Are lawyers of a Certain (or any) Age using social networking yet?
Just last week a speaker at the American Continuing Legal Education Association’s mid-year conference in Orlando stated that he thought attorneys over a "Certain Age" (capitals intended!) were not using social networking as a means of communication, networking or finding out about legal community events, such as continuing legal education programs.
What? Are you kidding me?
OK, I’m thinking to myself, I’m probably on the (much) lower end of his Certain Age scale (if I’m on it at all) so I probably don’t count. So, just for fun, I took a casual poll (a very scientific casual poll, I promise) of my attorney friends via Twitter and Facebook and, go figure, they disagreed.
I know, skewed poll, they’re using social networking.
Need to poll folks the old fashioned way, by email. But still, many of my friends who pipped up said they were of a Certain Age and they couldn’t imagine business or personal life without social networking.
Where am I going with this?
On Friday Larry Bodine, of Law Marketing Blog, wrote in his blog about a Hubbard One survey of Managing Partners and General Counsel, announced at a Managing Partner Forum in Florida, and guess what they found? Yep, law firms, and attorneys, are not strangers to social networking:
• Firm Page
– 35% of top 20 American law firms have FB page
• Firm Employee Groups
– 40% of top 20 American law firms have FB groups
– 60% of top 20 Fortune 500 firms have FB groups
• Individual Profiles/Pages
– 0% of top 10 GC’s, 10 Managing Partners have public FB profiles
Unfortunately, no demographics are discussed, so it doesn’t really prove or disprove the Certain Age theory. But it’s an interesting enough survey to bear repeating.
What was most interesting was that Attorneys in law firms use LinkedIn far far more than General Counsel at corporations. I suppose the logical answer is that firm attorneys are more into networking, the means of getting new business. But still… is that all?
Based on the results, I’d say Facebook may rock the legal world, but Twitter has not yet made much of an impression, at least on General Counsel. Well, no kidding. If they’re not checking linkedIn – an easy platform to figure out – they’re certainly not going to tweet. Heck, I can barely keep up with Twitter!
· Clients tweeting? 0 of top 20 Fortune 500 General Counsels are tweeting
· Law firm leaders tweeting? 0 of top 20 AmLaw Managing Partners are tweeting
· Law firms tweeting? 5 of top 20 AmLaw firms are tweeting
Not surprisingly, blogs, have made significant inroads into the legal community:
• ~45% of AmLaw 200 Blogging
And if you think of blogging as having extended conversations on the net, as Kevin O’Keefe describes, then attorneys of a Certain Age probably really are using social networking to connect with others. (unless they’re all in the other 55%)
Enough social networking for the evening, if I don’t leave soon I will be of a Certain Age before I stop! I’m off to feed the dogs.
Great job culling some facts regarding social networking and attorneys.
What do you think attorneys are doing once they are on social networking sites? Are they just killing time or are they actually networking, connecting with clients and bringing in business.
I have not aware of any case studies of a law firm using social media to successfully bring in a flow of clients. Are you?
Thanks for the comment Frederic. I’m not aware of such a survey either, but I’ll ask around and post here if I find anything.
I can only speak from personal experience on this topic. I do know a lot of attorneys who are using social networking to make connections with other attorneys and stay in touch with their clients. I also personally know of one attorney mediator who has gotten mediation clients due to her blog (Vicky Pynchon: http://www.negotiationlawblog.com).
My CLE business has picked up potential speakers via social networking and I have reconnected with attorneys I used to know who may send speakers my way, or be speakers, in the future. Via social networking connections, I have also been approached for proposals to book the public speaking for attorneys seminar I teach, to be held on-site (though not yet booked this way).
The folks I speak with that use social networking extensively express the need to consider it a long-term networking tool and to focus on relationship building. When you think about it, networking in person works the same way. The difference is we can reach out to far more people in far more states/countries than we can generally reach at in-person events.
Will this translate to clients for lawyers or just clients for marketers? I think it will eventually pay of in clients for lawyers. It will be interesting to see what happens. I do think it’s a mistake for firms and attorneys to ignore the medium as a form of communication.