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July, 2010

Jul 10

Freelance Lawyers (#LawJobChat No. 2)

Lisa Solomon, a veteran freelance lawyer and founder of Legal Research and Writing Pro, was our guest co-host for the second #LawJobChat. We discussed how lawyers can work on a freelance basis as an independent contract lawyer.  Click here to review the transcript of the chat.  Some highlights and resources from tonight’s chat include:

  • Business: Freelance lawyers are business owners who set their own hours and decide what work they want to do (i.e., substantive legal research and writing).
  • Malpractice insurance: Freelance lawyers need their own malpractice insurance and you can read why in Lisa’s guide to contract lawyering.
  • Ethical considerations: All states allow freelance lawyering.  ABA Formal Op 08-451 is the main ethics opinion regarding freelance lawyering, and you can read Lisa’s analysis of the opinion here.
  • Resources: Resources/organizations supporting freelance lawyers include:  (1) National Association of Freelance Legal Professionals; (2) Freelance Law; (3) Legal Research & Writing Pro; and (4) list of technology Lisa uses in her freelance practice.
  • Law Students: Law students can even freelance through Law Clerk Connection.
  • Getting Started: Go where the clients are–for example, litigation section of your bar association.  Talk to small firm lawyers and solos and offer to take some work off their hands.

For more information about #LawJobChat, click here.  And, save the date for our next chat:  Thursday, August 26 at 9pm EDT.

Jul 10

LinkedIn Loses Its Best Feature … Why?

If you’ve read about my “6Ps” system on this blog or in my newsletter, you know that there are three steps required to perform successfully on the Big 3 social networking sites:  (1)  connect; (2)  assimilate; and (3)  participate.   The second step in your performance — assimilate — requires gathering information from your networks that will help your job search.  If your networks are large (and, they should be), assimilating information can be time-consuming.

Accordingly, one chapter of my book (Chapter 8 – Practice) focuses on how job-seeking lawyers and law students can use the Big 3 sites efficiently.  One practice I suggest for efficient use is activity blocking – assimilating information from your networks based on the activity.

I praise LinkedIn in my book because the LinkedIn news feed groups updates by activity … or, it did!   Until yesterday, all status updates appeared together at the beginning of your news feed.  Then, connection updates (i.e., individuals in your network with new connections) appeared.  Application updates appeared together.  Company updates appeared together.  You get the picture.

The grouping of activities made using the site an efficient use of my time.  If I only wanted to review status updates, I could quickly go to the site, review status updates, and get back to daily tasks.  Now, all updates are mixed together — cluttered.  Here’s what my news feed looked like this morning.

LI July 22 news feedED

The first status update is the fifth update.  I have to shuffle through connection updates and a company update before I find the first status update.  Shuffling through the clutter takes more time and makes using the site less efficient.

You can still view updates by activity, but it requires an extra step.  Here’s how:

  1. Scroll through your cluttered updates under Network Activity.
  2. At the end of your updates (but before you reach Group Updates), click on See more Network Updates.

    LI see more network updates

  3. Notice the menu of choices – you can view updates by category (activity) or connection.

    LI Category view menu

  4. Click on Category View to see your updates by category or activity–the way they previously appeared in your news feed.

    LI category viewED

Why did LinkedIn change the organized, efficient format of its news feed?  Is it trying to mirror Facebook and Twitter?  Why?  LinkedIn changed a feature that didn’t need to be changed.  The organization of the news feed was perfect until yesterday and, in my opinion, the best organized news feed of the Big 3.  So, why change a good thing?

Jul 10

iFocus Time Management Tool for Social Networking Sites

I previously wrote about the importance of time blocking in your social job search, and you can read that post here.  One entire chapter of my forthcoming book focuses on efficient use of the Big 3 social networking sites in your job search, including tools like time blocking.  And, I recommend (1) setting a timer for the period of time in which you plan to use the Big 3 social networking sites, and (2) refraining from all other activities during this block of time, such as checking emails or answering your phone.

