Five Simple Ways To Get Members Excited About Your Local Law Society
It’s a massive ask for local law societies to stay on their members’ radar. Most lawyers have gruelling workloads and need something special to entice them away, even momentarily, from their clients. How can you put new energy into the activities of your local law society and make it more appealing to local lawyers? These ideas should help you grow your membership and attract new blood too.
1. Choose the location for your events strategically to get a bigger uptake.
Look at your current members, the size of their firms and their location. Your member firms are likely to be spread across county borders. Think about this when deciding where to hold meetings.
Think also about holding a seminar twice within a 2-3 month period to give members extra choice over where and when they can attend. Showing this kind of flexibility will make it easier for members based outside major towns and cities to engage with your activities.
So, Derbyshire Law Society could hold events in Chesterfield, as well as Derby. Cambridgeshire Law Society could hold events in Peterborough, as well as Cambridge. Meetings and events need to be held in large catchment areas to engage as many people as possible – and give firms the feeling they have a stronger stake in their local Society.
Events are often too far away for many firms to get to – which can mean they don’t join their local law society. A wise choice of location could give these non-member firms a chance to get involved and maybe take up membership.
2. Use questionnaires to find out what members really want
Rather than send out a generic questionnaire, use the strength and depth of your committee to get useful data.
Your committee should have a spread of members from a variety of areas within the profession: solicitors working for large firms, council lawyers, lecturers from law school, sole practitioners and so on.
Use their knowledge and experience to create questionnaires tailored precisely to the needs of their local peers.
By asking the right questions in a series of thoughtfully targeted questionnaires, you’ll be able to put together a plan for appealing to lawyers across the board. You can put on a variety of meetings and events that will breathe new life into your offer to members.
You’ll appeal to a broader spectrum of members keen to engage with the society on a regular basis. But beware of making your new processes too radical! A complete upheaval is extremely risky and you may cause resentment if you scrap long-standing, popular practices.
3. Invite firms to participate in your magazine, blog or newsletter
Giving lots of local firms a regular chance to showcase their work to the local legal community is a great way of strengthening relationships between you and your members.
Firms usually appreciate being given some airtime and stirring up discussion within the local legal community. It’s a great PR opportunity for them – clients will be impressed to see their lawyers as enthusiastic content experts. They can share experiences they think will be useful to other local lawyers, broadcast recent achievements and highlight any community service they feel could inspire other firms.
And they can create reputation-building opportunities for newly-qualified solicitors or trainees to get their name in front of senior people in the profession. This could be a regular opportunity, which will strengthen ties and create a friendly interest in how neighbouring firms operate.
It’s a good idea to limit these invitations to active members, as your newsletter content should ideally showcase firms who contribute to the society’s success. And seeing other firms with column inches should act as an incentive for the inactive ones to get more involved.
4. Keep your committee fresh – engage new talent
Bringing a variety of new faces onto your committee, from all corners of the profession, will reduce the workload of the administrator and senior committee members as well as bringing new energy to your society.
Involve young lawyers and ask member firms to select a solicitor to work alongside a senior committee member. They could work together on a range of CPD subject areas, equality, new legislation with potential impact on careers, or sport and social issues.
This will help you take pride in yourself and strive to be the best local law Society you can. Enthusiasm is infectious, so building a team spirit will help. Remember, you need to generate original ideas that will engage members. Having a fresh, energetic and creative committee will get you off to a great start.
5. Engage members through your social media channels
If you publish your society newsletters and magazines in a multi-channel format, like a blog, they can be accessed anywhere, anytime, on any platform.
But you need to remind members of the content you’re putting out there, then keep on doing it! That way, you’ll get more, engaged, readers, who are talking about your society and increasing interest in it.
How do you create a buzz around your content without overloading your members with local news?
Make sure your content is relevant and useful: see 2. above. Your research should include questions about what content your members want in their newsletter.
Regularly post your articles on social channels like Twitter and LinkedIn. If you haven’t already got social accounts, set them up.
Make sure your committee members are commenting on the articles to get a conversation going with other members. The more articles are commented on and shared with other lawyers, the more profile you’ll get. You can fast become the go-to place for lawyers to exchange views on topical legal issues of local importance.
You can also set up topic-based forums through your website, or other social channels like LinkedIn, where solicitors can express opinions on politics or legislation and have discussions with like-minded lawyers. By offering a space confined to lawyers, unlike other social media, you’re showing you’re relevant and unique to your members.
Keep your forums alive. It’s better not to have a forum than have one that was last contributed to 6 months ago. Give specific committee members the task to keep the conversations going, and come up with ideas for new threads. This can include expanding the range of topics beyond purely professional ones.
Engaging with your members online will give you first-hand knowledge of their opinions and ideas. You can talk to them on a daily basis. You don’t need to wait for committee meetings to develop ideas and strategy, and you no longer face the lonely task of constantly brainstorming ideas to make your society more appealing to its members. And if the changes put in place don’t seem to be getting the results you want, it’s easy for you to try a different formula.
If you want to boost engagement with your members by taking your society newsletters and magazines to the next level, do get in touch