While surfing Twitter the other day, I found a pretty interesting survey: “Corporate Counsel: New Media Engagement” that measures social media adoption by in-house attorneys. If you have attempted to scale the legal walls to convince your employer adopt social media tools, you are probably aware of the need to “run things through legal.” My mental state bears the emotional scars of getting lawyers to understand and trust social media. This is not an unsurmountable obstacle, and the survey revealed some interesting tidbits.
Yes, Virginia, there is a social media Santa Claus in the in-house legal world. Adoption is slow compared to other sectors of private industry, but things appear to be changing. Here are some snippets from the survey:
New biz and and background research
The study, published by Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and the Zenghauser Group finds that the most prevalent use of social media in the legal community is to establish “credentials,” meaning to build and promote individual and corporate thought leadership. This, along with “confirming referrals from trusted sources,” offer the largest growth areas in the social media space in the legal community.
My wife works in a law firm and this seems to synch up with two of the most important areas in a law firm: drive new business through thought leadership and confirm the bona fides of potential clients as well a job candidates.
Not surprisingly given the desire to establish thought leadership, blogging was the most prevalent social media activity. Of the Am-Law 200 (no explanation was offered of what the heck this is), 96 of the top 200 firms are blogging. There are 245 blogs in 200 indicating more than one blog per firm, and of these, 245 are firm branded. So like the rule in some companies in which 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work, those who blog have more than one branded blog.
A somewhat surprising finding is that one hundred percent of the firms surveyed (200), ALL have LinkedIn pages. Moreover, many of the firms have Group Pages for alumni, recruiting and legal specialty areas.
Just 16.5 percent of the firms surveyed have a Facebook page. I suppose that there are not a lot of Likers and Fans in the legal space, but it’s interesting to note that firms are doing this. And with an estimated 400 million Facebook users, it made me pause and wonder if people might start to do law firm shopping on Facebook.
The survey noted that of the Am-Law 100 firms, a surprising 76 have Twitter accounts. But get this: just under half have actually tweeted. Note to the law firms: having a blank Twitter account is a whole lot worse than not having one at all. It’s a billboard saying “we don’t get it.”
The survey is 36 pages long and a pretty easy read, but while some of the statistics are underwhelming, the most important take-away is that it demonstrates growth in one of the more cautious segments of the workplace.
Who knows; when you now go to legal and ask for the thumbs-up to use Twitter or Facebook, you just might find out that the lawyers are one step ahead.