.. that’s network in the online, quasi-social sense. We know that most lawyers don’t want to network in the building personal connections sense. Heck, that’s one reason we went to law school in the first place. And certainly we weren’t taught how to do it there.
We were supposed to learn networking from our Civ Pro professors?
Making networking more streamlined and less painful is one implied promise of the promoters of legal social media. No, you don’t only have to take people to lunch or work the cavernous reception room at a major conference. You can sit at work or at home and tap away on the keyboard. Certainly all the reading and posting and poking and liking will find you a great new job or land you a monster new client.
How’s that working for you?
Into an already busy legal social scene comes a new networking site for lawyers. It’s called, incredibly, Lawford.
And I can’t resist, when I think of Lawford and networking, here is the image that pops into my head:
According to Mr. Ambrogi, Lawford has identified one pain point for lawyers joining yet another new online social outlet:
Recognizing that lawyers are tight on time, Lawford aims to make the sign-up process as painless as possible. To do this, it has assembled data on literally every lawyer in the United States. What that means is that it knows who you are before you ever tell it a thing about yourself.
Now this creeps me out a bit; it seems to imply that Lawford has paid for or otherwise obtained most of the online state bar association information. Others have done this before; we all get spam at our legal email addresses from people trying to get us to join this or rate that or disintermediate Westlaw or Lexis.
A time-consuming registration may be one reason that some lawyers don’t join legal networks. I think the biggest reason that people don’t join and definitely the biggest reason people don’t stay active is that they see no benefit. It doesn’t seem worth their time.
The Lawford creators come from excellent backgrounds and have set their sites high:
Lawfordâ€™s developers have the ambitious goal of building the largest legal networking platform in the world. In fact, they say that they hope someday to have every lawyer in the world become a contributing part of the site.
That lofty target will have to meet one harsh reality along the way: the law is not one industry. I have much less in common with many lawyers than I do with people outside the law (known as clients) that have two things I find very interesting:
Work and money.
I sincerely wish the founders of Lawford well. Facebook is like an online yearbook run amuck and LinkedIn’s online-resume format makes everyone seem like they are looking for work. Legal OnRamp is trying to thread the information-collaboration-connection needle, and has made great strides. It is not trying to be every thing to every lawyer.
Any new online service hits users with more emails, which they already have in over-abundance. For all social media websites there are a nucleus of active members who carry the day; the majority join, lurk for awhile, and then get back to work.
But for people who put focused time into the right legal resource, it can pay off. And Lawford is apparently trying to aggregate case information and put other information inside (like JD Supra) or perhaps adopt some Q&A (like Quora).
For what we didn’t learn about networking from our law professors, we can do worse than study Prince Peter of the Rat Pack. He intuitively knew four things about making an impact and getting noticed: you have to get cleaned up, put on a sharp suit, get your wingmen* in close formation, and hit the town.
All night long.
*Or wing-women; Lauren Bacall was there at the start; Judy Garland and Katharine Hepburn more than held their own along the way.