Monday, December 28, 2009

Lawyers and Web 2.0

In an article in Lexpert, considered the authoritative source for the latest news and information on the business of law, Marzena Czarnecka writes,
Lawyers have been cautious about using social networking but are gradually embracing the use of social sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Web 2.0 continues to challenge lawyers as they realize that opting out of this new system of connection may equal opting out of business
In fact, lawyers are often behind the curve, as not only are they a very traditional and conservative group with new tools and media, they don't have much incentive to being early adopters. Very much a contrast to libraries, law firms rarely adopt technologies until clients adopt them. There are a few early tech adopters, such as James Hatton and the Tory's Law Firm Youtube page, who experiment with using Web 2.0 among the up and coming. is an interesting example. Law professor Simon Fodden of Osgoode helped form which is a Canadian co-operative weblog about any and all things legal. In its four years of existence, its audience has steadily grown to include hundreds of practicing lawyers, legal librarians, legal academics and students with an aim to share knowledge, offer advice and instruction, and occasionally provoke.

Perhaps the most important lesson here? Librarians are creative innovators. As shows, the blog initially had a 'library' bend to it as law firm librarians, frequently the leaders in communication and information technology adoption at law firms, helped shape the development and direction of the blog. They remain key contributors and readers even though's constituency and reach broadened. One of these innovators is Connie Crosby, who has started her own consulting company. It goes to show that intense information-driven industries, such as law, engineering, or whatever it may be, need to work hand-in-hand with librarians in the new social web.


Dean Giustini said...

Hi Allan
For a few years now, I have felt that legal information has been more difficult to obtain than it needs to be. I was pleased, recently, to see Google scholar commit itself to opening up access to American case law. Perhaps the social tools mentioned in the context of law -- Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter -- are part of the opening up of the conversations and case law of the field. More transparency is a good thing and with access to the discourse in the field in Google scholar consumers can begin to inform themselves about the law also.


Allan said...

Agreed Dean. In another article, Lexpert has released its first demographic study of Canadian lawyers. What is apparent is that Generation Y is taking over. What this means is that as the profession gets younger, more technology savvy lawyers (and clients) will need and use social media.