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Why Social Media Matters for Law Firms

July 30, 2015, 5:37 PM

Editor’s Note: The author of this post is the chair of Baker & McKenzie. His Twitter handle is @eduardo_c_leite.

By Eduardo C. Leite, Global Chairman of Baker & McKenzie

A recent article reported that only five managing partners of AmLaw 100 firms use Twitter. I was relieved to know that I’m one of the few.

It wasn’t my idea to open an account but that of our Global Communications team. My blog also started after a suggestion from them and I’m really happy to see that it connects our people from each and every office to the global firm, particularly those who don’t have the daily opportunity of being in touch with other colleagues from other parts of the world.

I believe the blog has helped strengthen our Firm’s culture of friendship and provided opportunities for everyone to share in the excitement and gain a sense of ownership of the achievements of the Firm.

Much of the technology we use to communicate today did not exist when I began my law career more than 30 years ago. Gone are the days of pagers, faxes and pay phones, and forget about sharing files on floppy disks or presentations using slide projectors.

Today, smart technology and mobile devices feature in every aspect of our lives — work, family, entertainment, social activities and financial transactions, while social media platforms are helping us grow our networks and stay connected in ways we could never have imagined even a decade ago.

These innovations and platforms are transforming industries and ideas faster than ever before. and creating new ways of doing business. Why should the legal sector be any different?

As society becomes more connected and business becomes increasingly global, enabled by technology, clients want and need more from their law firms.

Clients expect to be supported by firms that know them well, who understand their industries, products, cultures and technologies … firms that can keep up with them. They also want their law firms to be as innovative, efficient and forward-looking as they are. Among many things this means embracing today’s technologies and keeping abreast of the latest digital trends in communications and marketing, including social media and blogging.

Social media allows us to engage and connect with our clients and our people in real time, and on a personal basis. It helps us to see the world through their eyes and gain more insights on how we can add more value for them, to their business and their experience of our Firm and our people.

Just as importantly, we are able to attract and identify the next generation of talent who will join Baker & McKenzie. By 2020 more than 50 percent of the global workforce will be members of Generation Y and Generation Z. They have grown up connected, collaborative and mobile. They look for their news on Twitter, find jobs on LinkedIn, connect with family, colleagues, friends on Facebook, and capture life moments on Instagram.

Baker & McKenzie’s ambition is not just to be the premier global law firm, but also a firm prepared for the future, leading the way for decades to come. And for that to happen, we have to become even bolder with our client-driven and innovative approach.

We will continue to take the initiative to follow our clients where they want us to be … in any new market or any social network.

The evolution of technology will continue to challenge our industry and all of us personally. It is up to us to integrate it into our practices and the way we think, work and behave.