Why Lawyers Should Take An Interest in Pinterest
So, according to Tech Crunch and CNET, Pinterest, a social curation site that functions as an online file box and a bulletin board for storing and displaying treasures discovered round the web, is social media’s next big thing. Currently available on an invitation-only basis (though I had no trouble getting one), Pinterest enables users to keep track of, organize and share neat content or products they’ve stumbled across online. Site features include the ability to set up boards dedicated to different categories such as recipes, beauty supplies, books or travel. Finally, characteristic of social media, the Pinterest platform supports interaction, allowing friends to follow and view your boards and comment on the items that you’ve posted, or repine them on their own boards.
Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of collection-type sites like Evernote so if I’d only read the description of Pinterest’s features, I wouldn’t have even bothered to check it out. But instead, I wound up on Pinterest via a recipe link at a blog. Once there, the clean design and beautiful photographs of beautiful things captivated me enough to spend an hour at the site and request an invitation.
Still, once I received my invitation a few days later, I wondered how frequently I’d actually use the site. Outside of blogging and book-writing and spending time with my girls and pups, I don’t have any regular hobbies or interests like cooking or sewing or fashion that would lend themselves to pictorial displays. Besides, aside from Hulu and Pandora, I’m not inclined to spend time online beyond what I do for my work. So I knew that if I was going to make use of Pinterest, I’d need to find a way to connect it to either my law practice or one of my blogs. Here are some of the ideas that I’ve come up with so far for using Pinterest for your law practice.
Sharing Interesting Information
The challenge for lawyers who seek to keep in touch with colleagues and clients through newsletters or blogs is finding content that’s informative but also interesting and unique. Pinterest will give you lots of ideas. In the energy regulatory industry, which is one of my practice focuses, much of the substantive information is so complex that it’s easy to lose site of the big picture. And while lots of the jargon and developments are at least somewhat understandable to in-house counsel, many smaller clean energy companies are new to the business and need a simple, concise summary of significant points. That’s why I’ve recently become a huge fan of infographics – and I’ve used Pinterest to keep a running collection of infographics that deal with clean energy. They help to break up the sometimes dry content in my energy newsletters and feed me neat statistics to share at networking events and client meetings.
Depending upon your practice focus, Pinterest can provide a similar source of content. For example, if you represent small business owners, you might create a board for low-cost office products. If you work with families with children with special needs, you could aggregate educational toys and products that might help overwhelmed parents alleviate stress. As you take a look around Pinterest, you’re sure to come up with ideas that work for you.
The best part of being a solo is that whether you work from home or a rented space, you have full control over the design and set up of your office. Whether your work area will be largely a workspace just for you or an area to meet with clients, you’ll want it to reflect your personality and make it a comfortable environment where you can be productive. Pinterest offers a bunch of different ideas for office accouterments, from ergonomic chairs to furnishings to picture frames and doodads for the desk. One lawyer, Angela Hermosillo has gathered up some of her office favorites but you can also use the site’s search tool to locate other pieces.
As a new solo lawyer, you may be struggling to develop your own style that is appropriate for your type of practice and also affordable. Yet you may not have the time or the budget to frequent the stores that you did as a student or a biglaw attorney. Consider Pinterest a kind of crowdsourced personal shopper, where you can find everything from an inexpensive department store sweater to fully assembled outfits. Identify a couple of users who share your taste and follow them for regular updates on their fashion finds.
At my home blog, MyShingle.com, I posted about how $10 extension cord and power strip, shared with others in a hearing room or coffee house can help lawyers make connections with potential clients and referral sources. But there are lots of other neat and inexpensive little tools that can serve as conversation pieces or icebreakers or tools to increase your productivity. Pinterest has so many of these types of knickknacks that it’s easy to lose track of time, so I don’t recommend hunting around for items if you’ve got an imminent deadline.
Though the holiday season has passed, lawyers have a need for gifts throughout the year – whether it’s to thank a colleague for a referral (note: check your ethics rules to confirm that gifts are permitted) or an assistant for going beyond the call of duty or to congratulate a client on an important milestone, you’ll find hundreds of ideas at Pinterest’s gift category, conveniently organized by price.
Interact With Other Lawyers
As with any social media platform, Pinterest is a way to interact or bond with other lawyers who share your interests. So if you and a couple of colleagues enjoy cooking or sewing, you could follow each other and exchange ideas on different projects. And of course, Pinterest provides incentive to take those online relationships offline – you might, for example, decide to host a party for colleagues with each of you preparing some of the recipes that you discovered. Ultimately, we all want to do business with people we like to spend time with and with whom we share similar interests. Pinterest offers a way to share and discuss and participate in a wider range of activities than the golf or baseball game outings that traditionally served as opportunities to network and interact.
Starting a firm with a pile of student loan debt, no money and a handful of clients can be scary and stressful. Despite tightening your budget and working long hours to fit in work for clients and constant marketing, you sometimes feel as if you’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Pinterest offers an escape – a place where you can dream about trips you’ll take; the office bookshelf you’ll buy when you turn a profit, the bottle of wine you’ll drink to toast your first victory. And sometimes that’s all it takes to get through another day.