Keith Lee writes for Above The Law while he practices law at Hamer Law Group, LLC in Birmingham, Alabama....
Jared D. Correia, Esq. is the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business...
Why are lawyers now opting for online communities instead of traditional networking avenues, namely bar associations? In this Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia explores the answer to this question along with guest Keith Lee. They discuss the benefits of Slack and what bar associations can do to become more relevant to younger lawyers looking for a supportive community of lawyers.
Keith Lee is the founder of LawyerSmack.com and Associatesmind.com.
The Legal Toolkit
Online Communities for Lawyers and Why They’re Great
Intro: Welcome to Legal Toolkit, bringing you the latest legal trends and business initiatives to help you manage your law firm, with your host Jared Correia. You are listening to Legal Talk Network.
Jared Correia: Hey, welcome to a new episode of The Legal Toolkit here on Legal Talk Network. If you are looking for Turkish Delight, don’t take it from the white witch, try the goat boy, trust me.
If you are a returning listener, welcome back. If you are a first-time listener, hopefully you will become a longtime listener. And if you are Wilson Pickett, I ask you, will 99 and three-quarters percent do?
As always, I am not Wilson Pickett, but your erstwhile host Jared Correia, and in addition to casting this pod, I am the CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law practice management consulting and technology solutions for lawyers and Bar Associations. Check us out at HYPERLINK “http://www.redcavelegal.com/”redcavelegal.com.
If you are starting a law firm, we are hosting exclusive workshops in Boston and New York this August and September. Find out more at HYPERLINK “http://www.buildyourownlawfirm.com” buildyourownlawfirm.com and start your new practice with confidence.
Finally, you can listen to my other, other podcast, The Lobby List, a family travel show I host with my wife Jessica on iTunes. Rate us and comment.
Here on the Legal Talk Network however we provide you each month with a new tool to add to your own legal toolkit so that your practices will become more and more like best practices.
In this episode we are going to talk about online lawyer communities. But before I introduce today’s guest, let’s take a moment to thank our sponsors.
Scorpion crushes the standard for law firm online marketing with proven campaign strategies to get attorneys better cases from the Internet. Partner with Scorpion to get an award-winning website and ROI positive marketing programs today. Visit HYPERLINK “http://www.scorpionlegal.com/podcast”scorpionlegal.com/podcast.
Next, we would like to thank our sponsor, Thomson Reuters Firm Central, cloud-based legal practice management that streamlines your day and automates non-billable administrative tasks, so you can accomplish more with less.
Answer 1 is a leading virtual receptionist and answering services provider for lawyers. You can find out more by giving them a call at 800-Answer-1 or online at HYPERLINK “http://www.answer1.com/”www.answer1.com. That’s HYPERLINK “http://www.answer1.com/”www.answer1.com.
Now, my guest today is the one and only Keith Lee. Keith is an attorney at Hamer Law Group in Birmingham, Alabama, where his practice areas includes startups, contract disputes and intellectual property law. But you probably know him as the mind behind the exceedingly popular Associate’s Mind blog.
On the front page of that website he is tearing off his shirt, so ladies take note.
From Associate’s Mind sprang LawyerSmack, a national Lawyer Slack with channels covering everything from Legal Ethics to Law After Dark. Now, if that is not an intriguing introduction, I don’t know what is.
Welcome to the show Mr. Keith Lee.
Keith Lee: I am happy to be here. I am tearing off my shirt right now.
Jared Correia: Nice. How many shirts — do you have like the Hulk Hogan tear off shirts?
Keith Lee: Yeah, I just keep like some around, just for general purposes. I am like oh man, I might need to tear a shirt off today, so I just keep one in my bag and I can throw it on and tear it off. That way I am not like tearing off my nice shirts or anything.
Jared Correia: Trust me, I know how it is. Let’s get into the Slack thing.
Keith Lee: Oh man, we are just getting straight to it, okay.
Jared Correia: Let’s just do it. We were talking about Noobs before, right, nobody likes Noobs.
Keith Lee: Nobody likes Noobs.
Jared Correia: So let’s just throw this out there, because people are going to ask what is Slack, and I get that question a lot, and why is Slack dripping with goodness for lawyers who are online?
Keith Lee: So Slack is just a communications platform, just period, that’s all it is. That’s the best way to think of it. Think of it as a communications tool that is just — it’s replacing email for a lot of companies, particularly internal email. A lot of the Fortune 500 uses it, tons of technology companies.
