Carolyn Elefant, a Washington, DC-based solo practitioner who blogs at, provides some excellent advice to new lawyers in a recent post entitled: Open Letter To New Lawyer: You Should Be Dragging Me Into The 21st Century Not The Other Way Around

Her words of wisdom are not just applicable to new lawyers, either. 

Apparently Ms. Elefant is seeing lots of law school grads with no social media skills to speak of. This is distressing to her:

At 48 years old, I am old enough to be your mother.  And you should be ashamed of yourself.  Here you are, coming to me for a legal job when you don’t know the first thing about RSS feeds, blogging (reading them, let alone writing them), Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube.  And what’s more, you have no comprehension of the importance of these tools to my practice and seemingly no interest in learning how to use them.

As she notes, newbie lawyers are of minimal use to an established practitioner, who must invest time as well as suffer through periods of trial and error in training the next generation of lawyers. She owns that. 

But to be competitive – to get a job – here’s what she says new lawyers need to offer:

You should be coming to me with a week’s worth of proposed blog posts. You should be streaming out a dozen tweets on industry developments and setting up RSS feeds to share with me – not the other way around.  You should have as robust an online footprint as I do, or more – yet I’ve got thousands of blog posts to your…zero? You should be able to figure out, in a snap, how to use video editing tools if you don’t already and volunteering to create cool informational videos so I can market my firm and generate more business that will support more new hires.

This is a savvy solo who obviously gets what it takes to compete in the legal services arena today. She wonders, as have I, why law schools are lagging behind when it comes to training lawyers how to run a successful practice. 

One of the most troubling aspects of her post is the fact that new lawyers are telling her that law school discourages the use of technology, telling students to stay off Facebook and Twitter for fear of creating an adverse paper trail. Horrible advice! 

So if you’re a new lawyer looking for employment, heed Ms. Elefant’s advice: step up and own 21st century technology. Same goes for the rest of you – every lawyer needs to be hired by someone, and being ignorant of how to reach consumers these days reduces the odds significantly that you will make the cut.


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