There is so much in the marketing world about the interaction between customers in the blogosphere and the companies that make products or services for those customers. From the iPhone, to the Dodge Challenger there are robust communities all over the web making or breaking products through the power of word-of-mouth stimulated by social media. Very little of this interaction is sponsored by the makers of the products, but these voices no doubt affect the direction of the products, and future marketing decisions.
Jobs and labor are no different. In fact, one could argue that the transparency of company and consumer attitudes toward labor, from the advent of labor unions, to the existence of F*ed Company has a far more rich history than some contentious discourse about your crappy computing device.
Transparency is Coming to Legal Staffing
In the past year, this issue has come to the forefront for more legal staffing firms. Employees are not so afraid anymore of getting fired for blogging, even though this, this, and this suggest they should think otherwise. While online conversation had been the perview of IT workers since Usenet, it seems fairly recent that legal professionals have taken to blogging en force.
I first started to look into the online presence of legal professionals in 2005 when I noticed a small website, paralegalgateway.com sending a bit of traffic to Hudson’s websites. Upon further review I found that it was Jeannie Johnston’s site (a Hudson employee at the time) who through a small link in a blog post, had driven some traffic toward us. I was very curious to see one of our own interacting in a very meaningful way with a targeted talent pool from which she would recruit. This sparked more curiosity in me as to where blogging and online community were taking place within the world of our legal staffing practice. I knew that entry level legal professionals were hanging around the Monster Legal channel that we helped to establish in 2007. Still, there didn’t seem to be a voice of the practicing temporary attorney who was doing the large-scale document review which was becoming common.
The Awakening of 2007
With the exception of “Tom the Temp” who started his blog in late 2005, it seems that in mid-2007 the temporary attorney blogosphere became more populated and interesting. Joe Miller posted his first JD Wired entry in August of 2007, as did another anonymous temporary attorney in Washington DC. All of these blogs bring a very real voice to the marketplace that is useful market intelligence for legal staffing firms.
The good (from Tom the Temp):
reality check has the right of it. I’m an attorney working at the Newark site, and the original post couldn’t be a bigger bunch of bs. The Hudson people are courteous, pay on time, treat us like professionals, and have made the environment as pleasant as possibly given some constraints by the client (i.e. no phone use in the coding room). Whoever gave you the info for the original post either was fired on the first day for being a slobbering idiot, or needs to work on his fiction.
I’ve only been to this blog for a few weeks, but I already can see it’s just a bunch of WATBs. You cry babies have probably never worked a single day of your pampered lives at a real job. Whah whah whah.
$35 an hour plus time an half for coding isn’t good enough for you? Go get a “real” job then. Most firms aren’t looking to bring on board pouty, bitchy juveniles who think the world owes them, but hey, you might get lucky.
The bad (from Tom the Temp)
I really hope this is true. It’s time for some structure, people. The firms, temp agencies, predatory banks, and TTT law schools are continuing to eat us alive. How much more non-dischargeable law school debt will they be allowed to pile on top us? For the fifth straight year, will you just sit back and allow them to yet again “deflate your rate”? Will you lose yet another P.T.O. (not just any P.T.O, but one belonging to Dr. King), while profits per partner continue to soar? I hope not.
The ugly (from my attorney blog):
John Smith Says:
December 13th, 2007 at 11:00 am
Hudson totally screwed me out of referral fee because I was not staffed with them at the time. What a joke! I will never refer anyone to that agency again.
While marketers base their reputation on being publicly accountable for their thoughts, it appears that temporary attorneys see the opposite. Much of the commentary on these blogs as well as message boards like JDUnderground is anonymous and incendiary. To some extent this helps you get a pulse of the industry better than any employee survey could. Salaries and benefits are down, demand is less than supply, and work conditions are sometimes less than ideal.
I will admit that reading the content is entertaining, although somewhat like watching a car wreck. Hudson has put hundreds of satisfied people to work that are already speaking on our behalf within these social media. So far, my role is to know what is being said – to listen. Not only that, but Hudson’s front-line staff are listening. The real question for an interactive marketer then is how to join the conversation in a meaningful and beneficial way.
photo by mr oji