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‘You’ve got to go where your clients are or you’re going to get left behind’

Traditional practitioners can start to use social media to their advantage without driving straight into the deep end, said this special counsel with over 20,000 TikTok followers.

user iconLauren Croft 23 September 2021 Big Law
James d’Apice
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James d’Apice is a special counsel at Chamberlains Law Firm, as well as the owner and host of Coffee and a Case Note. The brand is a podcast, as well as a username Mr d'Apice uses on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Coffee and a Case Note has also amassed over 1,500 followers on Instagram and over 20,000 followers on TikTok.

Mr d'Apice spoke recently on The Lawyers Weekly Show about how practitioners can ease into social media marketing and the value it holds post-pandemic.

As traditional practitioners gradually get left behind, Mr d’Apice said that social media and newer ways of marketing are being co-opted by those leaning further towards new law – but that practitioners with more traditional mindsets shouldn’t rule newer methods out.


“If you are a practitioner who is more open and willing to think in a more open-minded way about the way you run your business, that you’re probably inclined to think in a more open-minded way about the way you market your business, essentially,” he said.

“But I think there is something to be said for a traditional practitioner, reflecting on whether the excellent work they’ve done in distilling a really complex point in an advice they’ve done for a client or in preparing an external seminar, perhaps for an institutional referrer and really getting on top of it, crunchy concept.

“So, I would gently prod anyone who’s thinking about taking an approach like this, regardless of how traditional their environments are, to think carefully about doing it,” Mr d’Apice added.

In terms of getting started in a more digital, modern environment, LinkedIn and Twitter posts and blog posts can be a great way to get comfortable, according to Mr d’Apice.

“I promise your firm is desperate for content on your blog. I promise the marketing team would be delighted to get one blog post every six weeks of high quality from you listening, that nails little SEO targets and brings more users to the firm. So that's one soft option.

“A similar but different approach is to use LinkedIn solely and to initially build your confidence just by liking and commenting on stuff. That of itself is you taking a tiny little step out into the water,” he said.

And if you can leave one comment and three likes per week, let’s say, just to make up a target, then you’ll be gradually building your confidence and gradually building your comfort with using these platforms.”

This “drip approach”, as Mr d’Apice calls it, can increase comfortability around social media and mean that practitioners can relate more to their clients – but that doesn’t mean in-person interactions aren’t equally valuable.

“You’ve got to go where your clients are or you’re going to get left behind. I’m very comfortable saying that. That said, I think there really is a role for face-to-face, hand-to-hand combat. I mean, we say clients, they’re all just people. There are people who would prefer to sit opposite someone and have a beer, have a glass of wine, have a coffee, have a meal in order to form a relationship,” Mr d’Apice clarified.

“So, there’s a degree where I think it’s easy for people like me to go, oh, the internet is everything, the internet’s the future. There will be some people who run big city businesses from Orange, and the only way you’re going to catch up with them or be important to them is to make sure your Instagram feed looks great. That’s completely true.

“But I think that we need to be diversified in our portfolio of sources of work. I mean, when the pandemic’s over, there are people I need to catch up with for a beer in order to ensure that I’ve got referrals running from them. And I think if we get too extreme one way or the other, we risk losing an opportunity to serve those people who we seek to serve.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with James d’Apice, click below:

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