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Delving into the latest TBD LinkedInfluencers Report…

Yesterday, weeks of hard work here at TBD Towers culminated in the publication of a piece of research that the team here are extremely proud of: the third edition of our quarterly LinkedInfluencers Report!

It takes a heck of a lot of data-collating, number-crunching and in-depth analysis to produce the report, not to mention the iterative refining of our robust methodology to produce what I think it is fair to call the industry-leading benchmarking tool for LinkedIn performance in the legal sector.

So, in this week’s edition of Si’s Matters, I want to give you a taster of our findings, celebrate some of the leading legal voices on LinkedIn, and issue a clarion call to those of you who are hiding your light under a bushel or have not yet dared to dip your toe into the LinkedIn waters: please get involved. Dive on in. The water is warm. I promise.

A quick refresher course: what is the TBD LinkedInfluencers Report?

In a nutshell, our quarterly LinkedInfluencers Report provides a ranking of the 100 most successful LinkedIn users working at the UK’s top-200 law firms – ‘successful’ here being defined as high levels of audience engagement, as evidenced by the number of likes and comments on these users’ posts over a 12-week period.

We exclude law firm leaders from our report, purely because we have a separate ranking for them. And we exclude future trainees, as we feel that they will have their time in the limelight sooner rather than later in any case. But we do include non-execs as well as non-lawyers and non-barristers: basically, if you work at a top-200 law firm, you are eligible for inclusion in the data pool.

And my, what a sizeable pool it is! We sifted through a huge data set of over 4,000 individual LinkedIn users to create our long list of around 1,000 people with the potential to make it into our top 100 ranking. The whole thing is done on an objective basis, and informed purely by the data. It is a vast undertaking, and a real labour of love.

For our full methodology, I refer you to the actual report, which you can download here.

Now, let’s dive into some of the key findings from our latest LinkedInfluencers Report, and celebrate a few of our ranked individuals along the way.

Partners are powering up

We are starting to see the rise of partners through the LinkedInfluencers rankings. Previously, it was usually people working in learning and development and in HR, alongside some outliers and mavericks, who made the cut – but partners are now clearly beginning to embrace LinkedIn to an ever greater extent, as evidenced by the fact that four of our top ten LinkedInfluencers are partners.

One of them is James Quarmby of Stephenson Harwood, who sits in the top ten in our latest ranking. He has been using his profile to make his feelings heard on the Government’s changes to the non-dom rules. As a partner at a firm known for advising high-net-worth individuals, his ire at both the Tories and the Labour Party (whose proposed changes also get James’ goat) perhaps comes as no surprise.

But what James has demonstrated over the last quarter is that, under the right circumstances, the timely delivery of technical expertise can certainly garner plenty of attention on LinkedIn and help lawyers to get their message out to a wide audience.

Here come the trainees

Although our LinkedInfluencers ranking excludes future trainees, we do monitor those who have already embarked on their journey towards becoming a lawyer. We are now beginning to see more of these current trainees make their mark on LinkedIn – among them is 16th-ranked Amelia Platton, who is currently on her SQE journey into the law at Clifford Chance and consistently shows up to post about this topic.

I was recently asked by a member of the legal press whether Magic Circle firms have a blanket ban on their trainees using social media, given how few MC trainee voices are to be heard on LinkedIn. Amelia is the living proof that this is not (always) the case. She is highly adept at using the platform and engaging with her audience by posting about her experience as a neurodiverse trainee at one of the country’s leading law firms.

All hail the campaigners

A clear trend that our latest LinkedInfluencers Report highlights is that campaigners are really coming to dominate the rankings. Three of our top five LinkedInfluencers routinely use the platform to champion the causes they are passionate about, and thereby keep smashing it out of the park in terms of sheer reach and engagement.

Number one is Justin Farrance, a DEI campaigner at A&O; number two is Jen Shipley from Irwin Mitchell, who campaigns on behalf of alternative routes into the law; and in fifth place is Sophie Pender, a social mobility campaigner who has announced this week that she’s leaving the law.

