Scottish Young Lawyers Association Conference

24 June 2011

Brian Inkster was speaking today at the Scottish Young Lawyers Association Annual Conference in Glasgow along with Phil Knight of Biggart Baillie LLP and Gavin Ward of Moore Legal Technology on New technology, social media and the law: how to develop, and not destroy, your career.

Phil Knight opened the session with a look at his experience of Twitter, how Biggart Baillie were using Social Media and why and how to set up a Twitter Account.

Phil gave specific results he had achieved via Twitter where referrals had turned into fee earning work. This reflects Inksters' experience of Twitter and other online activities.

Brian Inkster then gave a presentation on Inksters' experience. 

Brian explained how Inksters were the first Scottish Law Firm to tweet and outlined how this presence had been built upon with Twitter accounts for the niche areas of law that Inksters cover and each lawyer having their own Twitter account. Resulting in, as Jon Bloor calls it, Tweeting in Convoy.
Brian indicated that with 12 Twitter accounts Inksters actually had more accounts than members of staff (9). This leads to people who use social media thinking Inksters are a much larger law firm than it actually is. Phil Knight had earlier pointed out that Inksters has more followers (1613) than any Scottish law firm. Second being Biggart Baillie LLP (1029) and third Maclay Murray & Spens (771). Both of those firms are considerably larger in size than Inksters.
Brian outlined the consequences of Inksters tweeting and compared Twitter with LinkedIn (which is more professional and perhaps, as a result, more boring) and FaceBook (for old friends rather than new connections).
Brian then took a look at law blogging. Advising the young lawyers how easy it was to set up and publish a blog using the likes of WordPress as Brian did with The Time Blawg.
Brian finished the presentation with a quote from Betsy Munnell commenting on Law Firm Twitteratigate at The Time Blawg:-
"Clearly, and the data in your post makes this point many times over, young lawyers need to teach themselves how to use social media for their careers. They cannot wait for their firms to catch up–not if they wish to build self-sustaining practices, not if they wish to survive this economy and the coming revolution in the delivery of legal services."
Some Tweets on Brian's presentation:-
@EmmaBoffey Brian Inkster now speaking - inksters were first Scottish law firm to join Twitter in 2009 #sylaannualconference
@karenwylie_law @BrianInkster For Twitter to work it is best done at a personal level not a corporate level #sylaannualconference
@EmmaBoffey Brian Inkster speaking about the importance of engaging on a personal level with Twitter followers #sylaannualconference
@EmmaBoffey Don't worry if it is only other lawyers following you on Twitter - they can refer work to you too #sylaannualconference
@EmmaBoffey Can't believe Inksters is such a small firm, massive presence on Twitter makes them appear much bigger #sylaannualconference
@EmmaBoffey - visit this link to see how successful Inksters have been through using social media #sylaannualconference
@karenwylie_law @BrianInkster - reviews Inksters experience of Twitter at #sylaannualconference
@EmmaBoffey Not enough Scottish lawyers blogging at the moment #sylaannualconference
Next up was Gavin Ward who explained what LinkedIn is, how to create a solid profile, join relevant groups, engage in group discussions, find relevant contacts, connect with relevant contacts, start recommending, connect your website and twitter accounts, select a unique URL, promote your linked in profile to your social networks, monitoring who is viewing your profile, what the benefits of LinkedIn are.
Gavin's final piece of advice to the Young Lawyers was:-
"DO NOT Stick your head in the sand when new business is sitting waiting for you"
Brian, Phil and Gavin were then involved in a Q & A session, facilitated by Martin Raymond of Cloudline, with an interesting discussion ensuing about, amongst other things, What not to tweet, Twittiquette and conflict within law firms between the partners and younger tweeting lawyers.
At the beginning of the session Phil Knight asked how many of the Young Lawyers were on Twitter, LinkedIn and FaceBook. Almost all were on the latter and only a handful on the former two. Has there has been a shift in that following the talk?
Other sessions and speakers at the Conference included:
Innovation in Commercial Practice: the future of commercial legal services
Professor Stewart Brymer (Brymer Legal); Philip Rodney (Burness LLP); Valerie Surgenor (Macroberts LLP)

The Future of Rights of Audience in Scotland
Representatives of the Faculty of Advocates and the Society of Solicitor Advocates

The Future of the Law in Scotland: a UK and International Perspective
Richard Susskind, Legal Commentator and Author of The End of Lawyers   

Progressing your career in challenging economic times
Jim Moser, Director of Learning and Development, Dundas & Wilson CS LLP

Closing Keynote by Lorna Jack, Chief Executive of The Law Society of Scotland
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