It’s just like using like a group chat program, but a little bit more structured, a little bit more business functionality in that you can just go in and you are in a group or a team group and then within that group there are going to be an infinite number of channels, so say you can have channels about whatever.
In LawyerSmack there is, like you said, there is channels about Ethics, there is channels about After Dark, which is lawyers discussing their Tinder dates.
Jared Correia: Very naughty.
Keith Lee: Very naughty. But then there are state-specific channels, Georgia or New York or California or practice specific, IP or ambulance chasers, which are the PI guys.
It’s funny, we have — so tell you the difference between the plaintiffs bar and the defense bar, the insurance defense channel is called InsDef; the plaintiff bar personal injury channel is called Ambulance Chasers. If that doesn’t tell you how those groups view each other.
And I actually —
Jared Correia: It does sound funny.
Keith Lee: Yeah, it does. And it’s funny, someone — one of the plaintiffs side, actually they were like, should we change this, and I started to change it, and as soon as I changed it to like something plainer, they all revolted. They were like, let’s have a poll and let’s vote and see, and it was like 95%, they were all like keep it Ambulance Chasers.
Jared Correia: That’s pretty good.
Keith Lee: But it’s just a place — it’s just a way people can have conversations. As opposed to trying to email a bunch of back and forth a lot or use a LISTSERV or some other like early 1980s technology that no one else uses anymore, except for the legal profession, like faxes.
Jared Correia: I am feverishly trying to delete all my chat room accounts while we are having this conversation. Give me a second.
Keith Lee: But it’s just a way for people to connect. And so I created one that’s just exclusively privately for lawyers. That also has a fee to join, so it’s a select group of lawyers from around the country.
Jared Correia: Only the finest lawyers around the country.
Keith Lee: Finest around the country and international. I mean it’s fun.
Jared Correia: Yeah, that’s right, you are international now. See, that was a pretty good description. I don’t think anybody should be afraid of Slack now. But I have to ask you, how many shirts did you rip off during that particular answer?
Keith Lee: Two, because that was a lot to explain.
Jared Correia: Yeah, that’s true, that’s true. All right, this may be a one shirt answer.
Keith Lee: Okay.
Jared Correia: In your opinion, why are lawyers now opting for online communities versus like the traditional networking avenues they had previously chosen to stay in touch with one another?
Keith Lee: Because those old ones aren’t that great and no one is using them anymore.
Jared Correia: See, one shirt, I told you.
Keith Lee: Yeah. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Bar Associations. I think professional organizations for lawyers make a lot of sense in the sense that lawyers need to network with other lawyers and communicate and we are a mentoring profession that theoretically should be offering opportunities for — seniors should offer opportunities to juniors and have a space for people to learn from one another and work together.
That being said, in the past 20, 30 years technology, society has radically changed and we are all in a different spot and just like every other aspect of most people’s relationships are through Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or whatever, Snapchat, Insta, why isn’t your professional relationships with other lawyers that way too.
And so I mean I think that’s why it’s come about is that Bar Associations are not serving their members in the way that the members expect to receive benefits or meeting them where they want to be, which is online. Particularly, you pick lawyers who are 40ish and younger, like they do everything online. They are not away from their phones ever. They are always on their laptop. They are always doing stuff. And it’s just a very natural extension just to be like oh, hey, here is this other app and when you go in there, it’s just full of lawyers talking shop. It’s kind of a no-brainer.
Jared Correia: And you said the B-word, so we are going to address that later.
Keith Lee: What’s the B word?
Jared Correia: Bar Associations.
Keith Lee: Oh man, okay.
Jared Correia: We are going to talk about Bar Associations a little bit more after the break.
Keith Lee: Nice.
Jared Correia: But I think one of the issues too, and I don’t know if you have experienced this also, is like Bar Associations, the B word, they tend to do everything like in real time, like I haven’t — I can’t tell you how many times people have told me like, oh, I tried to call my mentor and my mentor wasn’t available.
So do you think that like the fact that when you are online you can just respond when you are ready, not necessarily in real time and still feel like you are part of an active conversation is a helpful aspect of this as well?
Keith Lee: Yeah, sure. I mean the benefit that everyone knows about like email and stuff is that it’s asymmetric. You can respond as needed, and Slack is just an extension of that. It’s a little bit more real time, because it’s a very like active back and forth conversation system, but if you are not there, it’s not a big deal. You can always come back to it versus the phone.
If you talk to — listen, drop it down a decade, if you talk to anyone 30 and younger and be like when was the last time you spoke to somebody on the phone, they are like, oh, the phone, gross.
