What do you call 900 lawyers on Twitter?

23 09 2008

A good start!

In the wonderful, organic way that is Twitter, somehow I ended up following @paulmckeon, which led me to find that he was tweeting for the law firm Deacons (@Deacons). They’ve a FriendFeed, too, and social bookmarking buttons on their news items. On his blog, Paul writes about video podcasting for law firms.

This 2.0 thinking is impressive for an Australian outfit full stop, let alone a law firm. Back in the day when I was helping with PR for Clayton Utz, it was a big deal to get them to consider for a moment that there was more to PR than debasing themselves applying for cornflakes-box awards from the trade press. (They were quickly overcome by the possibility of winning a shiny thing.)

To have got them online as part of the conversation as much as Deacons is would have been impossible. Even a couple of years later as an external consultant, I tried talking to Clayton Utz and other law firms but hit a brick wall: they were happy mailing out newsletters written by clerks in the names of partners (some of the more cutting edge places were emailing newsletters). This was as much “value” as they were prepared to “add”.

If law firms can embrace these new communications media and understand the benefits of talking with, not at, their clients, why not other conservative organisations like, oh, I don’t know, financial services providers?




5 responses

24 09 2008
David Jacobson

There is an active (if not large) legal blogging community in Australia in all its forms.

On Monday Peter Black (QUT) hosted Blawg Review (a weekly international legal blog carnival)by twittering it progressively through the day. http://www.freedomtodiffer.com/freedom_to_differ/2008/09/blawg-review-17.html

Video, can be effective if it is used to discuss a subject rather than to promote a firm. I have had good feedback to this video post of mine about compliance.

And you can see a list of Australian law blogs that I know of here:

24 09 2008
Steven Lewis

Thanks for that, David. It’s interesting that it is such a small community given how many lawyers we have and that Clayton Utz’s lawyers (as one example) tout their ability to offer insight (they even called their newsletters “Insights”).

24 09 2008
Paul McKeon

Steven, thanks for this. I’ve always thought that if law firms were going to be advising clients on the risks and benefits of new technologies they should know something about them — and when it comes to Web 2.0 it seems experience is the best teacher.
I’m an active reader of Peter Black’s tweets too since we made contact a few weeks ago and I read Kevin O’Keefe’s Real Lawyers Have Blogs as often as I can.
Funnily enough, in what I think is a real case of selling ice to the eskimos, Nick Abrahams, Deacons Sydney chairman, was in the US recently to talk to American Bar Association conference about Web 2.0 (http://tinyurl.com/6xkcn9).
Cheers, Paul

16 10 2008

Thanks Steven. I like to keep track of companies (especially Aussie ones) that are using Web 2.0 to inform and interact with customers. I think more companies should also be using traditional blogs, as per Wells Fargo (http://blog.wellsfargo.com/), especially in these volatile times on Wall St.

15 01 2009

I guess the financial industry is a lot less agile when it comes to embracing anything new, including web 2.0

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