I once flirted with the Bar, but I decided to become a solicitor so that I could work in Devon. Also, I figured that the more interesting work was likely to be done in London, and having just escaped the Big Smoke I wasn’t about to return.
Over of period of 14 years I have had my fair share of instructing ‘my learned Friends’. The process was pretty unremarkable. It was no different from buying any other external service. What made the experience much more pleasant though was dealing with some very bright and engaging people. I rarely sought out a particular set (Blackstone was perhaps an exception due to its expertise in sports law) but rather enquired internally about the best barrister (by a country mile) for the job. I would usually get at least 2/3 recommendations.
What staggers me right now, though, is how few barristers have embraced social media to promote the brand You (see www.tompeters.com).
Yes I know there are a few chambers who are running blogs and I have seen a few more barristers appear in my LinkedIn “People You May Know” box there is a complete absence otherwise. Why?
Think of the Jay-Z quote (I think this is verbatim): “I am not a businessman, I am a business man”. Doesn’t that hit the proverbial nail on the head?
If I were in practice, I would, at the very least, have organised:
1. A Twitter profile;
2. Dived into LinkedIn and made sure I had some video content through Slideshare about me and my practice area;
3. Started a TypePad or WordPress blog;
4. Sorted out a YouTube channel and produced some remarkable content that was client sensitive;
5. Thought about a book that could be given away as an ebook or perhaps put something up on Scribd, Delicious or the ChangeThis site (www.changethis.com);
6. Downloaded Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to integrate and make simpler my posting;
7. Set up an account on Google; and
8. Established Google reader to aggregate and syndicate my news and content of my blog.
Now this might seem a lot of work to do but if someone came to me and said here are some tools that are (all) FREE and all you have to do is to produce remarkable content to share with your friends, followers, referrers and instructing solicitors and it could mean that you generated endless referrals/instructions through word of mouth then I would be on it like a flash.
For any barrister that reads this post, I would be interested in your views why so few people have adopted a digital footprint. Time possibly but I am not convinced that that is a compelling enough reason.
My advice: have a go. Take it in bite size chunks. If you are struggling with the time then hire someone in to get you started and develop your profile.
For more on developing profitable business, innovating in professional practice and implementing social media, subscribe to the RSS Feed of my Blog. Follow me on Twitter at @0neLife, or @Ju_Summerhayes connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your practice, check out my coaching and consulting firm via LinkedIn, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 075888 15384. I offer a free consultation and will quickly help you indentify the top 3 things that can make the biggest impact to your practice.