Last week’s #CBafuturesChat was a discussion of the articling in Canada. The focus of the talk shifted from Law School to recent grads, and with that, the conversation shifted to students at law instead of law students.
Coming to the front of the Student’s at Law last week was Jonathan Mackenzie, who just completed his articles. I sat down with him briefly to talk:
Q: As a lawyer who is just starting his career, what role do you see social media playing?
A: For me, the draw of social media is in the opportunity it gives you to brand yourself and establish yourself as an expert in a certain area. Prior to the emergence of social media, it took a tremendous amount of work and a certain amount of luck for a lawyer to build a solid reputation prior to emergence of social media – print publications were one of the only sources for brand building. I have been to many senior lawyers’ offices and seen newspaper and magazine clippings all over the walls. While print publications still hold their prestige today, social media has made advertising and brand building more accessible to newer lawyers that are just starting out. I am fortunate to be in a firm where I can be involved with business development and client acquisition processes and am excited to help my firm use social media, among other tools, to build our brand and ultimately, acquire more clients.
Q: You seemed really active and engaged in the twitter chat, have you participated in one before?
A: This was actually the first twitter chat I have been involved in. I have been interested in using social media to build a personal brand for quite some time but did not feel that I had enough to offer. Now that I am finishing my articling and becoming more involved with the business operations of the firm, I am able to begin my efforts in earnest. I haven’t had any formal training with social media but I do enjoy picking the brains of my colleagues who work with social media for a living to find out what tips and tricks they have for me.
Q: We saw more articling students and young lawyers show up, but not as many students who had yet to start their articles, do you have any advice for them on articling?
A: I would say that it is very important to find your “fit.” I know that this is a frustrating thing to hear for prospective articling students – I hated being told to find my “fit” when I was looking for articling. Having gone through the process, I can appreciate now that this was truly a very important piece of advice. I am not necessarily speaking about the type of work you will be doing, because I think it is almost impossible to know straight out of law school what type of law you want to practice. I am speaking about the culture of the firm and whether you can see yourself being happy there. Look for a place where you think you will be accepted and where you will be able to learn both about the law and about yourself.
Q: I noticed a couple of practicing lawyers from the chat spoke with you during the chat, and are now following you on twitter. Was growing your follower count one of your plans for the chat?
A: I got a chance to have some great interactions with some of the participants in the #cbafutureschat. This is one of the things I like about twitter – the ability to interact with large groups and use these interactions to connect with people you are interested in connecting with. Increasing my followers per se was not one of my goals for the chat, but connecting with interesting people in the legal field was certainly a goal of mine and I’m happy to say that this was accomplished.