By Kevin O'Keefe

Law school career services directors need to be skilled in social media

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Being the director of career services is not an easy job at most law schools today. 

Assuming you’re not working at a top tier law school, you have more grads than jobs. Combine that with declining budgets at many law schools leaving you understaffed.

Despite the challenges, career services directors have one thing their predecessors never had, the Internet.

Networking through the Internet for building out the reputation of the school, nurturing relationships with potential employers, connecting with bloggers and traditional reporters so they’ll be writing about your school and its grads and learning what it takes to succeeed today by networking with leaders in the industry.

Networking through the Internet requires strategic and effective use of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and a blog.

Not by someone in the career services’ office or a communications’ person working for the law school. But by the director of career services networking in a real and authentic fashion in their own voice. 

It’s a common refrain that I don’t have time to learn and use social media. The fact is that the effective use of technology, the Internet for networking included, saves you time — at least as measured by the bottom line of employing more grads.

I raise this as just read of a law school’s announcing a new director of career services. I was going to share word of the announcement on Twitter, but couldn’t because the person did not have a Twitter account. I always attribute news to and about people and include their Twitter account.

With all the current and past law school deans, professors and career services professionals networking through the net, how could this person, with a fiduciary duty to serve their school’s grads, opt out as to the Internet? How could the dean of the law school hire the person for such a job?

The day has passed when it’s cute and professionally acceptable to say, “I don’t use social media,”or naively quip, “there is more harm than good that can come from social media.”

Law school career services directors have the obligation to lead. Set an example for their students by showing them how you get ahead in life today by harnessing the power of the Internet. Even hold classes and programs on effective networking through the net for learning and building a personal brand.

It’s not acceptable to have grads of some law schools getting jobs because they learned networking through the net through the tutelage of their school’s career services director while students at other schools have never heard of the concept. Sadly, I have found the later group of students to be the majority.

Running a law school is no easy task, but launching an initiative to teach students to network through the net can start now – next semester. Careeer services can be part of the initiative, learning right along side the students – it’s okay to be vulnerable.

Not only will you be fulfilling your fiduciary obligation to your students, but you’ll be growing the name of the law school.

The impact of a school’s students being out on the net in an effective and professional way has a far greater positive impact on the school’s brand than the school’s marketing and communications’ effort.

What are you waiting for? It’s not nearly as hard as you think — and you owe it to your students. 

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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