Originally posted in the Martindale-Avvo blog.
In today’s digital world, online networking tools are becoming increasingly vital to all professionals – including lawyers. Attorneys can particularly benefit from using online networks to build client bases, generate leads, and develop a contact database.
LinkedIn is one of the largest professional social networking sites, and legal professionals can leverage it to make connections with colleagues, peers, and potential clients. By curating your connections, joining professional groups, maintaining your online presence, and contributing to the legal community, you can leverage your virtual presence to increase and improve your client referrals.
1. Manage Your Connections
The fundamental purpose of LinkedIn is to connect professionals in a more formal online environment than other social media platforms. Your LinkedIn connections are the key to being seen and making new contacts.
The first step is to review your current connections. Generally, LinkedIn recommends having at least thirty connections to start. The fastest way to generate your connections pool is to upload your email contacts to LinkedIn. I do not recommend this for attorneys, as you can have a variety of emails in your contacts, including opposing parties and opposing counsel. Rather, you should search individually by name or browse your contact suggestions.
If you wish to make a connection with someone you do not know personally, consider browsing through the mutual connections you may have. A warm introduction can help you make a good impression and have a more memorable meeting. Below is an example message, requesting an introduction.
I hope all is well with you. As you know, I’ve been working on a project with [Organization], and I noticed that you happen to know [Contact]. I was hoping you could introduce us, if you feel comfortable doing so.
I’ve included a small description of the project below to provide context. Please let me know if there’s any other information I can provide.
Thanks in advance for your consideration. I appreciate your help,
You can also contact them directly, through a simple, professional email or message, as long as it conforms with your state’s ethical requirements.
2. Join Online Groups
Online communities are a great way to meet people you don’t know yet. They can be effective tools for making connections, discovering opportunities, and demonstrating your expertise. Online communities can be geographically focused or topic central. Finding a community that aligns with your area of legal expertise can help you make valuable connections and share your knowledge.
Sharing or authoring posts, commenting on others’ posts, and engaging with colleagues and peers is beneficial to lawyers at all points in their careers. This type of activity in LinkedIn groups keeps you top of mind to people in your network, which encourages your connections to refer clients to you when the need arises.
3. Maintain Your LinkedIn Profiles
Be sure to keep your personal profile relevant and current. Optimize your personal page to share your expertise with both peers and potential clients. Update your page regularly to include a professional head shot, educational experiences and CLE certifications, awards, contact information, and work that you have done in the past (scrubbed of all detail unless you have client permission to speak about it). Links to presentations, research, and literature you have written are always helpful in developing credibility.
Read the full article on the Martindale-Avvo blog.