By Kevin O'Keefe

Can ABA leaders lead when not using social media?


Can leaders of the American Bar Association (ABA) expect to advance their causes, the mission of the ABA and be relevant with members and lawyers everywhere if they are absent from social media?

I began to think about it when reading an ABA Journal report that Linda Klein, president-elect of the ABA while at the ABA National Convention said the ABA must “change rapidly to be relevant.”

I went to share word on Twitter of what Klein had to say and to give her proper attribute by including her Twitter handle. This way she gets the kudos and I can let her know what I am doing to share the word.

Who knows? Maybe I become one of the many who can spread her message as a result of this Twitter engagement. When I share what a managing partner in a major law firm is blogging via my Twitter account, I hear back. We’re not beer buddies yet, but we’ve broken the ice and engaged in such a way that can lead to trust.

Maybe Klein has a Twitter account, I couldn’t find one on a search or on her law firm or LinkedIn profiles.

How can the ABA change rapidly if its leaders are not using social media — unless the rapid change is to start using social media.

Kelin further said that:

…[L]awyers must see the ABA come to them. It may not be your state or your practice area, but we can’t afford to let even one pillar fall.

How is the ABA going to come to lawyers if the president-elect of the ABA is not personally using social media?

I didn’t find Klein blogging, using Facebook or engaging others on LinkedIn.

Over three quarters of American use social media, the vast majority of which do so every day. 71% use Facebook, including 80% of those age 30 to 49 and 60% of those 50 to 64.

People, including lawyers are out here to engage – they are on social media. Lawyers will only see the ABA come to them if lawyers see ABA leaders using social media, personally, in a real and authentic fashion.

Klein says she is listening to lawyers and what they want but how does she hear the discussion on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs when she is not engaged.

To take a pass on social media will not only be a missed opportunity by the ABA and their leaders, it will be an embarrassment and increase the rate at which the ABA is becoming irrelevant as Klein warns. Just look at the discussion on Facebook about Klein not having a Twitter account.

Linda Klein is a darn good lawyer. So is her firm, Baker Donelson. Take a look at what Klein has accomplished in a her firm and LinkedIn profiles and recommendations on LinkedIn.

Her goals as ABA president are laudatory, but to hold a position of leadership and advance the causes of the organization you need to be be using social media.

No question social media can be a pain for some people to learn. But three quarters of the population have shown us that even a lawyer can do so. Unfortunatley, in some cases, there’s no choice.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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