When I was enrolled in one of my first tax courses at Golden Gate University many years ago, another student asked our professor, Barbara Karlin, what resources she used to stay current in her practice area. After some thought she told us that unlike her husband, also a tax attorney, she preferred to talk with other tax professionals and attorneys. It was her reasoning that reading journals and such was very good to keep up on black letter law, but you would never know what was making the tax profession tick without a little face-to-face networking.
I think she is right. However, what does one do if one lives in a community where it is not possible to socialize with his or her “own kind”? For example, I am preparing an article on attorneys who practice law in (very) rural communities. One of my contacts practices in an area with a population of fewer than 700 people. I seriously doubt there are many people in her community that have spirited conversations about the latest revenue ruling, ABA ethical opinion or the new PDF/A file format for federal court filings.
Which brings me to social media. I’ve been thinking a lot about the practice of law and the role of social media. For the most part, I practice law in the seclusion of my abode, connected to my computer and the Internet. If it were not for my membership and participation in social media I would not know what issues confront many legal and tax professionals. For me, social media is no more different than walking down the hall and asking a colleague, “what’s up?”.