Last month, InsideLegal was invited to cover MyLegal.com's inaugural social media conference "Making the Case for Social Media". As reported in our event recap, MyLegal.com's founder and event brainchild Lisa DiMonte, put to great use her 30+ year court reporting and litigation support experience and delivered a value-added first time event. We wanted to follow-up since we were particularly curious about Lisa's passion for social media and to what extent the legal community has embraced her emerging MyLegal.com social network for legal professionals. Here is Lisa "in her own words" to provide more insight...
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion for legal and especially social media?
I’ve been in the legal industry for over 33 years and became a court reporter because I loved the idea of learning something new every day and meeting new and interesting people. During my court reporter training, I was fascinated by technology and utilizing technology to be more productive. As I gained more experience as a court reporter, I became more intrigued by technologies that were designed to help lawyers and other legal professionals become more efficient. My passion for people, technology and continual learning is being fulfilled by my work at MyLegal.com, where we help legal professionals use simple social media tools to get more clients and build professional relationships.
What is MyLegal.com and how do you see it helping lawyers meet their objective of running a successful practice?
MyLegal.com is a social network for all legal professionals, not just lawyers. So whether you’re a lawyer or a legal vendor, everyone seems to want the same thing - more clients. But there’s so much competition amongst firms of all sizes and there are so many choices, that many legal professionals are confused about where to start with social media or what to do, so they do nothing. I also think that many attorneys and legal professionals are risk averse. If you couple aversion to risk, with some of the state restrictions on advertising for lawyers, it’s no wonder that many legal professionals find it easier and safer to be in the stands as a spectator, rather than participating “on the field.”
That’s where MyLegal.com comes in. We help legal professionals use simple tools to increase their online presence and visibility in a professional and ethical way. Legal professionals create a professional profile on MyLegal.com and then associate their content with their profile. This content can include press releases, blogs, podcasts and videos that are geared at educating and not advertising. The more content that is associated with your profile; the more likely it is that you are going to be found by someone who is in need of your services. We eliminate the barriers to create and distribute the content with our easy-to-use tools, by providing our members with a simple template to create a blog or press release, or, alternatively, the ability to simply browse and upload their content or insert a link and tag it for search engine indexing.
We are an all inclusive community and believe that one of the ways lawyers can be successful and competitive is by keeping abreast of new technologies and methodologies. Legal vendors are in the best position to keep lawyers informed in this regard because they are the ones who provide solutions to those problems. On the flip side, legal vendors need to know the issues and obstacles that interfere with lawyers' ability to practice law efficiently and effectively.
How does MyLegal.com interact and partner with the legal technology vendor community?
As discussed, we provide the same tools and services for legal vendors as we do for lawyers. We help legal vendors promote themselves and their products through the posting and distribution of product demos, press releases and interviews on our talk radio show, “The Legal Exchange.” We also provide the online portal for vendor groups so they can share intellectual insights and develop best practices through the discussions and wikis associated with each group.
Once they start engaging with social media, what can or should lawyers expect? What should they not expect to happen?
Before lawyers and other legal professionals engage in social media, they need to understand that social media is not a silver bullet. In order to see results, the legal professional has to be authentic, consistent and committed. Authenticity is at the core of all relationships, whether online or face-to-face. Consistency is important because people want to know what to expect from you. And, finally, you need to be committed to your social media plan and goals because it takes time to build your network, establish your credibility and achieve your professional goals.