Larry is right to point out that the power of any social network site is derived from the number of people using it. That power to you is relative to the number of people you know that are using that social network site. That is Metcalfe's law.
In the last few months, I have seen lawyers poring into LinkedIn (Doug's profile in LinkedIn). As lawyers see more and more of their fellow attorneys joining LinkedIn, it becomes a more useful tool.
Lipsey misses the point of social networking sites. I do not expect anyone to contact me just because I have a listing on the site. That is not networking. That is just advertising. (Just like a listing in Martindale-Hubble.) The power of social networking sites is your ability to create a flow of information about yourself. Networking is about contributing useful information to the people you know and keeping your name in front of them.
I assume that Lipsey's post was to try to proclaim the value of Martindale-Hubble, but in the end his description of what corporate counsel are looking for sounds a lot like Legal OnRamp:
[Corporate counsel would] be willing to use a professional networking site to make it easier to get to those referrals. But that network must be trusted, limited to other legal professionals, and protected from relationship “spammers” who litter strangers with relationship requests. . . . . What they would find valuable is a trusted professional community of lawyers, and a “safe place” that enables corporate counsel to find each other, and outside counsel. They want the tools develop their own communities within these sites to exchange information and collaborate – away from the watchful eye of would be vendors, competitors or hostile counsel.But does not sound like Martindale-Hubble.
And sounds like LinkedIn:
"If a professional network can allow a corporate counsel to get the lawyer information as well as connections linking him or her to that lawyer – voila."