Founder’s Note: I have written here before about how much networking on LinkedIn and creativity have done for me. Even so, I know it’s hard to do at the beginning because you are trying to learn something new and engagement may seem slow. I recently came across Lin Walker on LinkedIn and found her comments to be thoughtful and well crafted. We chatted and I was inspired by her willingness to jump in and get started with content creation to promote herself and her firm. I think you will be inspired by her too, so read on and consider following her for more great content on LinkedIn.
Q. Lin, you are getting started on LinkedIn and with content creation. Tell me why you decided to take that leap to support your firm and practice?
I decided to start marketing on LinkedIn for a number of reasons that centered on accessibility issues for foreign nationals and for female and minority attorneys, like me.
U.S. immigration law is unnecessarily complex, involving at least five different governmental agencies, with policies and procedures guided by statutes, regulations, internal memoranda, administrative case law and executive orders. So much of what is written by attorneys is for other attorneys – the language and terminology is often complicated and relies on terms of art that someone without legal training would struggle to understand and apply, let alone someone whose first language is not English.
I wanted to provide a service for foreign nationals and non-attorneys to make immigration law more accessible, but also for people who are new to the practice, whether they are paralegals, attorneys or human resources managers. My goal is always accessibility–no matter a person’s background or training, I want to make U.S. immigration policies and procedures understandable to remove some of the fear and anxiety in dealing with the various governmental agencies.
I also felt like there was an absence of voices from people like me. I am a first-generation immigrant and first-generation attorney. Most legal publications do not make it easy for someone like me publish an article–they want a pedigree and lived experiences that I do not possess. In addition, in the past, when I was asked to write articles, they were published under the partner’s name (usually male) and I was lucky if I received a byline or footnote with my name. With LinkedIn, I have an equal opportunity to express my opinions and experiences in a way that is authentic to me–where I get credit for my own hard work. LinkedIn = freedom for me.
Q. Isn’t this somewhat scary for you? How are you dealing with that?
Initially it was terrifying – I was never given an opportunity to use my own voice before, so I was out of practice. I worried about posting something that was viewed as awful or unhelpful.
I can’t say I’m over this 100%, but I was able to quiet that fear and make the practice more tenable by focusing on my goal to make immigration law accessible and by sticking to what I knew best (immigration law) and the issues that I was passionate about. If I read an article and it caused a reaction, I knew I had to write about it. Instead of venting to my husband about how terrible an immigration policy, procedure or decision was, I wrote about it.
I have also found a measure of peace in the process by following other attorneys and seeing how they made topics accessible and inspired engagement on LinkedIn. A trusted friend recently offered me great advice: even when a post is authentic and right for you, there is a still a level of discomfort and vulnerability. Part of the process is becoming comfortable with this level of vulnerability.
Q. Is any part of content creation fun for you? What have you liked?
I absolutely love collaborating with other people–attorneys or not–to create accessible content. One project that I love is critiquing the way popular culture (movies and television) portrays the U.S. immigration system and providing guidance on what is real and what is dramatized for entertainment purposes. There is so much misunderstanding of how the immigration system works and so many stereotypes about immigrants – by critiquing these portrayals, it is my hope to educate the general public about the realities of the U.S. immigration system and immigrants.
I have been fortunate enough to work with a Social Media Content Producer who shares my goal of providing educational and accessible content. It was actually his idea to critique how films portray U.S. immigration and immigrants. With his guidance, I was able to combine my love of researching, writing and educating into creating content for LinkedIn.
I’ve also been lucky enough to work with a Digital Marketing expert who introduced me to several attorneys who are doing amazing things on LinkedIn, which is how I was introduced to you.
Q. Part of content creation, especially in the early phases, is feeling like you are screaming into a void. Do you have a dream or goal that is helping you keep moving forward?
Initially creating content was really a struggle because I thought, “why post that – everyone knows that!” But in reality, the opposite is true – my lived experiences have given me a different perspective and goal – to make U.S. immigration law accessible to anyone who needs it. Being able to offer guidance, as a first-generation immigrant, and first-generation immigration attorney, outweighs most of the fear that I have about my content.
Q. What resources would you offer to other lawyers who are trying content creation for marketing or networking purposes?
If you are struggling to create content – that’s normal, we’ve all been there. Try starting by addressing questions that clients ask you all the time. It doesn’t matter if other attorneys know the answer – you’re not writing for them. You’re writing for your current or future client(s).
If someone criticizes your content without providing actionable feedback – ignore them. If the feedback isn’t geared towards improving your content, then serves only one purpose–to muzzle you. Your LinkedIn profile is your party – you decide who to let in and how wild it gets.
If you can’t get support within your firm or practice area, collaborate with people outside your firm or practice area. There are so many areas of law that overlap and so many industries impacted by your particular area of practice. And, there are so many amazing people on LinkedIn who can mentor and support you.
Lin Walker is an attorney whose practice has focused on all aspects of employment- and family-based immigration law. As an experienced attorney, Lin has represented diverse corporate and individual clients, focusing on outstanding researchers, individuals of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences and business, and individuals whose work is in the national interest of the United States. Prior to joining Meyner and Landis, Lin worked at several immigration law firms, where she handled various employment- and family-based immigration cases, including O-1, O-2, H-1B, L-1, TN, EB-1 (Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researcher/Professor and Multinational Manager), and National Interest Waiver petitions, as well as adjustment of status applications, naturalization applications, and PERM Labor Certifications. In addition, Lin served as a high school science teacher in New York City for six years, working with at-risk teenagers and young adults, where she received a prestigious Math for America Master Teacher Fellowship in 2015.
Want to learn more about mindfulness and compassion? Check out my new book, How to Be a Badass Lawyer, which is available now.
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