31
Dec 13

Goodbye to the Top 3 Social Media Blunders of 2013

As we say goodbye to 2013, let’s resolve to bid adieu to the following social media blunders that annoyed many this past year.

1.  LinkedIn endorsements.  I can’t even count the times someone I don’t know endorsed me for a skill I don’t have.  A common one I received in 2013 was endorsements for “litigation” when I haven’t practiced law since 2006—and, even when I did practice, I wasn’t a litigator.

Many novice LinkedIn users don’t realize they are annoying users by endorsing them; in fact, some may think they have no choice but to endorse users since LinkedIn displays the following screen encouraging them to endorse their connections (and, LinkedIn even recommends “skills” for endorsement).  Please note that you can ignore this screen by clicking “Skip.”

Moreover, many law firms find the endorsements problematic because of the potential legal ethics violations.  As a result, many firms prohibit their lawyers from giving or displaying endorsements.  While you can’t opt out of receiving LinkedIn endorsements (maybe LinkedIn will change this in 2014), you can refrain from endorsing other lawyers and you can hide the endorsements you receive so they are not displayed on your LinkedIn profile.

2.  Generic LinkedIn invitations.  Throughout 2013, I received a significant number of LinkedIn invitations from people I did not know.  I only accepted the invitations if the person included a note explaining why he or she wanted to connect or how we know each other.  The generic LinkedIn invitation annoys many users—especially when they receive an invitation from someone they don’t know.  If we’ve never met and you want to connect with me, please provide some background on why I should connect.  In a previous post, I outlined sample customized invitations you could send when you are connecting with someone you don’t know.

3.  Facebook profile pictures in a Graph Search world.  Facebook launched its Graph Search in 2013.  With Graph Search, potential employers or clients can search for “lawyers in Dallas” or “paralegals in Dallas” to find certain legal professionals in a specific market.  With Graph Search, Facebook is also phasing out the privacy feature that allowed users to restrict who could find them through a Facebook search.  Thus, every Facebook user is searchable.  Your profile, however, can still be completely private if your settings are in place (for more info on how to check and control your privacy settings, click here).  But, your profile picture is always visible to anyone so make sure it doesn’t embarrass you if a potential employer or client discovered it.  It doesn’t need to be a professional picture—candid, casual photos are fine—just make sure it’s PG.

Best wishes for a successful, social 2014!


30
Nov 13

5 Reasons to Practice at a Small Law Firm

I grew up on a small town (6,000 people), graduated from a small, liberal arts college (my four-year college had fewer students than my law school), and practiced at a small firm (fewer than 20 attorneys).  All of these “small” experiences had some positive impact on my life so it’s no surprise that I love Small Business Saturday—there’s something special in all things small!

In the spirit of Small Business Saturday, I began to think about why a law student or lawyer would choose to work in a small firm over a large firm; here are my top 5 reasons:

  • Family. You are not a number at a small firm; rather, you are part of a family.  I haven’t practiced law since 2006 yet each year since, I’ve received an invitation to my former firm’s holiday gathering at the managing partner’s house.
  • Entrepreneurial. You are encouraged to be creative and use your business mindset.  From brainstorming sessions in a room with whiteboard walls to rewards for originating clients of any size, you’ll find these entrepreneurial incentives at small firms.
  • Sophisticated Clients. An increasing number of sophisticated clients are choosing small firms over Biglaw as outlined in General Counsel Increasingly Dumping the top Biglaw Firms.
  • Lifestyle. You may not work fewer hours at every small firm but you have more control over the hours you work.  There’s less “face time” and more opportunity to “fit” your personal obligations in your professional schedule.
  • Responsibilities. Finally, you assume more responsibilities at small firms.  You communicate with clients, appear in court, and participate in key meetings.

11
Aug 13

Recruitem Yields More LinkedIn Search Results

One advantage to purchasing a premium LinkedIn account is the ability to see more search results when you perform advanced people searches.  With the basic (free) LinkedIn account, you are limited to 100 results when you perform a search and the results consist of people in your 1st or 2nd degree network.

Job seekers often want to see more than 100 results; they want to see all attorneys with a particular background who practice in a particular market.  However, there’s a free website job seekers can use to see more than 100 results.  Instead of upgrading your account, try running your LinkedIn searches on Recruitem.  Recruitem searches public LinkedIn profiles on Google so you get more results.  Simply enter your search parameters and search!  For example, if you are looking for a job in Orlando, FL, you may want to find partners at Orlando firms and perform the search below.

