|Pat Ellis who is in his second year of Law School|
I recently, however, changed my perspective on Twitter. As a law student in the States, I have developed an interest in the future of legal services, a movement that has been described by some as the “re-invention of law” or the “re-imagination of law.” After reading Susskin’s book The End of Lawyers, a kind of Bible for legal industry progressives, I realized that there is boundless opportunity for future practitioners to join this movement toward the future of the legal industry. I also came to discover that if I was going to be a part of this movement, I needed to become fluent in the language of “ReInvent” and become comfortable in communicating through the mediums that my peers and mentors used: social media.
With that in mind, I also decided I might as well kill two birds with one stone. As a member of the Michigan State Law Review, I have been set on a quest to write a scholarly Note on a legal topic. Seems simple, but one of the requirements of writing a Note is that you, a second-year law student, must choose a topic that is both fascinating to you (because you will be spending the better part of two semesters working on it), and obscure. The first requirement is easy: I practically change my mind about what kind of law I want to practice on a daily basis. This is not because I dislike several areas of practice, but because I like everything. Seriously, I like everything. I like criminal law. I like family law. I like banking law. Banking law…hmmm.
Two months ago, when I had to choose a topic for my Note, I liked banking law so much, that I decided I would write a scholarly contribution to the world of banking law: Risk, Religion, and Regulation - Derivatives Market Oversight in Conventional and Islamic Finance. That was the working title and working topic of my Note; until about two weeks ago. Ridiculous.
After turning in my first outline, complimented by twenty-five scholarly sources, I changed my mind. I didn’t change my mind because I didn’t like my topic. In fact, I liked Islamic derivatives so much, that I practically learned Arabic and Black-Scholes equations just so I could write the damn Note. Instead, however, I thought I could write something better; something more meaningful to me.
Now I am writing my Note about the intersection of Twitter and the future of legal practice. I don’t want to elaborate on my thesis much more than that (for now), but I can tell you that I am enjoying doing my research on Twitter a hell of a lot more than I enjoyed reading IMF working papers on the developments of futures exchanges in Malaysia. For my paper (as well as my future career), I created a Twitter account and, this time, did it right: added a photo, created a bio, and engaging other Tweeters. Since then, I have taken the step off of that proverbial Red Bull capsule and embarked on a free-fall through the Twittersphere. In just two weeks, I have learned more than I thought I would learn in months; I have communicated with legal professionals in different countries; and I have even made a few friends along the way. As the days pass, I can see the importance of developing a strong social media presence. Whether you are a student or a seasoned attorney, Twitter is a vital tool of communication, networking, and learning.