LinkedIn: Friend or Foe?

With all the new social media outlets available to the average consumer, many different sources are available to people looking for an attorney.

One such website, LinkedIn, offers visitors to its site the ability to view the resumes and curriculum vitae of various professionals, including attorneys. While this seems like one of the best ways to hunt out an attorney, there are some new features to LinkedIn that have recently come under scrutiny.

In a recent article by Correy E. Stephenson in Lawyer's Weekly, Stephenson criticizes the "endorsement" feature of LinkedIn, which allows LinkedIn users to endorse their connections for various predefined skills.

While this may seem like a good idea, there are several flaws. One is that LinkedIn offers up suggested skills to endorse in another person, which may or may not be skills they actually possess or want to advertise to other users.

Another issue is that the ease that exists in endorsing a fellow user, usually at the prompting of LinkedIn itself, means that there is little to no quality control. Anyone may endorse anyone else without regard for whether they have any knowledge of the other person's skills.

Stephenson suggests better management on the part of the attorneys who use LinkedIn, in making sure to only approve endorsements that actually fit your experience and deleting those that are irrelevant or unproven. Additionally, they should only endorse users they actually know, and only for skills they know the other person has. This self-check system should help attorneys stay more ethical in their marketing.

For the non-attorney user who wants to use LinkedIn to find their next lawyer, the biggest lesson to take from this is that LinkedIn can be a useful tool to use...just as long as you take with a grain a salt the numerous endoresements the person might have.

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