Survey reveals law firms’ attitudes to social media

‘The Law Says Tweet’

Survey reveals law firms’ attitudes to social media

A major survey of 101 law firms released today shows that over half of firms (47 respondents) have won business as a direct result of social media engagement. However, less than a quarter of those questioned (23 respondents) had fully integrated their social media strategy into their wider marketing and PR plan, which suggests that there is still much work to do before law firms are able to get the most value out of social media engagement.

The research commissioned by Byfield Consultancy, a specialist legal communications consultancy, was designed to see how the top 200 law firms are using social media; why they are using it; what’s working and what’s not working, and if and how social media is being integrated effectively into their marketing and business development strategies. The report draws on a survey of 20 multiple choice questions which were sent out to Communications teams within the UK top 200 law firms, from which 101 firms responded.

The main findings from the survey include:

  • Three-quarters of surveyed firms (75 respondents) encouraged their employees to engage in social media on behalf of the firm
  • nearly one in five respondents (20 respondents) did not have a social media policy in place or were not aware of the policy
  • Nearly half of the firms regarded LinkedIn as ‘very important’ (49 respondents) and almost one in three firms (31 respondents) regarded Twitter as ‘very important’ as a profile-raising tool
  • Six out of 10 firms (61 respondents) spent less than five per cent of current marketing budget on social media
  • Almost two-thirds (64 respondents) believed that spending on social media would increase in the future
  • Nearly six out of 10 respondents (58 respondents) actively managed their social media activity
  • Almost half  (41 respondents) insisted that employees using social media had a disclaimer
  • More than six out of 10 firms regarded ‘breach of confidentially’ as ‘high risk’ (63 respondents) in terms of employees’ social media activity
  • Almost eight out of 10 firms (79 respondents) used Twitter and over half used LinkedIn (56 respondents) to keep in touch with journalists
  • Nearly three-quarters of firms (72 respondents) believe that online media will be more important that print media in the future

Gus Sellitto, Managing Director of Byfield Consultancy, says:

“Law firms recognise the value of social media and are beginning to embrace it but there is still a lot of work to do before it becomes a sophisticated communications tool for them. There are individual lawyers who are using social media very effectively to win clients and raise their profiles but this success needs to be replicated across firms which throws up a number of challenges, particularly in relation to risk management.  As law firms become more comfortable with using social media, the next stage is to fully integrate it into their wider PR and marketing plans.”

“Law firms’ hesitance towards social media is only natural when you consider the many horror stories to have hit the press in recent years. However, there is no reason why these risks cannot be managed and planned for. Ensuring a stringent policy is in place to deal with potential crisis situations should hold firms in good stead.”



For further information, please contact:

Harriet O’Reilly, Byfield Consultancy, 020 7092 3992

Gus Sellitto, Byfield Consultancy, 020 7092 3988