JD Profiles: Amanda Ellis, Author, Attorney Recruiter/Search Consultant

In this new series, we are profiling legal professionals and J.D.s and asking them the hard questions that don’t always get answered in law school. For example, how did they find their job? What do they do on a day-to-day basis? And, was law school a worthwhile investment?

Of course, for this series, I had to interview one of my own mentors, Amanda Ellis, Author, Attorney Recruiter/Search Consultant, and Co-Founder of #LawJobChat (our joint project!). Amanda began her career as a bankruptcy attorney where she learned the benefits of waking up at 4:30 am to start work. She transitioned to a career at a large search firm where she found her niche – networking and recruiting. She decided to go off on her own. For the past two years, she’s continued her recruiting business and wrote a book entitled, The 6Ps of the BIG 3 for Job-Seeking JDs: 60+ Ways to Get Hired Using Social Networking. She now speaks at law firms and law schools on legal career topics.

RecruiterEsq: Hi Amanda! Thanks for speaking with us. What are the 6Ps of the Big 3?

The 6Ps are the components required to use the Big 3 social networking sites successfully in your job search (or in business development):  Purpose, Profile, Privacy, Performance, Practice and Protocol.

How did you decide to write this book?

When I started my own recruiting firm, I started writing a monthly e-newsletter.  I frequently wrote about using social networking in your job search.  An increasing number of law schools began to read my newsletter and some asked me to speak at their schools.  The more I spoke, the more I realized how many people were interested in this subject.  And, there was no guide or resource to teach law students how to use the sites.  I decided I had to write a book.

I’m glad you did! I’m so proud of you. Who do you think can benefit from this book?

While the examples in the book are from law students and lawyers using the sites, the book is helpful for anyone searching for a job or looking to develop business.  I’ve even had friends share the book with their grandparents who wanted to learn how to use Facebook.

That’s funny! You self-published the book. What did you learn from that experience?

Well, I can’t say that I would attempt to self-publish another book again while running a recruiting business.

Yeah, I have to admit, I didn’t envy you although I was impressed with your pursuit. What is the most common question you hear from law students across the country as you speak about getting hired through social networking?

“There are lawyers on Twitter?!”  I hear this statement after each presentation.  They are surprised that to learn that there is a legal community on Twitter.  The second question I get is, “Is it okay to connect with lawyers even though I’ve never met them?”  I refer them back to the “Purpose” of Twitter (hint: yes, it’s okay – the purpose of Twitter is to connect with people you want to get to know).

Are the tips in your book applicable to law firms that want to hire those JDs? Will it teach firms how to identify and recruit laterals or new lawyers?

Absolutely!  Law firms can take the same steps to attract candidates from their existing networks.  In my book, I discuss several free ways law firms can share job openings on social networking sites, including:

  1. Facebook Note (page. 126). The Facebook Note allows you to use more characters than a status update.  You can also tag friends who may be interested in the position you post in the Note.  And, your friends can share the Note so that it appears on their Facebook pages.
  2. Facebook Marketplace (p. 129). Firms can post job openings in the Facebook classifieds.
  3. Facebook Firm Page (p. 131). Firms can post job openings on their own Facebook page, and the posting can be shared by fans of the page.
  4. LinkedIn Group Job Posting (p. 171). Identify the LinkedIn Groups that will contain candidates you are seeking and post jobs in the relevant Groups.
  5. Facebook or LinkedIn Status Update (p. 174). Firm recruiters and hiring personnel can share job openings in their individual status updates on Facebook and LinkedIn.
  6. Tweet Job Openings (p. 201). Share your job openings on Twitter.

Great advice. How did you get into recruiting? Why did you decide to leave the practice of law?

I never wanted to be a lawyer – I went to law school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I always pictured myself in a consulting role of some type.  I hated law school but I loved practicing.  I loved practicing because I liked the “business” of practicing law.  I was very fortunate to have a section head who was a top rainmaker and mentored me about the business side.  I began to create a list of career options that would combine business plus law.  Recruiting was one of the options and the one I chose.

