Are you proud to be a lawyer? You do realize that when doctors were still using leeches, lawyers were drafting the Constitution?
I bring this up because too many lawyers shy away from attention. I’ve spoken to thousands of lawyers about using LinkedIn and Twitter to increase their visibility and build their practices, and how do they reply?
“I just don’t want to annoy people in my network,” one lawyer told me.
“My wife told me when I posted twice in one week it was way too much,” another said only yesterday.
“I don’t want my family and friends connected to me on LinkedIn to see my legal articles.”
Which misses the entire point.
Listen, you don’t realize how much you know or how much you have to offer your network. Even basic information about your practice area can help some of your contacts. If your uncle isn’t interested, he can unfollow you on LinkedIn.
(Did you know you can do that? Just click on the top right of any post you aren’t interested in and click: “Unfollow.” You also can select: “Unfollow all posts from this person.” They aren’t notified, nobody gets hurt feelings — they just won’t see your posts.)
The great thing about unfollowing people and posts is that it makes LinkedIn (or Facebook or Twitter for that matter) more useful to you. It allows you to curate the content you receive. Other people can do the same. The goal of sharing updates to LinkedIn isn’t to please everybody, but to educate and give insights to the people most likely to send you business or hire you.
What’s the worst that can happen? Readers might unfollow your posts. What’s the best that can happen? People will pay attention to you. Important: That is a good thing.
“I don’t want my whole network seeing that I’ve just added a summary to my LinkedIn account,” at least one lawyer says in every group I address.
“Of course not,” I might respond, with a dose of sarcasm. “Having your network pay attention to you would be pretty much the worst thing in the world.”
You are a lawyer. Be proud of it. Embrace it.
There is a great moment at the end of “To Kill a Mockingbird” when Atticus Finch’s client has unjustly has been found guilty. Taking on the trial has put Finch’s reputation and his family at risk, but it was the right thing to do. As Finch turns to walk out of the courtroom, the Rev. Sykes says to Finch’s daughter, “Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father’s passing.”
This moment makes me proud to be a lawyer. I hope that all lawyers can not only be proud of what they do, but have confidence that their knowledge can benefit their community both online and off.