What LinkedIn Is, Why So Many Lawyers Use It, and Why You Should Too!

1. Social Media Tools Can Change Often (and Dramatically)

As a cloud service, LinkedIn can update its features and interface on a regular basis, even overnight. In general, that is a good thing, as the service evolves to become more useful and to respond to user feedback. We like almost all of the changes we’ve seen since the first edition of this book was published, but we know people who do not like that certain features (such as Events) no longer are part of LinkedIn or that features they relied on have been moved or renamed. As a result of this evolution, especially the interface changes in mid-2013, every image in this second edition is different from the images in the first edition.

2. What Are You Hiring LinkedIn to Do?

Dennis has become quite interested in a new approach from Clayton Christensen (author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and other books and the person most commonly associated with the notion of “disruptive tech-nologies”) known as the jobs-to-be-done framework. We have started to use it in our presentations and articles about LinkedIn. In simplest terms, this approach asks and tries to answer the question: “What are you hiring LinkedIn to do?” Spending some time with this question can greatly enhance and clarify your approach to and use of LinkedIn. For example, if you are “hiring” LinkedIn to help you find a job, you will use it differently than if you are hiring it to help you fill an open position. If you want to hire LinkedIn to find new local clients for your law practice, you will do something different than if you want to hire it to help you find speaking opportunities. Our sense is that LinkedIn will work best for most lawyers and legal professionals if they hire it to help them create, manage, and care for their network of referrers and potential referrers of business. We invite you to keep that in mind as you read the book.

3. Bringing LinkedIn to the Real World

As we began to speak more often about LinkedIn, we found that we kept coming back to one point: LinkedIn works best when it overlaps with the real world. The most successful LinkedIn users seem to have a knack for using LinkedIn to supplement what they are already doing in the real world and using the real world to enhance what they are doing in LinkedIn. This cross-pollination does not have to be difficult or complex. Learning that a LinkedIn Connection has a new job can lead to a phone call or lunch invitation. Meeting someone at a conference can result in that person becoming a Connection. You can check LinkedIn when you visit another city to see what Connections you can meet in person. There is an organic element to LinkedIn networking; letting LinkedIn and the real world interact and overlap in simple ways can provide great benefits.

Before you dive into this book, we suggest you take a few minutes to think about how many people you talk to and work with in the average day or week. It might surprise you. If you map out on paper the people you know and your relationships in some of the categories we mentioned (e.g., colleagues, clients, providers), you will quickly see how rich and complex your networks can be, even if you are a solo practitioner.

If you then consider the ways in which your networks allow you to tap into the similar networks of your connections for recommendations and referrals, you will see the value of “who you know” and “who they know” in your professional practice. Lawyers who do well for themselves, their clients, and those they work with often have long-standing, well-nurtured, and thriving networks.

LinkedIn is a tool to help you make your networks more visible and usable than when those networks reside only in your head. It lets you map your networks, organize them, grow and nurture them, and efficiently use them both for your own benefit and the benefit of your connections. It does so in an easy-to-understand way that works very well for lawyers, with results you can see and measure.

This book focuses on the three parts of your LinkedIn presence that you must understand well: Profiles, Connections, and Participation. To read more about “LinkedIn in One Hour” or to purchase the book click below!

LinkedIn in One Hour

This post was adapted from the Law Practice Division’s publication LinkedIn in one hour. Written by Allison C. Shields and Dennis Kennedy, This book will help anyone make the most of their online professional networking.


Check Also

client service

Author Spotlight: The Law Firm Client Service Interview Playbook

A Q&A with the authors about their step-by-step guide to incorporating client service interviews into your firm's client relationship management strategy.