Down in the comments at HOL, Grant asks:
I don’t doubt what you are saying as I am on Linkedin also and have form a couple of groups myself. Are there any stats out there which show lawyers are actually getting a ROI of their time they spend using Linkedin?
I’m always skeptical of ROI as applied to law firm marketing. Unlike, say, toothpaste, we can’t point to a particular campaign and then follow the rise or fall of sales. The retention of clients may, at the end of the day, look like a bell curve, with more clients going to the firms that plaster their names on the sides of transit buses, and fewer going to the solo in his office with no website, but the client retentions themselves follow Poisson distribution, i.e., with each event fairly unconnected to another.
LinkedIn is, to me, similar to a blog: it’s another part of "presence," showing the random lawyer name to be an actual person with actual experience and connections. Potential clients can get a sense of what a lawyer is like from reading their blog, and a sense of how the lawyer fits in with the business community by looking at their LinkedIn profile. I don’t think you’ll be able to quantify that well, except to note that most users don’t know/care about it but, every now and then, it really mattered to someone, if they know it or not (keep in mind most customers vastly underestimate the the impact television advertising had on them).