Update 10/2/2013: The Opinion discussed below is being appealed. The Standing Committee is meeting next week to make recommendations regarding how the rules should apply to Florida lawyers using LinkedIn. Stay tuned!
On September 11, The Florida Bar released a Staff Opinion stating that Florida lawyers cannot list areas of practice under the “Skills & Expertise” Section of LinkedIn unless they are Board Certified (or the equivalent). So, I’m advising all of my clients in Florida to remove the “Skills & Expertise” section of their LinkedIn profiles or to show only those areas for which they are Board Certified.
If you choose to show endorsements for practice areas in which you are Board Certified, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your profile, and make sure no one endorses you in other areas. I recommend just removing the section completely. Truth is – I’ve never been convinced of the value of endorsements. Genuine recommendations from people who know your work are much more valuable. If you’re not licensed in Florida, be sure the check the rules for your state.
The process for removing or updating “Skills & Expertise” from your profile is simple and only takes a couple of minutes.
1. Sign into LinkedIn.
2. Click on “Profile,” then “Edit Profile.”
3. Scroll down to the “Skills & Expertise” Section, and click “Edit.”
4. To completely remove Skills & Expertise from your profile, click the downward arrow to the right of “Display your endorsements?” and choose “No, do not show my endorsements.”
If you DO want to show endorsements in practice areas for which you are Board Certified, click on “Add & Remove,” and remove all areas for which you ARE NOT Board Certified.
5. Click “Save.”
That’s it. You’re done. Breathe easy. As my friend and frequent lecturer on ethics, Joe Corsmeier, likes to say, “Be careful out there!”