In today’s business climate, almost every attorney (those working for the government aside) needs to be a rainmaker. This requires a level of social interaction many lawyers are not comfortable with, or excited about. Unfortunately, however, social networking for lawyers can no longer be avoided.
Social networking is a dual-edged sword. On one side, you have online networking (a strong online presence is a must for today’s attorney). With online networking, an attorney has the benefit of communicating ‘through’ the internet, and building one’s practice (referral and prospective client network) through LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, blogging, and the like… Many lawyers prefer this method to the other side of the sword: in-person, or offline networking.
Offline networking requires a degree of boldness and an infinite number of handshaking. One must attend networking events, join relevant organizations, host lunches, and the like. And, perhaps most important, one must be social. Offline networking, as with online networking, requires patience and diligence as a lawyer builds and tends to professional relationships.
No matter what stage of your legal ‘practice’ you are in (first year law student to seasoned partner), business development is a must. If you think you missed that course in law school, do not despair. As a sign of the times, Pepperdine University School of Law is offering Business Development for Lawyers this winter. The course, led by Los Angeles attorney Linda Kollar, will feature guest presenters, including WebPresence, Esq.’s founder (and Pepperdine Law alum) Kristen Marquis, who will delve into the aspect of online social networking for lawyers.
According to the course description, ‘the course focuses on the important practical subject of business development for attorneys. Achieving skill in business development is often critical to success in private practice, whether in a large, medium or small law firm or as a sole practitioner. The course will emphasize that business development is not a series of random acts, but a process with specific steps that can be taken to help generate business. Students will learn about creating a vision for their practice, effective marketing strategies tailored to their individual talents and strengths, how to develop referrals, and how to create a system for business development.’
Kristen Marquis, also a licensed lawyer, will share with the class how to build an effective, ethical online presence.