need different channels."posting an interesting link, to asking a to find up-to-the-minute tweets about it. E-mail, Walters continues, is an alter-question, to sending a message directly Many of those tweets, he says, contained native form of communication that alsoto another Twitter user. Whatever you links to the latest news and analysis. works well for some lawyers. "But wewrite, though, has to be limited to 140 And, since the search engine yields the have the same problem: because lawyerscharacters. Any more, and Twitter will identities of the tweeters along with the are busy, they cant read everything intruncate your tweet. tweets, you may end up deciding to fol- their inboxes." To reach as many poten- Finish your 140-character tweet and low some additional people and thereby tial customers as effectively as possible,click the button, and your message will obtaining even more interesting or use- then, Walters says, his company hasappear in Twitters real time stream of ful information. "For searching certain adopted a multi-pronged communica-all tweets as well as on your page. It will kinds of information, Twitter is more tion approach.also show up on the pages of your fol- useful than Google," Schaeffer said. "We have a page on Facebook. Whenlowers. Hundreds of free downloadable appli- we launch new features, we announce Followers? Thats Twitters term, cations exist to enable users to use Twitter them on our Facebook page" as wellanalogous to "friends" on Facebook or more effectively. The popular TweetDeck, as on Walters and other Fastcase col-"connections" on LinkedIn. Each Twit- for example, facilitates Twitter searches leagues individual Facebook pages. "Weter users page has a "Follow" button at and enables you to create subgroups of also have a blog and a weekly newsletterthe top. When youve created an account the persons youre following to make it where we make those announcements."with Twitter, you may choose to follow easier to keep track of tweets youre like- And both Fastcase and Walters tweetother Twitter users by clicking the but- ly to find of particular interest, among about the company on Twitter.tons under their pictures. They, in turn, other things. Twitter itself offers integra-may choose to follow you. Once youre tion with its users Facebook pages and Time sinkhole or timesaver?following another Twitter user, that per- blogs, so you can configure your Twitter Might they not be more of a drainsons tweets will show up on your page. settings to update both automatically. on already-busy lawyers schedules than If you dont "get" Twitter on reading Other Twitter applications include theyre worth? Sonya Olds Som agreesabout it, or even upon registering, youre Twubble, which aids users in finding that all users should impose some disci-in good company. An active and avid others with similar interests, Twellow, a pline on the amount of time they spendTwitter user now, Carol Ross says her re- Twitter directory sorted by occupation, using these media. But, like Walters, Somaction to the application after registering and TweetBeep, enabling you to find out believes that using at least one socialfor and using it briefly in 2007 was "140 whos tweeting about you, your prod- networking application can save a busycharacters, why bother?" ucts, your company, or your website. lawyers time. Earlier this year, she gave Twitter "If youre looking to expand youranother try and stuck with it. Now, she Part of a multi.pronged professional or personal network, andsays Twitter has expanded her social and communication approach you have a far-reaching range of peopleprofessional network and has given her Certainly, social media applications from law school, college, high school,insights she otherwise might not have enable the user to both find out and dis- grade school, and former employers thatgotten. "If youre on Twitter and you seminate an enormous amount of infor- you might be able to get back into con-start to talk a lot about some insightful mation. Can businesses really use them tact with, its a timesaver to use at leastthings about some hot topic in your field, effectively? one of these methods. Otherwise yourepeople who need your help will naturally Fastcase CEO Ed Walters says his going to have to go person-to-person,start to pay attention." company does. One of his aims is to let by phone or e-mail, to get back into Spending all day tweeting and watch- other lawyers know what his company touch."ing your Twitter stream to see who else has to offer them. To do so, Walters says, Observes Ross, "We network in a lothas tweeted about what, is neither fea- he has to find the best way of getting his of different ways. You go to a network-sible nor enticing, of course. Madison message to them. "Were dealing with ing event, you have to spend time gettingCounty lawyer and blogger Evan Schaef- lawyers who are very busy. If you want dressed up, you have to spend time goingfer explains one way that he makes effec- to tell people about something, its really in the car, and so on." Ross recommendstive use of Twitter. "You can use it to find hard to get through. People are in court, deciding how much total time you wantpeople who are interested in the same they