Why Like Social Media?

Jennifer Dolman

Mar 5, 2012

By Sheldon Gordon, The Lawyers Weekly

A non-profit group called West Coast Environmental Law, recently hosted the first moot court held entirely on Twitter. Participants from Canadian law schools made submissions — of up to 140 characters. The idea was to bring environmental law issues to a broader audience.

It’s an example of how the legal profession is innovating with social media.

Jennifer Dolman, a partner at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto, says surprisingly few lawyers make use of LinkedIn’s tools. For example, she does regular “status updates” on her profile, and posts legal articles and cases using the JD SUPRA app available to lawyers. “It shows that you’re engaged, care about your area [franchise litigation] and follow the important cases.”

Dolman says she’s always done a lot of marketing, but social media just gives her an easier platform from which to do it. “It gives you an opportunity to reach out to someone you otherwise wouldn’t have met. I get work from it, I get speaking opportunities, I get media inquiries.”

She has made a robust 1,056 “connections” on LinkedIn. “If I e-mail someone, they eventually get around to it,” she says. “But if I e-mail them through LinkedIn, the response time is much faster.”

She acknowledges possible negatives, however. “You have to be cautious, because you’re a professional. When people get too comfortable in this space, especially Twitter, they can get too personal. This all leaves a footprint. I don’t want others to see something that shows poor judgment.”