Know your connections
Don't just click 'accept' and build up a network which you never engage with. You need to 'reach' out to your peers and interact with them and build up a professional relationship. Do some research, see what connections or experience you have in common. If the connection is someone who can advise or chat to you about a common interest, why not take the opportunity to accept their invitation and then send an email via LinkedIn and get chatting?
It is good to explore LinkedIN with a legal focus - not only will a network of solicitors and legal professionals come in handy for your career, they'll also share a lot of interesting law-focused content on your LinkedIn feed.
Think about your client base, and do some research to connect with them. For example if you are trying to attract more corporate clients, try connect with CEO's of businesses in your catchment area.
Make your 'invitations to connect' customised
Don’t use the standard LinkedIn message; explain your situation and why you want to connect, and this will add a personal touch and get the conversation started. After all, you wouldn't approach everyone you meet in real life with the same "Hi Mark. I read your post earlier and found it really interesting etc" greeting.
Join groups and contribute to the various comment threads
It is good to join a mixture of law focused groups; this will help you to showcase your experience and knowledge and will enable you to network with others. Be part of the discussion, keeping your name in front of potential clients or future collaborators.
Share content regularly
Make sure that you share something of value to your network, not just something you want to broadcast, and strive to do this on a weekly basis. Make use of the status update feature on your profile to share interesting articles, and let your connections know what you are doing. This is a great way to show your commercial awareness and engage with law articles and publications. You can start be sharing one of your website blogs, one per week, linking readers back to your website.
Always be polite and professional as LinkedIN is a public space
Don’t say anything through your LinkedIn activities that you would not feel comfortable saying in an offline networking event. Act cautiously and, if in doubt, don’t share it!