While it is possible to do well on LinkedIn with posts that focus on the nuts and bolts of the law (as the aforementioned James Quarmby demonstrates), the truth is that this kind of content will never travel as widely and impact as strongly as non-technical posts that come from the heart and connect emotionally with their audience.

A warm welcome to the late adopters

Another interesting finding from our report is that late adopters of the platform are now beginning to feature in the top 100. One of these is Victoria Walker, whom I met at Moore Barlowwhilst serving as the firm’s interim CMO last year.

A family lawyer who has recently moved into more of a consultancy role as a divorce mediator, Victoria shows up for her audience time and again, and her skill as a LinkedIn user has seen her move from not being ranked at all in our previous reports to now occupying the 57th spot in our most recent quarterly ranking.

What makes this all the more remarkable is that Victoria didn’t ever really post on LinkedIn before the start of this year. But then she attended a LinkedIn training and she has absolutely run with it ever since.

Victoria’s success brilliantly demonstrates that with commitment, consistency and the right approach, it’s never too late to go from zero posts to hero on LinkedIn in a relatively short space of time.

Calling all legal services professionals!

Can’t see your name among our top 100 LinkedInfluencers but feel you could have a shot at being ranked? Curious to know how your own LinkedIn performance measures up against our benchmarking report? Then you should check out our Legal LinkedInfluencers Power Rating Calculator, which allows you to work out your own power rating score and bring your LinkedIn profile to our attention for future editions of the TBD LinkedInfluencers Report.

It’s well worth doing, not just to have your hard work celebrated but also to help inspire your colleagues in the profession and show them the way to harness the networking and brand-building power of LinkedIn.

And if you are underconfident in using LinkedIn, the TBD team is here to help. There are increasing numbers of people entering our top 100 list of LinkedInfluencers whom we have trained to use the platform effectively. You could easily become one of them.

There’s no magic involved, but we are more than happy to show you how to pull the white rabbit of audience engagement out of the top hat that is your LinkedIn account. Like doing a bodyweight squat at the gym, or running your first 10k, or learning to meditate, you cannot expect instant success – but consistent effort applied over time is bound to yield impressive results.

Just remember that old Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”

In other news

Jürgen Mossack among  27 Mossack Fonseca employees to face trial

On Tuesday, The Guardian reported on the start of the criminal trial of 27 employees at the law firm Mossack Fonseca, which was at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal that erupted in 2016; co-founder Jürgen Mossack is among the defendants, who are all being tried on money-laundering charges.

What a dump

Yesterday, The Times ran an article covering an anonymous poll conducted by RollOnFriday, in which more than one-third of the lawyers who responded admitted to “time-dumping”, i.e. the practice of adding bogus minutes to clients’ bills – according to the article, old City hands blame this problem on the longstanding practice of firms billing in six-minute units, which makes it easy to ‘pad’ multi-million-pound client bills.

City firm issues sleep advice to its lawyers

According to The Times, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett marked World Sleep Day last month by furnishing its lawyers with self-help guides to a good night’s sleep, along with a firm-branded silk eye mask and a pillow spray consisting of oils “known for their relaxing properties” – to the reported bemusement of the firm’s associates, who are apparently made to work until 3am on a regular basis by their employer.

Lawyers saying No making partner in the next five years

Stories such as the above perhaps help explain why a LexisNexis survey has found that only a quarter of law firm associates aspire to be partners at their firm in the next five years, as reported in The Law Society Gazette on Tuesday.

I live in a hive of lawyers

The Lawyer ran an interesting piece yesterday, highlighting the distribution of top-200 law firms across different UK cities – apparently, Southend-on-Sea and Slough are the largest urban settlements in Britain without a UK200 law firm, whereas my adopted home city of Bristol has the highest number of these outside of London (48 major firms have offices here), and “one in every 159 people you meet will, statistically speaking, be a UK200 lawyer”. No wonder I feel so at home here!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s edition!


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