New Zealand Law Society - Why LinkedIn matters for lawyers

Why LinkedIn matters for lawyers

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I was in a board meeting recently when a choice of lawyers was being discussed. I suggested the name of someone I thought was a great QC.

When I went to the internet to send their details around I found their LinkedIn page was a bit scant. In fact the most memorable thing that I could see was their old school – I almost wondered if there were two lawyers with this name!

A few years ago a friend who is a QC asked to link in with me. I looked at their profile and rang them with some suggestions on what I thought they could do to improve it. He said: “I have a website, why do I need to do this?” I explained how the internet works and that LinkedIn has such high internet traffic that it helps lift your individual profile. More importantly it’s often the first place people look for you.

I describe LinkedIn as business-people’s Facebook. If you are in business then you have to be on LinkedIn. But not just with a name listing. If you are going to be there then you have to spend 15 to 20 minutes setting it up properly or pay someone to help you do it.

If you really don’t know where to start see if your secretary can begin it for you. Look at a few of your competitors or colleague’s LinkedIn pages and see how you compare and what information you should add. While you are at it, “linkin” with them!

Used properly, LinkedIn is a most valuable business resource. I use it as a telephone and email directory. I get annoyed when I look up a name to get the email of a contact and find that they are so anxious about the world knowing their email they haven’t listed it. The reality is no one can get this detail unless they have “linkedin” with you. You have all the power.

Even if you think this article isn’t directed at you, have another look at your page. When was the last time you did an update? It reminds your contacts of who you are and what you do. Keep it current. If you are quoted in an article, post the link to show people you are an expert in the field. If you have an article published, link it to your profile.

Remember it’s also visual, so add paragraphs when you write about your experience but keep it to a few lines.

So with the start of a new year have a look at your profile and see if you could make some improvements to it.

Top tips

  1. Make sure you have a photo – remember it’s not a dating site so keep it professional or link it to your hobby. Don’t use a photo of you and your partner – remember this is business.
  2. Don’t just say “Barrister” or “Partner” – put what you specialise in or your areas of expertise. It is good for business and helps people when they are searching for people in the field.
  3. Add your work phone or mobile and your email address to contact information.
  4. Fill in the work experience – it doesn’t need to be a book but a few lines showing the firms you have worked for gives a sense of your depth and experience.
  5. Check you have accurately listed your skills. If you put “Microsoft”, you are showing us all that you don’t really understand LinkedIn. Put “litigation, contracts, IP law …” whatever is your skill so then people can “endorse” you.
  6. Endorse other people who you know have expertise in certain areas – it is courtesy to do this back if you think they do have the skills they indicate.
  7. Build your connections – friends, people you do business with, people you know in business.
  8. Spent at least five to 10 minutes once a week reading the news feeds. You might even find something interesting. Start or join a conversation by adding a comment or liking something in the newsfeed.
  9. If you have read an article related to your area of interest, consider posting it with a comment to show you are keeping up to date.
  10. Finally, add the LinkedIn icon to your email signature – it reminds people to connect and is a permanent reminder of your expertise and experience.

Victoria Carter is a communications specialist with a law degree from Auckland University. A company director, in January Victoria received an ONZM in the New Year Honours for services to arts, business and community. She is married to John Carter.

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