Social media use among in-house lawyers on the upswing

Survey details how counsel use blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other new media

A new survey reveals that in-house lawyers of all ages are browsing blogs, looking at LinkedIn and toying with other social media platforms more frequently these days.

According to the 2012 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey—which the strategic communications firm Greentarget, InsideCounsel and the legal consulting firm Zeughauser Group conducted in November 2011 and December 2011—in-house counsel are taking advantage of new media resources in both their professional and personal lives. The survey culled new media usage data from 334 GCs, chief legal officers, AGCs and other in-house counsel.

Notably, counsel in their 40s, 50s and 60s are consuming more content online than they did two years ago.

“In 2010, there was a very clear generational divide,” says John Corey, founding partner of Greentarget. “Counsel in their 30s were much more active adopters of platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In the subsequent age groups, there was a very clear and gradual decline.

“This time around, we’re seeing a broad leveling off trend across the board. Counsel in their 40s, 50s and 60s are using social media in much greater numbers. It’s a reflection that older counsel are seeing that there is some very useful information and content out there that can help them to do their jobs better.”

As for the blogosphere, respondents said they were particularly interested in law firm blogs, with 76 percent saying they attribute some level of importance to a lawyer’s blog when deciding whether to retain a firm. Fifty-five percent of survey respondents said a law firm’s blog can influence hiring decisions, which is an increase from the 50 percent of respondents who agreed with this statement in 2010. Eighty-four percent of respondents said they perceive such blogs as credible.

Respondents ranked LinkedIn as the most credible social network for professional use, but they also said that domestic law firms aren’t taking full advantage of its technological capabilities. The majority of counsel of all ages said they use LinkedIn at least weekly, with respondents older than 50 doubling their usage since 2010.

The survey also found that in-house lawyers rarely contribute to discussions or threads on social channels, preferring instead to listen and consume social media primarily as a filter for useful information.

“The in-house community is not looking to market themselves or be retained—they’re looking to be as knowledgeable as they can be, to manage their careers and navigate the legal picture of their companies,” Corey says.

However, 34 percent of respondents said they are using social media platforms as a means of communicating with outside counsel, which is an increase from the 26 percent who reported doing so in 2010.

Read more of the survey’s findings here

Ashley Post

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