Only 6% of Lawyers Use Twitter; Only 4% of Clients Do

Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader NetworksThe big surprise in new survey data by Leader Networks shows that the vast majority of lawyers do not use Twitter or any other micro-blogging service. Only 6 percent of lawyers participate in microblogging (Twitter, etc.). Further, only 4% of in-house lawyers use Twitter.


The study was conducted by Leader Networks (, on behalf of LexisNexis Martindale‐Hubbell (, On the Networks for Counsel site ( The study found that a trend to watch is that lawyers are beginning to join legal‐only professional networks. Corporate and private practice lawyers continue to view Martindale‐Hubbell as best positioned to deliver a professional network for lawyers, followed by the ACC, ABA and LinkedIn.

The survey of 1,474 lawyers was conducted by Leader Networks, a consulting firm that helps businesses foster online social networks. It is the second annual survey that examines the online networking practices of lawyers. A copy of the survey is available online.

"Twitter has not yet caught on, especially among corporate counsel," states the second annual Networks for Counsel Survey. When asked, "What type of social media activities do you engage in professionally?" only 6% said they used Twitter, Plurk or other microblogging services. Even fewer in-house lawyers send tweets: 4%.

"Interactive engagement (e.g., blogging, online discussions and article exchange) is more important than other services such as microblogging (e.g., Twitter) or social bookmarking," wrote Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks and author of the survey.

The good news is that:

  • More than half of lawyers are members of an online social network, -- up nearly 25 percent over the past year -- with 30 percent growth reported among lawyers aged 46 and over. 
  • One third of corporate counsel and close to half of private practice lawyers who participate in public social networks for professional purposes do so on at least a daily basis.
  • The majority of lawyers who participate in professional online communities report doing so once per week or more.

Asked, "What type of social media actvities do you engage in professionallly?" here's how the lawyers answered:94% of Lawyers Do Not Use Twitter

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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Vanessa DiMauro - September 10, 2009 3:35 PM

Thanks for covering the Networks for Counsel 2009 Study findings! There were many surprises that came out of this year's study - especially when the data are compared to the 2008 Networks for Counsel results. Social media adoption rose significantly, and the demographics are also changing as more experienced lawyers are using social media regularly.

I noticed the link to the study results is not working - the report can be downloaded on web site.


Vanessa DiMauro
Leader Networks

Ian Brodie - September 10, 2009 8:08 PM

I'm not sure if you're deliberately misreading this data as you're so fired up by anti-twitterophobia Larry!

A couple of points:

1) The fact that lawyers don't use twitter doesn't mean that it's not useful for lawyers for business development. What's much more important is whether their potential clients use twitter. In some sectors (media/creative and hi-tech spring to mind) a very high proportion of clients use twitter. You want to join the discussions the top creative industry folks are having? You need to be on twitter (certainly in the UK)

2) The fact that only 6% of whoever uses twitter doesn't mean it's useless for everyone. You're doing the equivalent of interpreting the results as meaning "it's 6% useful for all lawyers" - whereas it more likely means "it's 0% useful for 94% of lawyers - but really useful for 6% of lawyers". It depends who you are. As above, there are some client sectors where twitter is hot and lawyers who serve that sector can break through the existing real-world relationships and connect to potential clients they would have no chance to connect with via phone or face to face.


[Reply from Larry Bodine]
You make a good point. However, the study also showed that only 4% of law firm customers -- in-house lawyers and general counsel -- use Twitter. If there are almost no customers on Twitter, why not devote your time to where the customers are: LinkedIn and Legal OnRamp.

Suzi Pomerantz - September 10, 2009 11:14 PM

On the contrary, Larry! I'd argue that if only 6% of lawyers are on Twitter, that's EXACTLY the place you'd want to be! No competition! Just think about it: if you mastered Twitter and could leverage that as one of your tools in your business development toolkit, you could have a differentiating competitive edge over your colleagues. Many CEOs and c-suite executives are engaged in Twitter, as are many people who may have law-related questions about any number of topics. You could engage a following, provide information, and grow a prospective target market that's eager to learn more about you and what you do. The key to success with Twitter, since it's not an intuitive tool, is to utilize the effective mindsets of networking in real life in order to develop relationships through tweets. I created a podcast for business coaches on how to use Twitter, which may be relevant to attorneys who want to get started without investing hours to figure it out. You can learn more about here:

Lisa Solomon - September 12, 2009 11:17 AM

Your comment above that"the study also showed that only 4% of law firm customers -- in-house lawyers and general counsel -- use Twitter," may be accurate for the target market of the firms that you serve, but it's an unwarranted generalization when applied to the legal profession as a whole. The imprecision of your language undermines the credibility of you conclusions.

[Reply from Larry Bodine]

The language is precisely correct and is taken straight from the study:

* "Twitter Has Not Yet Caught On, Especially Among Corporate Counsel." -- verbatim from page 12 of the study
* "The survey “Networks for Counsel” was administered to 1,474 counsel – 764 private practice lawyers and 710 corporate counsel –in May and June of 2009; 33 countries were represented" -- page 4 of the study.
* The corporate counsel who were surveyed worked at companies with fewer than 10 to more than 10,000 employees. -- p. 27 of the study

It's pretty clear that the results can be applied to the legal profession in general -- and corporate counsel in particular.

Amber / - September 16, 2009 3:22 PM

While I think the study was accurate in showing only 6% of lawyers are on twitter-- I think your conclusion that twitter is useless because it doesn't put attorneys with their target market is so off base.

The target market of an attorney is PEOPLE with a PROBLEM. And there is no other social network on the web where people talk so openly and consistently about their problems-- and ask for referrals to help fix those problems!

I've watched our PI attorneys pick up property liability cases, slip and falls and even a few med mals from twitter. Our estate planning attorneys have used twitter to strategically promote their local speaking engagements and workshops to "moms groups" which ultimately affects their turn out and bottom line.

I've also seen IP and contract lawyers pick up a few cases on twitter from people who came under trademark infringements or other issues and publicly tweeted for help.

Maybe you don't quite understand the strategy behind twitter or how to FIND your target audience on the network?

If you did, you'd see much more value in the service for lawyers--especially when compared to Linkedin.

Ian Brodie - September 17, 2009 2:47 PM


No question, I'd go to Linkedin and OnRamp first. But unless the rules are different for you guys in the US, there's no law that says we have to choose only one or two online channels.

And the key thing about 4% (or any figure) is that it's an average. Maybe only 4% of the general public, clients in general or general counsels use twitter. But underlying that will inevitably be huge variations by age, by profession, by sector, etc. Certainly a lot more that 4% of legal service buyers in the media & creative industries use twitter.

So if I met a lawyer on the street and I knew nothing more about him/her and they asked "should I use twitter?" the answer should be a pretty emphatic no.

But if, as is invariably true, you know a bit more about them: their specialism, their target sector, etc. - then the answer for the large majority will be no - but for a few will be an emphatic yes.


Susan Cartier Liebel - September 25, 2009 1:50 AM

As others have said, just because something isn't used by the majority doesn't mean it isn't a useful tool. Remember, we are talking about lawyers here. They are notoriously leap years behind others when it comes to technology and changing the ways they conduct business, marketing and more.

What would be interesting is if instead of making an argument by regurgitating statistics about what the majority are NOT doing, interview the minority who are doing it well and find out precisely why they are so effective when it comes to generating business.

Remember, there was a time when having a static web-presence, never mind a blog, was considered scandalous and a waste of valuable marketing time.

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