Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Social Networking Gets Legal

Did you suffer through Facebook withdrawal at your summer associate job? Law firms who block popular social-networking sites in an effort to decrease employee distractions may need to revisit this policy soon, as some familiar legal sites begin to incorporate social components.

Fresh from an announcement last month that its powerful legal directory will now feature contact information from professional networking juggernaut LinkedIn as part of its search results, parent company LexisNexis is also testing a separate service called Martindale-Hubbell Connected. Similar to LinkedIn, with a focus on the legal community, Martindale-Hubbell Connected has the potential to increase an attorney’s visibility and professional network exponentially. Read a review from an early visitor, and register to test this beta service yourself.

Additionally, the research system Casemaker (an alternative to Lexis and Westlaw which is included in the membership of 28 selected state bar associations) recently unveiled CasemakerX: The Social Network for Law Students. CasemakerX is now available-- and free-- to Duke Law students, who may register with both “” and “” addresses. Registration includes full access to the Casemaker research resources, as well as a MySpace-like profile for networking, both professional and social.

As with any other web site in which you provide personal information, always consider the impact that your postings can have upon your professional reputation. For further reading on professionalism online, see the Duke University Career Center’s guide to Considerations for Blogs and Social Networks like MySpace and Facebook.