Tuesday, January 20, 2009

LinkedIn for Lawyers 101

LinkedIn is presently the most popular networking site for professionals with over 30 million registered users spanning over 150 industries (in contrast to sites like Facebook, which are used more for social networking). As explained by Wikipedia, LinkedIn allows registered users to maintain a list of people they know and trust in business, called " first degree connections." Since, in most cases, you are able to see the "connections" of your connections (called "second degree" contacts), the site provides an opportunity to expand your network of professional contacts by requesting introductions to other users, inviting other users to become "first degree" connections, or contacting other users via LinkedIn's email system (called InMail).

As an example, there may be someone who attended the same college as you many years ago (let's call him "Jim"). You and Jim were quite close, but haven't spoken in years. One day, you notice that Jim is a "second degree" connection through one your first degree contacts. You also notice that Jim is now a partner at a major law firm. Since you're quite certain Jim will remember you from your college days, you can ask Jim directly to join your network in order to reconnect (you'd want to make sure to mention your common alma mater in your invitation to Jim).

But more than just networking, LinkedIn is about "getting things done," as explained in this entertaining video from CommonCraft. As an example, suppose you need to locate an advertising firm to design the creative for a campaign you've conceived. You can query your connections on LinkedIn, and will likely secure referrals to one or more advertising executives within your extended network who can meet your needs. At the same time, in addition to asking for assistance, professionals can provide assistance to other users by responding to questions, thereby highlighting their expertise. We'll further discuss these tools later in the post.

Given these benefits, LinkedIn is becoming increasingly popular among lawyers. According to one of the service's biggest fans, Kevin O'Keefe (a former trial lawyer and founder and president of LexBlog), it's actually more like an avalanche.

The remainder of this post after the jump summarizes the steps a lawyer should take to begin using LinkedIn effectively as a marketing and business development tool, and provides links to numerous online resources that attorneys will find helpful as they being their "LinkedIn" journey.

Please click here for the entirety of Steve Imparl's informative article.

Please be sure to visit www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.

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