In the 2017 Social Law Firm Index, we doubled the size of our research sample to include all of the firms on The American Lawyer’s Am Law 200. This year, we have continued with our larger sample size, and the results have reaffirmed our belief that size does not matter when it comes to digital marketing success. In fact, some of the most effective firms on social media are not among the top tier of revenue earners on The Am Law 200.
The 2018 Social Law Firm Index analyzes how Am Law 200 firms are adopting and applying digital marketing in terms of outreach, engagement, and business development. Since conducting our original study in 2013, we have seen a rapid increase in the use of digital technology by American law firms.
We recalibrated our algorithm this year to better recognize and highlight stand-outs for leading-edge execution within each medium studied. We don’t want to measure only quantity, but also the quality and usefulness of a firm’s content and social media messaging. Some firms demonstrate a clear understanding of how to properly harness social media to grow their businesses; many others are missing opportunities to achieve strong brand awareness and generate new clients.
This year’s top five firms overall demonstrated the greatest comprehensive adoption, integration and innovative use of digital marketing, social media, and thought leadership content to market and grow their practices.
For the first time ever, DLA Piper did not rank No. 1 in our overall index. Instead, Norton Rose Fulbright jumped to No. 1 from last year’s No. 6 position.
“Every aspect of our business is executed through digital channels, and it is a key component of all of our successes,” said Nora Shearer, chief marketing and business development officer of Norton Rose Fulbright. “Our business is not just supportive of digital—digital is deeply baked into all of our business processes.”
This year we saw many more firms actively participating in social media and thought leadership content, leading to major shake-ups and shifts throughout categories.
The firms topping our 2018 list are:
- Norton Rose Fulbright
- DLA Piper
- Baker McKenzie
- White & Case
Other Key Findings:
An increase in the use of video: Video is one of the most engaging forms of content. When surveyed this year, 36 percent of law firms stated that they use video as a part of their digital marketing strategies, which extended across all social networks and firm websites.
Firms are maximizing the potential of interactive Content: Interactive content is one of the best ways for law firms to facilitate engagement across digital channels like email and social media. In 2018, there was a trend towards interactive content such as free tools, polls, and surveys.
Shifting Priorities, Shifting Channels: Law firms are getting smarter about setting aside social platforms that don’t reach their target audiences or provide a return on investment. One platform in particular saw a major decline in use amongst firms.
There’s an increasing need for paid social: Thirty percent of law firms surveyed reported using paid social in order to enhance the reach of their social media messages. Facebook and LinkedIn are equally popular choices when it comes to firms investing in sponsored content on social.
For more digital marketing insights, case studies, and full rankings of all Am Law 200 firms across categories, you can download a copy of the 2018 Social Law Firm Index.