Monday, July 28, 2008

The LinkedIn Lawyer appears in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

On the newspaper weblog, The LinkedIn Lawyer is noted in a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article about the growing experience lawyers have with LinkedIn.

It is agreed that almost all lawyers have by now had some experience with an invitation to LinkedIn, Facebook or Plaxo from a colleague or a friend, if not a client or a business partner.

MLW indicates in the blogpost that LinkedIn found a business niche that will and has eased the apprehension lawyers have about MySpace and other social networking websites.

MLW may have it right, although I personally more often hear that LinkedIn has done more for lawyers than be the next interesting thing - that it has permanently transformed legal marketing.

For more content from David Barrett follow him on Twitter here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I would like to join your group; my membership is pending approval

The LinkedIn group membership process is a new one for many lawyers.

After some of the initial steps around making the decision to join a LinkedIn group, one finds and effectively navigates the group description and invitation acceptance button.

A LinkedIn user then waits to gain admission to the group, and the instructions tell the user that they may contact the group moderator for admission to the group.

To new users just how "automated" this group moderator contact is unclear, and a message with the subject "I would like to join your group; my membership is pending approval" opens for use.

It is important to remember that this "I would like to join your group; my membership is pending approval" message is just a regular email message to the person who happens to be the moderator of the group you're looking to join.

As such, you can:

- modify your email subject line to improve your networking effectiveness
- explain your qualifications for group membership
- explain any gaps between a stated, logical or obvious connection to your membership in a group and your current job description
- communicate directly with the moderator

and you really should:

- help the moderator identify you - include all email addresses, give a brief about who you are and why you should be admitted to the group.
- note what group you want to join (moderators often moderate more than one group)
- send only one email if joining many of the groups moderated by one person, listing all group admission requests on one message.

Conversation with a Closed Networker

Conversation between a Closed Networker Lawyer (CLN) and David A. Barrett.

CLN to DAB: I saw your posting of the ABC LinkedIn Lawyer networking group on the ABC Lawyer Listserv, and I would like to join.

DAB to CLN: Welcome CLN. I often see your posts on the ABC Lawyer Listserv, and I am pleased to have you as a part of ABC LinkedIn Lawyer Networking group.
As such, I would like to invite you to connect to my LinkedIn Network.
We can connect here –

CLN to DAB: (no response)

….. days later ….

CLN to DAB: Hello DAB, I would like you to add me to the XYZ Lawyer Networking group.

DAB to CLN: Welcome CLN, and thank you for your membership in the XYZ Lawyer Networking group.

Would you be interested to co-chair the XYZ Lawyer Networking group?

CLN to DAB: Yes, I would love to co-chair the XYZ Lawyer Networking group. Please tell me how.

DAB to CLN: Great CLN, I’m pleased to work with you. Many group co-chairs have their name and profile link on the group description page. Once connected, I can add you as a manager of the group and I can turn your profile link into a tinyurl suitable for posting in the group description page.

We can connect here –

CLN to DAB: (no response)

… days later ….

CLN to DAB: Did you add me as co-chair of the group?

DAB to CLN: Hi CLN, I still have not received your invitation to connect.

CLN to DAB: I must have misunderstood what you meant by connect, and frankly, I find it somewhat offensive that you have conditioned my co-chairing a group with connecting so I’ll pass.

DAB to CLN: (no response)

… days later … .

CLN to DAB: Add me to the 123 Lawyer Networking group, pretty please.

DAB to CLN: I’m pleased to have you in the group CLN.

You know I'm working on a book chapter / course on LinkedIn for lawyers, and I'm just curious about your unwillingness to connect.

Is it that other lawyers could pilfer your clients out of your connections? Did you know that you can make your connections hidden from view?

If you had a chance and wouldn't mind telling me about your LinkedIn philosophy I would appreciate it.

Thank you.


CLN to DAB: I think networking groups work best if people know and approve (think recommend) of those in their network. Therefore adding just every stranger who somehow finds you and asks doesn’t make sense to me. These sites should be focused on quality, not quantity.

DAB to CLN: I can see that, and such is a commonly held view among folks who are not open networkers. There seems to be a continuum as to how open or how closed members networks are managed to be. I would respectfully put you at the far end of the spectrum on the closed network side, as your unwillingness to connect while co-chairing a group is certainly a closed network example that will make my publication (without identifying you of course).

The other side of the what works best (i.e. open/closed network) coin is that websites like LinkedIn provide opportunities for exposure of your profile, product or service and the wider the exposure the better. More connections and more group memberships allow other members to find an environmental lawyer by using the advanced search people function on the home page.