Jared Correia: I text everyone. It’s like 30 year olds and 65 year olds, like the only people I get text from are my mom or people who are younger than 30.
Keith Lee: Yeah. So I mean like people don’t like the phone. You feel like you have to schedule a phone call. It’s kind of invasive if you are calling and you haven’t set it up and you are interrupting people and it’s a time commitment. Versus like hey, look, this is here, you leave it up on your computer. If you want to talk to people, you jump in there, you talk, you ask questions about it. If you are busy, you just don’t look at it. It’s a virtual water cooler.
It’s the same ways people use Twitter or whatever. The difference being as lawyers you can’t jump on Facebook or Twitter and then immediately start talking about your practice, because that’s likely an ethical violation, or you don’t want to open yourself up in such a way.
As a lawyer, a lot of it is a trust game in getting clients and you don’t want to appear in public being like, I am not sure about how to handle this matter. I mean all that’s going to communicate to people is that you are an idiot and no one should trust you, versus knowing that you can go into a private area that no one can see it, unless they are a member, and that everyone who is in there is also a lawyer, if they are not doing identically what you are doing, but they are a lawyer, they are a prosecutor or they are a big law associate or there are tons of solos who are in-house.
You are comfortable to go in there and share and kind of be vulnerable about who you are and what you are doing with your work with those people, because it’s a “safe space” as I say that, and we were just talking about the After Dark channel; some channels are more a safe space than other.
Jared Correia: That is not a safe space.
Keith Lee: That is not a safe space.
Jared Correia: The tree of trust though is what you are trying to say, I guess.
Keith Lee: Yes, that’s what it is. So for lawyers who want to go and have a supportive community of people who are kind of like-minded or there to help each other work on their practices, that’s really what it’s for.
Jared Correia: And I know we talked about this a little bit, but I want to give you an opportunity to extend on this topic somewhat. So like why Slack specifically, like I know a lot of lawyers groups, they are still using like Google Groups, for example, and there are other products that are kind of like Slack or trying to be like Slack, like Microsoft Teams and Microsoft bought Yammer and is currently destroying that like every other product they buy, like Skype. So why Slack versus like another potential competitor?
Keith Lee: Sure. I explored a lot of different options through, should it be dedicated forum software, should it be group, should it be like a phpBB, should it be a Discord, there are a lot of different options you could go with, but Slack out of all the ones I evaluated, Slack is the most sort of like business-oriented. It’s very much meant for team business chat.
Now, obviously the lawyers who are my members, they are not all working with the same firm or anything, but that sort of structure and the sort of integrations that Slack offers are great, it’s really amazing. I mean Slack is just the best in class. I mean period, realistically. If you are interested in real time team communication, there is Slack and then there is sort of a lot of also-rans.
Jared Correia: I feel like you need an endorsement contract, can you make that happen?
Keith Lee: They should. They should pay me money.
Jared Correia: Absolutely.
Keith Lee: But I explored a lot of different things and Slack just works the best, there is no question, and people are comfortable with it and they get in there and it’s very easily navigable and people can use it. And there’s a learning curve for lawyers, because lawyers are tech averse.
Jared Correia: Is that true? No, I am just kidding.
Keith Lee: Yeah, we have had that conversation before. So don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a leap for some people, but I think once people get in there and they can wrap their heads around it, and it’s one of those things you have to just say, okay, look, this seems like a good thing for me. I have a group of like-minded professionals with which I can network as needed in real time. I have got to learn this if I want to like be a part of this. And so you just have to say, all right, I am going to dedicate some time to learning this software. It’s not like it’s complicated.
Jared Correia: No, it’s not super hard, even I can use it.
Keith Lee: Can you text message?
Jared Correia: And I have a flip phone.
Keith Lee: Yeah, yeah, can you send text messages, okay, well, then you can use Slack, like that’s really the equivalent of it.
Jared Correia: Absolutely. All right, this is a good time for a break. Good stuff with Keith Lee to start out with and we will come back in a second after I tell you what you should buy.
Is your firm experiencing missed calls, empty voicemail boxes, and potential clients you will never hear from again? Enter Answer 1 virtual receptionist. They are more than just an answering service. Answer 1 is available 24/7. They can even schedule appointments, respond to emails, integrate with Clio, and much more. Answer 1 helps make sure your clients have the experience they deserve. Give them a call yourself at 800-Answer-1 or visit them at HYPERLINK “answer1.com/podcast” answer1.com/podcast for a special offer.
