The American Bar Association launched LegallyMinded, a social networking site targeted at lawyers, paralegals, law librarians, law students and anyone else in the legal market. Being a student of social networks for lawyers, I thought I would sign up.
I encountered my first problem when they asked me to have a username rather than my real name. The statement was to use your real name. But they do not allow spaces in the username.Someone else had already grabbed the “dougcornelius” username. I am stuck with dougcornelius1.
The next problem was the lengthy six step sign-up process. No other site makes you add so much information. I singed in with my ABA identification so I would expect they would carry over my ABA information. I was wrong.
The next challenge was trying to connect with people. They offer an interactive map showing people with similar interests closer to you. It seemed to make little sense to me. Right next to me was someone who runs a small rural practice. Not me.
The site shows people with their username instead of their real names so it is hard to figure out who is who. My first search was to find out who joined as dougcornelius. No luck in being able to search the site for people by name. Of course their real name is hidden anyhow.
I moved on to the group function. There were two dozen in place, none of which held much interest for me. Five were focused on law students or law schools and three were focused on geography. So I set up a group for compliance since I noted Bruce Carton from Securities Docket and Compliance Week was on the site. I could not find a way to invite him to the group.
They have a blog feature so I tried that out. I copied in some posts from my Compliance Space blog to try out that feature. The publishing and editing of the blog platform is really poor.
The ABA Journal published a piece in the December 2008 issue: The ABA Gets Social.
“We set out to do something different,” says Fred Faulkner, the ABA’s manager of interactive services in Chicago. “We looked at a lot of the professional and social networks, and the gap we found was that there truly wasn’t a good site that was a cross between professional and personal networking.”
“We’re filling that gap by offering the best features of sites like LinkedIn and Facebook and adding a bunch of content from the ABA and other high-quality content sources.”
I think they missed the mark with LegallyMinded.
Bob Ambrogi is trying to test it out, but he can’t even log in: ABA Launches (Buggy) Networking Site