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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP

Issaquah Law Group: Experienced Counsel; Client Focus

PHILOSOPHY: Formed in 2014, Issaquah Law Group is a law firm with one focus: providing businesses and insurers with high quality legal representation with the responsiveness of a smaller firm. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built upon clear and consistent communication. 

LITIGATION: We work closely with our clients to fully and accurately understand their goals, work collaboratively to formulate specific legal strategies, and execute the agreed plan of action utilizing methods most likely to result in the efficient and effective resolution of the matter. ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, commercial general liability, labor & employment, construction litigation, and catastrophic losses due to fire and explosion.

BUSINESS LAW: Rarely is the path from point A to point B a straight line, so our role in a business law practice is to find alternatives, devise workable strategies, and keep your business ideas, goals and objectives moving toward realization. ILG’s business attorneys help clients achieve their goals with respect to business formation, intellectual property, labor and employment, CAN-SPAM, copyright and trademark

COMMUNITY: In addition, the Lawyers at Issaquah Law Group remain active in the legal and civic community. A core commitment of our Issaquah Attorneys is community service. Our attorneys' civic involvement includes the King County Civil Rights Commission; the City of Issaquah Planning Policy Commission; the Northwest Screenwriters Guild, service as a pro tem judge. We live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and we aim to make it a better place.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

Lawyers and Social Media

So I'm part of the school that thinks social media really is about a conversation in your area of expertise. Otherwise, all you have is phone book referals instead of a good book of business coming in from reliable sources. The article breaks down the basic of where the cases come from, but fails to mention what type of cases or break them down by practice area, which could mislead a little as to the statistics. Not wholeheartedly knocking them, but saying that the way its broken out is a little misleading.

I've definitely talked to people who use all of these excuses though, and have been subject to 3, 5, and 6 in my mid-firm life. Hilarious take. Above the Law Article by Jay Shepherd after the jump.

 

Small Firms, Big Lawyers: 7 Reasons to Avoid Social Media: "

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Small Firms, Big Lawyers, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers.

Most small law firms are staying away from social media when it comes to marketing, according to a new report from Chicago-based Total Attorneys. The report, which you can see here (a short 6-page PDF), had a section about which marketing methods solos and small firms found most effective. The leading methods were:

  • online directories (17.7%);
  • word of mouth — which isn’t really a method, but more of a thing that happens (15.5%);
  • group-advertising ventures (whatever the hell that is) (13.3%); and
  • Yellow Pages (8.9%).

The takeaway for me from that list is that small-firm lawyers don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to marketing. ‘Word of mouth’ means sit back and hope someone tells someone else to hire me, ‘group-advertising ventures’ sounds like some sort of mail-order scam, and I didn’t know they still printed Yellow Pages. When my daughter asked me what Yellow Pages were, I told her that they were what little kids used to sit on to reach the table. (Sorry, Yellow Pages advertisers. Oh, wait. You’re not reading this because you’re offline.)

But the more-interesting fact to come out of this report is that two-thirds of respondents don’t do social-media marketing at all.…

Only 35% report doing online networking, 37% use social media, and 33% write blogs. Even assuming those numbers are accurate (and there’s no way that a third of all small-firm lawyers are blogging), it means that most small-firm lawyers are avoiding social media.

I asked social-media expert Michelle Golden, author of Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms, why firms avoid social media. (By the way, she would grimace at the social-media-expert title, and would never use it herself. But I can, and just did. Plus she wrote a freakin’ book, so she’s an expert, like it or not.) Here are the most common reasons for staying unpluggged:

1. ‘I don’t know how to use The Twitter. I don’t even know what it is.’
Totally fair point. Lack of knowledge and understanding about the various social-media platforms is a legitimate reason for not using them … yet. But it also means you need to hurry up and get yourself into 2011 (and for Pete’s sake, pronounce it ‘twenty eleven’). It takes some time and a little effort to learn about the different tools. While I joined LinkedIn during its first year (2003) and started blogging in 2006, I didn’t join Twitter and Facebook until 2009 (and I’m only now just starting to figure out the business use of Facebook). About a third of Golden’s book is dedicated to teaching lawyers and other professionals how to use The Twitter and the other tools. You should probably start by reading it.

