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.
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.
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.”
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.
- 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 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.
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.
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!
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:
- 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?”
- 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.
- 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.
A few weeks ago, I noticed the “work anniversary” of one of my contacts in my LinkedIn news feed.
The work anniversary feature is yet another way to use LinkedIn to keep in touch with your network and remain visible—-especially if you don’t actively share content on LinkedIn. When you “like” or comment on the work anniversary update, your contact is notified so you are able to remain on that contact’s radar.
LinkedIn makes it easy to sort updates to find the work anniversary notices:
- From your LinkedIn home page, place your mouse on the All Updates drop down menu and select Jobs.
- Scroll through the news feed with updates related to your contacts’ jobs until you see work anniversary updates. Note: other job related updates include endorsements, job postings, and your contacts’ new jobs or titles.
- Like or comment on the update!