The use of Linkedin services between lawyers and young professionals as a networking platform is ever-increasing. With over 400 million users, the recent purchase of the networking site brings to light its effect on industry specific networking processes. Many value the use of Linkedin as a platform for networking connections and as a virtual ‘job board’. However, the value must be examined in light of any potential opportunities and downfalls of this new alliance.

A User-friendly Alliance

The new affiliation of Linkedin and Microsoft means that one of the world’s leading professional cloud service is working alongside one of the largest professional networking platforms. It has been suggested that with this new union, users of Linkedin will now have complete and up-to-date profiles with the help of the Microsoft team. Along with this, professional threads on Linkedin should be tailored more directly to users needs and interests. This could increase productivity and in particular assist the smaller firms and lawyers in progressing in the larger legal market.

Nonetheless, like with most change there are significant concerns. One of the largest concerns with this acquisition is the potential for Microsoft to profitise the networking platform. This could be done by implementing sponsored advertisements into and through users profiles on the platform. Even more so, for lawyers specifically, the biggest concern revolves around privacy and professional responsibility. The sponsored advertisements and networking, in which Microsoft envisages itself, signifies that somewhere along the way Microsoft needs access to users content and client relations. This concern casts a worry for lawyers as Microsoft may be able to delve into confidential documents of firms.

Unsure by what we mean by professional responsibility? Read more in our article about Lawyer-Client relationships.

This raises many ethical issues for the legal industry. Even without directly interfering with confidential documents, Microsoft will be able to be aware of more than they should. With the ability to piece information together from administration tasks online, for example, calendars and scheduled client meetings.

Although there are positives to this acquisition it does raise alarms in terms privacy and professional responsibility in the legal profession. However, at the end of the day it will be up to Microsoft as the owner to tailor its services to retain one of its largest consumer groups: the legal profession.

Let us know your thoughts on the Microsoft’s most recent purchase by tagging us #lawpath or @lawpath.

Brodie Nettleton

Brodie is a paralegal at LawPath working in our content team, which works to provide free legal guides to enhance public access to legal resources. With a keen interest in Criminal and IP Law, her research focuses on small businesses, and how they can better navigate complex legal procedures.