Web Week

The Lawyer‘s Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week’s blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@thelawyer. com.

It might not seem like it all the time, but lawyers are very well served by new media and social networking websites. This is most evident on Facebook (www.facebook .com), where a simple five-minute test shows just how much is out there.

Type ‘lawyer’ into the search function and what do you get? More than 400 people, 500 groups, 250 events and six applications. One of the latter is called ‘Top Lawyer’ – some kind of lawyer role-playing game.

The application’s creator shouts: “File Lawsuits against your Friends. Become a Top Lawyer! Meet other Lawyers. Enroll your Friends in Law School!”All of these are great ways to pass the time, but perhaps a bit too close to real life for a lot of Facebook users.

Also, strange groups worth noting from the search include ‘I’m a lawyer but I’d rather be a pirate’ and ‘The Lawyer-Pirate Barrrgh Association’.

But the best, for sheer honesty and emotion, is ‘Why did I become a lawyer? Why… WHY?’. It has more than 150 members.

It’s hard to get the balance right sometimes. Come across too cold and your client bemoans your lack of interpersonal skills. Come across too friendly and it can be interpreted as creepy.

Sole practitioner Michael Smyth thinks he might have found the solution to the problem. On his site ‘The Approachable Lawyer’ (www.approachablelawyer. com), there appears to be no such thing as too much information.

Smyth explains how he got into the law aged six, playing in his dad’s firm.

“I amused myself by drawing in legal notepads and playing with the stamps while I heard my Dad negotiate legal disputes in the background. However, as a six year old, and in the years which lay ahead, the highlight was always going to lunch.”