Whenever I talk to lawyers about LinkedIn, lots of them seem to always say the same thing:  “LinkedIn is just an online resume – just set it and forget it.  What else is it good for?”

If that’s all you want it to be, then you can stop reading right now – you’ve gone as far as you can go with LinkedIn.  If you’re interested, however, in learning LinkedIn can help a lawyer so much more in terms of professional development, then read on – and pick up a copy of LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers.

Social networking is not only about making connections, but engaging with them.  Lawyers choose to engage in different ways – by publishing a blog, spending time on Twitter, or by actually meeting people in person at meetings or conferences.  When it comes to making connections, LinkedIn is probably the best social media site for lawyers – the people there are more likely to want to connect with you for potential business opportunities (except perhaps for Facebook, if you have a practice that is more consumer-oriented).  So why not try to get as much out of the site as you can?

LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers was written by two friends of mine, Allison Shields, and one of my best friends in the legal technology world, Dennis Kennedy.  They have paired to create an extremely readable book that is packed with tons of practical information – yet it’s something that will only take you about an hour to read.  In just 60 minutes you’ll learn how to:

  • Set up your account, and choosing between basic and premium account options
  • Completing your basic profile – what I imagine most of you have on LinkedIn
  • Creating a robust, dynamic profile – going beyond the basic to include information that will make your profile a true representation of your professional life.
  • Getting started with Connections – how to connect with people you know
  • Make even more Connections – learning how to find people you’d like to know better
  • Using LinkedIn Search – to search information on people and companies
  • Using Status Updates and LinkedIn Groups to engage – your LinkedIn status update allows you to share news of yourself or of something important to your practice; the Groups feature is a great way to discuss topics (just about any topic – there are thousands of groups!) with other LinkedIn members
  • Benefit from LinkedIn Answers and Recommendations – you can answer questions online, and receive recommendations from other lawyers or even clients (make sure to read the Ethical Considerations at the back of the book, though!)
  • Monitoring your network – keeping up with your connections, to see when they make changes in their work
  • Develop a simple LinkedIn stragegy – taking the things you’ve learned in the book and creating a strategy that fits the way you want to work with the service.

And I’m just getting started – you’ll also find information on using LinkedIn during the hiring process in your office, using LinkedIn apps, advanced search techniques, and a terrific list of 60 LinkedIn tips that you can start using immediately.

I always thought I knew all I needed to know about using LinkedIn, but Allison and Dennis showed me otherwise.  I never knew, for example, that you could list any books you have written in your profile – really basic, but also a great feature.  I also wasn’t aware of all of the really innovative apps developed to work inside LinkedIn.  There are apps that help you share files through Box, upload presentations either through Google Presentations or SlideShare, create a collaborative workspace with Huddle, conduct surveys or polls, or sync blog posts or Tweets with your profile.  They also mention the LinkedIn App for iPhone and Blackberry, which are both terrific mobile apps.  The book came out before the debut of LinkedIn’s iPad app last week, and it’s well worth a download.

I recommend LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers no matter your level of LinkedIn sophistication.  If you are a lawyer new to the service, then this is a must-read, so you can understand all the features of this powerful networking service.  Even if you have been a member for some time, this book will not disappoint; you’ll no doubt learn about LinkedIn tools you haven’t used.  Allison and Dennis have done a great job of providing you with all the information you need, in a style and format that gives you just enough information without being overwhelming.  Pick up a copy today.