I respect our difference of opinion, but to me and many others the recommendations section of our profile is different than the connections aspect of our profile.

You may also maintain an open network and start a closed group of "inner circle" connections you know well who you contact on and off the LinkedIn site, thereby getting the benefits of a closed network of people one knows well, and the exposure an open network provides.

Nice to get to know you, and thanks for the chat.

CLN to DAB (no response).

… days later …

CLN to DAB I would like to join the 456 Lawyer Networking group ….

(This is a fictional “conversation” created by drawing upon numerous conversations with multiple people. Identifying characteristics may have been changed so as to not publish without authorization.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is LinkedIn Where Your Clients Get Stolen?

I have discussed the issue of lawyers connecting on LinkedIn where one lawyer had a personal network which included many client relationships.

Many lawyers are apprehensive to directly connect because of the potential that his clients will be raided by other aggressive legal business developers seeking to connect as "friends" on social media with developing rules.

If you know a lawyer who may be worried about this, it is possible to set your profile so that your connections can not see all of your direct connections, but can only your mutual connections (i.e. see LinkedIn profile of Barack Obama).

Have You Re-Named Yourself a LION?

It seems that many attorneys privately cringe a bit and publicly worry about the appearance some of the group membership linking techniques and LinkedIn shorthand used by open networker members in the "name" field in their profile (i.e. Chancellor Dewey, Esq. LION, TOPLINKED).

Close observers see other growing networkers turning their name into a type of code email address. This approach attempts to open information to others willing to send invites while mitigating any email collecting spambots (i.e. Chancellor LION Dewey DOT Esq. Lion COM) with a certain je ne sais crois.

Many successful LinkedIn Lawyers attempt to balance the advantages and disadvantages memberships and philosophies open networking groups offer.

TopLinked sells a "private" account for an enhanced fee to allow members and supporters to participate without putting the word "TopLinked" in their name or headline field.

LION groups often ask that such appear on the profile, and indeed many networkers intentionally put such as their "name" in an effort to actively grow their own directly connected network. But you might be able to get away with not filing a motion for name change for Chancellor LION by simply being a member in many of the LION groups and leaving the tag off the profile. TopLinked on the other hand seems to police this rather aggressively.

You can just act like a LION - basically communicate that you're open to meeting new LinkedIn connections and give the means to connect (put email address on your profile) without even joining the LIONS or INVITE ME or worse.

Just as an aside, I have seen LION denote both "LinkedIn Open Networkers" and "Leading International Open Networkers" and there are many other variants (LIONS 500, FOR ALL THOSE WHO NEED A LOT OF CONNECTIONS NOW, Open Networkers, Libertines, etc.) on these groups to create multiple similar opportunities.

I had my email address in my name field for some time, and found the new spam during that time to be pretty minimal. If you want to worry about avoiding spam - set up a new dedicated email address for your LinkedIn profile and watch your group membership.

Avalanche of Lawyers on LinkedIn

Lexblog Kevin O'Keefe blogs that the number of lawyers on LinkedIn is like an avalanche and that the largest law firms have expanding LinkedIn company profiles.

What is Your LinkedIn Connection Philosophy?

Are you an open networker?

We all have different philosophies about how we use LinkedIn, sometimes conscious philosophies and sometimes unconscious philosophies formed by our previous networking experiences.

As such, many of us fall on different areas of the spectrum from open to closed networkers.

"Open Networkers" go by many monikers on LinkedIn (i.e. LIONs, members of TopLinked, LinkedIn Open Networkers, Libertines, Leading International Open Networkers, to name a few) but basically members with this approach want to network with as many LinkedIn professionals as possible.

More On Directly Connecting for Legal Referrals

Why do direct connections better enable legal client referrals?

Please let me provide you one example.

Say for example I see a question in the Law and Legal section (as I often do) in which a member is seeking a referral to lawyer ... let's say a medical malpractice lawyer in the New York City area.

I first look to my Medical Malpractice Lawyers group on LinkedIn (as I don't have the time to search all of my connections), and search through the group members for those in the New York City area. Chances are that I will find two directly connected lawyers and two members of the group who otherwise would be a match but are not directly connected.

With this information, I go back to the question in order to provide an answer and to complete the legal referral.

However, I can only suggest you as an expert if we directly connect.

If we are already directly connected, I encourage you to take one benefit your legal networking group membership provides - using your shared group membership to invite other lawyers or referral sources to directly connect to you.

