ABA Panel Says Law Firms Must Market Themselves On the Internet

Here’s a hot news flash (NOT): law firms in 2009 should market themselves on the Internet. This recent message to lawyers and law firms from the American Bar Association seems just a bit dated.

But not uninteresting. At the ABA’s Law Firm Marketing Strategies Conference held last week in Philadelphia, the participants in a panel discussion, entitled “Utilizing the Internet for Small Firm Marketing,” said that a law firm can establish a Web presence through its own Web site, a blog, or social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter.


A number of the panelists said they have had great marketing success blogging. In fact, the panelists said that a blog will sometimes totally dwarf the traffic a Web site gets.

But the panelists were quick to warn the inexperienced that blogging is not for everyone. Aspiring bloggers should first ask themselves a few questions: Do I like to write? Do I have the time? Can I “go the distance?”

Bloggers should post something at least one to three times per week to keep audiences interested and that abandoned blogs become “permanent monuments to failure” if they’re not promptly deleted from the Internet.


The panelists acknowledged that social and professional networking sites are still relatively uncharted waters for many lawyers. A number of analysts believe that, for most lawyers, “the jury’s still out” on what Twitter actually is and whether social networking sites are worth the time.

But if used correctly, the panel said that networking Web sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be helpful legal marketing tools. LinkedIn, in particular, is “very well indexed” by search engine Web sites like Google and is used by many small businesses. Facebook pages, he said, are not nearly as easy to find using search engines, and are typically used much more for social, rather than professional, networking. Twitter, the newest of the aforementioned networking Web sites, is also mostly used socially, not professionally


The panelists acknowledged that the ethical implications of lawyers using the Internet have yet to be fully examined by lawmakers in many states and agreed that any attorney utilizing the Web should be familiar with the governing laws of his or her jurisdiction.

Source: The November 18, 2009 Edition of the New Jersey law Journal