Laura Naser: Insta Success And Family Law Book Deals
Social media, to many solicitors, is a useful tool for creating connections with others in the legal industry and catching up with industry news, even tweeting about recent legislative or political developments. However, when it comes to using social media to speak to clients, many leave well alone.
As a law student, it is drummed into you that social media should be used with extreme caution and reminded of the perils of expressing personal opinions, especially outside working hours. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in 2017 issued 130,000 solicitors warning letters about rudeness and causing offence on social media, as well as issuing guidance on communication.
However, there are a few solicitors who have navigated the hazards of social media and taken advantage of their effectiveness in speaking to the public. One such solicitor is Laura Naser of Penningtons Manches Cooper, who has created a following on Instagram which has led to a book deal with Penguin.
We spoke to Laura about her success on Instagram and the release of her book, ‘The Family Lawyer’s Guide to Separation and Divorce’ on the 5 December.
Aimed at the public, the book gives practical advice on the process of separation and divorce, giving couples the knowledge on the best ways to separate amicably. With a specific focus on co-parenting, managing money and effective communications, it promises to be a ‘trusted companion and guide’ to everything a person needs to know to get through a ‘hugely stressful and emotional’ time.
When asked what inspired her to write a book, Laura explained her rise from a simple account on Instagram to being approached by Penguin.
Whilst on maternity leave in 2016, during a moment of inspiration in the middle of the night, Laura decided to use Instagram as a platform for empowering others with knowledge.
It instantly appealed to her with the speed and visual aspect, as well as being able to speak directly to the layperson whilst she was unable to be in the office.
The lack of character limits on posts, as there is with Twitter, also allowed more of a discussion about issues. Being able to translate from a personal account to a professional one was an easy process, giving her a voice that she has successfully related to a public audience.
Laura’s first posts were not personal; a landscape photo advising people to not make big decisions immediately at a time of year renowned to cause family arguments.
However, as time passed, she began posting more personal issues such as small stories and photos of her own family life. This enabled people to relate on a more personal level, to see her not just as a family lawyer, but a parent who has the same issues in day to day life as they do.
With photos of her family she has taken away the façade of an impersonal lawyer and levelled herself alongside her clients, effectively breaking down walls and allowing more personal communication and trust.
As well as growing her social media presence, Laura has joined forces with influencers such as Mothers Meetings and hosts seminars at her offices.
This has allowed more people to meet her in what many see as an impersonal space, again breaking down barriers and creating a relationship before her professional services are even required.
It has given people considering a separation the chance to access information and interact with Laura without the pressures of a face to face meeting. It also enables the all-important trust element to build, an important aspect to any solicitor. Through her Instagram account and seminars, she was no longer a stranger.
The book deal from Penguin arose due to Laura’s success at interacting with the public through Instagram and has enabled Laura to impart knowledge that does not push people considering separating to do it all themselves, but instead gives them the knowledge of all aspects of a separation and divorce, and when to seek legal advice.
The book, written in a similar voice to her posts, discusses the separation process in detail, much like an initial meeting she would have with a client. Setting expectations rather than being a self-help guide, it empowers the reader by giving them realistic options.
Laura feels that many disputes come from fear or a misunderstanding of the possible outcomes; if a person can inform themselves of the possible issues and give themselves the confidence to discuss the issues, disputes can often be resolved sooner. She does feel however, and reiterates in the book, that people with more complex cases should seek legal advice.
As a passionate member of Resolution, Laura always seeks to avoid litigation if possible, favouring alternative dispute resolution, mediation and the clients actually being able to work issues out between themselves. By giving people the tools to be able to discuss matters in a calm and informed way, this not only helps the couple themselves, but any children involved, something very important to Laura.
When asked what her advice would be to any trainee solicitor or person looking to move into divorce, her reply was to set client expectations.
Divorce is an emotive and personal process, clients need to be reminded to look at the whole picture, not to focus on small issues but rather balance and compromise, taking stock of everything involved. As one of her Instagram posts says:
“Your biggest assets to prioritise are not financial:
3, Mental Well-being
If you want to walk away feeling like you’ve ‘won’, win with your children happy, your dignity without dents, and with your mind ready for your next adventure.”