As you can see, there are over 7,000 results, so you aren’t limited to only 100.


27
May 13

Sample Personalized LinkedIn Invitations

As I wrote in When You Can’t Send a Personalized LinkedIn Invitation, the default LinkedIn invitation (“I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network …”) annoys many legal professionals.  When I spoke at the Chicago Bar Association last week, I shared several templates that lawyers and law students can use to personalize LinkedIn invitations.  Try one of the following templates the next time you connect with someone on LinkedIn.

  • Event: “It was nice meeting you at ______.  I’d love to stay in touch.”  OR “I enjoyed hearing you speak at _____.  I’d love to stay in touch.”
  • Group/Organization: “I am a fellow member of the ____ LinkedIn group and I saw your comments about ____. I’d love to stay in touch so we can talk more about it.”
  • Reconnect: “It’s been a long time since we talked.  I hope you are doing well. How are the kids? I see you are now working at ____ company.  How is that going? Let’s be sure to stay in touch.”
  • Alumni: “I noticed that you are also a __________ alumni.  Perhaps we’ll meet in person at an upcoming alumni event!”
  • Blog/Article: “I recently enjoyed reading your article/post about ____.  I’d love to stay in touch.”
  • Congratulations: “Congratulations on your new position with ____!  I’d love to stay in touch.”

09
Apr 13

Dos & Don’ts of LinkedIn’s Mention Feature

LinkedIn recently introduced a new feature—mentions—that is similar to tagging connections in a post on Facebook or mentioning someone in a tweet.  I encourage you to view the slides in this post to learn how the feature works.  The feature is not available to all users at this time; according to this tweet from @LinkedInHelp, LinkedIn is “slowly rolling it out to everyone.”

Overall, I think the mentions feature will be effective, but I also think there’s potential for spam.  I’ve outlined several dos and don’ts on how lawyers and law students can use the mentions feature once it’s available.

DO:

  • Thank a LinkedIn connection for inviting you to speak or a company for sponsoring the event:
    • I enjoyed speaking at XYZ Symposium yesterday – a big thanks to Sally Smith for inviting me to participate!
    • I enjoyed speaking at XYZ Symposium yesterday – a big thanks to the host sponsors:  Smith Jones LLP, Hunter Thomas LLP and Perkins Cox LLP.
  • Acknowledge your LinkedIn connections who are speaking at an upcoming event:
    • This seminar on salary negotiations looks like a great event for women lawyers – speakers include Sally Smith, Jane Doe and Molly Jones.
    • My colleague, Paul Hunter, is speaking at the HNBA Annual Conference.  If you are attending, he’s speaking on April 1 at 11am.
  • Share a link to an article, post or video that’s by or about one of your connections:
    • Such an important topic for all lawyers – great piece (or interview) by Mike Smith.
    • Congratulations to Tom Moore on his promotion!

DON’T:

  • Don’t share links (especially links to your own content) and mentioning people just so they will see/read the article, post or video. A private message is more appropriate to send this type of content.
    • Sally Smith, Jane Doe and Molly Jones – I think you’ll love this article!
  • Don’t mention LinkedIn connections who are attending an event unless you know (with 100% certainty) they don’t mind your mentioning them.
    • I loved the session on how to find a job in the current legal market and enjoyed visiting with Tom Moore and Mike Smith.
  • Don’t list companies or firms where you’d like to work.
    • I’d love to work at Smith Jones LLP, Hunter Thomas LLP and Perkins Cox LLP.

07
Apr 13

When You Can’t Send a Personalized LinkedIn Invitation

It is common for lawyers and law students to connect on LinkedIn with other legal professionals they may not know very well.  However, most legal professionals prefer to receive a personalized invitation where the lawyer or law student explains why he or she wants to connect on LinkedIn; the default message (“I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network…”) annoys many legal professionals.

In my presentation at the University of Georgia School of Law last month, one of the attendees correctly noted that sometimes you can’t personalize your LinkedIn invitation.  He’s correct — sometimes when you click “connect,” you have the opportunity to write a personal message and other times you don’t.

The inability to send a personalized invitation arises when you use the “People You May Know” feature on LinkedIn–specifically, when you choose the “See more” feature of the “People You May Know” section.  From your LinkedIn home page, you’ll see a section in the upper right corner called “People You May Know.”  As shown below, LinkedIn usually displays three people that it thinks you might know.  Below each person’s name or picture is a link to “connect.”  If you click the “connect” link, you have the option to personalize your invitation.