Firm Central, a cloud-based legal practice management software for solo and small firms, provides a single online location for all of the tools you need to manage client files and perform client work, and offers unrivaled integration with Westlaw. With Firm Central, you can securely store and organize documents and case files, manage time tracking and billables, and collaborate with clients through a secure client portal from anywhere there is an Internet connection.
Hey, thanks for coming back, I am still here and I have got my wingman Keith Lee here with me. He is talking to me about lawyer communities.
So Keith, let’s jump right back into it. So you run a web-based online community for lawyers, LawyerSmack on Slack, but do you see a lot of other lawyers as well trying to create their own online communities in addition to joining one just like yours, like is this a trend that’s happening?
Keith Lee: Yes, I am a trendsetter. Boom.
Jared Correia: I knew that. And not just in this category I should say.
Keith Lee: Well, that’s debatable, but I mean do you not — so I will flip that and ask you back. From the time that you and I have known each other and when you first learned about LawyerSmack, do you think there has been more communities coming about since LawyerSmack or less or what?
Jared Correia: Oh yeah, and even before LawyerSmack, like there were the seeds of people building online communities and a lot of them were using Slack, but yeah, this is happening more and more. Like we will talk about this in a second, but I don’t think lawyers necessarily want to pay the traditional fees associated with belonging to traditional organizations, so they are building their own communities online for all the reasons we just talked about.
Keith Lee: Yeah. And so it’s been really interesting to me to watch like in the wake of LawyerSmack becoming what it has become, like you can’t go like two weeks before there is some other legal community now and I am like okay, I am feeling you, all right, everybody wants a community now, you are welcome, thanks, you are welcome everybody, seeds of the idea right here.
I actually had that conversation out in Vegas at Lawyernomics, a number of people came up to me and they were like wow, there are a lot of legal communities now, it’s like the thing now. It’s definitely the thing, people have realized. So for me, like I know there has been at least two other Slack communities have spun out from LawyerSmack already.
Jared Correia: How interesting.
Keith Lee: Yeah, people have gone on to do their own separate things.
Jared Correia: Are those general as well or are we talking like practice area specific community?
Keith Lee: One is general and one is a women’s only group.
Jared Correia: Yeah, that’s really cool.
Keith Lee: Yeah, it’s very cool, that’s just for Slack, that’s open to whoever. There is a women’s channel in my community that’s definitely active and probably has like 40, 50 members in it for them to talk about. Women have particular issues in the legal industry that’s different than men, so I think it’s really good for them to have a space. So that’s just for me.
And then yeah, everybody — I mean so many other — you pick somebody, everyone has decided they want a community now. They are like, you know, oh, Keith did something and it seems like it’s a good idea, let’s all do that too, so more power to them.
Jared Correia: All right, we talked a little bit about this earlier too, but the traditional venues like Bar Associations and traditional legal organizations, people are moving towards these alternative groupings. So let’s first talk about what it is that’s lacking in traditional groups that are causing people to gravitate to Slack.
Keith Lee: Yeah. If I go to another Bar Association event that is at some old country club or old space and I am eating some mass-produced Chicken Alfredo thing that was made for 200 people and it’s gross and it’s the same crew of like really old white dudes talking about some glory days stuff of whatever, like I have done that enough at this point and I think most younger lawyers go to this.
It’s the problems with the industry writ large. Lawyers are like the original knowledge workers and more so than any other knowledge workers, the functionality of lawyers is tied up in their brain — normally people retire at 65, lawyers don’t retire, you can’t go quarter and not see some article in like the ABA Journal in like lawyer Miami, Florida, 102 still at his desk everyday.
And like that seems fun I guess and kind of funny, but A, it’s depressing. If I am 102, I better not be in the office. B, those people remain partners or they remain in control of Bar Commissions and Bar Boards and they are on the Executive Committees and all these things and they don’t want to change the status quo, they like being in charge, they like going to the same country club every year, having the same parties, the same people, seeing the same crowds. And realistically, they don’t really have much invested about building the future; I mean they are just going to retire and go buy a boat and live in Sarasota or whatever. So you have those problems with like just affecting younger lawyers getting jobs in general.
But yeah, you apply that to Bar Associations and it’s hard to get involved. There is nothing for them to do. And even if they did, they go and they are like, why would I do any of this, like they are not as tied to the working. They go to their job, then they leave and the rest of the time they are tied to their phone or in front of their laptop or their iPad or whatever.
Jared Correia: That’s true.
