Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Facebook News Feed changes good for lawyers, bad for law firms

Facebook for lawyers

Facebook’s News Feed changes, as announced in a Facebook post, by its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, ten days ago, are good for lawyers and bad for law firms.

Legal bloggers should take note as your blog posts lead to engagement, relationships and a stronger reputation when they “move” socially across Facebook.

Per Zuckerberg:

…[R]ecently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

The change, already being implemented:

I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

What can you expect in your News Feed? Again from Zuckerberg:

…[L]ess public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

The Facebook pages run by law firms, most of which are not getting seen anyway, will be seen even less. Articles and announcements from such law firm Facebook pages are unlikely to even get seen in the News Feed of people who have “liked” the law firm’s Facebook page.

The change is good for lawyers who are Facebook friends and engage with industry leaders, business colleagues, clients, referral sources, bloggers and reporters, in addition to family and personal friends.

Why? Because Zuckerberg expects the time you spend on Facebook to be more valuable and more meaningful when there is more engagement with your personal Facebook connections.

At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.

This evening, I skimmed through the first twenty items in my Facebook News Feed. All were from business colleagues – mostly lawyers, one personal friend and one New York Times reporter with whom I am a Facebook friend. Though some of these Facebook friends were sharing personal items, most were sharing business or legal items.

Facebook will no longer be an option for lawyers. Privacy and ethical hang-ups are not legitimate concerns. They merely reflect ignorance or an unwillingness to adapt to the change in which people network.

The Facebook posts in my News Feed tonight included posts from one of the leading media/First Amendment lawyers in the country, a former large state bar president and a leading privacy and data security lawyer. My Facebook friends who are lawyers offer value to me and others, they’re not promoting themselves nor chasing down clients.

Business development for lawyers, offline or on the Internet, is all about networking to build relationships and to build a name. Facebook, at its best, is all about such social interaction, making it perfect business development.

Perfect though for individual lawyers doing the networking, not so much for law firms trying to promote the firm and its lawyers.

Facebook News Feed changes good for lawyers, bad for law firms posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Simple equipment for Facebook Live interviews

Facebook Live equipment

A business collegue emailed Friday asking what equipment I used for the Facebook Live interviews I’ve been doing at legal and tech conferences over the last year plus.

Video, and Facebook Live in particular, is perfect for a blogger. Publishers are using video more and more. Video is no longer the sole provence of television stations and video crews. Video is engaging and a perfect way to shine a light on influencers in your niche. Your influence grows.

Facebook Live is particularly good because of Facebook’s giving greater weight to video, particularly live. Like Google showcases the influencers in search via its algorithms, you build influence on Facebook via its algorithms which are influenced by live video.

So what do you need? First, it’s what you don’t need.

Don’t buy expensive and fancy equipment. To me, it’s a waste of money. It’s a headache to haul around. You’ll need another person or two to operate the trappings. Perhaps most important, you’ll loose some of the informality that makes Facebook Live video engaging for those being covered as well as viewers.

I did a fair amount of research before buying equipment. So though I am far from an expert I’d suggest going with the below. It’s what I reccomended to my friend on Friday.

In addition to Amazon, B & H Photo Video (everything listed) and MeFOTO (tripods) are good suppliers.

Thsi is just the equipment. I’m not covering style tips, suggested text copy on Facebook, getting the video off Facebook Live and onto YouTiube, getting a transcript and embedding the video on your blog. More to come.

Simple equipment for Facebook Live interviews posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Will I see you in New Orleans at the Legal Aid Technology Conference?

Legal aid technology conference

Necessity is the mother of invention, and it will certainly be on display in New Orleans this week at the Legal Aid Technology Conference.

The annual conference, sponsored by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is the nation’s largest gathering of professionals dedicated to using technology to address the civil legal needs of low-income Americans.

The conference, billed this year as Innovations in Tech, brings together technologists, legal aid advocates, court personnel, academics, and other professionals to showcase technology projects and tools being implemented across the country and internationally. I am glad I was able to get in as the conference, expecting record attendance, is sold out.

For me, I’m looking for inspiration from some of the most dedicated professionals in legal tech.

I last attended the conference fifteen years ago, I was starting a legal tech non-profit to help individuals and small business people. I was blown away by the energy, passion and ideas of the legal services technology professionals in attendance.

While there are other good conferences focused on consumer electronics, marketing and technology, it feels right to be headed to New Orleans – to learn, to be inspired and get focused on ways LexBlog and I can contribute to the legal services’ cause.

LSC President, Jim Sandman, who invited LexBlog’s editor-in-chief and publisher, Bob Ambrogi, to give the plenary address, knows how important technology is in the delivery of legal services.

Technology plays an important role in making legal information widely accessible. This conference stimulates collaboration, creativity, and communication. It promotes new initiatives that will help make justice more accessible for Americans who cannot afford to pay for legal assistance.

Ambrogi, in his plenary on Wednesday morning, will explore the impediments to the broader use of technology and what can be done to overcome them.

Few would dispute that technology is one of the keys to addressing the justice gap—the difference between the need for civil legal services among low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs. Yet at a time when technological innovation abounds, the justice gap seems to grow only wider. The problem is not technology—it is the failure to fully employ it.

Highlights of the three day conference, ending Friday, include:

  • Incubating Innovation in the Aloha and Midnight Sun States: Updates on the Justice Portal Initiative
  • Emerging Technologies: Harnessing the Exponential Power of Digital Technology to Transform Legal Systems
  • Rapid Fire Tech: A Show and Tell of Technology Projects and Ideas

Over 125 speakers from around the country are scheduled to present on all sorts of challenges, technology, solutions and the programs they’re spearheading to bring legal services to lower income Americans.

LexBlog is blessed to be able to cover the conference by curating the social media coverage from conference attendees, Facebook Live interviews, blog posts and my tweets from the conference. We’ll see what Isabelle Minasian, LexBlog’s social media and editorial coordinator can cook up.

Look me up if you’re going to be there. I’d welcome meeting, and maybe cover what you’re working on.

The conference Twitter hashtag is #LSCITCon.

Will I see you in New Orleans at the Legal Aid Technology Conference? posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Monday, January 8, 2018

Markets are conversations, the end of LexBlog’s marketing website

Swing on over to the LexBlog website and you’ll see that our marketing website has been replaced by the contributions from law bloggers from around the world.

Gone are highly profiled slogans, packages of services, testimonials, profiles of team members, our values and the history of the company. All of things we’ve come to expect of corporate websites.

In their place, insight and contributions from legal professionals. Blog posts representing a conversation – what legal professionals have read, oberserved or heard and their accompanying engagement.

As my COO, Garry Vander Voort says, we’re not so much about what we say we are, we are about our bloggers. Legal professionals who are blogging tell our story.

Almost twenty years ago the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto wrote that markets are conversations.

A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter, …and getting smarter faster than most companies.

These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.

LexBlog has always been about conversations. Rather than advertisements, email marketing, brochures and conference booths,  we’ve, or perhaps I should say I have blogged to grow our company,

There’s nothing wrong with traditional marketing, it just wasn’t LexBlog.

Truth be told, when sitting in my garage starting LexBlog, I asked myself how the heck was anyone going to hear about my company. The minute I thought about buying an ad in a publication such as the ABA Journal, I said “What I am thinking, I need to put my money where my mouth is, I need to blog to grow my business.”

I read about blogging, digital media (as we called it then), the Internet and legal marketing. I blogged what I read, offering my take. What it meant, how I disagreed and how I agreed.

I met people along the way. I came to realize that Winer, Searls, Weinberger and the other signatories to the Cluetrain, were right. Markets are conversations — or as I described it, marketing is a conversation. By engaging others in a real and authentic fashion you built a name and a business.

I came to strongly agree with Cluetrain.

Most corporations, on the other hand, only know how to talk in the soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement, marketing brochure, and your-call-is-important-to-us busy signal. Same old tone, same old lies. No wonder networked markets have no respect for companies unable or unwilling to speak as they do.

But learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations convince us they are human with lip service about “listening to customers.” They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.

We’ve had a website for almost fourteen years. But from now on we’ll be known by legal bloggers. Bloggers publishing on LexBlog’s managed WordPress platform and now, bloggers publishing on their own platforms.

We’ll focus on curating the best in legal blogging from around the world. Where there are gaps in the network, we’ll recruit bloggers.

The current LexBlog site is just a start, admittedly a rough start. Our editor-in-chief and publisher, Bob Ambrogi just joined LexBlog this last week. He is already working with the team on improvements to the site. Our tech and products team will be developing a new solution for the curation of legal blogs that we’ll use for the site later this year.

What we do know is that The New York Times wouldn’t have a front page marketing packages for advertsing and subscribing. The Times leads with stories by talented reporters. Like the Times and other news and information sites, LexBlog will lead with stories from talented legal bloggers.

We’ll of course communicate with the outside world, sometimes using the mediums used by other companies. But we’ll not forget the theses of the Cluetrain, the first ten of which are below.

  1. Markets are conversations.
  2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
  3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
  4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
  5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.
  6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
  7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
  8. In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.
  9. These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
  10. As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.

To the conversation — and legal bloggers.

Markets are conversations, the end of LexBlog’s marketing website posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Blogging to break the silo effect

Blogging break silos

Bob Ambrogi and I have been talking this week about getting people, companies and organizations to blog as way of communicating, collaborating and advancing solutions in their industry as a whole..

Bob, who just joined LexBlog as editor-in-chief and Publisher, is in Seattle all week. In meetings and in discussions over a pint, breaking the silo effect (as I’ll call it) regularly comes up – one, as a problem that should be solved and two, a problem that blogging and LexBlog can help solve.

Take legal technology companies, which Bob writes about everyday at his blog, LawSites. How many legal tech entrepreneurs and company founders blog so as to share what they are working on? Hardly any.

If they’re blogging as a company, they have a marketing focused blog on their website with posts focused on a new product, a conference they are speaking at or attending or other news that’s often more befitting of a press release. The blog posts are often written by someone with no expertise in the technology being advanced by the company.

There’s no blogging on what software or technology they are working with to develop solutions, the challenges they are facing in development and how they overcame the challenges.

There is no blogging of what and who they are following so as to share what they are learning. There is no offering their take on what they are seeing in the field, the opportunities they see with technology and where they see things headed.

Some might think no sane person would share their thinking, what their company is developing and how things are going. The fear being that someone is going to copy you – the secret is out.

But what company is going to stop what they are doing and say we need to start doing what Acme Legal Tech said they are doing in a blog post. Any company that’s that misguided is the last company you need to worry about.

Blogging in an open fashion grows a network. Bloggers, company leaders, technologists, followers, conference attendees who engage you.

When 10, 50 or 100 people do this, you start to move ideas and solutions exponentially faster. Does anyone really believe the fastest way to advance technology is to raise capital, fail inside your silo after two years or get bought out by a large company whose interests may be adverse to the advancement of technology.

Blogging leaves a record of thought and advancement for the benefit of those who follow along.

Blogging will not only break the silo in legal technology, there’s many other places in the law.

Law school deans are struggling big time. How do we attract students? What’s an innovative curriculum? Should technology be taught, and if so, what, who and by whom? How do we get our grads employed? What are law firms looking for? What will law firms and in-house counsel be looking for in grads two and three years from now? Is what we’re doing any different than other law schools?

But how many Deans collaborate by listening, sharing and engaging through the Internet? Hardly any. I am sure there are some deans blogging in an engaging (versus artcle writing) fashion? I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

So much is being lost for law students, professors, law school employees and alumni by law school deans not advancing discussion, collaboration and practices. But yet law school deans are acting in silos and ignoring the Internet.

Sure, there are conferences for law school professors and deans. There’s one this week in California. There’s other dialogue one to one and otherwise.

That’s all good, but it’s much like someone saying I’ve got the horse out in the stable behind the house when there’s a car out front that does 70. There’s nothing that compares with blogging when it comes to networking, collaboration, learning and advancing ideas.

The list goes on.

Think of the underfunded legal services corporation with 800 offices across the country. Challenges galore with necessity being the mother of invention in spades. Technology being developed at the state and local level to bring access to legal services.

Yet there’s no rapid fire listening, sharing, collaborating and advancing solutions (technology or otherwise) in a common fashion. So many people who could be better served. Again, blogging by legal services’ people and technologist is largely absent.

The Internet works for learning, sharing and the advancement of ideas and solutions when leaders get of their silos. The vehicle for getting outside the silos is blogging.

Blogging to break the silo effect posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Friday, December 29, 2017

Lawyers starting to use the Internet a top legal tech trend for 2018

Internet as legal trend 2018

Sounds crazy that lawyers beginning to use the Internet would be viewed as a legal tech trend for 2018.

But that’s what Keith Lee, a Birmingam attorney and editor of Associate’s Mind shared with Clio in their survey of “Top Law Firm Technology Trends to Watch for in 2018.”

As Lee sees it, the biggest risk for lawyers in 2018 is the demand for legal services is not growing, it’s shrinking.

Combine that with the trend I said was a threat last year (non-lawyer legal services) and that means there are more people competing for a pie that isn’t growing. Below average lawyers are going to be squeezed out.

Jordan Couch (@jordanlcouch) of Palace Law agrees.

As clients demand the same services for less money, lawyers will have to find new ways to increase volume if they are to maintain the same workload and profits.

Reiterating his prediction from last year, Lee sees the internet as the biggest opportunity for solos and small firms to prevent from being squeezed out.

Uber didn’t exist five years ago. Now it’s a multi-billion dollar company and has supplanted the word ‘taxi’ from the everyday lexicon. The internet is still the Wild West. Attorneys need to embrace it.

I don’t know that Lee is referring to individual lawyers reengineering the delivery of legal services the way Uber reengineered local travel, but Lee is pointing out the obvious — that being that the Internet is too valuable to waste.

And boy do most lawyers waste the opportunity to use the Internet. The Internet for lawyers, in their work, stops with email, legal research, cloud based business services and the limited use of social networks.

Lee and I met each other through blogging. I suspect the majority of people Lee knows, professionally and personally, he met through blogging and social media.

To Lee, myself and the many legal professionals, entrepreneurs and business leaders the use of the Internet comes naturally. It’s how we learn, how we engage others, how we get known and how we grow business.

Ask most lawyers about blogging, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for building a name as a leading lawyer, nurturing relationships and growing business. They haven’t a clue.

Ask yourself. Are you really using the Internet to prevent being squeezed out? If you don’t have enough good work, are you using the Internet to increase the volume of your work so as maintain the same workload and profits.

I am not referring to a refresh of a website and forking out money to get people to your website. A website that does little, if anything, to distinguish you from other lawyers.

I am referring to really using the Internet to take a step up in who you are, what you do and what you can do for your family.

If someone told you that there was this powerful tool to grow legal business, it was relatively inexpensive and less than one percent of your competitors were using it, you’d be all over finding out more.

Well, it’s the Internet. And Lee is right, “The Internet is still the Wild West. Attorneys need to embrace it.”

Lawyers starting to use the Internet a top legal tech trend for 2018 posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The fourth wave of legal blogging welcomes real lawyers

legal blogging

Long time blogger and New York Criminal Defense Lawyer, Scott Greenfield, continues the fourth wave of law blogging discussion in his announcement that there won’t be a J-Dog Memorial Prize, awarded the last five years to the Best Criminal Law Blawg Post. The award is named after criminal attorney, Joel Rosenberg.