However, if you click the “See more” link at the bottom of the section, you are taken to a page with rows and rows of people LinkedIn thinks you might know.  If you click “connect” on this page, LinkedIn automatically sends the person an invitation to connect, and you don’t have the option to personalize the message.

To send a personalized invitation to people LinkedIn displays on this page, you can click on the person’s name to view his or her LinkedIn profile, then click on “Connect” in the snapshot section of the person’s LinkedIn page and then customize the invitation to connect.


24
Jan 13

FaceWash Scrubs Naughty Words From Your Facebook Profile

A new app, FaceWash, scans comments on users’ Facebook posts, pictures, likes, as well as posts and pictures in which users are tagged.  The app highlights posts with certain naughty words, including profanities as well as words like “sexy,” “butt,” and “xxx,” as shown below.

Users can then click a link and delete the post if they wish.    Users can also enter words they want to the app to search.  For example, maybe you’ve vented about your job or certain co-workers on Facebook.  You could enter your company’s name or colleague’s name to see if you’ve mentioned them in a negative manner.

Final note – I tried the app earlier this week and it eventually timed out.  However, I had no problems on my second attempt (and the app identified the picture above).  I recommend that all job seekers and professionals use the app to scan their Facebook profiles–it can’t hurt!


07
Jan 13

Law Firms Using Social Media for Recruiting

Inspired by Sarah Halzack’s (@sarahhalzack) article “For Non-profit NPR, Social Media is a ‘Great Equalizer’ When it Comes to Hiring,” Kevin O’Keefe (@kevinokeefe) recently posted “Are Law Firms Using Social Media for Recruiting?“  Kevin tweeted his post last night, and I wanted to respond but needed more than 140 characters.  Here are my thoughts on which firms have taken steps toward using social media for recruiting and what firms need to do to succeed at using social media for recruiting.

I’m not aware of a law firm that has had as much success as NPR.  However, the following firms have taken significant steps suggesting that they are committed to incorporating social media in their recruiting strategies:

  1. Cooley’s Recruiting Twitter Account. Last summer, Cooley launched a dedicated recruiting Twitter account, @CooleyCareers, and shares information about job postings, law school recruiting initiatives, and associate outings.
  2. DLA Piper’s Summer Associate Blog. Last summer, DLA Piper launched DLA Piper Summer 2012, a blog focusing on its 2012 Summer Associates.  Select Summer Associates posted about their experience working at DLA.
  3. WilmerHale’s Careers Facebook Account. WilmerHale has Facebook page dedicated to its recruiting department, WilmerHale Careers, but hasn’t posted since May 2011.
  4. WilmerHale’s Summer Associate & Associate Blogs.  WilmerHale also maintains two blogs–one for its Summer Associates and one for Associates.  Select Summer Associates and Associates post about their experiences as a Summer Associate or Associate at WilmerHale.
  5. Waller. Waller maintains a blog devoted to young lawyers, Young Lawyers Blog, and a corresponding Twitter account, @wlansden.

I’m sure other firms have taken steps toward incorporating social media in their recruiting strategies, but the above firms are the ones that caught my attention in 2012.

There is definitely room for improvement.  Law firms using social media for recruiting need to humanize their accounts and engage with potential new hires. I recommend that law firms look outside the legal industry for ideas on how to use social media as a recruiting tool.  For example:

  1. Twitter. In order to see success, firms need individuals engaging with law students and associates on Twitter.  Look at @RecruiterStacy for ESPN.  She has over 20,000 followers and consistently engages with potential new hires.
  2. Facebook. Create a business page for the law firm recruiter so he or she can engage with potential new hires.  Or, maintain a separate Facebook business page dedicated to the firm’s recruiting department, such as PwC’s Careers Page.
  3. YouTube. Create a YouTube channel for the recruiting department so potential new hires can hear from associates or others working at the firm.  PwC is an excellent example of a company using YouTube for recruiting.
  4. Blogs. I’m sure @kevinokeefe has some thoughts for this category!  I recommend updating the blog on a regular basis and having a Twitter and/or Facebook account (either the individual recruiter’s account, the recruiting department’s account, or an account tied to the blog) to share posts and promote the blog.

What are your thoughts?  What other firms are using social media for recruiting?  Success stories?


