19% of Lawyers Got a New Client via Social Media

Lawyers get clients from social mediaThe 2013 ABA Technology Survey reveals the use of social media by attorneys continues to grow, but only at a very modest rate.

  • 27% of US law firms now have blogs, up from 22% last year, 15% in 2011, and 14% in 2010. Only 9% of lawyers maintain a personal, professional blog outside the firm. Solo attorneys are the most likely to have a professional blog, as are those between the ages of 40-49.
  • 59% of those surveyed indicated their firms maintain a presence in a social network such as LinkedIn or Facebook, up from 55% last year, 42% in 2011, and 17% in 2010. Of those firms with a presence, the breakout of channels can be seen in the chart below. LinkedIn and Facebook are the most used, but legal-vertical network use remains low.
  • Individually, 81% of attorneys report using social networks for professional purposes, up from 78% last year, 65% in 2011, and 56% in 2010. LinkedIn usage is nearly universal (98%), with Facebook usage actually falling from 38% in 2012 to 33% this year.
  • 19% of law firms now use Twitter, up from 13% in 2012. Individual Twitter usage by attorneys reached 14%, up from 11% last year. Twitter usage is more common in solo and small firms.

How effective is maintaining a presence in social media? When those utilizing any type of social media/networking were asked if they ever had a client retain their legal services directly or via referral as a result of their use, 19% indicated “yes” (compared to 17% last year and 12% in 2011). Solo and small law firms reported better results than larger firms.

See Volume IV: Web & Communications Technology of the 2013 ABA Technology Survey for more details.

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Sam Glover - August 28, 2013 11:23 AM

I've gotten a similar result asking for a show of hands when speaking. But when you ask "How many have gotten two?" all the hands go down.

It's not worth using social media for a single client. Or two or three. It's only worthwhile if you have a realistic prospect of developing a steady stream of clients that outweighs the cost (time, money, etc.) of your social media presence.

For most lawyers, that's not happening. It's not even happening for most of that 19%.

Sam Glover - August 29, 2013 9:55 AM

19% sounds about like what I get for a show of hands when I ask the same question to a room full of lawyers. Ask how many have gotten two new clients from social media, though, and all the hands go down.

Joel M Harrison - October 8, 2013 10:07 PM

Yea but you also have to think about how hard that is to measure. Hiring a lawyer isn't like buying a cool pen from an online site where you can measure a click from a social post and it connects to a purchase. The sales cycle for a lawyer is a lot longer and depending on your strategy, social media could be involved in any little piece. From discovery, to comparisons, to information, or looking for social proof of the lawyers reputation, the customer could be using it as a resource without it directly relating to the end purchase. The usefulness of being on social media is far beyond what can be measured. So even though 19% reportedly "know" that their customers came as a result of social media, a much greater percentage probably had some connection with their clients through social media sometime during the professional relationship.

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