Social media has been part of our daily lives for nearly a decade. At first, many lawyers were sceptical, believing that social media offered little value to their practices.  But over the years, as social media has enmeshed itself into our culture, the effects of it upon our day-to-day lives is indisputable.

Social media impacts both our personal and professional lives, a fact that many lawyers are increasingly accepting.

For some lawyers, especially litigators, social media is a tool that helps them provide better representation to their clients. Whether it’s mining social media for evidence or researching jurors online, social media is helping them to make their clients’ cases in court.

Lawyers are also using social media for professional development and networking. In fact, according to the results of the most recent ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, more lawyers than ever are interacting online to forward their professional goals.

For example, according to the report, 85% of law firms have a website and 76% of law firms now maintain an online presence compared to only 55% in 2012. Lawyers report that they interact online for a variety of reasons, with career development and networking leading the way (71%), followed by client development (48%), education and current awareness (45%), and case investigation (24%).

When it comes to the specific social media sites, LinkedIn is the most popular with 57% of law firms reporting a presence on LinkedIn. Next is Facebook, where 35% of firms have a Facebook page. Twitter comes in third, with 21% of firms using Twitter. And Google Plus comes in last, with 10% of firms reporting a Google Plus presence.

But are their efforts paying off?

24% of lawyer’s report that they’ve been retained by a client because of their efforts, so all signs point to yes!

LinkedIn has always been the go-to social platform for business professionals of any kind. But lawyers have noticed the benefits of other social platforms and are starting to branch out.

According to the American Bar Association Survey of 2016, 73% of lawyers have a personal presence on LinkedIn, 27% use Facebook for professional purposes, and 23% use Twitter for professional purposes and this number is increasing.

Here’s how they’re using social media for business.

Promoting a blog

Lawyers are slowly beginning to reap the benefits of blogging for their business success. 26% of law firms maintained a legal blog in 2016, and it’s expected that this number will increase in 2017, up from 22% of 2015. And social media platforms are great places to promote a blog and bring in traffic.

But some legal blogs are better than others at attracting social community interest. Media strategist Drew Keller said, “Too many of the blog posts, videos and articles I see in the legal community feel like a closing argument.

Your storytelling needs to reflect the human experience.

Use your blog as a storytelling platform, not a place to post your legal arguments. Then you can make the most of social media to promote it.

Engaging with hashtags

Some lawyers are taking advantage of already trending hashtags to broaden their reach on social media.

“No social media presence is effective without using hashtags,” said Chris Vernon, attorney at VernonLitigation. “Every industry has them, and they’re a great way to engage with your target audience. For example, #LegalTech is a popular hashtag lawyers use to join conversations about new legal technology solutions. Another example is the #ShutItDown hashtag that became popular during the Eric Garner protests. Many lawyers used the hashtag to tweet their contact information, offering legal services to protesters who were arrested.”

Becoming industry thought leaders

In recent years, social platforms have become gateways to the news, and news about the legal profession is no exception. Many lawyers are building their reputation as industry thought leaders by sharing and commenting on the latest news in their field.

Another option is to curate and share news on industries related to your practice area. That’s what Bob White, a Florida attorney does. He uses Twitter to share tech articles he finds every week. According to Mashable, Bob has managed to bring in a few tech companies as clients as a result.

Becoming a thought leader in your industry is a lot more than just sharing content. Instead you should ask, “Why is this information important to me?” and “What should I do about it?” The answers to these questions will help you brainstorm ways to engage your audience through interviews. Gathering feedback, you can create your own blog content based on industry news and the thoughts of your audience.

Word-of-mouth marketing

Most businesses turn to social media to connect with their target customers or clients, but that’s not the case for lawyers. Most legal offices aren’t on the lookout for “walk-in” clients that found them on Twitter.

Instead, they’re looking to make connections with other credible thought leaders that may know someone who needs legal help. It’s a way to vet prospective clients as they come from a credible source.

So how can you get these valuable social contacts? Attorney Nicole Black said, “One way to connect with other attorneys is to locate and follow blogs in your practice area or your geographical region. Leave comments after posts that interest you. Engage in conversation in the comments with other readers and the owner of the blog and link to your blog or website when commenting.”

Keep it ethical and stay safe

Probably the most important part of the way lawyers use social media is following ethical guidelines, according to The Rodriguez Law Group. As a public platform, social media puts your activities and mistakes in public. People use tools like to carry out background check on firms and persons before they deal with them, so using social media makes it more important than ever to follow ethical guidelines at all times.

Existing attorney advertising and solicitation rules apply to social media posts.

Whenever promoting legal services on social media, you must include the same information required in print advertisements. This is a challenge when you’re limited to 140 characters.

Protecting a client’s identity and data

Lawyers using social media for business must take precautionary steps like encrypting clients’ sensitive documents they send, using secured WiFi networks and protecting their computers against ransomware.

Attorneys should be careful using “Pre-Defined” headings on social media

Twitter personalities can call themselves whatever they want on social media, but that’s not the case for lawyers. If you describe yourself as a “specialist” in a certain area of law, that means you’re a legally certified practitioner, no matter your experience in the area.

As more lawyers join social media for business purposes, the benefits and best practices will likely become even clearer.


Read also: Thinking Like A Lawyer Made Me A Better Content Marketer

On my own path to becoming a content marketer I have made a pit stop at a financial consultant Portuguese company that was integrated in the same working space of a law firm. I wasn´t a lawyer, its important to clarify. I was working with and for lawyers, and for a law firm that was helping me facing the legal challenges of building a new company. I was developing a new and disruptive project as Sales, Marketing and Business Development Manager. Read Now


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