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Managing Your Online Presence


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When I was an associate at a large international law firm, I shared a secretary with a highly distinguished, old guard partner who brought in substantial business throughout the course of his career, was a tremendously effective litigator, and did not use a computer. Ever. He did not even keep one in his office. Our secretary would print out his emails in hard copy for him to read. He dictated all his replies, and even dictated all of his briefs and motions, often over the phone when he was on the road for a case. And while you may know of similar attorneys who do things in the ''traditional'' way (i.e., before there were computers), chances are that the vast majority of attorneys at your firm, and indeed the vast majority of current practicing attorneys, are at least somewhat computer literate, if not downright computer savvy.
Managing Your Online Presence

One of the consequences of this, in conjunction with the ever-increasing participation of people from all professions and social backgrounds in online social media, is that you are likely to have at least some sort of public presence online and, more importantly, anyone with a computer and a remedial knowledge of online search programs will be able to find it and see it.

At this point most everyone has heard horror stories of another person’s misfortune due to embarrassing pictures or other content being discovered and distributed to the personal and professional detriment of that person, and this may be a repeat of countless similar warnings you have heard before, but in the context of searching for a new job, it is imperative to be aware of and, if necessary, manage your online presence.

Step One: See what is out there.

The first step is to run a search on yourself and see what comes up within the first few pages of results. These will change all the time, so even if you have run a similar search before, it is good to do one at the outset of your job search. I was the top hit for "Paul Danielson" on Google back in 2003 when I had a (now defunct and deleted) personal blog that got a relatively large number of hits (not many people were blogging at the time). However, if you searched my name to look for me back in 2007 when I started practicing law, you might have been confused by the dozens of results for another Paul Danielson who had been elected to serve on the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2006 (my mom mailed the campaign to get a couple "Paul Danielson for Supreme Court" bumper stickers). The point is that the results are always changing, and you should know what comes up at the time of your search to avoid any surprises.

Make sure to also check the Google image search results, because there may be pictures of you that lead to web pages with information about you that might not show up in the text search results.

Step Two: If there is negative content, be prepared to address it.

If you run a search and come across negative or embarrassing pictures or information about yourself, you should make sure to take steps to address it either by trying to remove it (especially if it is something you posted yourself, such as an old blog entry with incendiary language, a compromising Facebook photo, etc.), or being prepared to explain it during an interview. There are many various methods to removing damaging online content, and this article is not going to catalog them comprehensively, but the point is that if this information is out there and available with a Google search, there is almost a 100% chance any competent potential employer will see it as part of the process of vetting your resume. If you cannot get the offending or embarrassing material removed from the search results, make sure that you are able to explain the material quickly and professionally if it comes up in an interview.

Step Three: Proactively create a positive professional profile.

If nothing comes of a search for yourself, there is always the option of doing nothing. However, it is never a bad idea to be proactive in creating a brief, professional profile of yourself on a service like LinkedIn or, alternately, to make sure and update your current law firm website profile to catalog your credentials and experience to date. Assuming you have little to no other online presence, or even if you do, a law firm profile and/or a LinkedIn profile are likely to be among the top search results after a short period of time. A potential employer doing a cursory search on your background who finds a solid profile with a sharp, professional picture can only result in a positive impact to your job prospects. I worked with one candidate who, despite having strong credentials, did not get any interview requests for the first few months we were working together. Then, all of a sudden, he got three in one week. What changed? It could have just been the market, but when I ran a search for him again, he had recently updated his LinkedIn profile with his full experience and included a picture of himself looking very sharp and professional in a business suit – I imagine this helped.

Again, this article is not meant to be a catalog of all the ways in which you can positively raise your visibility and market yourself as an attorney through things like blogging (which is a whole different article altogether), but rather to serve as a reminder that managing your online presence in this day and age is a crucial component of a successful job search.


The profile you present to a potential employer encompasses not only your resume and the way that you dress and present yourself in an interview, but also any information about you that an employer is likely to uncover and encounter during the course of evaluating you as a prospective employee. Just as you would update and polish your resume, get a haircut and make sure that your clothes are clean and professional, you should update and edit your online public profile to maximize your chances of making a good impression and landing that dream job.

About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is a prominent figure in the legal placement industry, known for his expertise in attorney placements and his extensive knowledge of the legal profession.

With over 25 years of experience, he has established himself as a leading voice in the field and has helped thousands of lawyers and law students find their ideal career paths.

Barnes is a former federal law clerk and associate at Quinn Emanuel and a graduate of the University of Chicago College and the University of Virginia Law School. He was a Rhodes Scholar Finalist at the University of Chicago and a member of the University of Virginia Law Review. Early in his legal career, he enrolled in Stanford Business School but dropped out because he missed legal recruiting too much.

Barnes' approach to the legal industry is rooted in his commitment to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. He believes that the key to success in the legal profession is to be proactive, persistent, and disciplined in one's approach to work and life. He encourages lawyers to take ownership of their careers and to focus on developing their skills and expertise in a way that aligns with their passions and interests.

One of how Barnes provides support to lawyers is through his writing. On his blog,, and, he regularly shares his insights and advice on a range of topics related to the legal profession. Through his writing, he aims to empower lawyers to control their careers and make informed decisions about their professional development.

One of Barnes's fundamental philosophies in his writing is the importance of networking. He believes that networking is a critical component of career success and that it is essential for lawyers to establish relationships with others in their field. He encourages lawyers to attend events, join organizations, and connect with others in the legal community to build their professional networks.

Another central theme in Barnes' writing is the importance of personal and professional development. He believes that lawyers should continuously strive to improve themselves and develop their skills to succeed in their careers. He encourages lawyers to pursue ongoing education and training actively, read widely, and seek new opportunities for growth and development.

In addition to his work in the legal industry, Barnes is also a fitness and lifestyle enthusiast. He sees fitness and wellness as integral to his personal and professional development and encourages others to adopt a similar mindset. He starts his day at 4:00 am and dedicates several daily hours to running, weightlifting, and pursuing spiritual disciplines.

Finally, Barnes is a strong advocate for community service and giving back. He volunteers for the University of Chicago, where he is the former area chair of Los Angeles for the University of Chicago Admissions Office. He also serves as the President of the Young Presidents Organization's Century City Los Angeles Chapter, where he works to support and connect young business leaders.

In conclusion, Harrison Barnes is a visionary legal industry leader committed to helping lawyers achieve their full potential. Through his work at BCG Attorney Search, writing, and community involvement, he empowers lawyers to take control of their careers, develop their skills continuously, and lead fulfilling and successful lives. His philosophy of being proactive, persistent, and disciplined, combined with his focus on personal and professional development, makes him a valuable resource for anyone looking to succeed in the legal profession.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive, while achieving results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit

Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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