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LexisNexis Social Media Survey : Law firm blogging in its infancy

December 12, 2011

A LexisNexis survey of leading law firms around the world found law firm blogging to be very much in its infancy as a means of business development to retain existing clients and win new work.

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell commissioned Burson-Marsteller to compile an international audit of social media usage by 110 law firms, operating in 22 cities during April and mid-May 2011. You may download a summary of the report here (pdf) and request to download the full copy of the report here.

The survey acknowledges over one-third of the AmLaw 200 law firms have lawyers or practice groups blogging. Included in the survey among North American firms were McCarthy Tétrault, Baker & McKenzie, DLA Piper, Hogan Lovells, and Latham & Watkins, all of whom have lawyers blogging on the LexBlog Network.

But only nine of the surveyed firms were blogging, despite the fact that “Blogging [is] seen within the wider corporate community as a vehicle for sharing thought leadership online.”

No question LexisNexis sees the power of law firms using blogs and other social media for business development. This in the report from Tim Bratton, (@legalbrat), General Counsel of the Financial Times:

Consider any law firm – what are the client-related issues facing it: how to win new clients; how to maintain existing clients; how to win more work off existing clients; how to improve brand presence in certain sectors; how to meet new people; how to build a qualitative network of contacts; how to demonstrate expertise in subject areas; how to look good compared to the competition.

The same issues of course face the individual Partners and fee earners working in the firm. Certainly, sensible use of social media will help individual Partners or fee earners achieve any of these aims.

I’ve been telling lawyers and law firms for some time that law blogs are still in their infancy. Sure, we’re over-saturated with blogs published by lawyers seeking nothing but search engine rankings. Those blogs provide nothing of value and cast the illusion that there are too many law blogs.

In fact, law firms are just beginning to see the power of blogs and social media. Law firms are just beginning to educate themselves on how to effectively blog and use social media. Law firms are just beginning to get over their own institutional fear of blogging and social media.

There are countless areas of the law, industries, locales, and subjects that are ripe for lawyer blogs.

Thanks to Derek Benton (@debeacon), Director of International Operations at LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, who commissioned the survey, and Heleana Quartey (@heleana_quartey) at Burson-Marsteller, the principal researcher for this study.

The survey is 38 pages long. I’ll share my further impressions in the coming days.

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