Keith Lee: It’s the classical don’t make your customers come to you; you go to where your customers are type of thing. If Bar Associations were really serious and like really trying to be forward, thinking about like, okay, over the next two to three decades, where our new members going to come from, it’s obviously younger lawyers and those younger lawyers expect things to be online to the max, technology, bleeding edge, all the way. They don’t want to be stuck using and being a part of an organization that’s stuck in the 70s or whatever.
Jared Correia: Yes, so don’t listen to the old White guys, listen to the middle-aged White guys like me, Keith.
Keith Lee: Yeah, exactly.
Jared Correia: What? Middle-aged I was going to say, I spoke too quickly.
Keith Lee: I mean, come on — let’s be, come on, middle-aged.
Jared Correia: All right, then I’m not going to call myself middle-aged either.
Keith Lee: Yeah, yeah you can be —
Jared Correia: I am going to be young White male.
Keith Lee: Youngish, youngish White male.
Jared Correia: I can’t be young. All right, I’ll let that slide. All right, so let’s talk about these Bar Associations, traditional organizations like we know the falls and the flaws, some of which our market forces that they can’t control really.
Keith Lee: Sure.
Jared Correia: But, how can Bar Associations and traditional legal organizations like modernize in this way or potentially partner with online communities that are out there, they’re developing anyway?
Keith Lee: Yeah, I mean, hey, if any Bar Association wants to just essentially give me all your members, holla, right?
Jared Correia: I don’t know if that’s a sales pitch, but go on.
Keith Lee: I actually had this. Do you know Chad Burton from CuroLegal?
Jared Correia: Of course I do.
Keith Lee: So, Chad was a lawyer, we had this conversation a week where Chad — he’s working on the blueprint thing for the ABA and it was funny we were talking about this, and somebody else was asking me about the community, another vendor and talking about giving me — they’re like, well, maybe, we should give you our customers our members to join.
I was like you should. I was like I’m offered, and I was like I’m pivoting right now, LawyerSmack is now a CaaS, it’s a Community-as-a-Service, all right, something —
Jared Correia: I like that, I like that, you can’t just throw the stuff out there, you need a good IP attorney. Wait, that could be you, right?
Keith Lee: Yeah, I’ve claimed if someone starts talking about CaaS, like oh, we are a CaaS organization, people are going to be like, a CaaS, that’s where you could be actually at an event and start throwing around CaaS or some other acronym that you totally make up and gauge how people react, because some people will be like, oh, oh yeah, we do that too, oh yeah, CaaS, we’re totally CaaS-compliant.
What is that? Oh no, you don’t know one.
Jared Correia: And then they receive a cease and desist from you.
Keith Lee: Yeah, exactly. So, anyway, Community as a Service. If there are some Bar Associations who were like, man, we really need to do that and we don’t know how to do it, call me, I’ll hook you up but —
Jared Correia: Being a building a community, yes, speak, go on.
Keith Lee: I mean, how can they become more relevant for modern life? I mean, they need to do this, they need to go talk to younger members and say just, I mean this is a big leap, ask what they want, like what do they want, do they want more parties, do they want more social events, they want more professional networking, they want mentorship or do they just want community, do they’re going to be up to just connect and talk with other lawyers?
I think probably Bar Associations need to do a lot more listening and less talking is probably what needs to happen.
Jared Correia: Excellent, good response, I think there; good talk, good talk. So, let’s take another break. While I look for my sandals, listen to some more words from our sponsors.
Do you feel like your marketing efforts aren’t getting you the high value cases your firm deserves? For over 15 years, Scorpion has helped thousands of law firms, just like yours, to attract new cases and to grow their practices. As a Google Premier Partner and winner of Google’s Platform Innovator Award, Scorpion has the right resources and technology to aggressively market your law firm and to generate better cases from the Internet. For more information, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.scorpionlegal.com/podcast” scorpionlegal.com/podcast today.
Jared Correia: All right, thanks for coming back. How’s your Klondike bar? Mine was good.
Let’s reset with Keith Lee, who’s telling me how lawyers congregate now and just so you remember, Keith is the young White male and I’m the youngish White male.
So, Keith, if one were new to this sort of thing, Slack, online lawyer communities, how would they vet a potential online community or you just like join as many as you can and let the chips fall where they may.
Keith Lee: That’s a good question. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t join as many — I mean I guess you could do that depending upon if you’re joining free or paid communities. I mean, I guess join as many free ones as you want and can adjust from there, but I mean, with free versus paid, you get what you pay for type of a situation usually.
