With the explosion of social media over the past decade, the notions of networking and having an online presence have been entirely redefined. Despite the rapid shift towards the social media age, there long has been the perception that this movement excludes the legal profession.
In recent years, the industry has been witnessing a powerful transition towards the social media realm, with law firms and industry leaders building their online standings in the interest of interacting with current and potential clients, developing their brands, and networking for top talent. With this rise of social media use in the legal industry, it has become more important than ever for law students to establish and strengthen their online presences or at least be plugged in to the social dialogue out there.
Having a strong online presence and active social media pages can get you ahead in terms of interview preparation, networking opportunities, and standing out from the crowd. Below are three ways that social media can benefit your summer associate search, as well as platforms you should explore.
Engage in Comprehensive Interview Preparation.
With the magnitude of data and intelligence being shared on the internet and then spread across social media platforms, legal jobseekers can find an abundance of useful information on potential employers and the ins-and-outs of summer associate recruiting. For starters, you can follow the social media pages for your target firms to learn more about their practices and initiatives. Plus, since so much social media includes real-time engagement, you have the opportunity to find current conversations about the industry and trends in the legal field. This will allow you to have a deeper understanding of the legal profession. In addition to the extensive information you’ll have on the industry, you can also uncover information on different interviewing techniques and approaches that will empower you as you go through the interview process.
Network, Network, Network.
Not only do you have access to all the tips, tricks, and data you could need as you delve into the process, but you also have access to the profiles of industry leaders, potential interviewers, and lawyers that work within your target firms. Studying their online profiles, engaging with their posts, initiating conversations, and connecting with them across social media platforms will give you the opportunity to build a meaningful network, as well as give you talking points if you run into any of them at pre-OCI events, OCI itself, callback interviews, or recruiting events.
Stand Out From The Crowd.
Social media is a two-way street. Yes, you can go online and absorb all the information you come across to prepare yourself for the experience. You shouldn’t stop there, however. Social media is also an excellent opportunity for you to showcase your skillset and share all the insights and knowledge you have gained thus far on your journey, as well as your opinions on trending legal topics.
If you have taken the time to craft an engaging social media presence, you will stand out with how knowledgeable you are in a particular legal area and how confident you are with voicing your thoughts. In addition to that, having a strong presence on social media can show firms that you are technologically adept as the legal industry begins to move towards more tech-infused services.
Of course, building a social media presence is not to be entered into lightly, especially in the legal industry, which requires exceptional judgment. You should make sure that your posts are professional and stay within the same lines of topics and conversations you would engage in at work. Consider making any personal pages private and only share business-appropriate thoughts and information on your public spaces. Make sure your account is clear of any provocative or discriminatory postings or commentary. Since you will be putting yourself out there, you need to make sure that your account is an appropriate and professional reflection of yourself. Also, don’t ever speak or post ill of your former employer, coworkers, professors, or law school on any social media platform.
Find the Right Platform for You
Now that we have established the value that comes with developing your social media presence, let’s examine the social media platforms that will help you check off the above three points.
1. For interview preparation, we recommend SlideShare.
SlideShare is a platform hosted by LinkedIn for professional content including presentations, infographics, documents, and videos. On SlideShare, under the category of law, there is endless informative data on various topics that you can educate yourself on in your free time and share on your social media profiles. Twitter and LinkedIn are also great platforms that law firms and lawyers are now extremely vested in. You can use them to watch for trends and topics that law firms and industry leaders are discussing and sharing. This will give you great talking points throughout the interview process.
2. For networking opportunities, we recommend LinkedIn.
LinkedIn will give you access to firm profiles as well as profiles for firm attorneys, including your interviewers (if they have profiles). This platform allows you to connect, engage, and initiate conversations with them. You can learn more about who you could potentially talk to throughout the process as well create connections before you start so that you have a few familiar names and faces down. LinkedIn will also help you research which rising 3Ls at your school were summer associates at your target firms and which attorneys at your target firms attended your undergraduate and law schools. Making connections with these people can be invaluable in learning more about what it’s like to work at the firms.
Through LinkedIn, you can make connections that could land you some one-on-one help with people who have gone through the process and can share some insider tips and tricks. You never know how or when these connections will come in handy.
3. To stand out from other candidates, we recommend Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Using platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook will allow you to voice your insights and opinion on any topic as well as chime in on conversations on the official pages of firms and lawyers.
Social media is a tremendous tool for learning more about your target summer firms and making connections to land a summer associate gig or other legal job. Approach it professionally, but don’t be afraid to explore all it has to offer as you pave your legal career.
By Mike Gotham, Director of Recruiting & Retention, Perkins Coie LLP, and
Shelley Levine, Senior Attorney Recruiting Manager, Perkins Coie LLP
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