New Survey Results Show Dramatic Rise in Lawyer Use of Social Media

by 04g7F1nl02 on September 9, 2009 · 0 comments

in Legal News and Trends

One year ago we worked with Vanessa DiMauro and her company, Leader Networks, to develop and field the 2008 Networks for Counsel Survey designed to study the legal industry’s use and adoption of online professional networking and social media. The survey was the first of its scope to examine the social networking practices of legal professionals and it provided some eye-opening statistics on a range of issues including the following:

  • the popularity of online networks overall and the gap in adoption rates of younger versus older lawyers;
  • growing demand for an online professional network specifically for the legal profession;
  • the expected future impact of social media on the practice of law.

 A year later, today we released findings from the 2009 Networks for Counsel Survey. Querying nearly 1,500 lawyers, among the most compelling findings from the survey are:

  • 70 percent of lawyers are now members of an online social network – up nearly 25 percent over the past year. This includes an amazing 30 percent growth among lawyers aged 46 and over.
  • More than 50 percent think online networks have the potential to change the business and practice of law
  • 65 percent expressed interest in joining an online professional network designed specifically for their profession

Click on the following link to read a great article about the survey findings that was published by Bloomberg today:

Click here to read the press release announcing the survey findings.

One of the most interesting takeaways from the survey, at least from my perspective, was revealed in statistics showing important differences between inside counsel and private practice lawyers with respect to the advantages each sees in participating in online professional networks.

Corporate counsel are focused primarily on using an online, legal professional network to access exclusive content such as white papers, reviews, webinars, CLE courses, podcasts and interaction with legal thought leaders. Identifying, evaluating and selecting outside counsel was another important driver for corporate counsel participation in online networking. Outside counsel, by contrast, are much more interested in using online networks to expand their professional networks and manage their professional reputation online. 

While these findings are generally consistent with last year’s survey results, the proportion of corporate counsel seeking online CLE courses (41 percent now versus 33 percent last year) and outside counsel seeking the ability to manage one’s professional reputation online (40 percent now versus 33 percent last year) have both increased.

So much of my time is spent in one-on-one discussions with inside counsel learning about the challenges they face and making sure that information informs and guides the work we do here at Martindale-Hubbell. As important as those one-on-one discussions are to me, it’s also important to take a step back every so often to get a more macro view of lawyer attitudes and preferences, particularly with respect to how they use social media in their work. Surveys like this one provide an excellent opportunity to do just that. 

A copy of the survey is available online at

Additional survey data on counsels’ use of social media and micro-blogging, along with more demographic details of the respondents can be found in a supplemental deck accessible to members of the Social Media for Lawyers group of Martindale-Hubbell Connected. To join this group and download the supplemental deck, go to

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