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Lawyers use of LinkedIn : It’s becoming an avalanche

What started as a snowball has become an avalanche. That’s lawyers using LinkedIn as their preferred directory and the evangelism of LinkedIn by marketing and PR professionals serving the legal profession.

The latest comes from Oliver Picher, president of Visible Influence, speaking about LinkedIn and social networking to the Delaware Valley Law Firm Marketing Group.

Jason Lisi and Julie Meyer highlighted Picher’s presentation in an article in The Legal Intelligencer.

  • LinkedIn is for business connections much in the same way that Facebook creates personal connections.
  • Philadelphia firms, such as Fox Rothschild and Reed Smith, have as many as 45 percent of their attorneys and staff holding active LinkedIn accounts.
  • Legal professionals should import business contacts to identify those with LinkedIn accounts and invite them to connect.
  • LinkedIn allows you to connect with others with similar interests by connecting with users who are secondarily connected to an original LinkedIn connection.
  • LinkedIn’s answer feature provides an additional tool for effective networking and marketing of practice areas. LinkedIn answers provide for LinkedIn members to tap — or add to — the knowledge of their professional network by answering questions posed by others or recommending another member as a source of information: a virtual referral.

The following point by Picher should also not be lost on Martindale-Hubbell.

Much like a free publication or commercial television, social media sites such as LinkedIn generate their own revenue from the number of users they attract as potential viewers for the advertisers who pay to market on the site. To that end, it is in the interest of the social media purveyors to provide increasingly effective tools to both retain current users and regularly attract additional new ones.

LinkedIn is adding feature after feature so as to facilitate networking between business professionals, hundreds of thousands of lawyers included. And while Martindale-Hubbell is charging thousands of dollars for directory listings and losing law firm customers as a result, LinkedIn has a growing revenue base through ads and premium listings for what is basically a free service.

LinkedIn may now be Martindale’s most serious competition. Something none of us could have seen coming a year or two ago.

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  • http://www.nextgenerationevent.com AlliG

    Have you seen the new company profile section on LinkedIn? It’s not live just yet, but LinkedIn will soon let companies customize their company pages. I have to think that will be even more of a hit to pay-to-play directories.

  • http://stayviolation.typepad.com/chucknewton Chuck Newton

    Is this all just hype? On the one hand I do not disagree that Linkedin is exploding in terms and accounts and people asking me, for example, to join their group, but I fail to see any real use of the system, or at least no real use of the system.

  • http://www.spamnotes.com Venkat

    For me the jury’s out. I’m a convert and I think there are definite uses to linked in (among other things, you can chuck out your business cards).
    (As far as firms using it as a marketing tool I think that’s unlikely and will just start diluting the whole network, which is about personal connections.)
    As to seriously making connections, I’m not sure. I say that as someone who is pretty gregarious on-line.
    To me the utility will depend on whether people really restrict their network to trusted folks and whether the whole “trust” thing tends to get abused. (I’ve been added by and sought to add people I’ve met once or twice. This sort of waters down the network.)
    I think the grown is also very demographically focused. In a city like Seattle or SF, there are bound to be a ton of users. Less so across other socio-economic-geographic strands. Still, I’m surprised when I see a relative from India on there or someone I’ve met in a foreign country. Its reach seems impressive.

  • http://kevin.lexblog Kevin OKeefe

    >>Have you seen the new company profile section on LinkedIn?blogged about all the major law firms having detailed LinkedIn profiles.
    Those profiles detailing demographic info on the firm pulled together from individual lawyer profiles and their networking on LinkedIn are very powerful.
    Agree that it will be more of a hit than the pay to play lawyer directories that do not include potential clients in the same directory.

  • http://kevin.lexblog Kevin OKeefe

    I’m not sure LinkedIn is hype anymore.
    In the last 3 months alone almost 100,000 lawyers added their profiles to LinkedIn. It’s possible LinkedIn has more detailed profiles than Martindale-Hubbell.
    And each of the LinkedIn profiles is well indexed for Google so that when searching for a lawyer, their LinkedIn profile often comes up high on the first page of Google search results.

  • http://www.litigationandtrial.com/2008/06/articles/the-business-of-law/the-long-view/can-lawyers-or-law-firms-ever-quantify-marketing/index.html Litigation and Trial – Max Kennerly

    Can Lawyers or Law Firms Ever Quantify Marketing?

    A debate between Home Office Lawyer and Real Lawyers Have Blogs on the merits of LinkedIn. Down in the comments at HOL, Grant asks: I don’t doubt what you are saying as I am on Linkedin also and have form…

  • http://blog.larrybodine.com/2008/07/articles/blogging/lawyers-use-of-linkedin-its-becoming-an-avalanche/index.html Larry Bodine Law Marketing Blog

    Lawyers use of LinkedIn : It’s becoming an avalanche

    Kevin O’Keefe reports on his blog that the online social networking site LinkedIn is catching on big-time in the legal profession. Law firm marketers should take note!The latest comes from Oliver Picher, president of Visible Influence, speaking about L…

  • http://MyLinkLaw.com David A. Barrett, Esq.

    Thank you for your post Kevin.
    In addition to Oliver Picher’s uses, LinkedIn can also be used as a stand alone legal client referral tool.
    LinkedIn lawyer networking groups have a variety of uses for law firms and practicing attorneys, often providing a vehicle for lawyers to find and build new relationships with each other.
    The relationship nature of LinkedIn allows attorneys to make legal referrals to appropriate counsel in the desired jurisdiction.
    One way to quickly locate and refer connected attorneys in response to a consumer LinkedIn question seeking counsel, is to enhance a direct connection with membership in legal networking groups organized by practice area and geographically.
    Lawyers may find new LinkedIn legal networking groups here -
    David Barrett
    Boston, Massachusetts

  • http://www.kramm.com Rosalie Kramm

    I believe attorneys and all business people need to be strategic who they are connecting with. I agree, the network can get watered down and lose some of its authenticity if a person invites everyone they ever met to link with. As a court reporting firm owner, I am interested in connecting to my clients and potential clients. It would seem to me attorneys are in the same position. I believe attorneys should create a network of their business clients, potential referral sources of attorneys who are in a different area of law, and limit their network to whom they want to share info and knowledge with. If attorneys are strategic, I can envision tremendous value using LinkedIn.