San Francisco PI lawyer Steven Choi’s recently launched Lawlink.com is a self described social networking site such as MySpace and FaceBook but limited to attorneys only. Like other social Web sites, attorneys who belong to Lawlink have a profile, photos and other career-related information.
I’ve been seeing it pop up in various trade periodicals and main stream media, the latest being an article this week in the Memphis Daily News.
Choi says the major benefit is building relationships by which an attorney can get help for a particular case they’re working on, can find out about job opportunities and refer clients to attorneys with specific expertise.
Every lawyer has a client base, you know. I’ve been practicing law for almost 24 years, so I’ve got a pretty large client base. But my field of specialty is pretty narrow. My clients are always asking me if I know a lawyer who can do this or do that.
Problem as I see it is until you have a huge number of lawyers participating, networking via the Internet in so many other ways other than LawLink is much more meaningful.
If I want to find an expert in counterfeit law, I’m unlikely to go to a MySpace for lawyers site with 10,000 members (Lawlink has 1,500 now). I am going to go to Google and see who’s writing on counterfeit law issues and who’s being cited on the subject. I am going to go to LinkedIn where lawyers are incented to network as they are seen by prospective clients in addition to other lawyers. Plus LinkedIn has millions of registered business users in a robust atmosphere that is constantly being updated with networking and community building features.
Plus you have firms that just hearing a MySpace for lawyers scares them away. Per the article, the interest in the site from the Memphis area seems to be nonexistent. A typical response could be that from Laura Hine, chief marketing officer at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, who took a minute to look LinkedIn over.
I haven’t heard of it and I haven’t heard of any of our attorneys signing up for the site. We join these types of things, usually as firms, not as individual attorneys. We focus on international networks, where our firm will be a member on a statewide basis. … The way we’re doing networks, we market the firm because we have so much expertise across the firm that we can provide more opportunities for service that way instead of just focusing on just one attorney.
I laud Choi for trying this. But I am afraid that the sexiness of a MySpace for lawyers is going to lead to more press than real value for lawyers.
What do you guys think?