Center For Practice Management, Marketing, Smartphones, Social Media

Getting the Most from Your LinkedIn Profile

You may have a LinkedIn profile but have not updated it in a while. You may not actively visit the platform or engage with other users. LinkedIn is not the biggest social network, with 722 million users globally versus Instagram’s 1 billion users, but that doesn’t it mean it isn’t a great place to connect with other lawyers and professionals for marketing, referrals, and providing thought leadership. If you search your name in any major search engine your LinkedIn public profile is likely to appear in the first three or four results. Learn more about improving your profile and leveraging this powerful platform.

Opening Statements

Two of the most important components of your LinkedIn profile are your headline and your “About” statement. They appear at the top of your profile. Your headline should be short (less than 120 characters according to Harvard Career Experts) and describe what you do and for whom. That information should then be repeated in your About section. The headline appears with your name when you post to LinkedIn, so you want to make sure that you evidence your practice area. A generic “Attorney at XYZ Law Firm” does not help people who see your posts or look at your profile know how you can help them – and they may not read further to find out. An example of a headline for a private practice attorney could be “Trusts and Estate Planning Attorney at XYZ Law Firm” or “Employment Law and Workers Rights Attorney”.

Your “About” section can expand on your headline. If people truly have the attention span of a goldfish, then you will need to get straight to the point. Express what problem(s) you solve and for whom. Then you can expand on this with your personal statement about why you are passionate about what you do and something interesting about yourself. The “About” section is truncated, so you will need to write something compelling to get someone to click “see more”.  For instance, you could start an “About” section with “Focusing on disability rights for the citizens of Mecklenburg County, I have passionately advocated for my clients’ civil rights for over 20 years”. Then expand on where you practice (firm or agency), and any other details you want to share. While there is a generous character allotment in the “About” section keep it brief and break it into paragraphs if there are more than three sentences. Write the About section in first person, avoid self-aggrandizement and empty phrases like “driven self-starter”, and show a little personality.

All in the Details

Other information that appears at the top of your LinkedIn profile include where you work, your education, your physical location, pronouns, name pronunciation and what type of services you provide. Your current employer/firm and school are pulled from the Experience and Education sections. In editing mode (login to LinkedIn, go to your profile and click the pencil icon) you can uncheck the boxes to keep your current employer or school from showing. Whether you are actively seeking a job or just open to new opportunities you can check the “open to work” and specify what type of positions you are interested in. If you do not want this shared on your profile, make sure to check the box “Recruiters Only”.  Another bit of information you can add to your profile is the types of services you provide. If you do not see that as an option on the website, try editing your profile in the mobile app on your smartphone. You can choose what types of services you provide from an extensive list, write an(other) About summary, and choose whether LinkedIn members who are not connections can message you.

Helpful Information

While editing your profile make sure to include your Contact Info, including work phone, email address, website URL, and social media links. You do not have to add your birthday. All the contact information is only available to people with whom you are connected on LinkedIn.

New options to enhance your profile include adding your pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/theirs or custom) and adding how to pronounce your name. You can choose to make your pronouns visible to anyone who views your profile or only those you are connected with on the platform. If your name is frequently mispronounced go into the mobile app on your smartphone or tablet and in edit mode, click on “Add Name Pronunciation”. Then use your phone to record your name. You can choose whether this is available to anyone or only those you are connected with.

Keep Up Appearances

If your headshot does not look like you anymore consider adding a new one. While a professional headshot is great, you can go outside with a friend who is a shutterbug and get a lot of shots with nature as the background and pick one. Natural lighting is often the best lighting and nature as a backdrop is far more interesting than a studio background or a set of dusty law books.

If your firm has a logo, consider incorporating it into your background photo. You don’t have to be proficient with Photoshop, you can use tools you already have like MS Paint, MS PowerPoint, or Photos on Mac.

Show Your Work

When you are updating your profile look at the “Volunteer experience” section under “Background”. In addition to your work with charitable organizations, consider adding your bar association memberships. If you have joined a volunteer legal association you can add it in this section. If you are not an active leader you can simply choose “member” as your role. You can leave “Cause” blank if you do not see an appropriate category. By adding your memberships to voluntary legal associations and selecting the organization from the drop-down menu when you type it you will be highlighting your commitment to the legal profession and giving the LinkedIn algorithm more ways to help get your profile in front of a more targeted audience.

If you have an active leadership role in a bar association you may be tempted to add it to the “Experience” section. However, LinkedIn interprets that information as work experience. While leadership roles are certainly work, you are not an employee, and you will appear as one on the association’s LinkedIn company page. So, move that information to Volunteer Experience. It will still appear much higher in your profile than Organizations within the Accomplishments section.


Now that you have gone through your profile and updated it you have one last element to check. When you are in edit mode in your profile look on the right rail and click on “Edit public profile & URL”.  If you have not yet done so, change your profile URL to something easy to say and type, like Add that link to your email signature block and other places where you want to invite people to view your profile and connect, like your blog or website. Then under “Edit Visibility” you can choose from many granular options to share specific elements of your profile with the public. Since LinkedIn profiles rank so high in Google and other search engines consider sharing a good bit publicly, especially if you are in private practice and seeking potential clients.


Now, do you want to make LinkedIn really work for you? After you update your profile and make it shine you need to get active. Every time you “like” or interact with your connection’s posts it makes you more visible. Share content from other connections, your firm’s content, and your own content. Author articles on the LinkedIn publishing platform and share them. Join groups. A little bit of effort to use LinkedIn “socially” can expand your network and add to your visibility so that you are top of mind for potential clients, former clients, and referrals.

For Further Study