What were you like in law school? In which activities did you participate?

Ha!  One could probably look at my law school activities and tell I would eventually land in a creative role.  I was Editor of my law school’s yearbook, the Peregrinus.  I was also active on the Student Bar Association – Editor of The Writ, Secretary, ABA Representative.  I did not participate in traditional activities like moot court – did not interest me.

Did you get your first job through your law firm’s career services office or how did you get your first position?

I obtained a job offer through my law school’s OCI but ultimately turned the offer down to move to Boston (where I had no contacts or ties – but, thought it would be fun to live in a different part of the country).  I gained reciprocity with Boston University and Boston College.  Before moving, I applied for a position one of the schools posted.  I interviewed and received an offer about a month before taking the bar exam.

That’s important to remember that most schools offer reciprocity with their career services, especially if you move to another state or city. In regard to your recruiting business, do you only recruit locally or in specific practice areas?

My focus is (1) all practice areas in Texas and (2) bankruptcy attorneys nationwide.

What is the toughest aspect of being a recruiter?

The roller coaster effect.  As you know, you can go from an emotional high to an emotional low in one day.  Understanding this concept (and how it feels) is perhaps the hardest concept for new recruiters to grasp.

Do you set goals for yourself – like, “I want to connect with this type of person by X date” or “I’ll stay on Twitter for an hour today.”

A great boss once told me to create a “Top 7” list – the top 7 things you hope to accomplish each day.  I have to do this daily to be productive.

Top 7, eh? I think I may try this. What about rejection or people being mean on the phone? How do you handle that?

Honestly, I can probably count on one hand the number of “mean” people I’ve encountered either by phone or email.  I really don’t get many mean replies.  When I do, I may vent internally but my external reply is always polite and kind.

What websites to you visit on a daily basis?

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Above the Law.

What advice do you have for female business owners who want to start their own company?

Don’t lose focus of your core business.  It’s great to branch out and try new things, but make sure 80% of your time is spent on your core business.

Thank you very much for enlightening our readers on what you do!

-
Amanda Ellis is the Owner of Amanda Ellis Legal Search. She is the author of The 6Ps of the BIG 3 for Job-Seeking JDs: 60+ Ways to Get Hired Using Social Networking and a frequent lecturer on these topics at law firms, law schools, and bar associations nationwide. You can find Amanda on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook and hear one of her presentations at Solo Practice University.

Quick Tip: How to Setup a Blog Using Blogger

blogger

Blogger is Google’s web publishing service.

By default, blogs created on Blogger’s platform will publish at a unique subdomain on Google’s .blogpsot.com.   However, users may choose to direct a blog created on Blogger to a custom domain name.  (We’ll explain how in another post.  Back to the setup…)

To setup a blog using Blogger, one needs to create a Google account.   On Blogger’s homepage, there are easy instructions on how to create an account.  Individuals who already have a Google account may use that account to log in or may decide to create a new account.¹

Once signed into Blogger, one must enter the desired name of the new blog – e.g. the title of the web page – as well as the desired .blogspot.com URL.  Again, the .blogspot.com URL will be where the blog is published on the web unless one chooses to publish his or her blog to a custom domain.

After the URL is created, one chooses a template.  A template is how the blog looks and feels.  There are only a limited number of choices when first setting up an account.   Templates are easy to change so think of this as a starter choice.

At this point, technically, the blog is created.  Although there are no posts, the blog will show up at the chosen .blogspot.com URL.

Adding Content

To create a post, one clicks on “Create” under the “Posting” tab.  There is a space for the post’s title above the box for the post’s content.  One may compose a post in HTML format or in Blogger’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get (“wysiwyg”) editor.   Depending on which editor is chosen, Blogger presents a different menu of tools to format the posts.   The default is the HTML editor.   For those unfamiliar with HTML, it may be best to click on the “Compose” tab on the upper right-side of the content box.  This makes styling the post’s content much more intuitive and the HTML tags do not show up when editing the post.

