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Using Social Networking as a Legal Tool

by on July 27, 2010

Are you ready for the Facebookization of legal practice?  Well, there might be no choice according to a recent Wall Stree Journal article:

“Soon after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank in April, Parker Waichman Alonso LLP turned to the Web in pursuit of law clients.

The New York-based plaintiffs’ firm set up websites with names like bigspills.com, oilspillclaims.com and oil-rig-explosions.com, and it filled them with news related to the disaster and invitations for visitors to provide their names and contact information.

More than 1,000 people have now completed the forms on the websites, and Parker Waichman, which has 23 lawyers, has filed about a dozen suits related to the oil disaster.

Law firms, particularly those that represent plaintiffs, are increasingly devoting resources to developing a presence online, where consumers—and potential clients—congregate. And some of those firms are also creating news sites, such as newsinferno.com andconsumerwarningnetwork.com, with content created by employees.

The plaintiffs’ sites disclose that they are affiliated with law firms, but many have the look and feel of community forums or news boards. And they have recently begun to supplant some more traditional marketing methods, such as yellow-page ads and radio and television spots.

Like many plaintiffs firms, Parker Waichman also buys search ads and uses Facebook to publicize its sites. It also has 20 technology specialists who handle such tasks as writing copy for its roughly 300 websites. “We are on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, all the social-networking sites,” said Jerrold Parker, a partner, noting that the firm now spends more than $1 million a year on digital marketing, about a third of its average annual marketing budget.

The firm bought Google search ads for a few days after the BP PLC oil disaster to attract users to the law firm. It also added content to boost the sites’ rankings in the search results for terms like “oil spill lawsuit.”

Mr. Parker said he believes that “people will trust something in the organic section” of Web search results much more than paid ads.”

Read the full article here…

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From → legal news

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