Human race is currently in the information age where information flies in the flash of light with the aid of internet, and sometimes by mere mouth to mouth dissemination.
To turn a blind eye nor appreciate the manner at information sharing now may be foolhardy as virtually no one is capable of withholding information already sent into the space. To highlight this point, this morning I sent two short messages via MTN service provider. I configured my phone to provide me delivery reports, while I received a delivery report for the second message, I assumed that the recipient had not received the first message since I did not receive any delivery report. Just then the recipient’s reply (not the delivery report) to my first message buzzed into my phone, I was flustered but then isn’t that the power of communication? Isn’t that just amazing?
Many years ago, this was impossible impossible due to the tedious method of information dissemination particularly in Africa i.e. Nigeria where town criers had to beat the gong throughout the clans while shouting on the top his voice. Another crude method of information sharing then was the use of objects to depict or pass information to business allies, subjects and enemies alike. Servants had to trek to cover distances to deliver information. What impact does this had on businesses then? Your guess is as good as mine. It slowed down businesses since businessmen had to wait unendingly for the servants to bear replies from their business associates in other clans. In Nigeria, the few rich men the such as Dantata, great grand father of Dangote used donkeys as meass of transportation of his wares and spreading information as regards his business interest.
Despite that I had my secondary School between 2000 and 2006, communication was not easy with my friends in other schools. In fact, I remember how I had trek some distances to deliver my letter to my friend’s sister for onward delivery to my female friend in a Federal Government Girls’ College. Yes, there was mobile phone but I did not have one until I completed secondary School when my mother gifted me a mobile phone. It was not easy to purchase call credits. And yet it was not the era of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, etc. At best we had Multimedia Service. It was very expensive. This ultimately highlights the difficulties we experienced then. Our parents and grandparents’ was worse.
Since 2006, when I completed secondary School till this moment, we have had Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Google plus, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, etc. I may not mention all here but the point is that a lot has happened in the dissemination of information. All these trends conspired together to make life easier for us as individuals and corporate entities i.e. Company, partnership, corporative societies, incorporated trustees, etc. Individuals are able to channel information in a twinkle of an eye without stepping out of the confines of their homes. Corporate organizations engage web developers to put up contents in the Internet space visible to all and sundry and at the click of the mouse, information about the company pops up on your screen. Information are gathered across the world and kept on the internet space for references purposes. History is better accessed on the internet.
Impact of online social networking sites on Legal profession
Fortunately, the Legal profession was not left out in the Internet revolution. internet rubedd off positively -in a profound manner – on the legal profession and this is so exciting. Internet made quick legal research a lot easier. Forgotten information and researches are located and accessed on the Internet thereby making information available. About fifty percent of my undergraduate research materials was sourced on the Internet. I remember one Mr. Dennis Hope who purportedly sold a portion of the moon – his Galactic Government. That information was accessed by aid of the Internet.
Several law firms in Nigeria particularly the A league law firms boast of colourful websites containing information about their practices where local and foreign clients can easily know about them. Isn’t that great?
The advent of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and LinkedIn – that professional profile for individuals and corporate organizations. The stats right now is that employers now depend on LinkedIn to source employees while I have received legal briefs on LinkedIn. This sounds great! Indigenous Nigerian Firms like aluko and Oyebode, Templars, Udo Udoma & Belo – Osagie, Detail Solicitors, now recognize the buzz of social networking sites and the need to have their corporate life positioned on the Internet. Corporate brands i.e. Virgin Group, Microsoft, etc have massive presence on the social networking sites and generate so much buzz and traffic to their sites.
Another exciting opportunity is linking and networking with international firms and lawyers of repute. We are able to build online connections through our online presence on these social networking sites. In this where high networth briefs are transacted via information available. In essence, you cannot grow beyond what you know.
Recently, I partnered with a professional colleague to advise the owners of a Belgian Company. The meeting point was simple – WhatsApp group of lawyers. This is just one of numerous opportunities in social networking sites. I personally do not joke with my online platforms just as I ensure that I update myself on the modalities of these social networking sites.
Perhaps why some law firms are still operating from the backstage is due to cramped and busy schedules.
It is not strange to see lawyers clutching diaries – offic, home and mobile – since time is of essence however you are not expected to lose focus or sight of the short details that can launch your law practice. Law firms that are keen about their online presence engage professional Content managers. This prevents distraction from their everyday practice while the practice still progresses. Your law firm will do well to create it’s online presence henceforth.