Ever since Elon Musk took over Twitter, it’s basically been in a free fall. Bunches of previously regular Twitter users are basically only there to watch it burn. And after the purging of the legacy blue checkmarks on 4/20 — because Elon is a child — the only way to have a verified account is to pay for one (or be on Elon’s personal — and questionable — shortlist). The one-time badge of authenticity has turned into something utterly uncool which “mainly serves to signal that you’re shamelessly willing to pay a right-wing billionaire to use Twitter.”
So if there’s something pop culture uncool, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that Biglaw is on it. As reported by Jenna Greene at Reuters, out of the Am Law 100 at least three firms — Hogan Lovells, Holland & Knight, and Vinson & Elkins — are paying Elon for that bit of swag on their profile.
But a spokesperson for Hogan, which has 32,800 Twitter followers, said the firm figures it’s worth paying to keep its checkmark, citing benefits such as analytics and data, as well as more secure two-factor authentication.
Vinson chief communications officer Allan Schoenberg in an email also cited the “added security and analytics that come with the blue checkmark.” The firm currently has a modest 5,880 followers, but Schoenberg said it is “constantly evaluating and evolving our digital strategy.”
Though three is far from a trend, especially when you consider the fact that 14 Biglaw firms had blue checkmarks pre-purge. It’s just not something firms feel a need to throw money at — at least not immediately.
“We have decided to take a ‘wait and see’ approach, given all the changes happening at Twitter,” a spokesperson from one top firm told me. “From a practical standpoint, we currently do not see a direct business benefit to the verification designation.”
But firms aren’t the only ones deciding whether to pony up for the blue mark of the devil. Plenty of prominent attorneys are getting on board.
Those who have the blue badges include former Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, now a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (1.7 million followers); Hogan Lovells appellate partner Neal Katyal (837,500 followers); Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan founder John Quinn (50,600 followers); and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison appellate chair Kannon Shanmugam (13,000 followers).
Lest you think the list is limited to the elite alone, Michael Avenatti (aka Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island inmate number 86743-054) also has a blue check – and 612,200 followers.
But getting a checkmark is far from a universal need:
Hogan appellate partner Sean Marotta (31,000 followers) also is checkmark-free.
“I didn’t have a check before and I don’t think I need one now,” he told me. “I don’t think anyone could successfully impersonate my intense legal nerdery, anyway.”
Still worth watching the space to see how essential Biglaw considers verification.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @Kathryn1@mastodon.social.
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