I mentioned LinkedIn during an in-house presentation at my law firm a few weeks back, and knew at that point about 15% of our Lawyers were on it. Checking back today, that number has jumped to around 35%. And that doesn’t include either students (it’s almost a given that every new student has an account) or the non-lawyers in the firm (eg. yours truly).
Lawyers already get networking for BD [Business Development] and the “it’s who you know” concept, so these numbers really shouldn’t surprise.
Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog, a company that helps law firms set up and make effective use of blogs, has some specific advice for his clients regarding who to connect with:
I’m advising LexBlog clients to used LinkedIn for building the network of people they’re meeting through their blog. That network should include:
- Bloggers whose content our clients reference in their own blog.
- Bloggers who reference our clients’ blog content.
- Reporters whose content our clients’ reference in their own blog.
- Bloggers who they admire and who blog they subscribe to.
- Reporters and journalists they have been interviewed by.
- Program coordinators for conferences the blogger has presented or wants to present at.
- Lawyers and other folks they meet whether via email or conference appearances.
Do this for 6 months and you are going to have hundreds of connections to reach out to for various purposes. And those connections are updating their profile and their connections on LinkedIn all the time. Much more powerful than your contact manager.
One of the things attorneys have to watch out for, of course, is client confidentiality. Attorneys probably want to turn off connection browsing, for starters. You also might consider only connecting in LinkedIn with clients that your relationship with is public knowledge. I feel kind of silly being the one telling lawyers to be careful about this, but it’s worth mentioning.
You also might consider asking for service provider recommendations from satisfied clients. This is a great way to enhance your reputation and visibility within LinkedIn.