dont have any time, theyre work- to spend networking, whether in personthings as you are. Then, when you start ing really hard, theyre on the phone. For or on line, and reallocating some of thatfollowing those people, you have created some lawyers, social networks are by far time to online media.a group of editors who are constantly the best way of reaching them." "If you arent spending any time net-searching the Internet for information Walters cites Fastcases launches of its working, youre doing something wrong.that youll be likely to find of interest. partnerships with state bar associations Youre missing out. If youre only focusedTwitter becomes like an RSS feeder on as a prime example. "In the past, we did on doing your job, youre really shootingsteroids, where other people are doing just an article in a bar journal. That can yourself in the foot." And Ross agreesthe work for you of looking through the be very effective. But it turns out that that online social networking can make Internet for interesting information." not everybody has time to read their bar it far easier for lawyers in smaller com- Noting that Twitter is searchable, journals. Theyre busy. We began to re- munities, or lawyers who are temporar- Schaeffer says that when a recent su- alize that the bar journal is a good way ily inactive, perhaps staying home with VOL. 97 I JUNE 2009 I ILLlI"OIS BAR JOURI"AL I 291
  5. 5. TWITTER I Continued small children, or lawyers who are introverted, to keep up with professional life. More on social networking for lawyers Som adds that social networks can also be high- ly effective for expanding anyones set of contacts. "You can never be entirely certain who might be a Generally good person to be in contact with. The wider you "Social Networking for Lawyers:The How,What,Why and Importance of cast your net, the more potential good fish you can NOW!" by lawyer blogger Carolyn Elefant, a 36-page e-book available for free catch, so to speak." download: 23 296c- 27Se-4ge4-Be3 I-I Sbd623 Ib Ic2 Furthermore, she says, "As someone whos try- ing to generate business, I think its a very valu- "Lawyer 2.0," the Closed Stacks blog, run by several librarians, posted on able way to stay out in front of your clients and social networking for lawyers on March 30,2009 at http://c1osedstacks. customers without looking like youre constantly trying to call them and ask them for something." "Ins and Outs of Social Networking for Lawyers: How Tough Is It to Cast Your Be careful what you share Profile into Infinity?" American Bar Association, Law Practice, january 200B Som, Walters, and Ross also urge users to im- issue, article by Denise Howell and Ernest Svenson on social networking for pose some discipline on the quality of their usage. lawyers: l/pg47.shtml "Be yourself, but be the best public representation "Networking Naturally or How to Make Your Own Luck," Ordinary Ufe, of yourself," counsels Som. Extraordinary Uving (Carol Ross on social networking): http://carolross.typepad: Likening social networks on the Internet to a com/ordinary _Iife_extraordina/2009/03/networking-naturally-program.html never-ending cocktail party, she asks, "What is the version of yourself that youd like to present Twitter at that cocktail party?" The answer: "A careful "Twitter 101 for Lawyers," Practicing Law in the 21 st Century mingling of personal and professional informa- I I/04/twitter-1 0 I-for-Iawyers/ tion, which is no different than what you would do if you were talking to someone at a high school "Lawyer marketing with Twitter," Stem, Law Firm Web Strategy blog reunion or a cocktail party. You dont want to overshare in this public forum which can craft the opinion of people who you want to have a busi- "Twitter for lawyers," HealthBlawg ness relationship with." Mark Wojcik says he maintains a Facebook "Twitter for lawyers 101," LawyerCasting page in part to remind his students that employers will check out their pages. "Pages are not private, and what you post the entire world can see.... You "How to Effectively Use Twitter to Build Business Relationships (and make might think this is unfair, but Web pages are not friends at the same time)," The Invent Blog, Stephen Nipper (patent attorney) private." Walters tells a tale that illustrates Wojciks bus iness- relati onsh ips.htmlwarning. A young person applied with his com-pany a few years ago, and a fairly routine online Facebookdue diligence check revealed that the applicant had "How to Friend Mom, Dad, and the Boss on Facebook ... Safely" from the Newmade disparaging comments about his interview York Times,january 30,2009: with Fastcase on his Facebook page. "I 2009/0 I/30/30readwriteweb-how _to _friend_mom_ dad_and_the.html ?emended up having a conversation with him and tell-ing him he needed to be careful about this stuff," "Being There," New York Times article on the subtle art of the FacebookWalters said. update, by Virginia Heffernan, February 10, 2009 Comments Ross, "Online is no different than in how would you conduct yourself withfriends, with colleagues, with clients. The differ- "Friends Until I Delete You," New York Times article on Unfriending someoneence is theres a public record when youre online. on