About social.lawyers

social.lawyers | transforming business development is scheduled to be released in early fall 2010 available from Thomson Reuters and other major booksellers.

PREFACE

As a community of legal-industry professionals, we are in the midst of a significant transition. Not only in regard to how technology is changing delivery, discovery and research, but also in how we communicate with our constituencies.

The Internet provides us opportunities to break down barriers, span geographic boundaries, and provide 24/7 connectivity. At the same time, interactivity via the Internet presents significant challenges for individual attorneys, law firm leaders, and marketers, all whom have distinct ethical responsibilities to their professions, clients and communities. It is these opportunities and challenges that this book addresses within the parameters that currently exist—all subject to change as the digital medium and professional requirements continue to rapidly evolve.

I wrote this book to share my experience and the best practices I’ve learned in marketing professional services. Although emphasis is placed on digital media—specifically social networking and social media—the key that unlocks the door is forged from the bricks-and-mortar fundamentals of community, relationship and conversation. While there is a practical need to understand how the tools of the social Web work, there is an even greater need, in my opinion, to recognize when and how best to employ them.

Persona, policy, privacy and postings constitute four critical components for those who seek responsible social media and social networking engagement. As a student, participant, and early adopter of digital social, I believe my insights into those four Ps will give readers—either those new to the social Web or experienced participants looking for greater usefulness—guidance, inspiration and practical steps.

In the course of writing this book I was able to connect with a number of savvy lawyers who are successfully using the social Web to build their practices and were willing to share their stories. For readers, these stories, documented in the final chapter, will illustrate how varied approaches can lead to positive results. Together, the principles, strategies and tools of the social Web and these stories should create a practical and convincing picture for readers who are interested in effectively deploying the social Web in marketing their practice and developing new business.

The book is organized in three sections: Approach, Strategy and Implementation. Each section includes case studies, data, advice, and practical tips that I believe all practitioners need to know before setting out to market their professional practice on the Internet. I recognize that there is a lot of available information about social networking and social media on the Web within blogs, “help” pages, Webinars, and white papers. However, for the busy professional, finding and tracking that information can be time consuming and perhaps confusing. My objective with this book is to take the best of best practices and bring them together in a single, comprehensive resource.

Ultimately, a lawyer must understand and embrace the process of developing business within the context of community and personal relationships. Ultimately, a law firm leader must understand the impulses of people in their organizations, and why they are drawn to the social Web, in order to create policies that successfully address ethics, confidentiality and privacy. Ultimately, marketers need to understand their audiences and build appropriate communications strategies that complement overall marketing plans. This book, social.lawyer, seeks to reveal and simplify that process.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This book is possible only because of the people, both those I’ve met face-to-face and those I have met but virtually, who have helped me along the way—mentoring, demonstrating and guiding me in the principles of marketing professional-services and participating in the online community.

Foremost, I gratefully acknowledge the business foundation and deep respect for community bestowed upon me as a child by my parents, Alvona Hassler Navarre and the late Jacques Avard Navarre.

In my law firm marketing career, no one has been more influential than Silvia Coulter (Legal Marketing Association [LMA] President, 2001), a remarkable thought-leader, mentor and loyal friend without whom this book would not be possible.—Thank you!

To my editors, Rebecca Mattson and Andrea Gregorie, thank you for your patience with this first-time author and your contributions to the final product.

Above and beyond, I acknowledge my dear friend and life mentor Rick Skwiot, an award-winning author who guided me through the process of writing a book, took the first run at my early drafts, and instilled in me the seriousness of purpose and the privilege in becoming a published author. Thank you; I am gratefully indebted.

I also want to thank those who were materially instrumental in my development as a legal marketer: John A. Lynn, COO of Kaufman & Canoles, P.C., in Norfolk Virginia; the late Guy T. Curtis of First Step Internet; Roberta Montafia, a formidable mentor (LMA President, 2002); Betsy Huntley (LMA President, 1998); and Barbara Sessions (LMA President, 2000), who gave me a shot at a national board seat on the LMA when I was green as a young bamboo shoot.  And, last but not least, a big shout-out to Heather A. Milligan, who initially partnered with me in exploring the potential of the social Web for business development in the legal industry. Thank you, Heather. Here’s to exploring the future!

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