The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Martindale-Hubbell Connected, a “global online community for legal professionals”, officially launched in March 2009, was initially only open to lawyers with the announced intention of soon inviting other types of legal professionals to join, but the network already includes profiles of member paralegals. I can’t find an official announcement that the network has been expanded to include paralegals, but a lawyer friend sent me an invitation to join several months ago, and as of today, there are 38 paralegal members of the Law Firm Paralegal Group.
Law.com has an excellent article about the benefits of this online legal community, “Martindale-Hubbell: ‘The Way I Connected’”. Two lawyers currently using Martindale-Hubbell Connected share their experiences with the network.
Meredith Stone, Vice President and General Counsel Americas of NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc., says that she uses the network to keep up with her practice areas and the legal job market:
While networking is an important aspect to the site, there are other ways attorneys may benefit by using Martindale-Hubbell Connected. I particularly utilize the site to obtain up-to-date information specific to my practice areas. Much of the content on Martindale-Hubbell Connected is drawn from the vast LexisNexis database, so I’ve found I have access to articles from a wide variety of publications.
In addition, I’ve been tracking forums and discussions about my practice areas, and have benefited from learning what other lawyers are saying about topics that don’t always make it into cocktail conversations, but are important to my work. For example, through Martindale-Hubbell Connected, I’ve been able to follow the legislative steps involving the Employee Free Choice Act, and some dynamic conversations dissecting it.
Martindale-Hubbell Connected also has an area for job listings, obviously an important tool in these economic times. I’ve found it interesting to track which employers are hiring, the qualifications they are seeking and also which practice areas are still in demand even in a down economy.
Evan Brown, an attorney specializing in Internet law at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, finds the site very useful for finding old friends and building his network of resources:
When I started using Martindale-Hubbell Connected, it did what many networking sites do — it gave me a list of suggested connections. But the results were surprisingly thorough. Martindale-Hubbell Connected suggested to me long-since forgotten acquaintances, not just from my law school days or among my obvious workplace colleagues. It found lawyers I argued with and against in court, and others with seemingly obscure connections. Basically, I was able to connect with lawyers who didn’t immediately come to mind, but who are valuable assets to add to my networking circle.
I also find Martindale-Hubbell Connected useful for finding others who share a special interest in a particular aspect of the law. I started an Internet law group, and have already had a number of attorneys join. Through this group, I’ve met other attorneys in my field that I didn’t even know existed, despite all the conferences and forums I’ve attended. I can check their credentials and explore the nature and contours of their practice. I can chat with them to see if we click and then look to them if I ever need someone to help me on a case in their geographic area or involving their emphasis within our shared specialty. I’ve found that in a national practice, I’m always in need of colleagues with whom I can bounce ideas and exchange news pertinent to our practice.
These are two excellent examples of how legal professionals use the power of social media to stay up-to-date in their field. Consider joining Martindale-Hubbell Connected and utilizing its legal networking possibilities – in addition to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
Related Post: “Add Martindale.com to Your Online Job Search Resources”