20131005-170759.jpg Why don’t law students blog or use Twitter? Patrick Burke (@Sparty_Legal), a third year law student at Michigan State University, blogs:

Because they are afraid of the risks involved with putting themselves “out there.” It is not, however, entirely the student’s fault. Career advisers constantly remind students to be “careful” of social media (read: stay off it). Why not instead teach students how to responsibly use and leverage social media’s capabilities?

Burke read a recent post of mine in which I warned lawyers not blogging and using social media that they were forfeiting a position as a thought leader and ‘go to’ lawyer in emerging industries. Burke thought the idea applied equally to law students.

Sure, we don’t have to worry about being the “go to” lawyer (yet), but we must be tuned in to what is happening in our industry; now more than ever. Ultimately, students need to assess their own situation and the opportunity-cost of forsaking social media and blogs. For me, the cost is too high and it is a risk I am not willing to take.

Powerful position. The cost of forsaking social media and blogs is too high, a risk this law student is not willing to take.

Law school placement offices and career advisors are there to help law students. In the case of social media and blogging I fear that officials in these positions are not active users of social media and blogs.

When have these folks last needed to establish relationships and establish a strong word of mouth of reputation? Some have, but I fear it’s the exception.

Reading Notre Dame Lawyer, the Law School’s magazine, my alma mater (undergrad) touted that they were using social media to help their law grads. Job openings and interview announcements would be Tweeted. How is that helping law students build a network, build a reputation, and grow relationships?

A Seattle University Law Student tweeted to me that the school was warning students on the use of social, implying they’d be better off not using social media. When I asked Seattle U Law on Twitter if this were true, they responded that we should take the issue offline. Good law school, but feels they like social until it comes to engaging third parties.

Now we have Michigan State Law school impliedly telling law students to stay off social media. Home law school for a program that bills itself as reinventing the practice of law.

Probably a great program, but what social media and blogging program does MSU, Notre Dame, or Seattle U Law have in place to empower the future of its law grads?

How about at a least a program to educate its professors about the power of social and blogs for learning, networking, and establishing themselves — and law grads — as authorities? In the case of law grads, authorities based on their learning and limited experience. That way professors and staff will not be dismissing social or warning that the consequences may be greater than the rewards.

What are you hearing? Are you a law student? What programs on social media does your law school have? Is the school pro social media use to gain employment? What’s the general feeling of professors and staff on the use of social? Are you feeling well prepared to blog and use social to grow your network, build relationships, and gain employment?