But in terms of vetting, really, I think it’s probably best just to go to the people who are already in the community, like if you look at the front page of LawyerSmack and even everything, I mean, I don’t have some extensive sales pitch, all I do is just put testimonials from current members, like —
So if I’m evaluating a community, my question that I’m asking myself is, when I look at the community and I look at people who are community members that I can see because obviously, I have people in my community who don’t advertise that they are a member or they are not on the website or whatever.
But if I’m a potential, if I’m investigating I’m looking and saying, can I see someone, like myself already in the community.
Jared Correia: That’s good, I like that, yeah.
Keith Lee: Do I see that there are solo attorneys in there or do I see that there are big law people in there or do I see that there are women in there or do I see that there’s minorities in the community or not or do I see that there are people who practice the type of law I practice.
There’s a lot of questions you can ask, but mostly it’s, can I see someone like me already being a part of this because if someone like me is already a part of this community, there’s probably a pretty fair bet that I’ll be able to fit in as well.
Jared Correia: That’s good, I like that, and that’s an extension of the conversation we just had about Bar Associations or if all you see your old White dudes, it’s going to be tough for you to fit in.
Keith Lee: Yes, exactly, you go to the Bar event, there is ton of old White dudes and you are a young female Black solo lawyer, like — you get there and you’re like, well, this isn’t for me and you bounce.
Jared Correia: Other than losing the entire old White guy community during this one show, which I thank you for.
Keith Lee: Yeah.
Jared Correia: Let’s move on.
Keith Lee: Look, look as two youngish White guys, if we can’t hate on older White guys, who can, I mean let’s be real.
Jared Correia: Oh that’s true, that’s true. We’re in a safe space. All right, so when you start on these online communities, like do you lurk, do you kind of see what’s going on and when do you start posting and what do you post about, and I guess, we should also like explain to people what lurking is.
Keith Lee: Yeah, so lurking is just you’re a voyeur. So if you’d like to watch you should join. I don’t know, I mean, it’s funny, it’s certainly. I mean, whenever I join a community I definitely kind of hold back a little bit and just try and observe and feel out the vibe, but then I mean at some point in time you’ve just got to be willing to engage with people.
You just have to be willing to chat, because that’s why you are there. If the community is worthwhile and worth a damn, they’re going to be supportive, they’re going to be welcoming to new people and they’re going to — and you just chat with people and like, look, this is the safest way to ever interact with new people, like you’re not at a cocktail event, you’re not at some — this is you were sitting in your office or on the train or at home in front of a screen like if you can’t reach out and interact with people here, where else are you going to do it?
So, you just have to start talking about stuff, whatever it is, and don’t be wrong, I mean, I’m cognizant of where I am situationally, it’s like I started the community like, I’m the in-charge so I can talk wherever and or on social media stuff, I’ve got thousands of followers and stuff and so it’s like I can talk and people listen, and it’s whatever.
But even without that, I mean, I just know from watching my community that when new people join and are new to the community, people are very just like, hey, welcome aboard, glad to have you, what do you do, where do you live?
Jared Correia: Yeah, which is a good point too because people who are shy about networking in social situations in which a lot of lawyers are, it’s much easier for them to access that kind of community online. So, that’s a good point.
Keith Lee: That is a big one. Yeah, I mean, there’s one member of our community, he’s been there around since the beginning, he’s like, man, it has changed his kind of career because he was such uncomfortable with in-person networking and he’s a bit of an introvert.
This was like the perfect outlet for him, he was like, man, I was able to talk to people and now, his name is Jeremy Richter, I don’t think he would mind it either me saying.
Jared Correia: Oh, I know, Jeremy, he is following me on Twitter, yeah.
Keith Lee: Yeah, he’s on Twitter now, much more active, he’s actually the ABA’s – he’s publishing a book with the ABA later this fall that all kind of came about was because of his getting to know people through LawyerSmack and has gone on to get more speaking engagements, and anyway, just being part of the community has allowed him to network and raise his profile on a way that if he hadn’t, not that it would have never occurred for him but it was a new avenue. Like he realized he didn’t have to do the traditional associate thing of, well, I need to join the Bar Associations do it, the usual circumstances of that, a lot of people do.
He was like, hey, I’m not good at that stuff, but I don’t mind writing and I can interact with people in this way and not feel as much pressure and it’s turned into a really amazing resource for him.
So I’m actually super-happy for Jeremy. He’s a definite like sterling example of like what can come out of joining a community like mine or anybody. So, I mean, just — if you can find a good supportive group of other people, now I guess that’s my thing. I mean, I guess I should be more like rah rah, LawyerSmack and like go me, and you should, I’m awesome and LawyerSmack is awesome.
