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Social media has forced me (happily) to view thousands of legal posts. Some have put me to sleep; others have inspired me. The great ones, they’ve stuck in my head over the last seven plus years. I don’t need algorithms or analytics to define their greatness.
While January 2009* is LexisNexis’ true social media start date, the ball actually got rolling on June 3rd, 2013. That’s the day we launched our social media team. While not our true starting point, it was our day of awakening. We created our social media calendar. Began serving up value-add content. Started writing social copy.
People began paying attention, and we realized that social isn’t about selling. It’s about helping through sharing.
So, after seven plus years in social media, these are my seven favorite posts. No data or numbers to prove their performance. Just me and my gut picking the best of the best.
7 best legal posts in 7+ years of LexisNexis social media**
Afraid to be a leading lawyer? The tepid analyst vs. the courageous advisor (Jordan Furlong)
Around 2500 blogs/articles … that’s roughly the number of items I read each year. And I read everything … at least in part. A lot of good writing, but often variations on similar themes/topics. Once in a while, I stumble upon something novel and ingenious, like this article by Jordan Furlong.
To be a leading lawyer, Furlong argues that you have to kill soft analysis and mid-way options. The courage to advise is what makes a great lawyer. A strong recommendation - for or against something - is why clients pay for advice. The best lawyers, Furlong says, shift from the easy role of “analyst” to the perilous role of “advisor.”
How bad typography breeds bad laws (Lawyerist/Lisa Needham)
Lawyers love to write. To support this love, LexisNexis uses Wednesdays (#writinglegally) to share writing advice and tips. But it never occurred to me that lawyers might have a more focused passion - typography.
Lawyers wield typography – in their briefs, memos, resumes, etc. I first realized typography’s importance when I shared this Lawyerist article by Lisa Needham. At the time, it generated some of the highest engagement we’d ever seen.
Needham’s message is simple, yet thought provoking and alarming: Language, including fonts, capitalization, boldface, etc., often wreaks havoc with our laws.
"We're the only branch of government that explains itself in writing every time it makes a decision." (Justice Byron White)
We shared our first quote on November 22, 2013. It was this from John F. Kennedy:
The best road to progress is freedom's road.
We’ve shared numerous quotes since then. Of them, my second favorite quote (I’ll get to my favorite later) is Justice Byron White’s quote on writing and accountability.
In these words, one can sense Justice White’s pride in the judicial branch, the power of the pen, and the check that comes from self-explanation.
Best Legal Movies of All Time [infographic] (Adam R. Banner)
Like Lisa Needham’s typography post, this post opened my eyes to the power of movies. Here's a social media truth you can bank on: legal flicks trigger a strong response from lawyers.
Banner’s infographic is one of the first movies posts we shared. But not just one of the first; it’s also one of the best movie posts/infographics to date.
8 courtroom jokes that flopped (Salon/Geoffrey Sant)
Law schools, law firms, courtrooms ... they’re the antithesis of funny. And maybe that’s how they should be. The law is serious business, often with serious consequences. Cracking a smile in the courtroom – it feels a little like blasphemy.
There’s a reason it feels blasphemous, and Geoffrey Sant’s piece on courtroom jokes explains why – bad courtroom jokes have “led to mistrials, courtroom defeats, malpractice charges, judicial resignations and even a prison term.” If Sant’s article isn’t warning enough, then heed the Supreme Court’s guide to argument, which cautions:
Attempts at humor usually fall flat.
SCOTUS slip-ups: How (if at all) are flawed opinions fixed? (Harvard Law Review/Charles Rothfeld)
For lawyers, Supreme Court opinions are gospel. And as with any sacred scripture, these opinions are viewed as flawless.
But we forget: the justices are human beings. They’re pone to error.
And consequently, Supreme Court opinions suffer flaws.
In this article from the Harvard Law Review, Charles Rothfeld asks the question: “Does it matter whether and how the Supreme Court corrects its mistakes?”
19 failed amendments + 6 proposed amendments from retired Justice John Paul Stevens [infographic] (LexisNexis)
The 27th Amendment was our last constitutional amendment, ratified on May 7, 1992. But constitutional history is littered with failed amendments, most of them forgotten.
This infographic highlights 19 failed amendments. Plus, John Paul Stevens offers up 6 possible amendments that might make America a better place.
“Arrest me for sitting on a bus? You may do that.” (Rosa Parks)
Honorable mention only because it’s not a legal item. This Rosa Parks quote*** is my favorite in 7+ years of social media.
Only 11 words, but 11 words that burn with injustice and, at the same time, ring with courage. All that power, all that history, packed into such a small space … much like Rosa Parks herself.
*@LexisNexis Titter account was launched January 2009. Our first tweet was January 23, 2009.
**My apologies to the authors. Listed titles reflect my original social copy, not the original titles.
***While difficult to pinpoint a source, the quote’s validity doesn’t seem to be in question. And in an interview with the American Academy of Achievement, Parks said something very similar:
[The driver] wanted to know if I was going to stand up, and I told him I was not. And he told me he would have me arrested. And I told him he may do that. And of course, he did.