2. ‘What if it makes us look unprofessional?’
Again, another valid concern. Lawyers often hear horror stories about social-media use gone awry. (See the recent ABA Journal article ‘Seduced: For Lawyers, the Appeal of Social Media Is Obvious. It’s Also Dangerous.’ It’s a well-written article, but unnecessarily alarmist.) The bottom line is that idiots are going to do things that make them look unprofessional no matter what. Don’t blame the tools. If you’re worried that the lawyers in your firm won’t be grown-up enough to properly use social media, then you’ve got a personnel problem, not a social-media problem.

3. ‘I can’t bill for the hours on Facebook or a blog.’
Well, yes, that’s true. And I’ll admit I have it easier than you, since I stopped billing hourly in 2006. But truth be told, no marketing activity is billable, so if that’s your hang-up, how are you doing any marketing? It’s true that in the old days, lawyers didn’t have to do marketing, so it wasn’t a problem. But these are the 2010s. No, you can’t bill hours for your time using social media, but you can use it to develop your firm’s brand and get more business. Then you can bill all the hours you want. (Although why would you?)

4. ‘Connecting online is less personal than in person or on the phone.’
Yes, that’s true. But I can connect to 2,345 people at once on Twitter and tell them about something that’s on my mind or that I think they should read. It would take a lot more time to make all those phone calls or have random acts of lunch. Plus, you can develop lasting professional relationships on social media that can lead to real-word connections. I agree: a face-to-face conversation is more meaningful. But social media can get you more of those, too.

5. ‘We might get sued.’
For what? For something you wrote? Give me a break. If you are so stupid as to commit libel or breach attorney-client privilege over social media, then I can’t help you anyway. And if you honestly think that someone might read what you wrote and then act on it with bad results and then bring a credible lawsuit against you for your ‘bad advice,’ then I’m amazed that you’re brave enough to get out of bed each morning. I’m willing to rely on my, you know, ‘lawyering skills’ to defend me from crazy-ass lawsuits over people who think that they’re my clients but aren’t.

6. ‘We might offend someone.’
Well, maybe. Particularly if you take a position on something. I’m fairly certain that I offend all kinds of people with every post I write on three different blogs. But if I didn’t write this way, and instead worried about upsetting people, no one would want to read it. If you’re trying to be all things to all people, then you should definitely stay away from social media. Because you’ll fail much more quickly that way. But if you’re just trying to be you, then social media will help you connect with the people who will want to work with you.

7. ‘I’ve got Martindale and the Yellow Pages. What more do I need?’
Yeah, I can’t help you. Please go away.

Social media takes some commitment and education and time. But it’s not a passing fad; it’s here to stay. Just as lawyers in the nineties were nervous about email and websites, they finally came to realize that these were valuable tools. Now we can’t live without them. It’s the same thing with social media. If you want to grow your practice or further your career, put aside your excuses and start learning how to use social media.

(DISCLOSURE: Golden interviewed me for her book, and I received a courtesy copy from the publisher, John Wiley & Sons. We’ve since become friends, as well as colleagues at the VeraSage Institute, a think tank for professional-knowledge firms. But no one asked me to review Golden’s book, which is excellent, despite her momentary lapse in judgment that led to her including me in it. Nobody’s perfect.)


Jay Shepherd has run the Boston management-side employment-law boutique Shepherd Law Group for the past 13 years. Jay also runs Prefix, LLC, which helps lawyers and clients value and price legal services. He writes the ABA Blawg 100 honoree The Client Revolution, which focuses on reinventing the business of law, and Gruntled Employees, a workplace blog. Follow Jay on Twitter at @jayshep, or email him at js@shepherdlawgroup.com.

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(Via Above the Law.)

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