The importance of social media in attracting business to law firms has grown massively. A new report from the United States, prepared by ALM Legal Intelligence, shows that four in 10 law firms are landing new clients using social media.Forty nine per cent of US law firms report that blogging and social networking have helped produce new business leads.
The position in New Zealand is estimated to be lower than that, according to LawFuel.com publisher John Bowie who claims that law firms have largely been slower to "grasp the nettle" in terms of using social media to attract new business.
The US survey is based on a survey of 180 law firm partners and marketing professionals and was conducted in December/January."After a slow start to gain acceptance in the legal services industry, U.S. law firms are rapidly gaining confidence in the use of social media as a serious business development strategy," said Kevin Iredell, vice president of research and continuing education at ALM.
"The skepticism of a decade ago has given way to a growing appreciation for the ways that blogs and various other social media and networking tools can be deployed to help build the reputation of individual lawyers and practice groups, as well as enhance law firms' overall marketing efforts.
"Among the other factors found in the report were:
-- Almost 85 percent of law firms now make use of social media and networking tools, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Just over 60 percent said their firms now maintain one or more blogs.
-- Nearly 90 percent believe that the integration of social media into their firms' marketing, business development and recruiting efforts should be an important priority, with more than 40 percent rating social media initiatives as very important.
-- More than half said that their firms plan to increase their budget for social media initiatives in 2012 and just over 20 percent said their firms already have a full-time social media specialist on staff.
-- More than 40 percent said that blogs and social media networks have helped to increase the number of calls their firms receive from journalists in traditional and new media. Likewise, roughly the same number said their presence in the blogosphere and on social media networks had also increased the number of speaking invitations their lawyers receive.
Wellington-based LawFuel.co.nz is already assisting law firms, barristers and others to lift their profile using social media and Google profiles and the website is shortly to conduct a survey of New Zealand law firms to assess how many are planning to or currently using social media to generate new business.
Firms wishing to participate or use social media more effectively can contact LawFuel at: email@example.com