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The National Law Journal recently reported that 78 percent of the top 100 U.S. law firms have twitter accounts. However, a small minority of firms are actually using their accounts frequently. According to Adrian Dayton, who has authored a book on the subject, twitter usage can be especially powerful when specific practice groups have their own accounts. He adds that tweeting legal information effectively could open doors to publication and speaking engagements.
One interesting approach that a handful of large firms have taken is to allow access to their tweets only by twitter accounts that they have approved first. Most on the list do not screen their readers and prefer to use twitter as more of a marketing tool instead.
As Dayton explains, there are certain tricks to legal tweeting that firms can use to reach their intended audiences. Importantly, large firms with a single twitter account will probably not reach many people, unless they intentionally tailor their strategies. Several firms have separate twitter accounts for different practice groups, to show both expertise and versatility. However, Dayton wonders if any social networkers out there would actually want to engage with these specialized accounts.
In Dayton’s view, the most sophisticated level of law firm tweeting is to have individual attorneys create their own accounts. Posting legal information online comes with confidentiality concerns, of course, so the firms should monitor and train attorneys first. But as Dayton notes, “You trust them to attend cocktail parties without inadvertently revealing client confidences; start trusting them to tweet.” After all, chances are their clients are tweeting, too.
– Caroline Fleming
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