Once a post is drafted, one may add labels to the post for organization purposes.  A label determines how the post is archived. A post may have numerous labels and will be archived under each.   A post labeled litigation, federal court, and motions will show up under the litigation archive, the federal court archive, and the motions archive.

The last step is to press the publish post button.  A finalized post may also be scheduled for a future date and time.   Under post options, one would enter the future date and time and then press publish post.   Under the options panel, one may also decide whether the post will allow reader comments.

As a web publishing platform, one may decide to draft posts on Blogger even if the post is not finalized.   The save now button will save drafts of posts that are not ready for publication.  Like the save function on Microsoft Word, it’s best to freely use this function to prevent any future headaches.

After the post is published, the content will show up at the site’s URL.   It may be good practice to visit the live post to make sure it publishes correctly.

That’s it!   Without getting too fancy, a blog is created.

¹  Those with existing Google accounts may want to create a new Google account for privacy reasons. Google ties all affiliated accounts together. For example, a Google profile will display all Google products associated with one Google address. Although there are privacy settings for Google profiles, it’s best to create another account to prevent Google from disclosing this affiliation.

Other resources:

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Web Development at DLA Piper

Ways to Contact DLA Piper on the Web:

(phone) by office (+1)

(e-mail)first name dot last name at dlapiper dot com  (+1) (this varies by professional so users should look up individuals on the website)

(home page) http://www.dlapiper.com (+1)

How DLA Piper Interacts On the Web:

(profiles)

- LinkedIn (+1)

- Facebook (Group) (+1)

- Jigsaw (+1)

- Martindale (+1)

(blog)

Official blogs – I went back and forth deciding whether DLA Piper Technology Leaders Summit Blog should count as an official firm blog, especially because it was last published over six months ago (October 2008).  I decided to give it to DLA Piper.  Why?  Well, the firm’s logo is proudly positioned on the blog and it’s a forward-thinking use of blogging technology.  Actually, for that, DLA Piper deserves an extra point.  (+2)

DLA Piper created this blog for its technology summit that occurred in October 2008 (further details).

Twitter – We found a DLA Piper Twitter account that has not been updated.  We’re not even sure if DLA Piper owns the account.  (+0)

[January 24, 2010 UPDATE:  Now there are many DLA Twitter accounts, e.g., this one, but they did not exist when we calculated DLA's score.  To see an ongoing list of DLA Piper's Twitter accounts, please refer to our Am Law Tweeple post.]

(podcast)

Official podcasts – DLA Piper does have a few podcasts available for download.  Most recently, this 2009 seminar is available for download here. (+2!!!)

We found these by searching Google for “DLA Piper podcasts.”  You could also search for “podcast” on DLA Piper’s website.

Official webinars – The firm does host webinars (e.g. this ediscovery webinar from April 2009 entitled, “Designing, Implementing, Maintaining and Releasing Litigation Holds” (whitepaper also available for download)). (+2!!!!)

These are found by searching for the word “webinar” in the event section of the firm’s website.  (They are sorta hard to find but I was so proud of the topics, I decided to give the firm 2 points!)

How DLA Interacts With the Web:

(creation)

- DLA Piper Technology Leaders Summit Blog is created using Google’s Blogger.  (+1)

- The mp3s offered are mostly recordings of webinars or events.  Therefore, they were mostly recorded by 3rd parties such as BrightTalk.  (+1)

(interpretation)

- DLA Piper Technology Leaders Summit Blog tracks visits with Google Analytics. However, the blog does not use feedburner to track feed subscriptions. (+1)

- BrightTalk offers presenters and channel owners an array of tracking and analytics services.  (+1)

(domain/hosting)

- DLA Piper Technology Leaders Summit Blog is hosted by Blogger and is redirected to the vanity url http://www.dlatechlaw.com/. (+1)

- The mp3s were hosted on a 3rd party system – mostly, BrightTalk. (+1)

BigLaw Tech Score: 19 points

For an explanation of the BigLaw Tech Score, see this post.