The Personal QuickLink Invitation

I would strongly recommend a Personal Quick Link Invitation for LinkedIn Lawyers.

As Lonny Guilden explains on the Quick Link signup website, many members find Quick Link useful only after our standard allotment of LinkedIn invitations (typically 3000) has run out.

However, I would advise that new LinkedIn users get a Quick Link right away. LinkedIn invitations are a valuable and quickly expended commodity, and as such they should be saved and protected. A Quick Link can be used much like an invitation, but is sent via email.

One of the hurdles networking lawyers need to overcome is the LinkedIn skills of their fellow lawyers. Using LinkedIn invitations only when absolutely necessary saves invitations for when a ease of online media use is critical for connecting. Many lawyers are not familiar with LinkedIn, and using a LinkedIn invitation may enable that lawyer to connect.

Why Create LinkedIn Groups?

LinkedIn groups are used differently by members, but many of them help to fill a networking need or void of a vehicle to allow members with a commonality to join together.

Networkers can often "feel" the need for a new group by building connections individually, and getting a lot of positive feedback from the individuals involved.

When the group muse strikes - answer her!

"LinkedIn Legal Client" Referrals

Recently, my "what are you working on" mentioned a suggestion to lawyers that connecting directly best enables LinkedIn legal client referrals.

A survey of the questions in the law and legal question and answer section will find many members seeking legal services right on LinkedIn, and simply asking something like "hey who knows a Shark Attack Business Lawyer in Boston?"

If another member knows such a lawyer, they can answer the question and by using your direct connection - provide a direct link on the answer to your LinkedIn profile.

2's and 3's just aren't in reach of the LinkedIn webpage used to answer questions and suggest experts.

Was it Good for You????? (psst. send a note)

Don't just connect - even if you're busy send a note.

After your connection let LinkedIn return you to a page where you may quickly link to an internal LinkedIn message system, and send a brief note or introduction.

Be Careful - Connecting as a "Colleague"

As you are building your networks, be careful about LinkedIn's own narrow definition of colleague.

If you haven't worked for the same employer, the colleague invitation is a bad match for you. If your invitation is accepted, your new connection will face a screen asking for information about her "new position" at your company, as the narrow definition assumes your company corner offices shared a view.

This error style screen makes your new connection unsettled .... "did I screw up ... did he screw this thing up for me ..." and causes unnecessary confusion.

Using a shared group membership or a member's email address (first choose "other" in order to get to the email address prompt) is a better means of actually connecting on LinkedIn.

Why Do Attorneys Fail to Include Contact Information on Their Profile?


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"The World's Largest LinkedIn Lawyer Network"

Working together with Toplinked #9 on LinkedIn Marc Freedman (25,000+ direct connections) helped me to understand that I was near the top of the list for most connections "law practice" on LinkedIn.

I believe Marty Rudoy is currently the most-connected "law practice" member of LinkedIn at 3500, and I have an email in to Attorney Rudoy to confirm this.

However, "The World's Largest LinkedIn Lawyer Network" is a separate analysis entirely.

"The World's Largest LinkedIn Lawyer Network" refers to how many lawyers are in my personal, directly connected network which currently consists of 3400+ members and 1450+ lawyers.

Why Join 1300 LinkedIn Groups?

Many LinkedIn groups allow members to network with professionals of other occupations than themselves as there may be a business or personal relationship among them.

Many members seek out potential connections or appropriate professionals using an approach that begins with members of a particular group, so people can search you better.

Group membership allows a vehicle for two LinkedIn members to connect, should it occur that other contact information is not available on the member profile.

Legal Networking Groups at

Working together Marc Freedman and David A. Barrett have created the largest online collection of lawyer networking groups on LinkedIn at

Group Search on LinkedIn

This week LinkedIn added the long desired group search feature.

Group searches now allows LinkedIn members to find appropriate networking groups more easily, as members can utilize a "Google-like" keyword search (within their extended networks only).

Previously members had only good chance or the work of individually searching out the details of other professionals' LinkedIn profiles just in order to find existing and appropriate networking groups.

Jason Bailes LinkedIn group search using Google custom search is still useful, and skilled users would use both to keep up to date.

The great part about the official LinkedIn group search is that group membership seems to have drastically increased. Lawyers are not only joining legal networking groups, but they are using them to enhance many of the great features of LinkedIn.

Invitation to Connect on LinkedIn

I would like to invite you to directly connect on LinkedIn -


David A. Barrett, Esq.
Boston, Massachusetts