Thursday, March 31, 2011

Social media makes us better lawyers

In yesterday's ABA Journal, this article, titled, "Has Social Media Tightened Your Writing Style?" discusses how the use of social media makes us better writers. Going one step further, since the very essence of the practice of law is writing, it also suggests that social media makes us better lawyers.

I would tend to agree with this statement. Social media has forced us to constantly think about word composition, sentence verb agreement, and most importantly conciseness. What it used to take us five paragraphs now only takes us one. Twitter only allows 140 characters at a time, and a facebook status is restricted to 421 characters.

I would take this a step further though: not only has social media made us better writers in the way that we write, but also in the manner that we write. This is especially important as lawyers. What used to be a tool only used by a few elite schools, facebook has become a platform for the interaction with friends, family, and just about any other person you've ever met. Many of us have had the scenario occur where an argument resulted over something that was said on facebook or other social media. Therefore, we learn to think before we "speak (type)." I think that, in turn, this causes us as lawyers to learn how to speak professionally on arenas that would not typically be thought as professional. This in turn leads to the ability of lawyers to communicate via email in a manner that is consistently more professional. As a result, social media could thus be thought of as a tool which makes us better lawyers.

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