Since Nicole Black and I published the book Social Media For Lawyers: The Next Frontier in 2010, social media for lawyers has in some ways become a victim of their own success.
What I mean by that is that when lawyers realized that social media can help attract, engage and professionalize clients; Using social media managers to curate beautiful Instagram posts and moderate Facebook groups, and buy boring, keyword-laden content for blogs. And so, 90 percent of lawyers’ social media turned into nothing more than a big, boring ad campaign.
And that’s why Clubhouse, the newest social media kid on the block, has been so refreshing so far. Because it’s rough and loud and varied and immediate and short-lived at the edges and, above all, almost impossible to fake.
What is clubhouse? Clubhouse is itself referred to as “drop-in audio chat” and allows users to enter rooms to chat with one another, listen to experts, or give lectures. The clubhouse is audio only so it’s very mobile. I listened to a few presentations and even asked questions on a long drive. As with other social media apps, clubhouse users create bios (emojis are searchable and so recommended!), Follow each other, and receive notifications of their activity.
The clubhouse started for several reasons. First, Clubhouse is just an invitation so far – which means a current user will have to ask you to sign up. As a result, Clubhouse is benefiting from the FOMO phenomenon, even though it was not intended – when the app launched it wasn’t ready for prime time. Instead of bringing it to market in beta, the founders developed the program by invitation only.
Second, the clubhouse is addicting. One can move from room to room for hours to hear conversations on any topic, from the impeachment trial of Trump to Cannabis Business 101, get advice on careers or dating, or even get a reading from a clairvoyant. And because the clubhouse is audio only, it is great for listening on the go.
Third, the clubhouse has attracted great celebrities. I’ve attended meetings with the likes of Gary V. and Mark Andresson. This type of accessibility encourages enthusiasm.
Fourth, the clubhouse is incredibly diverse in terms of age, gender, race and nationality of users. I had always thought that social media would help me meet and connect with others around the world, but with the exception of meeting a handful of legal technicians in Israel and the UK, international connections have not come about as much as it has I’ve seen on clubhouse.
Fifth, the clubhouse came at the right time. A few months after the pandemic started, most of us have zoomed out, our timetables are unpredictable as we go to school and work from home and our attention spans are short. The clubhouse offers a quick way to take a break at any time and chat in bite-sized time slots.
But that’s the overall view of the clubhouse. What you are probably wondering is if and how lawyers can use these.
To answer the first question, if clubhouse is useful to attorneys, the answer is emphatically yes. I refer you to the extensive post of my co-author Niki Black at Above the Law, in which she makes it clear why Clubhouse is uniquely suited for lawyers. As Niki describes, Clubhouse plays to the lawyers’ strengths by providing them with an easy platform to share information, inform others about legal issues, and have informal discussions that are confidential (since chatting is prohibited and you booted from the platform). .
Additionally, the clubhouse should not raise ethical alarms. After all, lawyers are already conducting discussions so that they know exactly what we can and cannot say in open discussions. These rules shouldn’t change whether we’re interacting at a bar event, birthday party, or at the clubhouse. The scenarios are identical.
In any case, Niki was so intrigued by Clubhouse that she suggested that we set up a room together for lawyers to use Clubhouse. Our event took place yesterday with the help of Mitch Jackson, who was generous as a moderator and gave us tips. We asked around 75 participants how they use the clubhouse. The answers were:
– Supervising law students and lawyers;
-in exchanging information on intellectual property;
– hold a weekly “night court” to discuss various legal issues;
– to interview savvy people and put them in the spotlight;
– Meeting lawyers in different countries and exchanging views on legal practice;
– easy to learn by listening to the challenges that color lawyers face
– Brainstorm solutions and exchange ideas on challenges like working from home
And yes, lawyers find business too and make money from clubhouse too – in some women’s rights law groups I’ve been on, at least three lawyers have reported signing up clients (one found a whopping 15 in two weeks) after hosting questions and answers on topics such as business law, branding and trademarks. Undoubtedly, business development matters – but if this is your only goal at Clubhouse, you would be missing out.
But here’s what I like best about the clubhouse. At least for now, you can’t fake it. Insta can be curated, podcasts can be scripted as well as tiktoks, videos can be rehearsed and teleprompted over and over again to make them pop.
In contrast, clubhouse is the simplest and most natural form of communication: conversations like the ones we used to have at conferences, parties or personal events. The clubhouse may not completely fill the void and who knows what the platform will look like months later. For now, at least during this time, Clubhouse lawyers should give something to talk to by giving us a new platform to talk to.
At the moment I have no more invitations to the clubhouse. However, if you want to interact on a different platform, please visit my free 90 minute client triage clinic on January 19, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. Register here.