Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why a Lawyer loves Twitter

A lot of lawyers try to use Twitter as a business development tool – as way to get noticed by and communicate with potential clients. As a bonus it may get you noticed by the media. Others lawyers use Twitter to try to humanize themselves to their clients and potential clients.  The idea is that people will hire (or stay with) a lawyer they feel comfortable with and know a little about.

I’m sure that for some lawyers who use Twitter for the above reasons, it is a marvelous marketing tool. My guess is that for the majority of attorneys, it is not so hot.  There are probably better ways to attract and retain clients.

But personally I really don’t care about the business development aspects of Twitter – that is not why it has great value for me.  I don’t know that Twitter has brought my law firm any new clients - and that’s okay.  I am not using it to draw clients. I am using it as a tool for information gathering and dissemination and maybe for a  little policy advocacy.  For these purposes Twitter is outstanding.

Twitter allows me to follow developments in areas of law and policy in which I have an interest.  I follow health policy gurus like The Kaiser Family Foundation and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as well as advocacy groups like The Center for Medicare Advocacy. When a new research report comes out, it is often announced first on Twitter, with a link that I can access instantly.

It’s similarly easy to stay up to date on politics, government, technology, investment ideas, caregiving tips, and even sports teams (I don’t work ALL the time!)  Of course, following all these resources means I get a lot of incoming tweets. But Twitter gives me the capacity to organize the people I follow into groups through the use of the “Lists” feature.  I can then view just the tweets that pertain to the area I am interested in at the moment. I can even view lists others have made public or allow people to subscribe to mine.

There is always great information coming in on Twitter.  And I do try to “give back” by sharing late breaking news, developments in cases, changes in policies, links to analysis, and other information where I have expertise and that I think will be of interest and assistance to people who are providing support and services to seniors. 

It’s a way that I can share some of what I’ve learned in over 25 years of practicing elder law.  It’s been a wonderful career path for me, and I appreciate having the opportunity to give back in this way. And, I’m president of PAELA, which has a mission of educating and supporting elder law attorneys (and their clients) throughout Pennsylvania.  Twitter and my blog are ways I can help further that mission.  My goal is to educate myself, and educate others.  Twitter is a fantastic resource if that is your purpose.   

I do think my involvement with Twitter has value for my law firm as well.  It helps keep my firm on the cutting edge of changes in law and policy that are of critical importance to us as elder law and estate planning attorneys.

A final benefit of Twitter is that it is so easy to use.  If I see a new court decision or research report that may be of interest to other elder care professionals, I can tweet the link.  It takes less than a minute. And sometimes a minute is all I can spare.

So, that’s why I love Twitter.  I hope lawyers who haven’t tried it out yet, give it shot.  We are in the information business, and Twitter has got the latest information and ideas just waiting for us.    

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