Martindale-Hubbell Connected – Top 10 Things We Learned in Beta

by Jon Lin on April 1, 2009 · 0 comments


The Martindale-Hubbell Connected online network for lawyers and legal professionals has been in beta development since last summer.

Now, as it opens its doors to all lawyers this week, we thought it would be a good time to look back and reflect on the top things we learned during the 10 month stretch between the initial private beta release and now.

10.  Corporate Counsel want non-lawyers in their network too.  And so we will be opening the Martindale-Hubbell Connected up to other legal professionals later this summer.

9.  No matter how fast we add new features or make enhancements, there list of things that we want to do keeps getting bigger, not smaller.  Also, we can never move fast enough to make everyone happy.

8.  Global networks are crucial.  The world is becoming smaller every day – and the legal profession is no different.  The ability to include contacts in international markets in a meaningful and robust way in a network is important.

7.  We needed better graphics. So, we’re re-designing them.  As a teaser, here’s our new Connected “C” icon indicating someone is a Connected member.

6.  It is easier to build a new house rather than make renovations to an existing one.  It’s both a blessing and a curse that Martindale-Hubbell and LexisNexis have many assets valuable to leverage in a web 2.0 world.  However, trying to integrate with existing processes, websites, and systems is harder than building a website from the ground up.  Not that we’re complaining…

5.  Social media offer great channels for customer feedback.  Good or bad, feedback is important and today’s social media platforms offer a channel beyond direct discussions and meetings.  We’re set up on Twitter @mhtweets as well as this blog. Several of us are also on Twitter individually – I’m at @jonlin98.

4.  Early adopters to luddites, you must always keep an eye on the entirety of your customer base.  Some members are hot to trot and operate effectively inside networks and social media while others are less familiar or comfortable. Solutions need to be slick enough for the former and easy to use enough for the later.

3.  We’re on to something.  While there certainly are other great social and professional networks out there, we keep hearing from clients and others that they see great value in the unique combination we can offer though our extensive global listings, trusted legal content, news and interactive features.

2.  Liking an authenticated network depends on your perspective.  Corporate counsel clearly like it, private practice attorneys and consultants are less hot on the concept.

And the number one thing we learned is…

1.  Developing a site is always a work in progress.  That’s why for now, we’re leaving the beta tag on the site. The network is open, any lawyer can join and legal professionals can too later this summer. But, for now, we’ll leave the beta sign up as an indication that more cool stuff is to come.

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