I had a blast driving the Maven Mobile (courtesy of my Concierge Sponsor, Web3Mavens) to the South Bay and speaking with the students at Santa Clara University School of Law yesterday as part of The Undeniable Tour. I often talk with lawyers and law students about the importance of putting yourself out there on social media to facilitate connections and building relationships with people.
One student said he was concerned about posting things that are controversial which could be a turn off to potential employers or clients. He brought up a good question – how do you know how much you should put online?
That’s a question that each person needs to answer for themselves. You have to decide what topics you’ll discuss and what topics are off limits. Some people have a firm personal policy about not talking about their kids online. Others avoid discussions about religion or politics. Some people choose not to use profanity.
My general rule is as long as you’re not saying something that is hellaciously offensive or promoting the kicking of puppies, you’re probably ok. If an employer or client doesn’t want to hire you because of your feelings about baseball or your political affiliation, the sooner you weed those people out the better. I fully embrace the fact that I’m not the lawyer for everyone. If you want a lawyer who is stiff, wears a suit, and only speaks in legalese, I know people to refer you to. If you want a down-to-earth approachable lawyer who explains things in English, wears t-shirts, and brings her basset hound to work, let me give you my card.
One thing I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that people hire people. Your clients want to like you as a person, not just as a lawyer. It’s good to let people know who you are. I applied for an interview with a semiconductor company for my 2L summer. Initially I was #9 on their list and got an interview as an alternate. My interviewer and I connected over a blog post I wrote about childhood obesity. It had nothing to do with the law, but that conversation helped me move from #9 to #3 on their list. Unfortunately they were only taking two interns that year.
Be thoughtful about what you post, but don’t be afraid to share your personality online. That’s what leads to real connections and relationships.