Yesterday, I learned of a new time blocking tool from a recent law grad I follow on Twitter.  She recommended iFocus for bar exam takers to help them limit the time spent on social networking sites while studying for the bar exam.  iFocus allows you to set time limits for computer activities, such as email, social networking sites, and online news.  As you can see in the image below, you can set iFocus to prevent further use of such activity once the allocated time block is over, or you can opt to receive a notice.

ifocus set limits

If you are curious about iFocus, there are additional screenshots on the iFocus site to illustrate how the program works, or you can download the free program and try it yourself.

Jul 10

Facebook … Free And Always Will Be

Earlier today, I participated on a panel about social media at South Texas College of Law’s 23rd Annual Employment Law Conference.  One of the attendees asked whether I thought the Big 3 sites would eventually charge users to access the sites.   In my response, I commented that I thought I read this week where Facebook announced on its website that it would never charge users to access its site.  I promised the attendees I would confirm and share the link on this site.  Click here to read the post explaining the new message on Facebook’s site which states, “Sign up, it’s free (and always will be).”

Jul 10

Legal Updates on LinkedIn

JD Supra, a site that allows lawyers and law firms to share content with other users, announced today that it launched a LinkedIn application called Legal Updates. Read this post for details on Legal Updates, and watch the short video to see how Legal Updates works.

If you are searching for a job, you may wish to add the Legal Updates LinkedIn application to learn more about practice areas.  For example, if you are a law student interested in a career in employment law, you may use the Legal Updates application to have employment law updates delivered to your LinkedIn profile.  Law students may also use Legal Updates to get topic ideas when writing notes, articles, and papers.

To add the Legal Updates application, click on “More” from the LinkedIn Menu and then “Applications.”  Scroll down to the bottom of the Applications menu and Legal Updates is at the bottom left.

[Update – 9:09 CDT 7/16/10:  You may sign up here for a live demonstration of Legal Updates.  The live demonstration is scheduled for July 22 at 10:00 a.m. PDT.]

Jul 10

Letter to Social Savvy Hotels & Airlines

Dear Social Savvy Hotels & Airlines:

Pic for workI am an award-winning legal recruiter based in Dallas, Texas, and the author of The 6Ps of the Big 3™ for Job-Seeking JDs, a book teaching law students and lawyers how to get hired using the three largest social networking sites.

Earlier this week, I announced my 30 Law Schools in 60 Days book tour.  Now, I seek social savvy hotels and airlines to sponsor my travel for the tour so the law schools I visit won’t have to incur this expense.

In exchange for sponsorships, I will discuss my experience with the sponsor hotel(s) and airline(s) on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and my newsletter.  I will also conduct complimentary social media marketing sessions for the sponsor hotel(s) and airline(s).

Your sponsorship support will illustrate the power and reach of social media, the heart of my message to the future lawyers.  Ford Motor Company recently illustrated this power and garnered national attention through its Fiesta Movement.  I hope we can partner together so I can teach law students the value of social media in their job searches while also promoting your generosity and services on Facebook, Twitter, my blog, and my newsletter.

Many thanks,

Amanda C. Ellis

214-662-3806 (cell)

Jul 10

Book Status (July 12, 2010)

I’ve received several inquiries via email, Facebook comments, and LinkedIn messages about the status of the book, so I thought it was time to post a formal status update here.

I officially finished the final draft on June 29 and emailed the book to my attorney to review.  I met with my attorney on July 8 to receive his feedback, and I was simply elated with his comments :-).

The editor is reviewing the final draft and I am working to obtain permissions from certain people profiled in the book.  I will receive and review the editor’s comments by July 16.  The next deadline is July 26, the date to submit the book for layout and design.  I am told to expect the layout and design process to take 3-4 weeks and then the printing process to take an additional 3-4 weeks, with a final product by mid-late September.

Bulk pre-orders begin today, July 12.  General pre-orders will begin in August and will be announced in my August newsletter.

