A huge number of e-billers does not make an “online community of legal professionals”

“With a network of more than 100,000 users in 180 countries, Serengeti Law is now the largest online community of legal professionals in the world.” So claims a press release summarized in the ACC Docket, Vol. 27, Dec. 2009 at 93. Literally true, since all those Serengeti users share the common thread of sending bills online, its is a nano-thin community.

The number of timekeepers who invoice electronically through Serengeti is impressive, mind-boggling to be more precise. The achievement is laudable. Nevertheless, it is not an online community if all you share is submitting bills through the internet on the same software. You know no one else in a meaningful way and have no communication with them.

Until Serengeti allows its legions to post messages for each other, to join online discussions, to upload and search for shared information, to form affinity groups – the nuts and bolts of Martindale-Hubble Connected, Legal OnRamp, LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo, Plaxo and other professional online communities – this bit of self promotion misleads (See my post of Sept. 22, 2008: social networks such as LinkedIn, with 7 references.).

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