Twitter novel contest: And the winners are ...

Thanks to all who entered our first-ever Twitter novel contest. We asked attorneys to write a novel in 140 characters or less, and received 189 valid entries. We even received coverage on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

The winning entrant was Casey Burgess of Dallas, with this tweet:

"Swirling death, the dark cloud descends. As he runs for his cellar, the farmer learns that sometimes pigs can fly."

Casey won our grand prize, an Apple iPad.

In second place was Mark I. Unger of San Antonio (@miunger), with: 

"SheWalkedIn iFell @Love #WeDid RT@PookieBorn Birthdays MortgAge WorkLate GirlsTrip BikerDude FaceBookPics iFiled SheWalkedOut"

And our third-place winner was Ron Uselton of Sherman, with: 

"Wanted: wife's killer. Apply in person."

We were happy to have all three finalists at our awards ceremony during the Adaptable Lawyer track at the 2010 State Bar Annual Meeting.

Big thanks to Michael P. Maslanka for giving us the idea and for serving as a judge, and to our other judges, Chad Baruch, Michelle Cheng, Amanda Ellis, Thane Rosenbaum, Dom Sagolla, and Christine Son.

A Milestone for the State Bar's Social Network

In May, Bill Medaille of Austin became the 10,000th Texas lawyer to register for Texas Bar Circle, our social and professional network for State Bar of Texas members. Since then, 800 more lawyers have joined the ranks.

We’re recognizing user 10,000 because he met a goal of the 2008-2009 State Bar Web Services Committee, which helped launch the community in 2007 as the first-ever social network by a bar association. Recently, the California, Oklahoma, Missouri, Minnesota, and Tennessee state bars, and others, launched or announced their own communities.

So how is Texas Bar Circle doing? The trend line of registrations for the first half of 2009 matches lawyer adoption of LinkedIn, which Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog called an “avalanche” and Stem Legal’s Steve Matthews estimated at 840,000 in June 2009, up from 406,000 in December 2008. Of course our numbers won’t approach those, but it seems the legal industry is catching on to the value of social networking.

Texas Bar Circle users have created more than 250 groups on topics ranging from business development (Solo and Small Firm Practice, Rainmaking) to regions (Houston Attorneys, Austin Attorneys) to hobbies (Biker Barristers,  Musical Lawyers) to eclectic (God Forsaken Places to Practice; Killers, Thieves, and Lawyers). They’re also making direct connections and finding opportunities on a platform which we hope, as an exclusive community of lawyers, has a unique value among tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, which lawyers should also embrace.

If you’re a Texas lawyer and not yet a Circle member, check it out at www.texasbarcircle.com. You won’t find the bells and whistles of a Facebook or LinkedIn, but you will find a usable tool for building relationships – which is what social networking is all about.