Facebook, by Douglas Quenqua, September 7, 200BHow do you conduct yourself in every day life? If conduct yourself with poor judgment in ev-eryday life and you go online, it will be magnified, linkedlnand it will be there forever." "linkedln for job Seekers DVD," Im on linkedln - NowWhat? linkedln for But, Ross and Som continue, thats not to job Seekers DVD: lawyers should shy away from online social "Im a lion - Hear Me Roar!" Im on Unkedln - Now What? jason Alba, july 3 I,networking. To the contrary, both advocate em- 200B: /im-a-lion-hear-me-roar/bracing social networking and taking ownershipof your public profile. Believes Som, "Thats the "Should You Be An Open Connector," Im on Unkedln - Now What? jason Alba,reality of how we live today. Google anyone and it March 9, 2009: take long to find a trace of what theyre do- an-open-connector/ing. Nothing is a secret for very long anymore."292 I ILLINOIS BAR JOURNAL I JUNE 2009 I VOL. 97
  6. 6. The virtual handshake always, Give first. Thats something Adds Walters, "When people extend Ross believes youll get out of social that people in professional services fields the virtual hand to you, you shake thatmedia what you put into it. "Whatever should already know, that its about hand. When people issue a friend requestyou put out there is going to naturally forming a relationship and not about a to you, its a very good idea to accept it."attract what it should. If you put drivel transaction first, but its a good reminder As moderator of ISBAs LinkedInout there, people who like drivel will for everybody." group, Wojcik adds his own plug. "Ifbe attracted to it. If you put really good Comments Som, "You shouldnt just you are a member of the Illinois State Barstuff out there, people who like really be the recipient of recommendations on Association, you should be in the ISBAgood stuff will be attracted to that. With LinkedIn, and you shouldnt post only group on LinkedIn. It is another way forall these tools, you get the whole mix of when youre looking for a job or to pro- clients and colleagues to find you. Whenhumanity out there. You get everything vide a service. There needs to be give and take and back and forth. To the extent economic times are difficult, no one canfrom infantile conversations to somepretty heady stuff, and everything in be- that you can, stop and think of ways afford to write off an important free re-tween. How you choose to use it is up you can comment on what other people source. Social networking over the In-to you." are doing. Interact with them. Provide ternet will never replace the face-to-face Along with Som and Walters, Ross advice, feedback, assistance, and posi- meetings in Chicago, Springfield, or Lakeemphasizes her view of proper social tive reinforcement to others. Live by the Geneva, but they are a fantastic way tonetworking etiquette. "The first rule is Golden Rule." stay in touch." •LETTERS I Continued/rom page 274pleted state form. It would be unfor- sible option would be to simply affirm the words they use are endorsed by thetunate for Illinoisans if they were now patient rights and honor their wishes, Illinois General Assembly.told to add that cumbersome layer of not to perpetuate the notion that their Paul Malley, Presidentformality to what is now a simple and decisions will not be honored unless Aging with Dignityunderstandable process, both for thepublic and health care providers. Five Wishes is immensely popularprecisely because it is easy to under- DEPRESSION,stand and use and is written in clear,everyday language (23 languages). Five STRESS, ADDICTIONS ... Wishes, unlike state forms, addressespersonal, family, spiritual, dignity, andcomfort issues, which are the things BELIEVE IT OR NOT THISpeople say would matter most to them IS AN UPLIFTING STORY.if they were seriously ill or near death. Five Wishes has thus helped shiftthe focus to what the patient wants or There arc many stories of lawyers, judges, and law studentsdoesnt want so that his comfort and who struggle with depression, stress, addiction, anddignity are honored. Were proud of compulsive disorders including problem gambling.the many Illinois health care providers,employers, businesses, places of wor- So wheres the uplifting part? LAP provides confidential help for the issues that interfere with professional andship and attorneys that are among our personal life. Services include assessment, referral, peer15,000 partner organizations nation- support, and intervention.wide and that are themselves part of alarger engine driving change in America. We have countless uplifting stories, but we do our workFor our part, we continue to consult quietly, confidentially, and professionally - so the storieswith the ABA Commission on Law and stay with us.Aging to keep current on all legal mat-ters related to advance care planning. Koenig and Hyde conclude that be-cause Five Wishes is popular, lawyers Toll Free: SOD, AP. 1233 Land the General Assembly should go Chicago Office: 312.726.6607 LAWYERS ASSISTANCE Downstate Office: 61S.233.1527back and make the Illinois state formmore user-friendly, sort of like tryingto build a rounder wheel. A more sen- Website: Email: IIp~ VOL. 97 I JUNE 2009 I ILLINOIS IlAR JOURNAL I 293