LinkedIn is not just about having a professional profile on a professional networking site. There is much more to LinkedIn than your average ‘profile’. For starters, LinkedIn is a place to have ‘presence’. And that ‘presence’ is indexed by Google, thus allowing you the ability to be found. After all, there’s over 100 million members and counting. So, you created an account and filled out some profile information, now what? Have a goal for your purpose on LinkedIn. This will help define how you choose to utilize the features and functionality of LinkedIn.

First, it is important to know how to connect with people. By filling out your profile experience and including past jobs, LinkedIn is then able to ‘recommend people you may know’ connections for you. You can start to connect to many people on LinkedIn via importing your contacts from Outlook, joining groups and answering questions just to name a few. BUT for lawyers, be cautious with whom you connect. This becomes increasingly important as juries are selected and judges make decisions. It is important to keep in mind to whom you connect and the reason for connecting.

Second, as you connect to people, you’ll want to join Groups. Groups are a way to keep abreast what’s important to those in your circle and your interests. There are groups for just about any topic. Just pick one and search for it. However, as a lawyer, it is always a good practice to include the disclaimer that your answers do not constitute advice or create an attorney client privilege if you choose to answer or post any questions or comments within Groups. If you’d like, you may wish to create a group just for your area of practice.

Third, add the JDSupra application. LinkedIn utilizes applications which can be found under the More dropdown navigation at the top. JDSupra can showcase your expertise by allowing you to add samples of your writing and work without breaching ethical obligations. It’s a fabulous way to stay on top of what others are talking about in the legal community and showcase your firm and practice.

Lastly, use LinkedIn Today. LinkedIn Today is like a personalized online newspaper with the information relevant to you in your practice, position and industry. You can find it by going to More dropdown and selecting News (it’s currently in Beta). It combines LinkedIn updates and information shared from those on Twitter.