The legal profession is not known for its tech-savvy approach or use of social media. In fact, it’s fair to say that the law profession is one of the most traditional. There are some good reasons for this. Trust, security, and a professional approach are essential for any lawyer or law firm. We are nowhere near a world in which a lawyer is found through Tik Tok or Instagram and perhaps that’s not a direction things will ever go in. However, some new ways of networking are being adopted by the legal sector, especially since the pandemic of 2020.
Over lockdown, many lawyers were forced to meet clients via zoom as well as network and even promote themselves online. Many found new ways to attract clients, build relationships and communicate and this is likely to continue to grow and develop. Not the least because it tends to save time and money. What is essential is that when venturing into these new more modern approaches to business, the reputation of lawyers and the industry remains highly professional.
Equally important, is that lawyers who have not yet adopted these new approaches are not left behind or struggling to navigate utilising new technologies and systems. At LegalDrop we’re seeing a big increase in lawyers using LinkedIn, so here we are going to focus on how lawyers can optimize LinkedIn.
We’ll take you through ways you can establish yourself on LinkedIn, what the advantages of LinkedIn are, and the different ways you might use it to boost your professional profile and even your client base.
How Is LinkedIn Useful For Lawyers?
LinkedIn is a professional networking site. It is used by professionals globally to expand their network and to reach out to potential clients, and associates as well as for advice, ideas, and experience sharing. Truthfully, like any social site, there can be some friction in the comments section and a few keyboard warriors but it is reasonably easy to avoid that part. Essentially, LinkedIn has been a platform helping business professionals for many years and, given that more people are working remotely, it looks to be experiencing even more growth. Historically, LinkedIn has also been utilised by recruiters and for a while earnt a reputation as being useful only if looking for work. In recent years though, the platform has moved away from this and become a place for professionals across many sectors, from construction to crypto, to converse, share and gain more insight into their industry.
For lawyers, LinkedIn has become a place to connect with businesses, as well as other legal professionals, and to keep up with industry news. Furthermore, for self-employed lawyers, in particular, it has become a place to boost their profile and connect with potential clients.
So, let’s look at how lawyers can optimise LinkedIn.
Setting Up Your Profile
We won’t go into how to set your LinkedIn profile from a step-by-step point of view. You may already have done this and if you haven’t there are some great simple YouTube tutorials.
What is important is deciding upon your persona on your LinkedIn profile. For instance, you might think that the job title is an easy one, however, you’ll notice there is a trend to do job titles a little differently on LinkedIn. For instance, someone who is a ‘Business Coach’ might opt for something along the lines of ‘I help entrepreneurs discover their strengths and elevate their opportunities,’ rather than just using ‘Business Coach.’
Now, some people like hearing about what people do in these terms whereas others prefer to stick to a traditional job title. As a lawyer, I would suggest sticking with the more standard job title. However, you do get some extra space so it may be worth adding a couple of extra skills. For instance, your specialisms or a one-line description of your services.
An example might be, ‘Commerica Lawyer | Professional Legal Advice For Small Businesses’, or, ‘Family Lawyer | Divorce Lawyer | Solicitor’. Remembering that this is a global platform, it can be useful to expand on your job title in this way and can also help you appear in similar but relevant searches on the platform.
The About Me section is equivalent to a personal profile on a CV. Here you can:
- Expand on what you do
- Who you work with
- What your qualifications are
- Career highlights and achievements
It’s important to keep this brief since people may be inclined to scan read and will be put off by lengthy content.
Your experience is simple enough to fill out and is also similar, in content and format, to a CV. The bonus here is that you will be linked to companies you have previously worked with which helps in expanding your network by linking you with or highlighting your profile to former colleagues.
Lastly, the photo you use on your LinkedIn profile, as a lawyer, should be professional. Preferably a corporate headshot. If you don’t have one of these though, you should use a head and shoulders photo of yourself that is friendly and welcoming but professional. Although some chose to use LinkedIn to also show a more rounded version of themselves, those in the legal sector will generally be expected to appear professional, even on online platforms. It helps to develop trust and portrays competency.
Making connections on LinkedIn is important. However, just as in life, who you associate yourself with will reflect on you, so a scattergun approach is not recommended. It’s also important that you connect with those who are going to keep your presence on the platform enjoyable and constructive. If the majority of your connections are coaches, for instance, then your feed will be filled with the content being shared by them, which may not be relevant to you. So, don’t wait for invites to come your way. Be proactive and start making connections. On LinkedIn you should consider connecting with:
- Former colleagues
- Current clients
- Personal connections, working in any sector
- Employees of companies you admire
- Local business owners
- Other attendees of events you are attending
- Other lawyers (all specialisms)
If you are a self-employed lawyer or have started your own firm, it is worth connecting with other lawyers who offer different services. The self-employed network is certainly one worth being in since contacts are often shared and recommendations made which can lead to gaining new clients.
It’s also well worth connecting with those you have personal relationships with who work in other sectors. Being the only lawyer in someone’s network makes it very likely that you will be their recommendation if anyone needs legal advice.
You will find some LinkedIn users send a message, or have an automated message scheduled when a connection is made. This is not generally recommended as it can come across as pushy. It’s a far better approach to look out for one another’s posts, engage with those and build an initial rapport before sending a direct message. Unless, of course, you already know each other or have a real reason for getting in touch beyond ‘do you need a lawyer?’
What to Post
What you choose to post on LinkedIn is a reflection of you as a person and as a professional. So technically there are no fixed rules. It’s for you to decide what is right for you, whilst remembering that it is a professional networking site so you may not want to share anything or converse in any way that you wouldn’t do in a business setting.
Lawyers on LinkedIn might consider posting:
- Career updates, news and achievements
- Work-related events photos and shout-outs
- Professional praise for others
- Industry news
- Reminders, clarifications and updates on changes in law and legislation
- Professional stories and experiences (if these involve others seek their permission before posting)
- Share business and legal advice and reminders
- Links to your blogs
- Short video posts talking about areas of expertise
Other Ways Lawyers Can Optimise LinkedIn
LinkedIn can be thought of as a massive networking event. It’s an opportunity to build relationships and get to know others both inside and outside of your profession.
As with any business event, it is as important to listen as it is to talk. Don’t post twice a week and never read anything anyone else posts. LinkedIn has to be a conversation to be effective. On this note, it’s also important to stay as professional as you would in any other business environment, avoiding conflict whilst also not being overly friendly. Establishing a balance is important in coming across well. This means celebrating achievements without bragging and being yourself whilst being mindful of others.
As a lawyer, your key aim should probably be to establish yourself as an expert in your field and a trustworthy and reliable professional. Ways lawyers can optimise LinkedIn and make the most of their presence include:
- Keeping your profile up to date
- Being mostly positive and always honest
- Replying to comments on your posts as soon as possible
- Joining relevant groups and societies
- Posting at least once per week but maybe not daily
Obviously, you don’t want to spend too much time on LinkedIn. Apart from anything else, people might start to wonder how much work you’re doing as a Lawyer. Still, it is very easy to lose momentum when building your professional brand and expanding your network. Therefore, we recommend setting time aside every week to check in on LinkedIn and to post, engage and reach out. Perhaps half an hour in the diary three times per week or something similar. If you’re utilising LinkedIn properly, this should pay off.
Those who enjoy using LinkedIn the most find the key is showing passion for what they do. This tends to make their presence on the platform highly effective too. Don’t get yourself knotted up about that ‘should dos’ and the ‘shouldn’t dos’. Show and share what you love about the legal profession and you’ll be someone others will want to connect with and maybe even work with.