Monday, July 14, 2008

Survey Reveals Popularity of Online Networking Among Legal Professionals

According to a new survey released July 10- lawyers are hungry for lawyer-only networking sites and are finally "catching on" to the social media revolution.

The 2008 Networks for Counsel Survey was administered to 224 private practice attorneys and 449 corporate counsel on an international basis, with 22 countries represented. Company size ranged from 100 to 10,000+ staff. The survey was sponsored by Lexis-Nexis and Martindale-Hubbell. The complete findings are available online.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • 50 percent of attorneys are members of online social networks and over 40 percent of attorneys believe professional networking has the potential to change the business and practice of law over the next five years.
  • The survey of 650 attorneys also reveals the high degree of interest – more than 40 percent – among lawyers in joining an online professional network designed specifically for their profession.
“The legal profession is traditionally slow to adopt new technologies, so attorneys’ readiness to use online networking tools represents a significant shift in behavior. With our expertise in social networking for businesses, Leader Networks has seen that private online communities are one of the best ways to bring professionals together for business networking,” said Vanessa DiMauro, president of Leader Networks and author of The 2008 Networks for Counsel Survey. “We recognize a real need for a private, online network for attorneys given the results of this survey.”

Networking is essential for attorneys, but difficult
  • The survey found attorneys leverage collaboration tools and referrals to service the needs of the organizations they represent to find clients, and to identify specialized attorneys and other resources. Traditional methods of networking are increasingly difficult.
  • Private practice attorneys rated client referrals or recommendations first (59 percent) and peer referral or recommendation second (55 percent) as the most effective means of networking.
  • Relationship-based methods surface next most frequently, including in-person networking events (28 percent) and alumni relationships (26 percent)
  • Only 16 percent of respondents felt that they had the time or resources to leverage current opportunities to network with their peers
  • The majority of attorneys using social networking sites are between the ages of 25-35
  • 54 percent of attorneys reported being a member of an online social network such as LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook or MySpace.
  • 33 percent of attorneys that are connected use social networks for personal use; 18 percent use for professional use and 49 percent use social networks for a combination of the two.
The top five attributes considered when corporate counsel are deciding to join a professional legal network, are:
  • Access to information not found anywhere else (46 percent)
  • Ease of exchanging information/experiences (45 percent)
  • Ability to identify, evaluate and select private practice attorneys quickly (29 percent)
  • Finding the “right” attorney directly (26 percent)
  • Speed of collaboration (21 percent)

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