Very  few legal  firms have really embraced Facebook as a legitimate media outlet. Only five of the top 30 firms in the UK. On the other hand, LinkedIn usage has increased dramatically - at the moment 3% of the 50 million LinkedIn users are lawyers… that is 1,500,000 lawyers on LinkedIn with each of the UK top 30 firms having a corporate presence on LinkedIn and 50% of the UK top 30 have LinkedIn groups for current employees.  From surveys Hubbard One have conducted, they know that buyers of legal services use LinkedIn more than once a month for reviewing profiles (17%) and, most interestingly, taking calls based on a LinkedIn intro (10%). While not an overwhelming endorsement, clients and law firms are engaging with each other on LinkedIn.  Looking lastly at blogs and microblogs (such as Twitter) only 37% of the UK top 30 have one (or more) blogs.  With search engines like Bing and Google indexing blog and Twitter feeds, these represent a terrific way for firms to demonstrate specific subject-matter expertise and are often among the top search results for specific subject-matter searches.  UK firms need to take a page out of their American cousins’ book - as well as local firms like Pinsent Masons and Mills & Reeve - and focus more efforts on social networking as it will pay dividends. As the 2010 Corporate Counsel New Media Survey accurately summed up, what stands between current adoption levels and more robust use of social media tools: “Perhaps nothing more than law firms fully recognising that Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels are just one more way of delivering content to clients and other interested parties. But to make maximum use of these tools, law firms will have to create information worthy of their audience’s time and attention, and acknowledge that social media communication is a community-driven and participatory activity, not a forum for ‘product push.’”

THE FUTURE

Looking forward to 2011, we’re expecting an upturn in law firms going mobile with their websites and other online communication; we’re anticipating a resurgence in collaboration - both internal and external; and we’re seeing law firms start to revisit their main firm web presences. Gartner predicts that by 2013 mobile phones are expected to overtake desktop PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide. When looking at the UK top 30, we could find only two sites that were specifically designed for mobile browsers – Berrymans Lace Mawer and Wragge & Co deserve some early-adopter kudos, though we expect to see the number of firms doing this increasingly in 2011. (Source: Christopher Turk, managing account director at Hubbard One)

At eNL we have embraced a variety of social media outlets, with our own dedicated group on LinkedIn providing market updates, useful information and our latest vacancies, in addition to our presence on Twitter where we are attracting a growing number of  followers. We also produce weekly blogs via our own website with a wide variety of content, ranging from specific news from eNL to market trends and also and featuring ‘guest blogs’ from clients and candidates.