Last October, I had the privilege of speaking at the annual joint conference of the International Institute of Law Association Chief Executives (IILACE) and the Chief Executives of European Bar Associations (CEEBA) in Dublin. This event provided an opportunity for law association leaders around the world to meet, exchange ideas and best practices concerning challenges and opportunities facing the legal profession around the world. A spirited dialogue took place throughout the four-day meeting of bar executives both at formal sessions and in the hallways, on such diverse topics as the recession and the profession, admission standards for the bar, the rule of law, and more.
What struck me most profoundly, beyond the shear diversity of the attendees and the challenges and opportunities they face in their respective countries – was the value that networking played in the dissemination of new ideas and solutions in our profession. Here were leaders of all the major bar associations around the world, hungry to meet with their counterparts to share ideas about what was working, what wasn’t and how to improve the profession, and the lives of countrymen and women touched by lawyers. And the new ideas generated and solutions found – would cascade down to the respective bar associations and law societies – in essence flowing throughout the entire legal profession.
I was thinking along those lines, because the power of networking, more specifically, the power of online professional networking, as exemplified in Martindale-Hubbell Connected – was precisely the topic about which I had been invited to speak. The power of the joint IILACE/CEEBA meeting was the value in collaborative networking. The challenge for the organization, was how to keep the momentum of this collaboration going in-between annual meetings, and how to keep the beneficial networking going as these leaders returned to their countries and daily responsibilities.
Following the meeting, IILACE’s visionary CEO, John Hoyles, and I kept in touch. In our subsequent conversations, it became clear that IILACE would benefit greatly by leveraging the power of a private, authenticated online professional network for lawyers to advance its organizational agenda. IILACE, however, did not possess the expertise or resources to design and roll out an online community that was tailored to the organization’s strategy. In effect, they wanted to do networking right. This all led to today’s press release, in which Martindale announced that IILACE has joined the Martindale-Hubbell Connected Alliance Partner Program. As part of that program, our team of community managers and content planners are working with IILACE as we speak to develop and implement a Connected community that works for IILACE’s members. I personally want to welcome IILACE to the alliance and we look forward to supporting their success.
As evidenced by more than 700 groups now formed in Connected by its 27,000+ corporate counsel, private practice lawyers and other legal professionals, in more than 140 countries, it seems to me that the legal profession has warmed to the idea of online networking and collaboration – and the value this powerful new communications medium can provide. And it’s gratifying to anticipate that as the world’s bar and law society leaders grow accustomed to collaborating online – the entire legal profession will only benefit from the faster and freer exchange of ideas and best practices.