How Are Lawyers Using Twitter?

Olivier Charbonneau and I will be engaging in a conversation in 13 days with the LegalIT audience on how Web 2.0 tools are being used by lawyers.

A retired lawyer friend in Chicago tells me that Twitter is being used by sophisticated lawyers and firms down there. There seems to have been a lot of buzz at TechShow too.

But can anyone tell me how exactly lawyers are using Twitter? In the delivery of legal services? Or as a networking, communications and marketing tool? Or in some other way?

Comments

  1. My firm, Gibbons P.C., uses Twitter to republish content (news, articles, events, announcements, etc.) from our website. http://twitter.com/gibbonspc
    I’ve written about some other firms that have done the same: http://lawyerkm.wordpress.com/2009/01/31/law-firms-on-twitter-an-update/
    Patrick

  2. Simon –

    Twitter is a simple platform, allowing lots of different uses. (I am sure you have heard of using Twitter to know when your plants need water.) So I will just share my use.

    Like Patrick, I use Twitter to publishes links to my blog posts. On the @ComplianceBuild account I just auto-publish blog posts to push them into Twitter.

    I have been using Twitter as a search tool. The search is very robust, so you end up with relevant Twitter posts and the people who made the posts. That helps me to connect to Twitter users with a shared interest and finding relevant articles, blog posts, and stories. I usually search for “compliance,” “business ethics,” and a few other terms each day.

    My main use is to stay connected with friends and loose ties. Twitter is more immediate and conversational than a blog post. Personally, I think Twitter is oversold as a business development tool for lawyers.

  3. I also use it for republishing my blog posts. I also use Twitter for briefly mentioning things going on in real estate that I do not think warrant a full-fledged blog post. Finally, I use Twitter to just write about random things that interest me.

    I agree with Doug in that I don’t really see Twitter as any kind of business development tool, except to the extent that Twitter readers are being driven to my blog or to my website. I do see some of that happening according to Google Analytics and Statcounter.

  4. I also use Twitter for republishing blog posts and to write about random things that I find interesting.

    Twitter is a unique window into industries, communities, information and events that you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of.

    It is an increasingly important part of raising your profile in the community in your area of expertise or interest.

  5. Simon –

    It’s depressing to contemplate the possibility of professional advertisements placed by law firms on Twitter. In fact, I’m not sure the Twitterverse would stand for it. On the other hand, Twitter could be a valuable tool to help lawyers build social relationships with their current and potential clients. In addition, judicious participation on Twitter by a lawyer should help others appreciate that lawyer’s expertise. As with many other things, however, it’s all in the execution.

    – Mary

  6. Simon,

    I use Twitter to ask questions and gather information. I like to think that my followees are vetting and filtering blog posts for me, not to mention saving me time searching for the same things. And of course I try to respond in kind.

    I’ve also developed some professional relationships in the knowledge management community.

    Kathleen

  7. Do you all use a desktop application to keep up with the “tweets”? What are you suggestions?

  8. I have seen many lawyers use Twitter to do everything from personal tweets, through sharing knowledge, survey, and converse around legal hot topics. It is a great mechanism to quality filter information – I personally read my RSS feeds less and less, because the people I follow surface the relevant and high quality content I am after, specifically to legal and social media world.

  9. We recently launched a new Twitter application specifically for legal professionals – TweetLaw. It allows Legal Tweeters to categorize themselves into up to four categories, then you can sort tweets by category. It’s a way for legal professionals on Twitter to both network and share information.

  10. Having just dipped me toe into the twitter pond, I may not be the best person to answer this question, but I have started making use of twitter as a brand-development tool.

    I am a criminal defence lawyer and started up a twitter feed that I use to micro blog about interesting criminal law matters arising from my own practice and that happen to be in the spotlight locally or internationally. In a very short period of time, I’ve developed a small following of other lawyers, interested non-lawyers, and a sizeable number of law students who follow the feed.

    While I can’t say that the twitter feed has generated any direct business as yet, I do feel happy that it’s ‘boosting my brand’ and keeping me in the forefront some potential referral source’s minds.

    If you want to get a feel for what I’ve been posting about and how frequently, feel free to follow me and see for yourself at http://www.twitter.com/prutschi. I’ve also incorperated my twitter feed onto my website under my bio and media pages which you can see at . Finally, a few sites (notably student organized blogs like ) are resyndicating my twitter feed ensuring it draws a wider audience.

    I’m cautiously optimistic that this twitter experiment will turn into a positive branding exercise that could yield improved results both in student recruitment and business generation. Only time will tell.