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February 27, 2012 6:35 PM

Report: Law Firms Finally Learning to "Like" Social Media

Posted by Ed Shanahan

A new report from ALM Legal Intelligence finds that after years of showing only tepid interest in social media, the legal industry is beginning to recognize the significant-and multipronged-value that blogs and social networking sites can have.

The report, "Fans, Followers, and Connections: Social Media ROI for Law Firms," is based on an online survey of 179 people conducted between December 15, 2011, and January 17, 2012.  Roughly half of those surveyed were lawyers; the rest were marketers and administrators. Slightly more than half work at law firms with at least 500 lawyers.

Overall, survey respondents expressed the view that law firms have a growing appreciation for the ways in which "blogs and various other social media and networking tools can be deployed to help build the reputation of individual lawyers and practice groups—and enhance law firms' marketing efforts."

Among the report's key findings:

•Almost 85 percent of the law firms represented by survey respondents said their lawyers use social media and networking tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, while 70 percent reported maintaining at least one blog.

•Nearly 90 percent of survey respondents said that integrating social media into their firms' marketing, business development, and recruiting efforts is "an important priority."

•More than half of survey respondents indicated that their firms plan to increase their spending on social media in 2012. At the same time, only 20 percent said their firms employ a full-time social media specialist, and only 2 percent said their firms planned to hire such a specialist in the coming year.

•Nearly half of survey respondents said that blogging and social networking initiatives had helped produce leads for new matters or clients, and about 40  percent said that such efforts had actually helped them land new work.

Dorsey & Whitney partner Roy Ginsburg, who created and produces the employment law blog quirkyemploymentquestions.com, was among those to respond to the survey. Ginsburg, who typically sets aside a few hours on Sundays to put together his weekly post, says he recently got a call from a private equity executive who said he had been reading the blog and wanted to hire him on an employment-related matter. "Clearly," Ginsburg says, "he wouldn't have known about me if I wasn't blogging."

The complete survey is available for purchase from ALM Legal Intelligence.

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