Archive for the ‘Communicate across Cultures’ Category

What Lawyers Can Learn from the Social Media Phenomenon: FarmVille

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

What can lawyers possibly learn from FarmVille’s international social media success? As discussed in my Global Rainmaking blog, FarmVille’s creators took an idea that appealed to a wide variety of people, regardless of gender, culture or age–and developed it into a global phenomenon. Similarly, international lawyers who work with a wide variety of clients must think of social media strategies that appeal to prospective clients regardless of culture.  For more suggestions, read Learn from FarmVille’s Social Media Success.

Facebook Safety Tips for Lawyers

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

The ABA Journal has posted some great, simple tips for using Facebook more effectively and securely. These tips include:  using, and regularly changing, a “strong” password; updating privacy settings; and segregating clients on a “friends list”–and treating this list differently in terms of which Facebook information your clients can access.

Social Media for International Lawyers: Who, What, Why, Where and How

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Recently, lots of international lawyers (from Caracas to New York to Tokyo) have been asking me about the advantages, necessity and advisability of using social media. Here are some of the most common Q&As.

WHO: Who should try social media? Every lawyer who wants to extend his/her reach internationally.  As of today, reports that the second highest percentage of traffic to LinkedIn comes from India (44% from US; 13.7% from India)–and this trend is growing. This means that if you want to extend  your networks of contacts in India, LinkedIn would be a pretty good place to start.

WHY: Why use it? Social networking is an easy and cost-effective way for lawyers to expand their networks internationally. It enhances–not replaces–personal relationship building. Will social networking bring in clients?  Sometimes.  I have had several clients find me on LinkedIn, and then hire me (without having met me personally). However, I really use social media to develop a broader range of contacts, and renew and solidify current relationships. It’s also a great way to stay abreast of current trends–easily done by joining “groups” on LinkedIn (like the International Bar Association group), Facebook and the like. Social media can also be a powerful “personal branding” tool.  Isn’t it better to define your own brand on the web–instead of letting other people (and any negative news stories) do it for you?

WHERE:  Where should I participate? So many sites…so little time.  So, focus your efforts. Lawyers benefit from joining general professional networking sites like LinkedIn and Xing (popular in Europe), and ones expressly for lawyers (like Martindale-Hubbell Connected). Lawyers can raise their profile with by commenting on blog posts, whether in publications like the ABA Journal online (as I did for this article on how Twitter is spawning legal work),or, or in one of the many private legal blogs (like the award winning China Law Blog).  Better yet, post comments to industry blogs read by your ideal clients; for example, if you want to reach accountants, post comment on these accounting blogs.

WHAT: What should I write? Whether you are blogging, posting comments online, creating social media profiles, or tweeting, do it with your personal brand in mind.  What do you want people to know about you?  What professional expertise can you show?  Remember, authenticity is imperative; don’t pretend that you’re something that you’re not.  However, lack of experience shouldn’t stop you from joining the multitude of conversations available through social media. Most of all, look for ways to be helpful to others via social media.

HOW: How do I start? Just do it! Log onto sites like Facebook (yes, it’s increasingly being used for professional purposes) and create a profile, or read some of the many helpful articles about social media basics for beginners.  Of course, also check your firm’s website and make sure that your profile there is up to date. The more that you network elsewhere on the web, the more hits your firm profile will get–so make sure it’s accurate (and flattering!)

Let the conversation begin!

For some in-person insights on this topic, if you are in New York on April 13, 2010, please join me for a panel discussion on Social Networking for Lawyers: How Lawyers Can Use it to Enhance Their Marketing Success at the ABA’s Section of International Law’s Spring Meeting.  It will be an interesting session featuring Dr. Silvia Hodges, Dan Harris, Frank Sommerfield and me, followed by a session of Speed Networking for International Lawyers.

Effective Cross-cultural Lawyering

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

The Five Habits for Cross Cultural Lawyering by Sue Bryant and Jean Koh Peters discusses how cross-cultural misunderstandings can arise between lawyers and clients.  The result? Lawyers pursue strategies inconsistent with their clients’ values.  Lawyers can improve their cross-cultural effectiveness (and client communication) by learning  “culture-specific” knowledge when dealing with clients from a particular culture, and  “culture-general” knowledge when dealing with clients from a broad variety of cultures.

This analysis is a good reminder–even for seasoned international lawyers–of just how important it is to develop cross-cultural competence.

Social Media Bible for Lawyers

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

A few weeks ago I met Miranda Sevcik  of Media Masters, while we were both speaking at the Texas Minority Counsel Program. Miranda, who helps lawyers with crisis communications and other media-related issues, has posted a  helpful “Social Media Bible“.  Read it for a good summary of everything from social bookmarking to wikis. Last but not least, watch for Miranda in the news; she’s working with the lawyers of Dr. Conrad Murray, the former doctor of Michael Jackson. Now that’s guaranteed media coverage!