The book is a comprehensive guide to help lawyers and other legal professionals understand the impact social media has had on the way consumers and in-house counsel find and select lawyers to solve their legal problems. The book is informal, written in clear and easy-to-understand language, and is chock full of illustrations and details.
Carolyn and Niki describe "a goal-centric approach to social media," which enables lawyers to "(1) identify the social media platforms and tools that fit their practices and (2) implement them easily, efficiently, and ethically."
The book suggests that lawyers must grasp three important themes in order effectively use social media: 1) Social media is not going away and will continue to grow and gain acceptance amongst all age groups; 2)Social media is a tool for achieving your goals, not a goal itself; and 3) Social media does not change your ethical obligations.
The authors recognize that social media for lawyers and legal professionals can be overwhelming and, after an historic overview and discussion about the current trends, help you create a practical strategy to using social media to accomplish your goals, including best practices, proper net-iquette, and ethical and legal considerations.
The book is organized in five parts with an easy-to-read font (great for us folks over 50). Each chapter has highly visible headers making it easy to find just what you're looking for. Additionally, there are informative social media factoids throughout the book and screen shots from various social media platforms. The screen shots really make it easy to understand and eliminate a lot of frustration by providing step-by-step instructions.
Here are my "Top Five" takeaways from the book:
1. My favorite: Social media interaction formula found at page 106
2. Social myth busters for legal professionals
3. Tips for setting up winning profiles
4. Ethical and legal issues of social media
5. Additional resources in the appendices including a 10-step countdown to starting a blog, a mini Twitter glossary, an exercise to help you determine which systems are likely to work for you, recommended reading and profile creation information.
As the authors point out, today's consumer is more sophisticated and highly informed. They, along with corporate counsel, are using the power of the Internet, first, to get information about their legal issues through blogs, white papers, videos and online discussions and, second, to identify lawyers with expertise in that area of the law. Once those lawyers or other legal professionals are identified, they are using social media to review credentials and recommendations, all of which help them in the decision-making process. The authors understand this trend and provide the information about how to get started and be successful as a lawyer or legal professional.
The overarching theme from Carolyn and Niki is, "technology is here to stay." The final chapter sums it up nicely: "Technology is here to stay and ignoring it is no longer an option..... It's time for the legal profession to pull its collective head out of the sand when it comes to social media, emerging technologies, and the Internet.
"Law firms and lawyers who turn a blind eye to technology do so to their own detriment, and their failure to acclimate to rapid technological change is going to catch up with them in 2010 and beyond."
The book is informative and timely and gets a BIG thumbs up from me!