"You know what would be a great idea? Like, LinkedIn, but for only lawyers man."
"Totally man. Like lawyers and social media and stuff."
Damn it, damn it, damn it. Why didn't I think of this? Oh wait, that's right, because it has been been done -- repeatedly: (deep breath) EsqSocial, Foxwordy, EsqSpot, LegallyMinded, Lawford, MyPractice, Lawyer-Link, HubSTREET, PivotalDiscovery, ESQchat, Martindale-Hubbel Connected, LegalOnRamp, Lawyrs, LawLink, jdOasis, wirelawyer, and of course, the AboveTheLaw comments section. And we'll never forget the Greedy Associates message boards.
Why, in the neon blue hell, do people keep making social networks for lawyers? Seriously.
In Previous Mockeries...
I'm not one to recycle old words, so if you want to read a pretty exhaustive explanation of why a lawyers-only network is a bad idea, read my Foxwordy
Just Get LinkedIn
What does EsqSocial offer you? Referrals. Trial tested documents. And gasp, inclusion in a free lawyer directory! (Disclaimer: we have one of those too. And no, that has nothing to do with why this social network is a bad idea.)
And as their tweet says, "A couple of thousand lawyers can't be wrong." (Hahahaha ... just ... wow.)
Look, if you're desperate for referrals, you should probably be doing actual networking, starting with your local bar associations. (Would you prefer to refer a client to a face on the Internet or to a flesh-and-blood person?) And general community and small business associations (non-lawyer professionals are an even better source of referrals) are another great place to start.
And if you want online referrals? You might as well stick with LinkedIn. LinkedIn Discussion groups, especially alumni groups, are a great way to get your name out. (In fact, one of the most popular questions in my law school alumni group is, "Does anyone know a good [practice area] lawyer in [geographic area]?" Us W&Lers have a lot faith in our own.)
Plus, LinkedIn has non-lawyers as well, people who aren't competing with you for clients, and who would gladly refer people your way in hopes that you'd do the same.
As for trial-tested documents, if you want forms, pay for a legal research service or check with your local bar -- both are more likely to get you quality documents than some startup social network.
- 50 Twitter Accounts Lawyers Should Follow Religiously (Part I) (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)
- 5 Reasons Microsoft's Battle to Protect Cloud Data Matters (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)
- Google Authorship in Search Gets Trimmed, Google+ Gets Fake Names (FindLaw's Technologist Blog)
- Make sure your online marketing strategy keeps up with the latest tech and SEO trends. (FindLaw Lawyer Marketing)