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More Lawyers Use Social Media, but Don't Know How It Helps

Almost all lawyers use social media but few know how it helps their practice, according to a new survey.

Attorney at Work, reporting results of its third annual social media marketing survey, said that 96 percent of the respondents regularly use social media. But barely seven percent believe social media is directly responsible for bringing in new clients.

And while more lawyers are using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, they don't really know whether social media marketing is more reality or hype.

The disconnect seems to be that most attorneys don't know how to use social media to get new business. Here are some ideas:

Is Your Firm Giving Millennials the Customer Service They Expect?

Have you ever seen grown-ups talking baby-talk to little children?

It's understandable why they do it, but it can get a little weird at times. People assume babies understand the gibberish, but actually it makes no more sense to the babies than to the adults.

That's kind of the problem with businesses trying to woo Millennials, as they vie to tap the buying power of a generation that now outnumbers Baby Boomers. They represent the biggest market in America, and law firms have noticed.

But it takes more than a Facebook page to communicate effectively with Millennials. Here's a primer on customer service for millennials:

Customer Service Tips for Your Law Practice

Sometimes lawyers forget that we are in the customer service business.

That's right, we are are in the same industry as the waiter, maitre d', and valet. Smiles for miles. The customer is always right. Tips are appreciated.

I'll never forget the client who gave me that first tip -- a $50 bill. Then there was the collectible artwork; the expensive watch; the silver bars -- all tips from appreciative clients.

We're not talking about making a living off of tips, here. We're talking about making a living off of good customer service. Here are some tips:

Pros and Cons of Being a Family Lawyer

What are the pros and cons of being a family lawyer?

First, you will really get to know your relatives. That's because they will talk to you about delicate family issues more than your immediate family -- like who's having an affair, who's the crazy uncle, where the dead bodies are, etc.

So yeah, that's both a pro and a con. After that, they kind of line up like this:

Making time for family, traveling the world on vacation, disconnecting from the office, and keeping up your health and exercise -- these are all things lawyers tend to struggle with. With the pressures of a legal career, many lawyers spend a lot more time grinding out billable hours than they spend on themselves.

Of course, we all wish we had a better work/life balance, right? Well, maybe not. When it comes to perks that could make lawyers' lives a bit more balanced, many of those perks are going unused.

Remember fax machines? If you're like many of us, you probably haven't touched one in years. After all, didn't faxes disappear into the technological netherworld, alongside beepers, dial-up internet, and the Walkman?

No, they didn't. Faxes are still around, and they've even been adapted for a very contemporary use: spam. And that fax spam, also known as junk faxes, is still causing lawsuits -- 4,860 lawsuits last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Jacoby & Myers Loses Appeal to Associate Nonlawyer Investors

How many lawyers does it take to own a law firm?

One -- the rest are banks, landlords, and service providers who own everything that keeps the practice afloat.

So it's not a good lawyer joke, but comedy is sometimes born of sobering truth and many attorneys know the challenges of struggling to stay in business. If only there were an investor ...

It's not going to happen, according to a federal appeals court. Not even Jacoby & Myers, the poster boys of law firm expansion, could persuade the judges that attorneys should be able to reduce costs to clients by sharing ownership with non-lawyers.

When it comes to building your practice, client satisfaction is key. Happy clients mean more clients, either through repeat business or future referrals.

And while winning, however you define it, is the key to client glee, there are a few other practices attorneys can employ to help make sure their clients are satisfied. Here are some of our top tips, taken from the FindLaw archives.

A Chinese Path to Law Office Cost-Efficiency

There's an ancient Chinese proverb that rings true even today: "Those who know when they have enough are rich." I am not Chinese, but I know frugality when I see it.

Years ago, I worked in Los Angeles for a publishing company owned by a Chinese family. They also published the largest Chinese-language newspaper in Taiwain and employed hundreds of people on two continents.

Yet the owner never showed off his wealth. He could have driven a brand new luxury car to work, but he drove a modest older model. He could have occupied an elegant corner office, but chose to work above the dirty press room.

There's a lesson here for running a cost-efficient law office: save money and make more money.

Tips for Following Your Passion in the Law

Chloe, the star of "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" and a voice of inspiration for those who search for meaning in the drudgery of life, said it best:

"Rough. Rough."

Just kidding. For those of you haven't watched a dog movie since Lassie, they are all dubbed nowadays. But Chloe didn't actually say anything in the climactic scene. She found her bark, and that made all the difference.

What we're talking about, or barking about, is this: lawyers, too, can find their passion in the law.