Marketers: Twitter Will Not Make Bad Lawyers Better

Larry Bodine recently blogged about Attorneys Flocking to Twitter listing the the following reasons:
  • Because lawyers don’t have time to update their own bios.
  • They don’t have time to write articles.
  • They don’t have time to update a blog.
I posted the following in the comment section, but I thought it was provocative enough to repost here.

I don't know, Larry... I'm going to play Devil's Advocate on this one. I'm a big Twitter fan myself (@glambert), but if an attorney can't take the time to update a bio, or write a blog or publish something on the legal topic that he or she is the expert in, then I don't see them using Twitter either. 
Twitter is generally a resource of building relationships, that is true, but it is also generally a tool for linking to additional information. So, if the attorney has an old bio, and no blog or publications, what do they gain in 140 characters?  
I'm coming at this with a "BigLaw" perspective (read: AmLaw 100 BIAS) - where we are looking for methods of marketing to legal departments of companies. And, from my experience, I'm not seeing a lot of GC's on Twitter.  
So, how can I tell a Partner or Associate that they need to be using Twitter in order to build relationships with our aspirational audience, when that audience doesn't seem to exist?  
My question is this: If we Tweet, will they come?  
My answer is this: Maybe. But, it would take a leap of faith on the Partner or Associates part to take the chance of spending the time on Twitter (and believe me it is much more than posting a 140 character Tweet.)

Am I way off on my assumptions??

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Emily C. Rushing said...

You are absolutely correct. Twitter usage should be a complement to, and not substitute for, a well-rounded online presence including network(s), blogging, collaborating, and last but not least, an updated resume on your website!

Attorneys who can't be buggered to update their online resume or publish anything, anywhere not only are not likely to twitter - even if they wanted to twitter, they probably wouldn't "get it" or do it well without some other experience writing posts, articles, and experience descriptions for a CV, etc...

140 character posting is an art-form, not unlike a sonnet or haiku. There are rules governing form and content, there are effective and ineffective uses. Not to say that twitter skills cannot be learned - of course they can! but, baby steps - start publishing first and give folks something to connect to your tweets. then watch it all come together in twitter.

Mark Gould said...


As a someone working in at top-20 UK law firm, I agree with your analysis. However, whilst neither of us would expect to see our lawyer colleagues on twitter (as lawyers, anyway), I think there is a place for people in law firms to engage with similar folk from different industries. Indeed, I think twitter has a real part to play in bringing HR, BD, KM, IT and other management folk together from a range of businesses and countries.


Greg Lambert said...


I think you have made an excellent point. So, Twitter could actually serve as a grass-roots approach within the law firm environment (large firms, anyway.) I don't think that the Social Media folks have wrapped their heads around that concept yet.


Construction Law Musings-Richmond, VA said...

All great points Greg. I in fact am taking a break from Twitter (trial, etc.) but in the short time I have really worked it, I have been amazed at the connections. I have learned brevity (not a big trait for us lawyers, and have seen the benefits.

I have also seen that I needed a blog and not just my firm bio. The firm bio takes at least two steps to update and the blog is my domain to let others know about my thoughts without having to go through our marketing director (As nice as she is).

I am new to Web 2.0 but have already seen its help for me, a one member construction section at a 13 member firm.

Leon Basin said...

Why hello there! I love this post. Thanks for sharing.

Jason said...

I can see the logic of Larry's post and can see the benefits of twitter over blogs, bios etc

But I just can't see lawyers from the top 100 embracing twitter, I don't think it has reached the "mass market" yet (like say facebook status has), certainly not in the UK. I really don't think they'd "get it".

I'd love to be proved wrong though!

Greg Lambert said...


My experience is that Twitter should be more of a "water cooler" type conversation. Maybe it would lead an attorney to new clients, but I would think it would be better if they used it as a supplement to other things such as LinkedIn or a blog. But, you're point has merit, and using Twitter in a good way, sure beats the pants off of doing nothing at all.

Martha said...

Don't get me wrong. I love Twitter. Each tool to its best purpose. But I cannot imagine judging a person, let alone a professional you might wish to connect with in a business sense, based solely on their tweets. To that I say: caveat emptor.

Legal Marketer said...

I would think that a site like twitter is not for the Am Law 100 type lawyers/ law firms. Sites like twitter and linkin are more for consumer law, ie divorce, criminal law, bankruptcy, personal injury etc..
I would think that a consumer type lawyer could do well going to some of the legal Q & A sites such as


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