2010 Precedent Setter Award Winner: Michele Allinotte

Introducing Michele Allinotte, a lawyer who stands out

Michele Allinotte: the networker
Barrister & Solicitor, Business & Real Estate Law
Called to the bar 2002

  • 1400+ followers on Twitter
  • Started her own practice in her hometown of Cornwall
  • Only female business law practitioner in city of 46,000
  • Co-founder, Young Lawyers of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry
  • Voted Cornwall’s favourite lawyer by the Cornwall Standard Freeholder

Michele Allinotte - 2010 Precedent Setter Award winner / Photo by Margaret Mulligan

Michele Allinotte shares a lot online. Some posts, like “beating the taxman,” are professional while others are more personal: she touches on everything from blueberry sauce recipes to her love of the TV show Modern Family.

Just don’t tell the sole practitioner that social media is “bubble gum stuff.” It’s how the business, estate planning and real estate lawyer, who opened her own practice in Cornwall in 2009, is winning clients. “My experience has shown that you just have to put yourself out there,” says Allinotte.

In the real world, this has meant starting a local group for women lawyers and organizing networking events. But as an early adopter of social media like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, her reach stretches well beyond her eastern Ontario hometown.

At a recent conference in the United States, Allinotte met some of her Twitter followers face-to-face. “One man was like, ‘You seem so much older online; you’re so knowledgeable and you have your own practice,’” she recalls.

Her youth and savvy have surprised others as well. Allinotte was working on succession planning with a client when the man leaned over and said, “Wow, you really do know what you’re talking about.”

Michele’s 5 Networking Tips

1. Be yourself. “It’s often the case that there’s the lawyer as a person and the lawyer as a lawyer, and they’re not always the same person. For me, I’m not that different in one arena or the other.”

2. Engage your audience. “You have to give good content to get good content: If you join Twitter and don’t do anything with it, you will get zero return on your investment.”

3. Be fearless. “You have to push through the things that make you uncomfortable and scare you and just put one foot in front of the other.”

4. Show your personality. “I think it helps people to connect when they see that I’m a real person who faces the same challenges they do.”

5. Define your online goals. “Take some time to decide who you want to reach and why, and then think about how you want to communicate your message.”