These days, with your consent or without, every one of us has an internet persona claiming to tell others some story about who we are. We have public artifacts, so to speak, indicating where we went (go) to school, where we live, where we are employed, and, in some instances, who our friends and colleagues are.
Whether your artifacts appear on your firm website, LinkedIn, Avvo (one of those sites you get directed to when you are searching for a specific lawyer - to get any real information, you have to pay), Facebook, Twitter, etc., they are out there, and, generally speaking, the artifacts are incomplete. You are bigger than the sum of the parts, anyway.
With or without you, the information is out there. You may as well take a moment to redefine what it says - to control the information and frame it in a light that is most positive for you.
1. Google Yourself
If you have not done so recently, take a few moments to Google yourself. What results do you see? If the results are unfavorable in any way, take action. Take down any questionable photographs, or set them to private. Delete any blog posts or comments to blog posts or tweets or other public statements that, in retrospect, may offend a potential employer or client (or simply give your opposing counsel something to hold over your head).
2. Update Existing Profiles
Your firm biography, LinkedIn profile, Twitter biography blurb, and any other bios out there should be kept up to date and should reflect only the most flattering things about you and your professional life. Whether you are a law student or practicing lawyer, you have crossed the threshold into the professional world. Your priority, on social media sites and otherwise, is to reflect a formal, professional, accomplished persona.
3. Contribute To Educational & Other Reputable Journals, Blogs, Etc.
If you run a Google search, as I am sure you have thousands of times, you will start to detect a pattern. Certain sites are favored by Google, and those sites will take a more prominent place in the search results than other sites again and again. In a professional context - legal, specifically - if you can associate your name with a law firm, academic institution, or popular legal journal or blog with heavy traffic (National Law Journal, Overlawyered, Lawyerist, and Ms. JD come to mind), your chances of appearing prominently in Google will increase. In upcoming months, make it a goal to contribute in some way to a prominent academic or other legal publication. Not only will this lead to a positive search result associated with your name, there is prestige in contributing to any such publication (if you work for a firm, clear this with them beforehand). When you do contribute, remember to update your resume, bio, etc.!
Desiree Moore is the President and founder of Greenhorn Legal, LLC. Greenhorn Legal offers intensive practical skills training programs for law students and new lawyers as they transition from law school into their legal practices. Ms. Moore is also an adjunct professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and was an associate at the law firm of K&L Gates. She can be found on Twitter at @greenhornlegal.