Non-traditional Lawyers Need a Web Presence
Sally is enjoying a quiet evening meal at her favorite restaurant with her law school roommate, Scott. In law school, both studied hard, were on law review and graduated in the top 10% of their class. After graduation, however, they took different paths to the practice of law. Sally is a shareholder in her small law firm practicing Elder Law while Scott, whose family had long been in the Military, is a JAG lawyer.
Over coffee, the conversation turns to marketing.
“We spend a lot of time and money on our website, blog and social media,” said Sally. “I need to update my blog tonight.”
“I’m glad I don’t need to do any marketing,” said Scott.
“I’m not sure about that,” said Sally. “What if you decide to leave the Military? No one will know you exist.”
Sally is right. Scott like the many other lawyers who turn from a traditional practice to use their skills in such establishments as the government--federal, state and local, the judiciary--judge, magistrate, clerk, legislature, house counsel for corporations or academia, still need to consider maintaining an Internet presence.
Why do you or other non-traditional lawyers like Scott need an online presence?
An on-line presence in the form of a profile, a website or a stop on the social media thoroughfare is as necessary for non-traditional lawyers as it is for lawyers working as solos or in a law firm. It isn’t only consumers who search for lawyers on the web; other lawyers also read those profiles.
Scott can establish relationships and connections that would otherwise be unworkable because of distance and time. These are lawyers you can meet only through e-mail or text or, perhaps, a short telephone call. Those associations can be as strong and as important to your career as ones established face-to-face at networking functions.
Lawyers can use the knowledge gained in other fields to make a career change. A lawyer working for a governmental agency today can establish connections and soon be practicing for a law firm in their government relations department. Legal publishing experience, for example, could lead to consulting on copyright and drafting contracts with agents and publishers. Managing an international non-profit would be helpful if you wanted to practice in International Law. Retired judges often turn to mediation and arbitration.
These movements from traditional to non-traditional legal careers and back again will only be successful if the world knows that you’re out there. And the easiest and least costly way to become known is through an on-line presence. Using social media, LinkedIn and developing a website, you can network within the legal field as well as market your practice to potential clients.
A legal career, whether traditional or non-traditional, can last 20, 30, 40 or more years. It can take many twists and turns as you travel along. Using the Internet to establish relationships with other lawyers can lead to exciting possibilities and help with transitions.