The importance of LinkedIn for Lawyers
George Langford, Principal Consultant11 November 2019
As recruiters, we’re very familiar with using LinkedIn. The global networking platform has over 610 million members, which makes it a vital tool for us when it comes to sourcing new candidates. But it’s just as important for anyone in sales, finance, marketing and of course, law. That said, often for lawyers, LinkedIn is woefully underutilised. Typically, it’s barely used as more than an online skeleton CV, which is a shame. When used proactively and in the right manner, LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for those in the legal profession for many reasons.
Becoming a LinkedIn expert
Instead of the occasional liking of a post and sharing the annual press release on your firm’s incoming Partners, bringing a little strategy to your LinkedIn game can massively improve it. But don’t fear, it doesn’t take much to become a LinkedIn expert. By using LinkedIn as a means to raise your profile within your sector and practice area, you can ultimately reap the benefits of incoming leads and tap into it as a tool for business development.
Sounds good! But, how does a Lawyer who is a reluctant LinkedIn user become a LinkedIn expert? Follow these five steps to raise your LinkedIn profile and show you’re an expert within your area of law.
1. Check your profile
If you’re already on LinkedIn, you have a profile. But how strong is it? Have you completed as much of it as possible? Have you written your own headline? Headlines show up in search results and are a great way to explain more about your role and expertise, albeit succinctly. Ideally, to get the best from LinkedIn, you should complete every section of your profile so that your network knows all about you. And not just for that reason, but from a search perspective too. The more details you include, the more you can make sure essential keywords feature. Yes, if your profile features words which people are searching for, there’s stronger chance you’ll be found.
People like to connect with real people, which is why a profile photo on your LinkedIn profile will make a huge difference. Think about your own personal brand as a lawyer, try and keep the image of yourself the same across different online channels. If you’ve had a professional headshot done with your firm, use the same one for your LinkedIn profile!
2. Grow your network
Before you start posting your interesting content, you need an audience to speak to. Connect with colleagues, clients and prospects. Even when you meet someone briefly at an event or seminar and exchange a business card, take the time to connect with them on LinkedIn. This will help you build your audience.
3. Recommendations and endorsements
What better way for people to understand your strengths and expertise, then to read customer recommendations. Much like a testimonial, a recommendation gives authentic feedback about your service and skills. If you’re looking to get some recommendations for your LinkedIn profile, give some to others and ask them to reciprocate.
Endorsements on LinkedIn are quite different to recommendations. Rather than written feedback, they are an instantly recognisable list of your capabilities. When you create your profile, you can add your skills to it and it’s these that others can endorse you for. They may also endorse you for a skill that’s not listed. Again, giving other connections endorsements, will see them return the favour.
4. Engage with your audience
Whether it’s a whole article you’ve found that resonates with your line of work or it’s something you have written, essentially you want to share content which your audience wants to read. And share your opinions too; rather than just sharing an article, add extra comment with your opinion. Show you know the industry. Be personal; if there’s a piece of industry news which is relevant to your clients/prospects, think about messaging them directly with the link. Although most of what you post will be to all your connections, a personal note goes a long way and shows you’re thinking of the recipient. Be thought provoking too; any posts which generate likes, shares and comments are favoured by LinkedIn’s algorithms and further the reach of any content you post.
5. Consistency is key
Take 10 minutes out of each day to check in with the LinkedIn world. That way, you always have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening and you’re not going to miss out on any trending topics within your sector.
Build your brand
Through a combination of the above, you’ll build your online profile and personal brand. Then when it comes to business development in a face-to-face setting, whether pitching for work or seeing someone at a networking event, you’ll be front of mind, known as an expert in your area of law and someone who can be trusted.
Career benefits too
As a consequence of actively using LinkedIn, your profile becomes much more than the previously mentioned skeleton CV. If you’re a regular contributor to group conversations, grow the number of connections you have and accumulate recommendations along the way, naturally, this will benefit your career. Your profile will give the impression of someone who is fully ingratiated within their part of the legal world. A real thought leader. Even if your primary goal is to tap into LinkedIn as a source of new business, by actively engaging with the platform, you’ll put yourself in a stronger position to develop your career. Not only will you be aware of new opportunities, but recruiters and your peers will see you as a leading practitioner within your legal field.
George is a Principal Consultant in our London legal recruitment team, specialising in Private Practice recruitment. He works with law firms across the City to recruit for lawyers of all disciplines from Paralegal to Partner level. If you appreciate his LinkedIn advice and would like to know more, or if you’re a London lawyer hoping for a new opportunity to add to your LinkedIn profile, contact George for a confidential discussion. Call him on 0203 655 2180 or send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.