05
Jan 13

Creating Effective Twitter Lists

If you are like me, glancing at your Twitter news feed can be overwhelming.  I follow a larger number of people (over 5,000), so it’s impossible to read what everyone tweets each day.  However, many of the people I follow share valuable, interesting information that I don’t want to miss.  Twitter Lists have helped me organize the people I follow and carve out time for Twitter in my 12-14 hour work days.   I usually spend 15-20 minutes on Twitter each day, and obtain valuable information that makes me more informed, entertained or engaged.

If you are interested in experimenting with Twitter Lists, here are my tips for creating effective Twitter Lists.

  1. Choose up to 15 categories for your lists. Twitter allows you to create up to 20 lists or categories for the people you follow.  You can place a person in multiple lists.  I recommend that you think of up to 15 categories or list titles you want to use for sure and keep five open for categories you might think of as you review your feed and organize your lists.  My lists include categories such as Legal News, Other News, Top 20 Legal, Top 20 Recruiting, Top 20 Other, Big Firm Lawyers, Law Students, Dallas Lawyers, Other Lawyers, Competitors and Law School Career Offices.   After I created my 15 lists and while I began placing people in certain lists, I realized I wanted a list for in-house lawyers, so this is why I recommend not using all 20 lists initially.  You’ll think of categories as you begin adding people to list.
  2. Allow yourself a week to create your lists. The people you follow on Twitter are more active at certain times and on certain days of the week.  For example, many legal news accounts tweet on weekday mornings while many of thought leaders I follow who aren’t in the legal profession tweet on weekends and evenings.  To capture your favorite people and add them to your lists, you need to jump on Twitter at different times throughout the week.  I recommend Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, Sunday evening, at least one weekday morning (between 8:30-9:30 CST), and at lest one weeknight.
  3. Create over-inclusive lists. You’ll notice that I have several lists titled “top 20.”  However, I initially had more than 20 people on each list.  You want to give yourself time to evaluate the tweets to see which people are your favorites–the ones who provide critical information that you aren’t going to obtain from anywhere else.  You can always remove people from a list, so make your lists over-inclusive at the beginning and weed out people over time.
  4. Everyone you follow doesn’t belong on a list. The goal behind the Twitter Lists is to capture the information shared by the most important people you follow.
  5. Identify the Top 3 Lists. Once your lists are created, you can review the lists each time you jump onto Twitter.  However, there will be days you don’t have time to review all your lists.  Identify your top 3 lists.  These lists are the ones you will check daily — the ones that always deliver important information you can’t afford to miss.  My “top 3″ are Legal News, Other News, and Top 20 Legal.
  6. Do you want your lists public or private? Finally, you can make each list a public or private list.  The majority of mine are private.  I create a public one when I give presentations and want to create a list the audience can find and follow.  If your list is public, the person you add to the list will receive a notification that you added him/her to a certain list (and the name of the list).  If your list is private, the people you add never know that they have been added to a list.

What are your tips for using Twitter Lists or fitting time for Twitter in your busy schedule?  Feel free to share in the Comments!


    31
    Dec 12

    You Can’t Hide on Facebook

    When I speak at law schools, I’m always impressed with the number of students who have removed themselves from Facebook search so that potential employers can’t find the students simply by entering the students’ names in the Facebook search bar.  However, with the privacy changes Facebook introduced earlier this month, Facebook is removing the ability of members to hide themselves from Facebook search.

    You may still have the option to hide yourself from Facebook search because the change is being rolled out to members gradually.  However, you should start planning for the change now, and I recommend considering the following:

    1. Does it belong on Facebook? Before posting an update or photo, ask yourself whether the information should be shared on Facebook.  As we’ve been reminded by the recent Randi Zuckerberg photo privacy breach, your information can still be shared by your friends who have access to the information—no matter how private you try to make the information by applying the most stringent privacy settings.  So, before posting anything, ask yourself, “Would I mind if the entire world saw this information?”
    2. Use your privacy settings. The bright side of the recent Facebook privacy changes is that the settings are more user friendly.  Spend 10 minutes today reviewing your settings to make sure your information is protected.
    3. Apply the Office Desk Photo Rule. No matter which privacy settings you choose, your profile picture is public to everyone.  Now, that you can’t hide from a Facebook search, more people will find you and see your profile picture.  It’s even more critical that you choose an appropriate Facebook profile picture.  In my book, I recommend applying the Office Desk Photo Rule when choosing your profile picture:  choose a picture that you would display on your office desk.  The picture can be casual, just not too casual.  Avoid the pictures of you taking shots or posing in a bikini.