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Linkedin for Lawyers: Top Ten Tips



Linkedin can be a powerful online tool to help you expand

your professional network, raise your visibility, and position

and control your personal brand — if, that is, you know how to use it.

sales webLinkedin has become the business-to-business directory of default and the most popular social networking platform dedicated to professional business development. Most would agree that legal services is a relationship business and that success as a rainmaker comes from effec-
tively working your network of relationships. Linkedin provides you with specific tools designed to help you harness the latent power of your professional network.

Linkedin can help you to:

• Rekindle old relationships
• Strengthen current relationships
• Build new relationships
• Increase your visibility and enhance personal brand among key audiences
• Keep an “ear to the ground” in key market segments
• Facilitate information exchange/distribution.

Effective use of Linkedin leads to:

• New inquiries
• In-person meetings
• New business.

This article is a shortened version of a larger more detailed article with step-by-step instruction. You can access the full paper by clicking on the title below:

Linkedin for Lawyers: Basics, Power Tips and Caveats

Herein I provide an overview of the top ten tips, and because lawyers are usually bereft of spare time, I have arranged these in order of impact.

1. Complete a profile

If you haven't already, sign up. If you haven't completed your profile, commit to do so. A little bit at a time is okay. Not being on Linkedin can actually be a liability in some circles — resulting in a perception of, perhaps, not being in step with things current.

2. Upload a photo of yourself

Add your photo to your Linkedin profile. Your photo is used at a small thumbnail size, so the tighter you crop the photo, the larger your image will appear, and the more recognizable you will be. Don’t be a faceless personal — it looks creepy!

3. Edit your "headline"

Your “Headline” is the description directly below your name on your profile page. When you first start an account, you are asked for your title or position, and when Linkedin creates your profile page, it uses your title as your Headline. However, you have the ability to edit this — and you should. As the second line on your profile, the Headline’s communication power is great. Think of the Headline as your professional tagline. It is an opportunity to more specifically describe the type of lawyer you are and the type of work you do.

4. Share an "Update"

This is where the true social power of Linkedin kicks in. The Update area (or Share box) invites you to communicate to your connections with a brief update of what you are working on, what’s new, or anything you feel comfortable asking or sharing. You can also easily Attach a Link to your Update, which can be a simple and powerful way to share relevant infor- mation with your connections.

5. Edit your web site links

One of the great benefits of a Linkedin profile is that it allows you to add up to three links to your law firm’s web site, bio page, blog, Twitter page, or any other web link you deem important to add to your profile. The default settings are:

• My Web Site
• My Company
• My Blog.

But those are just suggestions. Take advantage of the ability to customize the link labels by choosing Other in the drop down menu in the Web Sites edit mode.

6. Customize your URL, and make your profile public

When you first sign up with Linkedin, it assigns you a URL (or web site address) that is, well, a bit messy. For instance, my original Linkedin URL was: My customized URL is now:

The shorter version is much easier to put on a business card or in an e-mail footer, and easier for someone to type in or provide over the phone when necessary. And, again, it is now better optimized for search engines.

Next, you’ll want to make your profile public. By making your profile public, you make all the information in it available to search engines, and you make it easier for people to find you and learn about what you can do for them.

7. Don’t copy-and-paste your attorney bio as your Summary

The Summary is meant to be just that, a summary, not a complete accounting of your life story. Don’t copy-and-paste your law firm attorney bio into this space. Rather, use the Summary as a place to posi- tion yourself specifically for the type of business you are seeking, and to “brand’ yourself in a specific area of law or an industry segment. Also, because Linkedin is a social site, consider using the first person when creating your Summary. As a social site it’s okay to take a more friendly, direct and personal approach.

8. Make Connections

Only you can decide with whom you want to connect on Linkedin. Some people take a very open-ended networking strategy and want to connect with as many people as possible, viewing everyone they meet as a potential Linkedin contact. Others are very judicious about whom they connect with and will only connect with persons they know well or have worked with in the past. You must decide what’s comfortable and right for you. And if you are worried about allowing others to see your clients and connections, you can hide your contacts from anyone who is not a direct (1st level) connection. But that can also limit the full effectiveness of your larger 2nd and 3rd level network.

9. Use Recommendations carefully

In order for your Linkedin profile to be “complete” it requires that you have and give at least two Recommendations. However, lawyers and investment advisors should be careful. First of all, no one can post a Recommendation without your approval, so don’t worry about that happening without your knowledge. Still, various attorney advertising laws and ethics guidelines do not allow “endorsements.”

10. Become active in Groups

Once you've accomplished the above, now its time to put Linkedin to work by becoming involved with Linkedin’s Groups. It takes a little time using Linkedin before you may be ready to participate fully — start by "listening" and watching how others use the groups to pose questions, announce news, point to resources, etc. Using Groups can be a very effective way to raise your visibility among specific niche audiences. Start by searching for and joining groups. Some places to start include alumni groups from schools you’ve attended, alumni groups from former employers, and (even more importantly) groups in the industry segments you and your clients follow.

A final bit of advice: Before you dive into active use on Linkedin, take the time to work your way through the Settings. Click on “Settings” in the top right of the page next to “Help.” Here you can double check and reset visibility and privacy settings and more. Be sure to visit each of these links to verify your settings.

If you'd like to read the longer, more detailed version of this article with step-by-step instructions, please go to:

Linkedin for Lawyers: Basics, Power Tips and Caveats

March 2011.