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Fear holding lawyers back on blogging and social media

Cloudy day

Lawyers have mixed success, at best, when it comes to blogging and social media. Truth be told, the vast majority of lawyers accomplish little when it comes to professional and business development through these mediums.

Kind of surprising when you think about easy it is to blog and use social media.

Blogging means merely following sources and subjects for which you have a passion, sharing what you read and offering your take.

Social networking is even easier. Get out and connect with people you know or would like to get to know and engage them in a real and authentic fashion.

What’s holding most lawyers back? I think it’s fear, and in some cases a lack of gumption.

I met a law firm business development person Friday evening among a group of folks meeting over drinks.

New to the business, coming from the sales arena, she was perplexed by both the lack of initiative lawyers showed on the business development front and how ill prepared they were for the real world when they graduated from law school.

I hate to admit to admit it, but my response was that most lawyers are afraid to do business development and other lawyers are too lazy to do it.

When we talked about networking through the net (she was familiar with LexBlog and my work) she asked how to get lawyers to blog and use social media effectively.

In that networking online means truly engaging people and getting out and meeting them virtually and then face to face, I shared that I don’t believe most lawyers want to get out and shake hands (virtually and offline) – they’re afraid. Other lawyers don’t want to put in the time.

I asked over on Facebook if I was off base? Do most lawyers want to get out and network so as to engage people, build relationships, establish trust and build a word of mouth reputation? Are they afraid?

The answers I got were all over the board though all agreed most lawyers were unwilling to get out and develop business.

Most didn’t believe it was laziness. After all, going to school for seven years is a heck of an investment of time. And the hours you put in as part of your job far exceed the typical job.

Some thought it was the old mindset (old as was the case 35 years ago) that good lawyers don’t need to get out and develop business. Lawyers viewed it akin to advertising and something beneath them.

Some thought it was not knowing what to do when it comes to developing business. I do classify that as laziness and an unwillingness to invest in yourself. There is too much information out here and too many people willing to help to say “I don’t know what to do, help me.”

I have tremendous empathy for those working inside law firms in legal marketing and business development roles. My gut tells me you are working with a lot of lawyers who are afraid to act. What if I do something wrong? What will people think of me out here engaging folks online? What if I am not acting like a real lawyer?

I also think you are dealing with lawyers who are no going to do what it takes. Spend time beyond what they are doing to learn what it means to network through the net to grow professionally and build business.

The good thing for lawyers though is that your competition kinda sucks. They’re afraid — and in some cases lazy.

Imagine that’s the other team on the football field or basketball court. You’re going to kill them if you apply yourself.

Image courtesy of Flickr by Jean-Pierre Chamberland