LinkedIn is one of the most powerful social networking tools available for lawyers, thanks to its unique concentration of professionals prepared for networking. According to the American Bar Association’s 2015 Legal Technology Survey, 95% of lawyers asked to use Linkedin for professional purposes.
This far exceeds the closest competitor, Facebook, which was only used by 35% of the respondents. Colleagues and potential clients are turning to LinkedIn as a source of information on lawyers and firms, making LinkedIn a crucial place to curate the most flattering professional profile possible.
The LinkedIn profile tips below can help you position your firm’s brand in the legal community, increase your visibility and expand your personal reach. Think of it this way: the more you network, the more likely you are to receive referrals and create an environment of thriving professional connections. LinkedIn helps you create this, with minimal financial investment.
1 – Make sure your profile features an updated, professionally shot photo. LinkedIn offers highly text based profiles, which is why your profile should feature a professionally taken head shot. Ideally, your profile photo should show yourself in professional attire, with a simple background and a friendly look. Try not to over process your profile; simplicity is ideal.
2 – Write a compelling tagline. After your photo, your profile’s tagline is the second thing that people see when searching a name or a company on LinkedIn. Write a statement that is brief, yet professional, and leaves your audience wanting to know more. The goal of the tagline is to have your full profile reviewed, so keep that in mind.
3 – Ensure your experience is relevant to your current practice. If you’ve changed practice focus or have a varied professional history before you focussed on law, be sure to curate your previous experience. Pick and choose career highlights that lead to your current practice, and make sure everything that appears in your professional history reflects your current experience and goals.
4 – Invest time in writing your summary. A properly written summary is key to showcasing yourself as a confident legal professional. Since you’re creating a high level round-up of yourself as a lawyer, consider including wins, values, passions and validation points to highlight.
Keep your summary clear and concise, to ensure your audience finishes reading it. Make sure to include pertinent milestones, since others will fill in the blanks if you don’t do it for them. Remember to minimize usage of buzzwords, to prevent your summary from seeming insincere. If you’re not confident in writing your summary on your own, you can choose to pay a writer with biography experience to draft one for you.
5 – Write concise, yet meaningful descriptions of your professional experience. It’s important to have your descriptions readable, so avoid writing large paragraphs. Summarising your position, responsibilities and quantifying results from your time in said position in a concise manner is ideal.
For those who have had similar positions, avoid copying and pasting descriptions; it’s important to show as much professional growth as possible. Include links to firm pages, especially for your current firm, while ensuring its profile is up to date and includes details of how to contact for service inquiries.
6 – Be careful about labeling yourself a specialist. In many jurisdictions you’re not permitted by law to label yourself as a specialist. Certain states have very specific protocols for becoming a specialist within an area of law with the advertising rules surround specialization extend to social media accounts.
Lawyers are responsible for meeting advertising requirements in their jurisdiction, so you cannot allow other LinkedIn users to label you as a specialist, no matter how tempting it may be. Keep an eye on the language of your profile recommendations, as well as skills and endorsements.
7 – Import professional contacts from your email. This is a fast and easy way to find connections you have already made. Once you give permission, LinkedIn will search your email account for addresses associated with accounts on LinkedIn, and you have the option of importing each contact at that time. Be sure to avoid adding client contacts, to ensure professionalism.
8 – Join relevant groups and Bar Associations. LinkedIn groups can be utilized as networking opportunities, sources for peer knowledge, and keeping up to date on legal trends. Since groups are specialized communities, try to give as much as you take; you’ll get more from interacting with your fellow group members, no matter what the topic of discussion. Protip: join the LinkedIn Official Clio Users Community.
9 – Publish your blog posts and other published articles to your profile. When you publish articles or blog posts to your LinkedIn profile, you take advantage of a multitude benefits. Since articles appear on your profile, they add dimension to your account, shine another spotlight on your expertise and show professional focus.
10 – Install the LinkedIn app on your phone. It’s all about mobility. With the LinkedIn app, you can respond to InMail and comments in a timely manner, while being on the go. You never know what kind of connection will come from a LinkedIn conversation, so take the app with you, wherever you go.
Bonus: Set up a LinkedIn company page for your firm. If you have time to keep up with a company page in addition to your personal profile, you should create one. A LinkedIn company page is especially helpful if you want to connect multiple members of your firm, and build a brand around your practice.