Cordell Parvin Blog Developing the Next Generation of Rainmakers

Twitter: How important for “messaging” by law firms?

Posted in Client Development

I know many lawyers on Twitter. I have actually met many lawyers on Twitter before I met them in person.

Many law firms have Twitter accounts. (See: the list of top firms on Twitter compiled by the Cornell Law School.)  I know of many other well-known law firms that are not on twitter. I am often asked whether it is valuable for a lawyer or law firm to be on Twitter.

I read a very interesting column in the Wall Street Journal: Henninger: Obama Romneyizes the Republicans. It focused in part on how the President (I assume his staff) used Twitter during first half of October to focus attention on the Tea Party during partial government shutdown.

But, PLEASE don’t look at my thoughts today  through any political lens. I am not addressing the President’s twitter messages. I don’t think lawyers and law firms can effectively use Twitter  as the President did. Instead, I am addressing whether Twitter is an important messaging tool for lawyers and law firms.

This quote got me thinking on that subject:

The kids know, because it is the mother’s milk of their battery-powered lives, that if you don’t recognize shifts in the mighty flows of information, you will be swept aside, abandoned. You will be BlackBerryBB.T -0.83% .

Are law firms recognizing the shifts in the mighty flows of information to clients?  If not, does it really matter?

If you are a long time reader, you know that I wrote a column for 25 years titled: Law: The Contractor’s Side. I purposely chose that title because I represented contractors. That column was my primary messaging tool to reach contractors. Would it be sufficient today?

I am becoming less inclined to read anything in a hard copy version any more. I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal on line. Nancy and I have talked about reading the Dallas Morning News on our iPads. I can’t remember the last time I read a hard copy of a book.

Are law firms recognizing the shifts in the mighty flow of information and does it matter one way or the other? The WSJ article notes the President has 38,258,000 (more after the article was published) followers on Twitter. I wonder how many followers the most savvy twitter using law firm has. Even those with over 1000 followers do not likely include among those followers their clients’ CEOs or GCs.

But, as Kevin O’Keefe recently blogged: Will Twitter ever be mainstream? Does it matter?

Twitter is all too powerful as both a media and relationship tool for lawyers and law firms to take a pass on it.

So, if you decide to use Twitter how can you and your firm use it for messaging?  If you have not had a chance, read my Practical Lawyer Column: How Would I Use Twitter?

How can your firm use Twitter?

Here are some thoughts:

  1. Helping clients identify potential problems, opportunities and changes that might impact them.
  2. Offering ideas on how to deal with those potential problems, opportunities and changes.
  3. Providing helpful and interesting information to followers that has nothing to do with law.
  4. Letting followers know the good the lawyer or law firm is doing in the community, including pro-bono efforts. (Just suppose your law firm asked followers on Twitter for their thoughts on which of 3-5 community charities should receive the firm’s contribution.)
  5. Following clients on Twitter.
  6. Announcing firm sponsored events, webinars, podcasts etc.
  7. Announcing firm or lawyer awards and recognition.
  8. Recruiting information for law students.
  9. Engaging in a Twitter conversation on a particular subject area.
  10. Re-tweeting what firm clients are tweeting.
  11. Re-tweeting what firm clients’  industry leaders and industry journalists are tweeting.