Twitter for Lawyer Law FirmsRick Georges posted today that Twitter may work for guys like Kevin O’Keefe, but not for the day to day practicing lawyer like him.

Rick’s post followed Chuck Newton’s comments that ‘A small part of [Twitter] might be beneficial but most of it is not.’

Bottom line is individual lawyers need to decide what works best for them. Some will find Twitter a good fit in their quiver of networking, PR, business development, and marketing tools. Others may not. But let’s not lay out rules that this works or that this doesn’t to legal professionals who may be looking to us for wisdom.

I just don’t buy that for everyday practicing lawyers Twitter is not useful. I was told as a small town lawyer in rural Wisconsin in 1996 that the World Wide Web and the Internet were no place I should be wasting my time. ‘No one uses the Internet, especially the blue collar type clients I wanted as a plaintiff’s personal injury trial lawyer – and especially in rural America where no one has even heard of the Internet.’

Well, turned out folks were wrong. I figured out by the seat of my pants, guided by a love of helping folks, how to answer relevant law questions at AOL, archive the questions and answers at my website, lead law chats at AOL, and more. Doing so lead to plenty of good work and a state wide reputation in 18 months.

Imagine meeting local reporters and business people you could not even imagine would be using Twitter as a customer service, relationship building, or investigative tool. They’re there. Imagine local people following you (people you do not know) that think you are a pretty good person/lawyer and spreading word of your law blog posts around the community via Twitter.

Will it be most reporters and most community members that you’ll connect with through Twitter? Of course not. Who cares? I’ll take 1% of them who amplify my message. It doesn’t suck.

I didn’t get Twitter the first, second, or third time I looked at it. I thought for a year plus it was the dumbest thing ever. But when I saw a lot of business people, far brighter than this kid, talking about how Twitter worked for them, I kept experimenting with Twitter.

At some point Twitter clicked for me. It can click for everyday lawyers too.

Give me Twitter as a practicing lawyer in any town in America and I’ll run laps around offline marketing and many lawyers using blogs alone.

For guys like Chuck and Rick who think the ‘Tweets’ (140 character limit) are unmanageable, use Twhirl or TweetDeck (my preference) as an application to access Twitter. Your Twitter home page, something I never go to, is unmanageable as a means of following conversation on Twitter.

For me Twitter is nothing like Chuck’s experience that it felt like listserv content overload. I’ll take Twitter over the blather I hear on some listservs. On Twitter I control who I want to listen to. I can even group those I follow by subject and monitor only words I want to see.

Twitter’s been a good ride for me. And though I am not an everyday lawyer, Twitter is now in the top three tools generating new business for LexBlog. I don’t see why a practicing lawyer can’t do the same.