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Listserv Recommendations Anyone?

I am part of leadership of a lawyer networking group in the Chicago area where lawyers of different disciplines and practice areas come together to share referrals, information and general collegiality. We have frequent in person meetings and get-togethers but are also looking to be able to keep in touch on line via a listserv platform or the like. Does anyone have recommendation as to a good listserv platform for these purposes.

Brad in the Windy City, Esq.


  • gyitsakalakisgyitsakalakis Chicago Admin

    Admittedly, not listserv platform, but have you considered https://slack.com/? If not, might also use private social network groups (i.e. LinkedIn Group, Facebook Group, etc). If you've considered those, I'd be curious to hear some of the objections. Privacy? Others?

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    In 2016, a listserv is probably not the right solution. Gyi has good alternatives. Even a Google Group would be a better (if still listserv-y) alternative.

    But if you insist, nearly every website hosting package comes with mailing list software (usually Mailman). Just lot into your control panel (cPanel or whatever your host provides), and look around for Mailing Lists to create one.

  • thedanshermanthedansherman Maple Plain, MN

    A private google group can work just like a listserv, but you can participate via the web instead of email. The MILO group is hosted this way.

  • Thanks All!

    Great suggestions and I'll look into each of them.

    When one of the esteemed elders of our group asked me to look into this, my initial response was "Listserv !??, that's so Web 1.0" ....so I definitely hear what Sam is saying about the year 2016 thing.

    I am a bit hesitant wrt to Slack (though I hear it's cool and awesome) and Google Groups for that matter, as I don't think many of the members will be attuned to these channels. I was also thinking of Facebook or Linked-In groups as a potential solution.

    Functionality-wise, what we are looking for is the ability to be notified at the moment a new message, lets say about a potential referral of business, comes in. Email, and hence the list serve, accomplishes this end admirably.

    I am not super hi-tech, but I believe that through an easy to adjust setting, one can receive an email the instant a new message hits the group. At least I believe Facebook can operate this way. Am I correct on this score gentleman? I personally am partial to Facebook. It just strikes me as a bit more fluid and casual than LinkedIn, but I think I will offer both options up to the leadership.

    Thanks again all! I am grateful that all you famous (and busy guys) took the time to chime in here. Gyi-- I saw you present recently at the ABA Tech Show in Chicago and back in the fall at Clio Cloud. Sam- I am a big Lawyerist Podcast fan and am spreading the word. I was hoping to say hi at ABA Tech but somehow I missed that. Dan-- nice to make your acquaintance. Initially I thought MILO stood for Minnesota Insane Lawyers Organization, but now I see where you're coming from. Cheers to you all.

  • Back in the spring, members of this august Lawyerist Q&A community suggested the Slack platform for my Lawyer's Networking Group that was looking to launch a Listserv-like platform (I know...so Web 1.0). After lots of discussion, exploration, and and cogitation we are about to roll Slack out to our Lawyer's Community members.

    I wanted to know if anyone out there has any particular insights, suggestions, advice or guidance to share as we step forward with this Slack undertaking.

    Here are some of the things I have in mind for our particular use of the Slack platform:
    1) make and receive referrals
    2) pose legal questions
    3) seek and provide advice re: matters related to the practice such as appearing before certain judges and in certain fora, technology, service providers, vendors, use of social media, biz development, among other things, and
    4) discuss our Lawyer Community events (where we often have speakers on particular topics or practice areas) and continue those discussions
    5) discuss various legal resources (websites, blogs, etc).

    Can anyone share the experience other lawyer groups have had with Slack (Bar Associations or the like)?

    Thanks in advance for any insights.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    Here are some genera thoughts I have on organizing a community in Slack.

    Exercise restraint when it comes to creating channels. Channels are like rules. As soon as you have more than one, people start worrying if they are posting a message in the “right” channel. This can stifle conversation and community.

    I generally try to stick to one channel—#general, in Slack—until it feels like there’s too much noise and it gets hard to follow the conversation. Then choose the biggest sub-conversation and make a channel for it. #links is usually the first channel to create, since it gives the group a place to drop links and curate a reading list. The goal is to create channels that promote conversation rather than stifle it.

    Periodically go through and trim your channels. If nobody has posted to one in a few months, maybe you don't need it after all.

  • I'm necromancing, but here goes. Listserves aren't dead. There is no learning curve.

    In the electronic world, listserves likely harbor the kind of place your beloved maiden Aunt Bea, stout, clad in lilac, and wearing those old-lady shoes, would inhabit, reliable, plain,
    old-fashioned and full of good sense. Like mailing lists, she gave up trying to
    compete long ago with webboards, throwing up her hands and rolling her eyes at
    the flashier and newer Facebook and Twitter. She knew that she still reigned
    over online communities, now operating under the new-fangled concept of “social
    media.” Lawyers can be a hidebound and conservative lot when it comes to
    adapting to new technology. Think of the techno-tools that have come and gone since listserves pioneered: the fax machine, 5.25” floppies, Zip drives, VHS, the Sony Walkman. Let’s look at what’s responsible for listserves’ continuing appeal:

    Participation requires no learning curve. Anyone who can send and receive e-mail has the requisite skills.

    Most lawyers’ e-mail programs are open all the live-long day, delivering correspondence from clients, opposing counsel, judges, loved ones, and Viagra merchants. Participation in a listserve doesn’t mean having to open up a browser, log in, look around, and fight the temptation to check the latest eBay auction.

    Membership or subscribership fosters sense of intimacy and belonging, supporting one
    another. Members may know exactly how many members are in the club at any time. Web boards or forums, requiring registration, have that membership aspect, but they’re still too public. A web board may have 900 registered users, but perhaps as few as 15 regularly logging in and participating.

    Listserves are collaborative, generative, and interactive. Subscribers can post lengthy
    messages, articles, and carry on debates.

    Mailing lists are used-modifiable, which means that subscribers can opt for various delivery
    methods and formatting.

    Listserves are low-tech, cheap, and easy to maintain.

    Remember when e-mail was declared “the killer app” for the Internet? Listserves simply piggyback and leverage that application.

  • @Brad Rosen I don't agree with all of these, but many of Dev Basu'sSlack Protocols to Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness at Work http://devbasu.com/slack-protocols-to-maximize-productivity-and-effectiveness-at-work/ have made our team's usage more effective.

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