LinkedIn won’t help most lawyers

why LinkedIn won't help most lawyersOriginally published in The National Law Journal on March 4, 2013

In the movie Rudy, we get to know a young man with all the ambition in the world to play football for the University of Notre Dame. He is hard-working, determined and has more desire than anybody else on the team. Unfortunately, he has one major drawback: no real athletic ability.

Many lawyers jump onto LinkedIn or Twitter with a similar ambition: to turn their career around by landing a big client through the magic of the Internet. It doesn’t work for many of them. It isn’t because they aren’t good lawyers; they have everything on paper that a successful rainmaker needs except for the ability to develop relationships and business.

LinkedIn amplifies our relationship skills—no skills equals nothing to amplify. “But I’m great with people!” you insist. Most lawyers are, but for the best business developers relationship-building is deliberate. They have a process. The process itself may be different for every attorney, but they all have one.

Fortunately, anybody can develop these relationship-building skills. To the extent that a lawyer finds it hard to break the ice with strangers, LinkedIn makes this process much easier. There are no awkward conversations as at cocktail parties—your messages can be much more direct. Online conversations must have a purpose, however.

Effective business developers understand the importance of making appointments. They also understand that the purpose of every appointment is to get another appointment. They don’t focus on closing the business or getting hired every time, but rather on building the relationship so that when the potential client has a need, he or she feels at ease reaching out. Read more

Owning your online presence

Own your online presence

Originally posted on The National Law Journal on February 14, 2013

“What if someone says something negative about me online?” This is probably the most common question lawyers ask me. The sad truth is that many lawyers have nothing to worry about. They aren’t online. They have no online presence.

If your reputation is what people say about you within your community, your online presence is what everything posted about you on Google, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn or anywhere else online adds up to. Managing this material may seem overwhelming, but there is a simple place to start: LinkedIn.

Google your name, right now. What shows up? According to our research at Adrian Dayton & Associates, if you have a LinkedIn account there is a 74 percent chance that your profile will show up in the first three results. There is a 33 percent chance that your LinkedIn profile will show up in the No. 1 slot—ahead of your law firm’s web bio. Read more