June 2012 Bar Bulletin
LinkedIn for Lawyers - Make the Connection
By Dustin Reichard
Of course, "connections" are an invaluable tool in any lawyer's shed. They can generate new clients. They can refer services. They can help answer questions and resolve difficult issues.
I'm quite certain we've all heard that it's often not what you know but who you know. There is definite truth within this adage and it undoubtedly applies to the legal profession.
However, it's often difficult to get our hands on these precious commodities. Perhaps you just graduated from law school or moved into a new specialty. Maybe you recently moved into a new geographical area. Or maybe you just don't have the time or courage to sit outside your office holding a sign that reads, "I need a new friend." For whatever reason, there is often an inherent hardship in trying to build a solid network of useful connections.
Enter LinkedIn. While this professional network may not serve as the panacea for all of your connection-building woes, it can serve as a useful source in boosting both your connections and your legal practice. Yes, LinkedIn is a useful network that is ripe for attorneys.
LinkedIn is essentially an online social networking site. Wikipedia helps explain that LinkedIn allows users to maintain a list of online connections whom they know and trust. These are often referred to as "first-degree connections."
The site typically allows a user to view the "connections" of one's first-degree connections. These are often referred to as "second-degree connections." The basic idea is to increase your network of connections by requesting introductions to other users (e.g., second-degree connections), inviting others to become first-degree connections or by contacting others via LinkedIn's email system.
Although labeled as a "social network," a key component to LinkedIn's connection-building success is that it's known as "the professional network." The site is filled with mostly professionals eager to connect with other professionals for business-related matters.
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