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Why do lawyers who don’t use Twitter feel the need to diss Twitter?

January 25, 2009

New York City injury lawyer Eric Turkewitz, who is not only a first rate plaintiff’s trial lawyer, but also a heck of a fine person, is the latest lawyer to question the value of Twitter.

Eric doesn’t say he’ll never use Twitter, but questions Twitter’s value to him and by picking out a few tweets from LexTweet in effect dismisses the value of following lawyers tweeting about other than the law.

I tried to post a comment on Eric’s blog but Blogger kicked back an error message. Perhaps my comment was too long. In any case Eric, here’s the comment I wanted leave.

I continue to be perplexed why lawyers need to write about Twitter in a negative fashion at the same they acknowledge they do not understand Twitter and do not use Twitter. (Could be they know it gets an amusing rise out me.) At the risk of being rude, it’s like Mark Twain said ‘It’s better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.’

You’re missing the point of Twitter Eric. I have discovered more about people I wanted to get to know through Twitter than through any other medium. I have learned more monitoring people on twitter than I have through my feeds (600 plus of them), and our business has increased through my use of Twitter. All three of which long before there was LexTweet.

As to LexTweet, no one expected it to be legal professionals tweeting about the law. I would guess less than 5 or 10% of the tweets from legal professionals relate to the law. I expect no one to sit there and follow tweet after tweet as you’re implying they do by dismissing the power of LexTweet.

LexTweet is a discovery tool for finding people you may wish to follow. As we add groups to LexTweet, I’m hopeful it will be a good way for legal professionals to get to know each other better and exchange ideas as they do relate to the law or personal items.

I also expect the public’s perception of lawyers will be improved by following lawyers on Twitter and getting to a little about them. As one law firm Marketing Director told me, ‘Twitter is a way for clients and the public to find out what her firm’s lawyers are interested in.’ She believes relationships will be built and flourish via Twitter and that those relationships will lead to work.

Small talk leads to big things Eric. I tweeted about being at a Cubs game. A client immediately responded, which lead to the client calling me 3 or 4 days later wanting my company, LexBlog, to do more blogs for his law firm. I tweeted about whether Tiger Woods was going to make the putt on the 18th during the US Open. A client responded that he didn’t think Woods would make the putt. The next day, the client called about a large project he wanted my company to do for his firm. Coincidences? I don’t think so.

I hardly imagine you require all business associates and people you talk with socially to talk about the law. Talking with folks is a way to get to know them and vice versa. That’s a good thing.

I asked a young business lawyer in Milwaukee how he was getting new clients. He told me he had gotten 5 good clients in the last 6 weeks via Twitter.

Don’t try using Twitter on its web interface. It’s confusing as all get out. Use an application like Tweetdeck to make sense of Twitter. You’ll probably find that by doing so using Twitter takes little time, that’ll you’ll discover info and people helpful to your practice, and being as bright as you are, probably learn to use Twitter as an effective client development tool to supplement your blog and other networking.

Guy Kawasaki has labeled Twitter the single biggest branding tool since the television. He’d rather go without his cell phone for a week than Twitter. I’m with him.

I’m a very busy person with a business to run and things to get done. I’m just as busy as when I practiced law as a plaintiff’s trial lawyer. I use Twitter not to waste time, but as a way to enhance my life and grow my business.

I’d welcome your participation on Twitter Eric, if not for your own reasons (though I think you’ll find many positive ones), but so that those using Twitter continue to dialogue with you as much. Some of the exchange you’ve felt on the blogosphere has moved to Twitter. In addition, you’ll catch on to Twitter and, based on the quality of your blogging and the quality of person you are, you’ll use Twitter in a way that will be a positive example for plaintiff’s trial lawyers.

You asked ‘Will Twitter help me acquire yet more information that I can’t get to, or assist me in sharing information that I might have?’ Yes, no question about it.

I’m in New York City next week. Give me 20 minutes to show you how I use Twitter. That’s an offer I wouldn’t make to someone I didn’t like as much as you or to someone who doesn’t have the track record of sharing that you do.

Do I expect you to ‘get it’ right then Eric? No, but I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t pique your interest enough to give Twitter a try.