If you’re after entertainment, I urge you to check out the reader responses on the The Lawyer’s website; usually they’re marvellous mix of vitriol and superciliousness. In short, lawyers, love a good ‘hate’ and a recent piece on who’s up and who’s down in the social media stakes has really got them snarling. But before I go any further, I have to declare an interest – it’s all our fault! Let me explain.
We thought it would be interesting to investigate law firms’ use of social media; i.e. a measuring their ‘klout‘ rating, which involves metrics such as audience, reach, influence and engagement as well as a bespoke Flagship process measuring strength of community. Our research resulted in an alternative listing to the The Lawyer’s ‘Top 100’: some of the big boys are doing very well, but some household names have been overtaken by more recent entrants to the sector. That’s hardly surprising; you’d expect our ‘No.1’, legal franchise Quality Solicitors – a child of the new media age – to be up riding high.
We sent our list to The Lawyer, the journal ran a piece and the “we talk to people rather than tweet them” comments rolled in. And many of the respondents had a point: Quality Solicitors and similar outfits are, obviously, not in the same space as long-established, full service firms serving the business community. However we did want to make the point that like it or not social media is a powerful information channel which cannot be ignored.
Will Flagship be undertaking similar research in, say, five years’ time? Maybe. Will we be doing it in ten years’ time? Probably not, because, by then, lawyers’ exploitation of social media just won’t be a talking point; it will be integral to all firms’ marketing activities: clients will expect law firms to be social media savvy and firms will deliver.
Change is always problematic and we’re always sceptical about aspects of change which, initially, appear unnecessary. But most of us manage, eventually, to embrace it. Wasn’t it less than 15 years ago that Professor Richard Susskind, the ‘John the Baptist’ of legal technology, was reported to the Law Society – for bringing the profession into disrepute – for daring to suggest that email would one day become the standard medium of communication between lawyer and client. Plus ça change.