That being said, I have such a soft spot for younger attorneys, as a young lawyer and the current economic environment and total disaster that is the legal industry, I’ve really – right?
Jared Correia: Yes.
Keith Lee: I have a real soft spot for younger lawyers and whatever — whether it’s LawyerSmack or some other community, if you can find a group of other lawyers to surround yourself with that are supportive and can help you grow over the course of your career, you should join that and be a part of it regardless of who or what it is.
And if it’s mine, cool, we’d love to have you. If it’s somebody else’s and it helps you, awesome, you should definitely do that too. Whatever helps you specifically excel in your career get after it, man, like there’s, what are you waiting for, like no one is going to help you, like your career is your personal responsibility, it’s not your firm’s, it’s not your bosses, it’s not your partner’s, it’s yours.
So, like the sooner younger lawyers can wrap their heads around, the personal responsibility for their career the better.
Jared Correia: We just got deep there. That’s some good stuff. So, just to bring this back around and I’ll probably be dating myself here a little bit as well, but this is kind of like a Frank Drebin situation from Naked Gun, like a blind man at a nudist colony, I’m going to have to figure my way through the Slack channel, yes?
Keith Lee: Yes. Yes, it’s a little bit of an older, cultural reference, but I will allow it. Continue.
Jared Correia: I am young, I am youngish, remember, not young?
Keith Lee: Youngish.
Jared Correia: Last question. So, online communities are great, I think in part, because they’re easy, right? Like no one has to shower in an online community, and I’m a —
Keith Lee: Discouraged.
Jared Correia: Yes. The showering is in fact discouraged. So, what place do you, in-person communities and events retain in this world? Do they just supplement the online communities out there, can they exist on their own, what do you think of that?
Keith Lee: Yeah, I mean, they work hand-in-hand, and again, it’s just like how people just live their lives now. So, like my wife lives here with me. We live in the same house together as husbands and wives usually do.
Jared Correia: Good start, yeah.
Keith Lee: Good start. But her sister and her sister’s husband in their family they live in Cleveland, which is like, oh man, I mean, yeah, the Cavs, but other than that Cleveland. Eh.
Jared Correia: Yeah, the Cavs, great. Let’s go there.
Keith Lee: We are not going down the road. But, my wife and her sister text or on Insta or on messaging or seeing each other pictures like every single day, multiple times a day. They stay very close, but is that suddenly like, well, we never need to see each other again. All right, later, like I never want to see your cousins again or yeah, I don’t want to be like an aunt or an uncle in-person anymore because why I saw your picture on Instagram and we’re good.
No, you do both, just like you do with your family and friends, it’s the same thing. If you look at HYPERLINK “http://www.lawyersmack.com” lawyersmack.com and good events, you came to the Boston event. You were there?
Jared Correia: I was.
Keith Lee: And yeah — there were a number of people in town for a completely non-legal event. There was one member all the way from Portugal.
Jared Correia: Yeah.
Keith Lee: And he gave you hell about not actually.
Jared Correia: I know I still feel bad about that.
Keith Lee: Recognizing the ethnic heritage of your name – he’s like, Jared, your name seems like you are Portuguese, right? He’s like, say your name, and then when you didn’t pronounce it the Portuguese way, he got really mad at you.
Jared Correia: It was very shameful. I’m still trying to get over it actually. Destroyed me for several weeks.
Keith Lee: That’s too funny. Pedro is awesome. He’s a fun guy. We still get together, yeah, if there’s a conference or stuff is going on, not even if I’m there. I mean, I’ve seen multiple members be like, oh, we’re both going to be at the same courthouse today or someone’s traveling, they will grab lunch together. It’s the same thing. Yeah, you get to interact online and then when there are opportunities to have an in-person events whether it be a conference or just lunch or just grab drinks or whatever, you do it all, because those in-person opportunities just further cement your online relationships.
Jared Correia: And we just came up with a great secret idea.
Keith Lee: What was that?
Jared Correia: For the next conference. You’ve lost it already.
Keith Lee: Oh, no, no, no. Yeah, we are going to tailgate. No, yes.
Jared Correia: Yes, the first-ever legal tip.
Keith Lee: We’re going to have the first legal — all right, so here’s the thing, the spoiler is for everyone. He is still listening to this podcast for some reason.
Jared Correia: Everyone, everyone is.
Keith Lee: We are going to —
Jared Correia: Hi mom.
