Patrick Ellis writes a blog at http://patellis.wordpress.com and commented on a recent blog item on lawyers and social media posted by Kevin O’Keefe with an interesting take on why law students don’t put themselves ‘out there’. He asks the question: Why won’t they Twitter or Blog?
Because they are afraid of the risks involved with putting themselves “out there.” It is not, however, entirely the student’s fault. Career advisors remind students to be “careful” of social media. Why not instead teach students how to responsibly use and leverage social media’s capabilities?
I recently read a post by Kevin O’Keefe detailing the risks lawyers assume by being a “social media holdout.” This paragraph was particularly striking:
The firm’s lawyers weren’t blogging either. They’re forfeiting their position as the “go to” lawyer and missing out on emerging industries as sources of new business. These lawyers are also absent from the conversation taking place among thought leaders, reporters, and business leaders who are blogging — a conversation which is being followed by in-house counsel.
This idea applies with equal weight to law students. Sure, we don’t have to worry about being the “go to” lawyer (yet), but we must be tuned in to what is happening in our industry; now more than ever. Ultimately, students need to assess their own situation and the opportunity-cost of forsaking social media and blogs. For me, the cost is too high and it is a risk I am not willing to take.