Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The social network for lawyers

This week's Lawyer's Weekly has an article on blogging for lawyers. I couldn't agree more with its about being part of an online community and an interesting conversation.

Here's an excerpt:

The social network

...But attracting attention doesn’t mean posting an ad online. Some lawyers are gaining reputations and followings on the web by blogging or tweeting about different subjects or practice areas for which they have some expertise and familiarity, according to University of Ottawa technology law professor Michael Geist, whose website (MichaelGeist.ca), which attracts more than 10,000 daily hits, is a go-to online destination for the latest buzz on technology issues.

An avid blogger and keen Twitter user, Geist has spotted some rising stars in the digital universe.

One of them is Bram Abramson, an associate in the business law group at McCarthy T├ętrault LLP in Toronto, who was only called to the Ontario Bar in 2008 and has already made a name for himself on the web.

“There are a number of people — myself included — who note his presence on Twitter,” says Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the U of O.

“He’s very knowledgeable on things related to the CRTC and telecommunications.”

Abramson says that it’s important for him to connect with clients and colleagues, and social media tools, such as Twitter, are important methods of having a “conversation” with them.

“If you view social media as purely an avenue of self-marketing, it won’t work.

“However, people will appreciate honest participation and efforts online to provide useful information.”

Another lawyer whose Internet presence has earned him respect from his peers is David Fraser, a partner with Halifax-based law firm, McInnes Cooper, who has harnessed his expertise in privacy law into a wildly popular website and blog (PrivacyLawyer.ca).

“How does a privacy lawyer from Halifax become one of the best-known privacy lawyers in this country? He does it through his blog,” says Geist.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt his social media work has had a big impact on his reputation across the country.”

Fraser has set the “gold standard” for blogging, according to Jacob Glick, Canada policy counsel for Google Inc. in Ottawa.

“I created the blog on Jan. 1, 2004, when the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act [PIPEDA] came fully into effect, to join in the online conversation about technology and law,” explains Fraser, adding that he sees his blogging as an extension of the writing lawyers have always done since the beginnings of the profession.

“Blogging provided me, as a junior lawyer when I began, the opportunity to reach a global audience and eventually build an international practice from my office in Halifax.”

Glick says that lawyers are using electronic tools like Facebook, Twitter and Google AdWords “to promote themselves, to find people, and connect with colleagues and clients.”

He also believes that lawyers engaged in blogging and tweeting are the e-equivalent to writing a law journal article but reach “an audience of more than half a dozen.”

“Some lawyers who blog develop a strong brand associated with a particular point of view on an issue,” says Glick.

“That may scare away some clients, but may well endear them to other clients.”....

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