Archive for March, 2010

Time to revise Reagan-era privacy law?

March 31, 2010

The Electronics Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) was enacted in 1986 and now a consortium of companies and public interest groups are looking to revise it.  One issue in particular seems obvious – requiring the government to obtain a warrant before searching your electronic data.

“Distinctive Competencies” – focused branding

March 30, 2010

One of the big issues with solos and small firms is finding a way to stand out from the crowd.  This particularly true when competing for space on the Internet but it doesn’t stop there.  This is no easy task – it takes committment, risk and follow-through but I believe it can make a difference.

Susan Cartier Liebel, always worth reading, calls this “distinctive competencies” and illustrates this concept with a personal story of having to find a computer repair service on the web.  She went with the one that offered to come to her.  Now if she didn’t like him or the technician appeared late or in some other didn’t fullfill that initial promise, then that “distinctive” quality would have been lost.  This quality must be real and tie-in with the value a client receives for utilizing the service.

Just after reading that, I ran across a this posting about the value of Facebook fan pages for lawyers and law firm.  The author, Steve Matthews, argues that firms miss out an opportunity by having a Fan page that just acts as a “Website-lite” for the firm.  He suggests they do things to show a different side of themselves than they do on their website or offer potential clients a different experience than they get on their website.

I agree with this approach and would take it one step further which is to connect the fan page to an aspect of the firm’s “distinctive competencies.”  For example, say you are a business attorney who works closely with key players in the real estate construction industry.  Your distinctive brand is that you provide your clients more than a lawyer, you bring them depth of industry experience.  What better way to reinforce that message than by using your Facebook Fan page as the place where you connect with and disseminate information about your favorite charity which you promote within your particular business community?

The advantage to this approach is that it shows what makes you special but isn’t about your law practice per se.  You aren’t using Facebook to repeat information found at your website – though link back to your website.  But more importantly, you are using a Facebook fan page to help you organize and promote your cause and it has a strong side benefit by showing that you are entrenched in the industry working towards positive outcomes with other successful people.  This is something  your website can’t communicate nearly as well.

Small businesses adopting social media

March 29, 2010

According to a recent study this is how small businesses are faring in the social networking world.

  • 75% have a company page on a social networking site
  • 57% build a network through a site such as LinkedIn
  • 39% maintain a blog
  • 16% use Twitter as a service channel
  • LinkedIn focus on new employment suit

    March 29, 2010

    According to this article, an employee of Horizontal Integration, sent invitations to some of her LinkedIn contact who happen to be clients of her former empolyer, TEKsystems, to come her new office.  TEKsystems filed a lawsuit claiming that the employee signed a non-compete and non-solicit agreement while at the company and that these LinkedIn invitations violate those agreements.

    Imperfections means personality

    March 28, 2010

    Air Kaplan who keynoted the recent ABA Techshow made the point that people look to the Internet for getting valuable information rapidly rather than in perfectly formed sentence of beautiful prose.  Two points about this:

    1.  It isn’t imperfections that people want, it’s that they are willing tolerate a higher level of it in exchange for experiencing a real person with personality and valuable information.  Lawyers have a hard time accepting the fact that personality engages and the stiff, formal approach turns people off.

    2.  Statistics show that people don’t read web pages, they glance at them.  Don’t waste time with long, explanatory paragraphs.  Get your points out quickly and make them easy to read at a glance.  Use bold and white space (like this post here!  ; )  )

    More on employer monitoring tools

    March 28, 2010

    According to this article in the New York Times, Social Sentry, a tool for employers to monitor employee social networking activity, costs between $2 and $8 per employee.  Right now it monitors Twitter and Facebook but will be adding YouTube and LinkedIn shortly.

    Client-focus key to award-winning lawyer site

    March 26, 2010

    The Rosen Law Firm website which is called, “North Carolina Divorce Law” won the Elawyering award at the ABA Tech show this year.  It not hard to understand why.  Yes, it has a great layout, with lots of tools and video but the key for me is the focus – its all about offering tools and information to visitors rather than about the lawyer(s).  Everything about the site says, we care about what is happening to you and are here to make a very stressful and difficult process easier.

    Friday Freebie: in depth systems tool

    March 26, 2010

    “SIW is a System Information tool that gathers detailed information about your system properties and settings. A utility that includes detailed specs for Motherboard, BIOS, CPU, Devices, Memory, Video, Drives, Ports, Printers.”

    Click here:

    Privacy tracks web experience

    March 25, 2010

    According to this survey by Verisign, Internet users with more than 10 years experience have an 82% trust level with using the Internet.   Those with less than 6 month experience have a 33% trust level.

    Is this really about trust or simply accepting the tradeoff between value of using the Internet versus the fact that there is little privacy?  Also, people’s notion that they are safe if they don’t use the Internet is mistaken.  Those people’s private data is available to hackers through the Internet whether they have every opend a web browser or not.

    More on employer snooping tools

    March 25, 2010

    Here is an article about tools to monitor employees.  One of the tools in question, Social Sentry, explains one application of the product via an anecdote using Apple’s Ipad.  Given that Apple wanted to keep the name secret, Social Sentry would have allowed the company to filter any use by employees of the term “Ipad” to monitor success (or failure?) of secrecy campaign.