Keith Lee: I say we’ve rent an RV and like set it up in front of the Hilton and like fully tailgate.
Jared Correia: Yeah, this is good. Wait, rent an RV, you don’t already have an RV?.
Keith Lee: I don’t have an RV yet.
Jared Correia: Come on, I am a little disappointed.
Keith Lee: I know. I don’t, but we should get one, set it up and be like tailgate, hangout like cookout grill and it was like have a party, and I think that would go over really, really well.
Jared Correia: Yeah, be like an Alabama LSU game, but at a legal conference. All right, we are going to make this happen.
Keith Lee: I’m feeling that, I think it would be good.
Jared Correia: Yes, yes, all right. I’m all over that. All right! That’s a good note to end on. Anything else you want to say before I finish up, my friend?
Keith Lee: Hmm, oh man.
Jared Correia: The floor is yours.
Keith Lee: Other reason to join some type of community is like, man, we need a community in the world more so than ever, whether it’s mine or somebody else’s, but like everyone feels like really fragmented and everyone seems to be really focusing on how different from one another they are. And I think it’s sometimes important to look for similarities between people, like actually what can I find that’s common ground with other people instead of figuring out why we’re not meant to be together or connect or whatever.
So, I guess, I’m just saying be good to each other, man; like, everyone just needs to be — and I say this as a snarky, cynical, self-admitted loudmouth asshole. We could all tend to be a little nicer to each other and look for the commonality and things. So, that’s my one in the floor comment.
Jared Correia: Wow, that was beautiful. There’s a small tear in my eye. I had to say I didn’t think you’re going to take it that way.
Keith Lee: Hey, you gave me the floor and if I don’t say the important stuff when is it going to get said?
Jared Correia: You continue to surprise me.
Keith Lee: Deep like that.
Jared Correia: Unfortunately, that’s going to do it for this episode of Legal Toolkit. We’ve been talking to Keith Lee of Hamer Law Group, and the man behind Associate’s Mind and LawyerSmack about online communities for attorneys.
Now, I will be back on future shows with further insights into my soul, the soul of America and the legal market. Although I won’t do it as beautifully as Mr. Keith Lee just did.
However, if you are feeling nostalgic from my dulcet tones, you can check out our entire show archive anytime you want at HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com.
So, thanks again to Keith Lee for being on the show today. So Keith, tell our public once more about what you do and where they can find out more about those things that you do?
Keith Lee: Sure. Again, I’m a lawyer down in Birmingham, Alabama, but as I regularly say I’m just from the Internet. As that’s how most people actually end up knowing me, but here this type of thing. Best place to find me Twitter is great. I’m @associatesmind. I got a blue check, I’m verified. I’m verified that I’m important.
Jared Correia: Yes.
Keith Lee: Significant.
Jared Correia: Blue checkmark.
Keith Lee: So that’s me if you find me. And then online HYPERLINK “http://www.associatesmind.com” associatesmind.com and then if you are looking for like-minded community of professionals working on their practice from real-time, HYPERLINK “http://www.lawyersmack.com” lawyersmack.com.
Jared Correia: Excellent. Wonderful summation. Thanks again to Keith Lee who is very Keith Lee today. Find him on Slack and outside Starbucks.
You can find me on my flip phone outside of Dutchman’s Store in Cantril, Iowa. Thanks to all of you out there for listening. We will talk next time.
Outro: Thanks for listening to Legal Toolkit, produced by the broadcast professionals at Legal Talk Network. Join host Jared Correia for his next podcast covering the current business trends for law firms.
If you’d like more information about today’s show, please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.legaltalknetwork.com” legaltalknetwork.com. Subscribe via iTunes and RSS. Find Legal Talk Network on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn or download the free app from Legal Talk Network in Google Play and iTunes.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
Legal Toolkit highlights services, ideas, and programs that will improve lawyers' practices and workflow.
Jane Oxley, president of Smokeball, gives step-by-step guidance for small firms on how to choose and utilize tools for greater productivity.
Stuart Barr and Rob MacAdam of HighQ discuss how law firms can leverage their current technology and make smart choices for new legal...
Kimberly Rice offers actionable steps lawyers can use to develop a marketing mindset and take ownership of their legal career.
Louie Balasny discusses how modern law firms can benefit from virtual bookkeeping software.
Pieter Gunst shares strategies and resources for lawyers inspired to enter the legal tech space.
Keith Shannon talks about why it's important for lawyers to have paralegals and legal assistants, how to go about finding the right person, and...