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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

LinkedIn Endorsements for Lawyers: Where’s the Beef?

 

By Virginia Bisek, BASF Bulletin Contributor

 

LinkedIn posted this on its blog recently, ballyhooing a new feature: “With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet. Think your connection is great at [Trade Secrets] AND [Internet Law]? Let them know!”

Shortly thereafter, the legal blogosphere grew pregnant with ethical concerns for lawyers. A couple of ripe comments that sum it up:

… Are these Endorsements subject to the rules of professional conduct? Do they violate Rule 7.1?

… What if a client endorses me for a legal service that I didn’t directly provide the client?

Many of these netversations seem to indicate that most lawyers are neither concerned nor nonplussed with this new feature. And my attempts at getting feedback from my, albeit small, lawyer network have been met with an unsurprising lack of enthusiasm.LinkedIn Logo

The general consensus from my browsing? Any attempt by a bar to limit attorney use of endorsements wouldn’t survive first amendment scrutiny.

Nor is there anything, from my read, in the Professional Rules of Conduct, or Section 230 of the CDC, that would prohibit a lawyer from publishing endorsements on his or her LinkedIn profile.

And besides, lawyers have total control over what endorsements they post. Bottom line: make sure it’s legitimate and you are being honest about the endorsements you accept and publish.

End of story.

Why Not a Recommendation?

Here’s an idea. How about asking people who endorse you to take a moment to write a LinkedIn recommendation instead? Surely a thoughtful, written recommendation is a more powerful use of the English language than simply pressing a button. A button that is very similar to the “Like” feature on Facebook.

And if you dislike the fact that LinkedIn has made this a ubiquitous feature, forcing you to participate, do the following - remove all your skills that you have listed in the skills feature on LinkedIn. Voila! This makes the endorsement feature disappear, like magic. My skills (and subsequent keywords for SEO purposes) are already peppered throughout my profile in other areas - as any professional profile should present.

Sidestepping this “obligation,” believing that you have to continually populate your planet with endorsements from connections, may inspire you.

And for gosh sakes – wouldn’t you rather be blogging?


 

Virginia Bisek is a copywriter and content strategist helping to build better websites. You can reach her at 510.229.8508, or check out her website at virginiabisek.com

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