Legal Eagles that Tweet
Study shows law firms cautious on Twitter
A review of some of the nation’s largest law firms shows a very cautious approach when it comes to use of social media, especially Twitter. Tuckahoe Strategies conducted a review from January 12-15, 2012 of 35 top law firm Twitter accounts finding varying levels of participation. Essentially it breaks down into “active users,” “dabblers” and “observers.”
As a group, the firms are not especially engaging within the “twitterverse” mostly using Twitter as an electronic bulletin board. Specifically, most use Twitter as an extension of the firms’ website media page highlighting company news and promotions. However, some firms in the study do take advantage of the power of twitter to promote the firms’ values, client work, and advocacy.
Law firms are understandably cautious as to what is said on their Twitter accounts. However, as the online world becomes more reliant on social media, engagement on platforms like Twitter becomes more important. As often recited, ‘information is power’ and every day more important information originates on a digital platform.
Even if firms are not actively tweeting or providing information, monitoring a well established “following” list could keep firms abreast of news and comments directly from regulators, legislators, media and clients.
This study made an assessment the Twitter accounts including number of tweets; followers; following; and Twitter bios of 35 law firms. A Twitter “list” has been created @TuckahoeStrat called “LegalEaglesThatTweet” be sure sign up to follow it.
@Fulbrite is by far the most active tweeter with a tonnage of 26,603 tweets. Sometimes more is not a good thing and that’s the case with @Fulbrite, the number of tweets per day is overwhelming. During the four-day period of Jan. 12-15 @Fulbrite tweeted 149 times, roughly 50 tweets per day!
A number of firms actively tweet reports and in-house white papers, court rulings and general announcements.
- @PattonBoggs, which has tweeted 960 times, is perhaps the most engaged of the group re-tweeting stories of interests, promoting its podcasts, and thanking new followers. It even occasionally provides photos of firm cause related activities including a recent “twitpic” of its Dallas office kicking off its Holiday Giving Campaign in which it provided meals to 20 local families.
- @AllenOvery – Uses Twitter to promote firm studies and reports but often uses hashtags to create followings. For example @AllenOvery created #MAIndex for all tweets related the firm’s mergers and acquisitions index. Similarly it created #50East for its three-part report examining the perceived economic shift from the west to the east.
In terms of “followers” the leader is @AllenOvery, which has amassed 6,580 followers worldwide. Behind @AllenOvery is @DLA_Piper_News with 5,818 and @PattonBoggs at 3,227. Of the 35 firms reviewed just seven have 2,000+ followers. The number of tweets does not necessarily translate into “followers” as seen in the chart below. @AllenOvery, which leads the category in “followers” has the least number of tweets of the firms ranking in the top 10.
The number of Twitter accounts one “follows” is not nearly as important as the quality. Ideally, the timeline is used to gain intelligence and breaking news from trusted sources. @PattonBoggs is the leader in “following” with 1,937 but a look at who it follows shows a diverse and informative timeline including legislators, regulators, clients and key media. In fact the top five firms in this category all have an equally broad “follows” list that if actively monitored can provide the firms timely information.
Seven of the 35 firms are following no one and an additional five firms follow less than 20. This is an indication these firms are not particularly engaged from the social media perspective, as they are getting little to no incoming information. It is worth noting that more organizations are breaking news on Twitter making it an important source of information.
Twitter bios are an important opportunity for any Twitter user to present a brief description about the firm. Most firms used the space appropriately to provide info about core practice areas and in some cases core values. Others did the bare minimum, while some left the area blank.
Two well-written bios include that of @Omelvenymyers and @AlstonBird:
@Omelvenymyers conveys the image of values and excellence:
- “Values-driven law firm, guided by principles of excellence, leadership, + citizenship. Achievements stem from talent and commitment of ~900 lawyers in 14 offices.”
Likewise @AlstonBirdLLP conveys an equally positive and confident message:
- “Alston & Bird has over 800 attorneys. Our people trust the people they work for, take pride in what they do, and serve the communities in which they live.”
A couple firms have no bio at all including @BryanCave and @ArnoldandPorter. In fact, @ArnoldandPorter is a completely inactive account registering 0 tweets and is following no one, but the firm has 411 follower waiting for that first tweet.
The bio most cautious and lawyerly is @GTLaw (Greenberg Trauig) which says: “Posts/links provided here are for informational purposes only and do not contain legal or other advice and/or opinions. Retweets are not endorsements.”
Below please find the full list of the 35 firms reviewed for this study in alphabetical order: