I attended LegalTech New York and took some notes from Tuesday, February 3, 2009. I was reluctant to call this “social networking” but the name persists. They may be a little rough, so please forgive any typos.
From the conference: Web 2.0: Best Practices for Online Networking Exhibit
- Opportunities in online networking for attorneys
- Re-energize the traditional, valuable art of networking with tightened budgets, time and resources
- Growth areas, benefits and challenges of online networking
- Best practices on selecting a network
- Gaining the strategic advantage of an online network
Robert Ambrogi, Journalist
John Lipsey, Vice President, Corporate Counsel Services, LexisNexis
Vanessa DiMauro, CEO & President, Leader Networks
Eugene M. Weitz, Corporate Counsel, Alcatel-Lucent
Olivier Antoine, Counsel, Crowell & Moring
My friend and fellow KM guy, David Hobbie, is also blogging this session on Caselines.
My notes form the session:
Not surprisingly, this session on packed.
Among business people, online networking and social media (SM) is a source of fear.
One survey said 15% of people in the legal industry are members of some sort of social networking (SN). Another survey says that 59% of lawyers are members of some sort of SN.
Vanessa DiMauro finds that web 2.0 stuff is still new, but maturing. SM is no longer about tools, but how to apply them and measure them and determine ROI.
John Lipsey – Martindale Hubbell is looking to transform from what it was (print-based lawyer listings) to what it will become (a more useful way for lawyers to fulfill their business needs). The new product is Martindale Hubbell Connected (MHC). He likes the term “professional networking” rather than SN – me too. They have done a lot of research to figure out what lawyers want and need.
The MHC does not allow anonymous users – it authenticates so that the members have confidence that they know who they are communicating with. The advantage that MH has is a HUGE database of information on lawyers that they can use to make and enhance connections. They want to integrate into existing workflow. This could include the connectors that InterAction (another LexisNexis product) has with LinkedIn. [makes sense to me]
Olivier Antoine is a practicing attorney who gave his perspective about the value of SN. It provides value to clients so that you can provide information about who knows who.
Eugene M. Weitz mentioned how he has 2 Blackberrys because he has a professional network and a social network. He maintains these separately intentionally. He wants to keep them separate.
The networks allow in house counsel to connect with those who they want to – among in-house counsel, for example. They can discuss things that are important to them and collaborate within that group.
Bob Ambrogi questioned how Weitz is able to maintain two separate networks. The investment in time is very difficult to justify.
[side note: while blogging this, I’m also watching Twitter, which is on fire with the #LTNY. Doug Cornelius just wondered–on Twitter– when MH Connected will be launched. Mary Abraham, who was in the room, passed along the question and go the answer: Q1 this year.]
DiMauro says there are different social norms that come along with SN – much of the communication is transparent, so you need to be careful.
There was much discussion about networks of trusted people – this reminded me of the really nice ILTA online networking community that is used to connect and ask questions without the threat of vendors reading of contributing
Weitz stressed the need to maintain client confidentialities when participating in online networking communities. Even asking a simple question or asking for a recommendation can disclose certain information that shouldn’t be disclosed.
Weitz says that this is no different than the type of communication by lawyers – only the vehicle has changed. The bottom line is that lawyers haveto be as careful with SN sites as they are with all communications – and is some cases, more careful.
DiMauro noted that many other industries have adopted SM and SN. The legal industry — which has been a late comer and fearful of it — can learn from these other industries.
An audience member asked about the value of LinkedIn. Oliver gave an example about how he could see that five people from a company he pitched had looked at his profile after the pitch. There is no other way to get that type of information. Bob Ambrogi noted that LinkedIn is at least an online directory of business people on the web – the way Martindale Hubbell used to be.
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