Adrian Dayton leaning against a table.

A new wave of legal marketing

"I’m committed to pushing this industry so that through innovation people can work smarter and know that their work is supported by data."

The first client Adrian Dayton ’08 ever brought into his law firm, he found on Twitter.

The social network was in its infancy back then, and Dayton – who had written a book and was casting about for ideas on how to get it published – was surprised to read a tweet from a fellow author who was seeking a contract lawyer. “That was a light bulb moment for me,” he says. “Anyone in the world could have responded, because Twitter was searchable. I was the only lawyer who responded. I realized there was an entire market out there that was accessible through Twitter and no one even knew it existed.”

After losing his job at a major law firm in Buffalo, Dayton struck out on his own with a new mission: to help firms tap the potential of this new wave of social media to grow their business. He became a consultant and trainer on the subject, traveling widely and training more than 17,000 professionals in social media and business development. He has also become a go-to authority on the subject, having written columns for Above the Law, Law.com, the National Law Journal and Forbes.com, as well as two published books, Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition and LinkedIn & Blogs for Lawyers (with co-author Amy Knapp).

An image of ClearView Social's website.

“I have really been amazed at the network that UB provided for me, including opportunities to interview at stellar firms. I could have taken a job in one of the big cities; I just didn’t want that lifestyle. Those opportunities all came to me through UB. It’s a well-respected law school with great faculty.”

Getting a Clear View

In 2013, Dayton launched a company to help firms leverage the content they put out on social media. ClearView Social with offices in Buffalo and Salt Lake City, Utah, uses proprietary software to make it easy for firms’ marketing directors to get their lawyers’ content in front of more eyeballs.

The company extends firms’ reach by sharing content – blog posts, white papers, e-alerts, newsletter articles – with not only the firms’ marketing lists but with the networks of their individual lawyers. If a firm has a hundred lawyers, each with around a hundred contacts on LinkedIn, that’s 10,000 impressions for every post – growing the attorneys’ reputations in the legal community, getting the firm’s name out there, and building connections that can lead to new clients.

ClearView Social concentrates on LinkedIn, the business-focused social network, as well as Facebook and Twitter; they’re looking at expanding to Instagram as well. The company now serves more than 150 clients – law firms but also accountants, insurance companies and other professional services firms.

“If you take a firm of 100 lawyers, most of them are too busy to ever write for social media, or they just have no interest in it,” Dayton says. “For the average firm that is using our product, about 25 percent of their lawyers regularly share. Firms are finding that they can count on certain people to produce content regularly.

 “But once that content is created, they’re not always great about sharing it. We can help them reach dramatically more people.”

Making Connections

His experience at UB School of Law, Dayton says, was an early lesson in the importance of making professional connections. “I have really been amazed at the network that UB provided for me, including opportunities to interview at stellar firms,” he says. “I could have taken a job in one of the big cities; I just didn’t want that lifestyle. Those opportunities all came to me through UB. It’s a well-respected law school with great faculty.”

Recently Dayton’s work was recognized by the College of Law Practice Management, which inducted him as a fellow – one of the group’s youngest inductees ever.

“I’m committed to pushing this industry so that through innovation people can work smarter and know that their work is supported by data,” he says. And his timing was right: “I set out in the right place at the right time. If I had started this two years later, it would have been too late. I was one of the first to go all in on social and made it my mission to bring the power of tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to corporate law firms.”