By Nicole Black • May 15, 2012•Other Issues
Many women lawyers ignore technology to their detriment. This, despite the fact that women lawyers are uniquely positioned to reap the benefits of emerging technologies, including cloud computing, virtual law practices, mobile tools and social media.
Unfortunately many women lawyers fail to appreciate that technology is a wonderful tool that makes it possible for them to successfully differentiate themselves, expand their networks, and compete in ways never before possible.
My goal is to change that and, through this monthly column, help women attorneys understand that it’s simply a matter of understanding and taking advantage of these new technologies. By doing so, women lawyers can effectively level the playing field. Of course, these new tools aren't a “magic bullet,” but they do provide women attorneys with powerful ways to gain a competitive edge and fashion legal careers that work best for them. For those reasons, women lawyers need to learn about it and use technology to their advantage.
Mobile and Internet-based computing have changed the way that businesses operate. The legal profession is not immune from these changes. Newfound technologies, such as cloud computing, make it possible for work to be done from any location as long as an Internet connection is available. These 21st Century tools provide women attorneys with much-needed flexibility, allowing them to work and network on their own time, from the convenience of their own home or office.
Social media is a great example of this. Unfortunately, very few women lawyers use social media to their benefit. The reasons for this are varied: 1) some women aren’t convinced of the value of social media; 2) some feel there’s simply not enough time for them to balance social media, work and their family obligations; and 3) others, including those seeking to return to the workforce after an absence, lack confidence in their technology skills.
The failure to utilize social media as a tool in their arsenal is a grave mistake, since it can be a powerful rainmaking tool for women lawyers, in large part because it plays to their professional strengths.
For example, studies have shown that women are reluctant to promote their accomplishments, but social media allows them to demonstrate their substantive knowledge without having to brazenly promote themselves. Similarly, women excel at communicating and collaborating and these are traits that social networking facilitates and rewards. Finally, using social media, women can expand their immediate circle of contacts and initiate online mentoring and business relationships with lawyers and successful professionals worldwide.
Blogging can likewise be beneficial for women attorneys seeking to transition back into the legal field after a hiatus from the law. Blogs allow lawyers to demonstrate their substantive knowledge, showcase their writing and analytical skills, and convince prospective employers that they are on top of changes in their field.
Trust me. I know of what I speak. My first blog, Sui Generis, was instrumental to my re-entry into the legal arena after a three-year, self-imposed hiatus from the law. Everything that I have accomplished since 2005 began with my first blog post in November of that year.
Since that time, countless professional, writing, speaking and networking opportunities have come my way.
Technology has been instrumental to my success and can do the same for you. And, in future columns, I'm going to show you how you can use technology to your benefit. You'll learn about emerging technologies, including social media, mobile tools and apps, and cloud computing. And, I'll show you how you can use these tools to forward your career goals, whether you're a law student, a new graduate, or a seasoned practitioner.
So join me on this journey! And let me know in the comments what types of technology information and advice you think will be most helpful for you to learn about--and why.