Jul 10

Fall Book Tour: 30 Law Schools in 60 Days

Several law schools recently inquired about a fall book tour for my forthcoming book, The 6Ps of the Big 3™ for Job-Seeking JDs.   Based on the input I received from a few schools, I’ve designed a Fall Book Tour with the following six features:

  1. 30 Law Schools in 60 Days. I can visit up to 30 law schools beginning the first day of fall, September 22, 2010, through November 20, 2010.  I will visit on weekends if schools prefer a weekend date.
  2. 60 minute Performance. One central theme in the book is performance over presence – your performance on social networking sites, not your mere presence, will get you hired.
    Accordingly, my tour will focus on performance rather than a presentation about the book.  I will ask for 1-3 students who have not secured summer or full-time jobs to volunteer to participate.   During my performance-style presentation, I will coach the students through using the 6Ps system described in the book, so students will see how they can use the Big 3 social networking sites in their job searches (rather than listening to a lecture about social networking).  I will encourage one volunteer to be a first-year student so he or she can see how the First-Year Plan works.
  3. No Fee, 160 Books, Hotel + Transportation. I will waive my speaking fee in exchange for a law school pre-ordering a minimum of 160 books at a reduced price and covering part of my travel expenses—hotel and transportation (though I am trying to obtain sponsors to cover travel).
  4. First-come, First-served. The first 30 law schools to pre-order a minimum of 160 books by August 20 will be included on the tour.  You will provide three possible dates you would like me to visit, and I will coordinate with you to meet one of your preferred choices.
  5. Creative Solutions. I’m happy to brainstorm with you about sponsorships and other creative solutions to fit a book tour stop within your budget.  For example, multiple law schools in a geographical region may wish to split travel expenses if I visit multiple law schools in the region in one visit.  Or, a law school and a bar association may want to partner together to co-host a book tour stop.
  6. #LawJobChat Bonus. As many of you know, Melissa Sachs and I recently launched #LawJobChat, a Twitter chat for attorney job seekers on the last Thursday night of each month.  If you’d like for your students to observe how a Twitter chat works, consider requesting an evening presentation on September 30 or October 28, the September and October dates for #LawJobChat.  Your students would receive both the performance-style presentation and the opportunity to observe and participate in a Twitter Chat.  #LawJobChat begins at 9pm Eastern so the presentation would need to start at or before 7:30pm Eastern.

I welcome your comments and questions about the book and fall book tour.  Click here to read more about the book.  Contact me ( or 214.361.0070) if you wish to pre-order and schedule a book tour stop for your law school.

Jul 10

The First-Year Plan: 25 Contacts, 33 Months

One new addition to The 6Ps of the Big 3™ for Job-Seeking JDs is the First-Year Plan in Chapter 8.  Chapter 8 focuses on the fifth “P” – Practice – and examines three steps required to use the Big 3 social networking sites efficiently, including blocking your time and activities, measuring your activity responses and activity goals, and practicing on the sites.

The First-Year Plan is one type of activity goal that first-year law students and first-year law firm associates may choose to measure.  Law students and lawyers in their first year of school or practice are at an advantage because they have 2-3 years before they will need a new job.  They have time to build a network of potential referral sources and employers before they need anything from their networks.   A first-year law student won’t need a full-time job until graduation.  According to statistics, a first-year associate will likely leave his firm between his second to fifth years of practice.

The First-Year Plan described in Chapter 8 outlines how first-year law students and lawyers can add 25 new, meaningful contacts to their professional networks over a 33 month period (i.e., September of first semester through May graduation).   According to the First-Year Plan, the first-year students and lawyers will add five different types of contacts, all important to their job search:  (1) hometown/family friend contacts; (2) college alumni contacts; (3) law school alumni contacts; (4) contacts from organizations; and (5) practice area contacts.

The first-year students and lawyers will grow and nurture their networks by performing tasks on the Big 3 social networking sites according to the First-Year Plan.

Jul 10


You may have noticed on the About the Books page that the first “P” recently changed … “Purpose” is now “Professionalism.”  While reviewing the book a final time before I delivered it to my editor, I realized that Professionalism is a more accurate title for the chapter because all online social networking sites, including the Big 3, serve a professional purpose to some degree for attorneys.  There is no clear personal v. professional distinction because certain friends are both professional colleagues and friends (i.e., law school classmates).

Accordingly, Chapter 2 – Professionalism analyzes the purpose of each site based on the varying degrees of professionalism of each site.