Alex Su is a former lawyer who successfully transitioned to the business/tech world. He specializes in helping startups sell their technology to law firms and legal departments. Currently, Alex serves the Director of Business Development at Evisort, an AI-powered contract lifecycle management system developed out of Harvard Law/MIT.
Previously, he was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell, clerked for a federal judge, and graduated from Northwestern Law, where he was an editor of the law review and the student commencement speaker. Alex is also the author of The Unauthorized Guide to Getting into Law School with Bad Grades.
Tell me a little about your background and what led you to starting to post content on social media, especially LinkedIn.
My name is Alex Su and I’m a lawyer who made the jump to legal tech. As the Director of Business Development at Evisort, my job involves selling, marketing, and promoting Evisort’s AI-powered Contract Lifecycle Management technology to companies of all sizes. Although I’ve been a content creator through blogs and other platforms my entire life, I didn’t really leverage LinkedIn until about 2017 when I discovered that it helped me more effectively connect with potential buyers of legal tech. I kept sharing posts over the next few years, but things didn’t really take off until late 2019 when one of my posts went viral and things really took off. Now LinkedIn is an integral part of my day job, as it helps me with my work at Evisort and provides me with so many unexpected opportunities.
How do you decide what to post?
Generally, I share three types of posts: (1) industry related content; (2) stories from my career journey; and (3) entertainment. When I first started posting on LinkedIn, virtually all of my content was industry-related, and I received very little engagement. Over time, I began to share more and more stories from my career, which received some attention and helped me build a small audience. It turns out that people are very curious about stories of setbacks, career pivots, and how I went from Biglaw to legal tech. As my audience has grown, I’ve found that there’s a lot of interest in what I’d broadly call “entertainment.” This last category isn’t well-defined, and can range from controversy-provoking topics, like the billable hour or the bar exam, to videos or other content that shows my audience that I don’t take myself very seriously.
As for my content creation process, I do a lot of the work in advance, on the weekends and at nights. I leverage tools to automatically post content during the morning hours on the East Coast, and I will drop in on LinkedIn throughout the day to engage with my commenters. To the extent work is really busy, I may go a day or two without engaging heavily on LinkedIn. Writing during off hours, and auto-posting lets me dictate how much time I invest into social media, as my job permits.
What has most surprised you about your posting legal tech and lawyer content?
I’ve been surprised at how many lawyers read my content. When I went to LegalWeek in New York in February (back when in-person conferences were still a thing) I met so many people who already knew me from LinkedIn. In fact, some of them–including law firm partners–privately told me that while they really enjoyed reading my content, they wouldn’t be caught dead liking or commenting on my posts! That took me by surprise, both the seniority of the lawyers reading my content, and the number of people who read and never engage. That’s part of the reason why I keep posting, because even if I don’t get a lot of likes or comments, I know I’m getting through to my audience.
How has posting legal tech and lawyer content helped you in terms of your career and networking?
There are two main ways that posting on LinkedIn has helped my career. First, it’s done wonders for my day job as a sales professional. My LinkedIn activity helps me generate conversations about technology among in-house lawyers, which helps me get in front of legal tech buyers. You might be surprised at the number of product demo requests and pricing inquiries that regularly hit my LinkedIn inbox. Social media also creates other sales opportunities, like setting up Zoom meetups or podcast interviews with General Counsels and Chief Legal Officers, which creates visibility for Evisort among an executive audience.
Second, posting on LinkedIn also gives me visibility among other legal technology companies who may be interested in someone with my unique skillset. Just in the past month, I have been recruited directly for VP-level roles at several different legal tech companies. Although I ultimately declined, that experience certainly has given me the confidence that should anything happen to me at my current job, I have some other options as well.
For other folks, especially lawyers, thinking about creating content using social media, what would you say to them?
I’d say you should have a clearly defined goal for social media. It can be easy to fall into the trap of chasing likes and comments for its own sake. More attention isn’t always better. For me, my goal has always been to help promote my employer’s legal tech offering, and to gain visibility among industry experts. I have a lot more freedom than, say, a law firm lawyer, to post controversial content which is exactly why I do it. It’s one of my assets. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other paths to success on LinkedIn. If you look at some of the other leading law firm lawyers on social media, and in particular, Frank Ramos, Patricia Baxter, and Lisa Lang, you’ll find that each person has their own unique voice that is aligned with their day job.
So I’d encourage folks to get out there and start engaging. You don’t have to share a big post, all you need to do is start commenting to get involved. Social media is a very interesting space, and the rules are constantly changing. To do well, you’ve got to try new things, experiment, and iterate. It’s not for everyone, and it can feel risky. But it can also help you find opportunities you never could have imagined. That’s certainly been my experience.