Law Practice

Surfing the Net is Now Work for Lawyers

When a Minnesota doctor recently saw a young patient with an unusual bulging eye, he had no trouble finding multiple experts to consult with him right away about the case. Dozens of physicians offered suggestions via a social networking site exclusively for physicians.

Such sites are a growing trend, offering an alternative to Facebook and other mainstream social networks for doctors and other professionals, reports the Wall Street Journal. It says an online suggestion on 25,000-member helped Dr. Michael Tomblyn diagnose a fast-growing cancer in his 21-year-old patient.

A new social networking site for attorneys called LawLink launched last week after two years of development. It already has 200 members, according to Steven Choi, an Oakland, Calif., civil litigator who is one of its founders. Free to members—who must be licensed attorneys—the site is intended to serve as a forum for referrals, discussion of professional issues and information-sharing, Choi tells

Still on the drawing board is Legal OnRamp, a similar online, members-only community of corporate in-house counsel and the law firm attorneys that represent their companies. It is the brainchild of Mark Chandler, general counsel of Cisco Systems. He envisions a limited-access site that serves both as a marketplace for corporations to find qualified legal counsel and as an information-sharing forum for discussion of issues and strategies, according to the ABA Journal.

Members of the LawLink site can post a photo, profile and brochure about themselves; view the same information in linked networks of colleagues; post and view classified ads seeking anything from a law firm employee to a date; or surf the site to participate in discussion forums and meet other attorneys. “I’ve been involved in the Internet since the inception, and I’m very familiar with the social networking sites,” Choi says. “It was just my own desire that there would be a social networking site for attorneys, only for attorneys, not for anybody else.”

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