I must be behind the times. I had never heard of LinkedIn until yesterday. If you are like me, you might be missing out on a great tool for lawyers.
What is it?
LinkedIn provides an online method to network. Simply register for a FREE account, enter a few facts about yourself (occupation, employers, education – as much or as little as you want), and you can instantly connect with people like yourself.
Minutes after I registered, I was able to see lawyers from both my summer firms, as well as someone I worked with at a public interest job two years ago. I also did a quick search for my last name and found a number of family members (who I honestly did not know existed). To my delight, when I logged in today, the main page told me that 5 new alumni from my undergrad had signed up (coming from a small college, that’s a LOT).
The cool part is that once you add someone to your network, you can see who is in their network (your 2nd degree network). If you add enough people to your network, the odds are that your 2nd degree network will have a wide variety of interesting contacts and new people to meet (through the people on your network).
Also, LinkedIn recently added a service directory that aims to connect service providers with potential clients.
What’s in it for lawyers?
With powerful networking features like this, the gain for lawyers (and law students) should be obvious. LinkedIn seems to be a quick and easy way to keep track of people you know and learn about the people they know.
For example, maybe you need to refer a client to a lawyer who specializes in land use regulation. You can easily search your networks (1st and 2nd degree) and find someone who can help out. You may not know someone directly, but one of your law school classmates might know someone who perfectly fits the bill.
The new service directory also provides a great way to make yourself known to people searching for a lawyer. This feature might be especially useful for solo and small firm attorneys. If someone is in search of a lawyer, they might search LinkedIn and find you through one of their networks.
Other peoples’ thoughts
To be fair, not everyone thinks that LinkedIn is awesome. One user thinks that it needs some improvement. Another user has canceled his account, since he thinks it’s worthless. A final user has a more fair evaluation of pros and cons.
Have you used LinkedIn? What do you think of it? Please let us know by posting a comment, or you can drop me a line.
[tags]legal andrew, linkedin, networking, career, jobs, lawyer, attorney, client[/tags]
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