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What would you fight for? Notre Dame and social media

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I graduated from Notre Dame in 1978. Competing against some of the brighter kids in the country, I barely got of South Bend with a degree. But because of the school’s mission of service to others the University has always meant a lot to me.

Over the last couple years Notre Dame’s development office has singled me out as someone who may be on to something with the company I have started.

Rather than solely mailing and calling alumni asking for contributions, the University has identified alumni who have businesses that may result in the accumulation of wealth. By cultivating a relationship with such alumni, the alumni can be exposed to University programs through which they could leave a legacy.

I have been visited by some awful fine people from Notre Dame including seasoned business people now working with the school’s development office, the dean of the law school, the director for Notre Dame’s Innovation Park, and others. I pinch myself each time they visit – why me?

The use of the Internet to serve others is what gets my juices going. LexBlog, and my prior company, Prairielaw.com, are all about shining a light on the good lawyers in this country.

Give good lawyers an opportunity to give of themselves through the Internet by sharing their insight, commentary, and passion. Showcase those lawyers like they have never been showcased before – all via readily accessible social media platforms.

That’s good stuff for the people lawyers serve – whether a consumer, small business person, executive, or in-house counsel. Information, a means to better identify good lawyers, reduced legal costs by empowering lawyers operating at lower expense – whether in rural areas or with less trappings (including reduced marketing expenses).

It’s also great for lawyers. They’ll quickly realize through the feedback they’ll receive that they are helping others. Lawyers have the highest incidence of depression on any profession. Arguably that’s because subconsciously they’re not feeling they are doing what they wanted to do when they charted a course to become a lawyer – for many it was to make a difference and to serve others.

It’s also great for lawyers because those lawyers who establish trust, build a word of mouth reputation, and develop a network of relationships end up with good legal work. Work that they enjoy doing for the type of clients they enjoy working with. That’s the case whether they are defending class action cases for multinational corporations out of New York City or representing average folks with social security disability claims in Portland, Maine.

Would Notre Dame get behind a program focused on using social media to serve others? Perhaps a program that is not solely focused on the law, but a program that long term could connect Notre Dame professors, students, the administration, and their causes the way Mayo Clinic is harnessing social media in a big way to bring Mayo to the world and the world to Mayo.

The sentiment appears to be in place. Notre Dame, though yet to make a big a statement in social media, is ranked first in social media for colleges by USA Today. There’s already an on campus agency in place that promotes blogging and the use of social media. There’s a growing list of Notre Dame blogs.

Just this month the former editor of the Boston Globe, Matt Storin, began as Notre Dame’s Chief Communications Executive to oversee all external and internal communications, including public relations, marketing, the Notre Dame Magazine, Web and print design and development, copywriting, social media, and strategic communications planning. In creating this new position, the University recognized the impact of social media on communications and relationships.

Begin with the cooperation of the law school and entrepreneurship programs at the University and let’s getting started on a program involving law students that will showcase good lawyers.

Overtime, the program becomes a pilot for other schools, programs, and causes at the University. Notre Dame, and the causes and principals it stands for, are brought to the world and the world is brought to Notre Dame.

In it’s television and YouTube marketing program which highlights meaningful causes Notre Dame alumni, professors, and students (all Fighting Irish) are working on the viewer is challenged at the end, “What would you fight for?”

I could fight for social media being used to serve others – beginning with the law. And I’d welcome doing so with Notre Dame.

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