A Bar Association’s Very Own Social Network

Publish Date: October 07, 2013

A Bar Association’s Very Own Social Network


Bar Associations have always encompassed aspects of “Social Networks”.  But are Bar Associations connecting with their members in a meaningful and value-added way?  Traditionally, members are contacted by E-mails, list-servs, mailings and journals, which tend to clutter up mailboxes, postal or electronic.  Reaching out to as many members as possible, however, is not the same as engaging them. 

What to do?

Bar Associations have thousands of member attorneys.  They can form closed knit communities for increased collaboration, mentoring, and innovative career planning.  These activities could draw in new Bar members and reinvigorate existing Bar members.  If Bars devolve into glorified CLE providers their value proposition will be lost on the next generation of attorneys who will be more concerned with paying back law school loans than paying Bar membership dues.

Why not latch onto an existing social network? 

Existing social network platforms may offer a convenient and no-hassle solution.  However, there are significant downsides to choosing an established social network platform.  Facebook and LinkedIn were designed to connect individuals to each other.  Group functions and Organization pages were added later to take advantage of the diversity of interests of its users.  Existing Social Networks’ rigid templates have proven to be inhospitable to forward-thinking Group or Page managers.  Large groups and organizations relying on existing social networks have difficulty obtaining proper metrics, importing and exporting data and creating unique outlets for content and collaboration.    Established Social Networks also have marketing and advertising schemes which may clash with the Bar Association’s own mission and strategy. 

Bar Associations will also want to set up their own guidelines and protocols for Social Network participation and monitoring.   Each bar association will have their own wish list of social networking priorities, group functions, integration concerns and oversight controls.  Relinquishing important functions to a third party social network platform may limit a Bar Association’s social networking potential.

A Bar Association without social networking tends to lock knowledge and people behind glass.   

Bar Associations are not museums.  They are alive.  Bars are human resource engines connecting the majority of the state’s attorneys to each other and providing support for their professional needs.  Bar Associations can show value to potential members if they have the capacity to connect them with the people and information that could advance their careers.