As a lawyer and entrepreneur who lives in a relatively small town on the east coast, the use of social media to network and communicate with other professionals and the public has been a critical part of my daily practice. I can say for certain that without the interacts that I have on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a number of other platforms, I would not have been able to build my career to the level it is now.
I began teaching social media skills to law students and lawyers a couple years ago for this reason. I know it will be an important part of their practice both for professional networking and client development regardless of where they practice. The prominence of social media for marketing and professional development will only continue to increase for lawyers.
Surprisingly, I have a couple of students in each class I teach who will argue with me that the law firm they will work for will not need to use social media or that they are too afraid to engage online using Twitter or Facebook for fear of sharing too much. I've even had a few "test" me by asking questions on my professional accounts to see how I would handle their inquiries online. It was a great opportunity to teach them in real-time about blocking and other security features of the applications.