In-house counsel's growing social media conscience

The 2013 In-House Counsel New Media Survey shows rising use of new media tools

The explosion of social media is nothing new. We’ve all sat back and watched it happen—slowly at first, then what seemed to have been very suddenly—for the past decade. We first found ourselves on LinkedIn, then Twitter, and later bit the bullet and got a Facebook account. And eventually, our parents even showed up to the party. Now, it’s hard to find someone who isn’t on social media.      

And that rings true for in-house counsel. Last month, InsideCounsel, the strategic communications company Greentarget and the legal consultant Zeughauser Group released the results of the 2013 In-House Counsel New Media Survey, which measures in-house counsel’s engagement with social media tools. This year’s results paint a different picture than what we saw in 2010, the first year the survey was conducted, when many in-house counsel still seemed resistant to new media technologies, such as social media sites, blogs and online videos.

According to the survey results, only 27 percent of in-house counsel respondents are not using new media tools. That is a 16 percent increase over 2010’s respondents—43 percent of whom were not yet on the social media bandwagon. Blog readership among in-house counsel is on the rise with 55 percent of respondents reading lawyer-authored blogs. Many in-house counsel are now consuming business media not on the traditional computer, but on smartphones (53 percent) and tablets (39 percent). Two-thirds of in-house counsel respondents say they regularly use LinkedIn for professional networking and to search for job opportunities. And 74 percent say they engage in social media as an “invisible user”—they read and listen, but do not contribute to the conversations—up 6 percentage points from the 2012 results.

I recently asked Greentarget President John Corey—who launched the first edition of this survey in 2010—what he thought of this year’s results. “They suggest that, in no uncertain terms, the convergence of digital and traditional media is fueling the continued use of social media among the in-house bar,” he said. “As evidenced by the sustained prominence of Linked- In and attorney-authored blogs, the growth in mobile consumption of news, and a continuation of the ‘invisible user’ trend whereby in-house lawyers are operating in listen-only mode versus contributing to the online dialogue, our 2013 survey makes it crystal clear that in-house lawyers are using social media as part of their daily routines.”

Visit InsideCounsel.com for more information about the 2013 In-House Counsel New Media Survey and a link to the full survey results. 

As social media takes off among in-house counsel, so has our Transformative Leadership Awards program. The 4th annual TLA East event was held in New York in April and was a true success. The TLA West event will take place in San Francisco in October. Visit tlawest.com before June 30 to nominate a qualifying candidate!

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