Tuesday, 23 October 2012

What Doe’s Twitter’s “Law Tribe” Mean for Law?

In this post we ask a difficult question: what does Twitter's "Law Tribe" mean for law?

The legal services industry is in the midst of a revolution. These are convulsions triggered by a range of factors including persistent economic headwinds, chronic business uncertainty and an increase in regulation. But at the heart of law’s metamorphosis has been the client. Under a gloomy economic backdrop the long and short is: clients want more for less.

This means law firms have had to tighten up their management strategy, offer lower prices, become more commercial, provide more added-value services, reinvest in training and human capital, break from the charge by hour model, become more client-centric so that they understand their client, the industry they operate in and the broader business environment.  These changes have been documented by the FT and Meridian West in a recent report, available here.

With this has come broader changes to the sector including the practice of outsourcing of legal services, contracting in in-house counsel, the deregulation of services in England (heralding in the era of Tesco law) and a great many other changes. Alongside the revolution in legal services is happening an even greater one: the digital revolution.  A wonder driven by man’s ambition and ingenuity that has seen computers of all sizes and the internet colonise every facet of human life.

And the legal industry certainly hasn’t managed to avoid the process of digital colonisation. All but a few law firms have a website, and increasingly attorneys, solicitors, barristers, legal professionals and law firms are building an online identity and a digital voice through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Youtube, their blog and more.

Whilst lawyers could never be described as a demographic leading with the bleeding edge of technology, they are palpably a breed becoming ever-more digitalised. One area of the digital world where they have come to call home has been Twitter. Here they have come together in a large grouping where they interact, discuss and share information about law, its news and developments.

This has spawned Twitter’s “Law Tribe”. Something we discussed here. But what does Twitter’s “Law Tribe” mean for law?

I hope that many of you can submit your ideas, opinions, views and that we can drive a conversation around this question. But in the mean time, here’s my take: I’ve made a great many legal friends on Twitter from across the world. And through regular interaction I have learn about other legal systems, learnt things I didn’t know about the UK legal system, learnt about social media law, found out more about barristers and law firms generally, and been alerted to breaking legal news and events.

All together I feel that I’ve greatly advanced my knowledge of law; not necessarily of the discipline itself but rather a more intimate feel for what’s happening, where law is going and who the makers and shakers in law are. And for this I feel much enriched. And if all legal Tweeters can get out of Twitter what I have there would be a broader enrichment of the practice of law.

All the sharing and caring between lawyers on Twitter has to be good for law. After all as one advances we all advance; the furtherance of one is for the mutual betterment of us all. I find it hard to encapsulate in words thoughts and opinion that themselves are still fluid.

I hope to crystallise a more concrete understanding of what the “Law Tribe” means for law...hopefully you guys can help in this process.  

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