There have been occasional blawg posts from the elders of the crim law blawgosphere, but only a few, and only occasionally. It’s not that these aren’t good and worthwhile posts, but you already know their work, read their brilliance, and don’t need me or this contest to spread the word.

The J-Dog award need not be over.

Last month, Greenfield and I had lunch back in Oyster Bay and and agreed the time was ripe for a fourth wave of blogging. Real blogging by real lawyers, as opposed to lawyers and law firms throwing up “blogs” to grab attention and web traffic. Some even written for the lawyers by “ghost bloggers” and marketing companies.

The “blogs as advertising” approach lived as lawyers tire of such blogging used by so many lawyers opens the door for real lawyers to shine in their blogging.

{T]here is a huge opportunity here. There are still people whose brains desire more than an insipid twit filled with emotional angst. There are people who want to think, to engage with others who want to think, and there are few places to go to do so.

Don’t whine that no one will see you when you start blogging and that everything in the world has already been blogged about. Get over it.

Start a blawg. Let me know about it. Let others know about it. If you have the chops, word will spread. Keep it up. Engage with serious people about serious things. Recognize that there was a blawgosphere before you got here, but also know that old subjects and issues keep arising again. For people who didn’t see the ubiquitous discussions the first time, or second, or tenth time around, they’re brand new.

Law blogging is more important than most lawyers and marketers understand. With the decline of legal journalism and legal commentary moving online and away from traditional law reviews and journals, it’s blogs where much of the law gets reported and legal dialogue is advanced.

Veteran legal journalist and blogger, Bob Ambrogi, in his announcement that he’s joining LexBlog as editor-in-chief and publisher, made clear the importance of law blogs.

[T]here is one area of legal publishing in which coverage and analysis is increasing, in which key legal developments are regularly tracked, and where all of the content is free, no subscriptions required. It is a medium in which leading lawyers, academics, technologists, law librarians, consultants, vendors and other legal professionals are regularly contributing their insights and knowledge. It is, without doubt, the most vibrant area of legal publishing that exists.

I’m talking, of course, about blogging.

Sitting in my garage fourteen years ago, I ran across this blog thing. Wow, perfect for lawyers. Lawyers who are passionate about what they do, no matter whether a solo or a in a large law firm with a big marketing budget could offer their commentary on the law.

Legal publishing had been democratized. Blogging lawyers could build a name for themselves in the same way the big name lawyers and scholars always have.

There was no way lawyers could turn blogs into advertisements beckoning a call or a chat in a pop-up chat window. Blogging took some thought, some passion and a little work. No lawyer would try and fake that. I was wrong.

Real blogging is far from dead though. There are plenty of good passionate lawyers who have something to offer. Real law blogging is too important not to encourage and grow.

From Greenfield:

The blawgosphere may not be vital, as it once was, but whether or  not it’s dead is up to all of us. And if it’s dead, thought dies with it, and we’re left to the insipid twitter stars whose appeals to emotion will replace nuance, thought and serious debate. Don’t let that happen. All you have to do to prevent this catastrophe is to start thinking, start writing and stick with it.

Greenfield’s hit on something. We’re here for you if you want to start law blogging. Veteran law bloggers will not only help you blog, but get you known by sharing and referencing the thoughts you’re sharing in your blog. That’s what we do.

Veteran law bloggers welcome new bloggers in their field. It makes for a more vibrant discussion. Blogging is not a zero sum game.

Law bloggers take pride in the collective work of bloggers. As Ambrogi says, blogging is the most vibrant legal publishing taking place. Those of us out here want to grow law blogging.

Start a blawg (law blog), as Greenfield says, and engage with real lawyers about real things. Word will grow, so will your reputation and so will legal dialogue and publishing.

The fourth wave of legal blogging welcomes real lawyers posted first on https://fergusonlawatty.wordpress.com