2014-Social-Law-Firm-Index-coverThe 2014 Social Law Firm Index is now available together with a new White Paper, which presents the major findings from our most recent market research on the extent and effectiveness of social media usage by large U.S. law firms. Click here to receive a free copy of this year’s White Paper.

The major take-away from this year’s research is that large law firms are now moving much more aggressively to expand their usage of social media and technology. Over the last year, the average Social Law Firm Index score (“SLFI Index”) for the top law firms covered by our survey jumped by more than 60%. (The SLFI Index is a composite scoring system we developed, which combines elements of reach and audience engagement, in an attempt to reflect the overall effectiveness of a firm’s use of social media.) This increase in the average Index score strikes us as very significant, particularly given the legal market’s usual sluggishness when it comes to adopting new ideas and technology.

There are a number of other interesting trends we see. Looking at the list of the top ranked firms it appears as if the largest firms are doing the best job in the social media arena. However, taking a closer look at the data, we see that while larger firms dominate the rankings in terms of reach, there is much less correlation between law firm size and audience engagement. In fact, there are a number of smaller firms (at least relatively speaking) that are outperforming their larger rivals when it comes to social media engagement. This suggests to us that social media can deliver on its promise to level the playing field, by providing a means for any size organization to find and engage with its audience niche.

Social-Media-Index-600x378While there’s clear evidence of a broad scale move by large law firms to embrace social technology, our research nonetheless indicates that the legal market is still at a fairly early stage in the typical social media adoption cycle. At this point in the cycle, social media usage remains confined primarily to the large firm’s marketing department, without gaining much traction in other parts of the firm. We have yet to sign signs that the lawyers themselves are becoming active users of social media as part of their day-to-day practice.

But there are indications that this too might change as an increasing number of firms report they are gearing up to provide social media training to lawyers in order to enhance their business development efforts. If that proves to be the case, then we anticipate that next year’s survey is going to indicate an even more significant advance in the level of social media usage than this year’s has revealed.

To download your copy of the Index please click here.