Social Media Adoption by In-House Lawyers Growing, Signaling New Opportunities to Reach Buyers of Legal Services

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Second annual In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey shows generational usage leveling off; prominent blogs influence hiring decisions; in-house lawyers “invisible users” who consume content without interaction

"The days of the younger ‘power users’ is quickly fading as older counsel are using social media tools with greater fervor and frequency than they were just 18 months ago."

A survey released today by communications firm Greentarget, consulting firm Zeughauser Group and InsideCounsel magazine finds that older in-house lawyers—those in their 40s, 50s and 60s—are using social media in far greater numbers than they were in 2010. The survey (#GCSocial on Twitter) highlights key factors that influence hiring decisions among buyers of legal services, and provides new insights for law firms to reach current and prospective clients more effectively through digital communications. The results show dynamic progression from the study’s 2010 figures, the first year the survey was conducted.

"The days of the younger ‘power users’ is quickly fading as older counsel are using social media tools with greater fervor and frequency than they were just 18 months ago,” said John Corey, founding partner of Greentarget. “Whether it the continued emergence of blogs, the untapped potential of LinkedIn or the vast implications of in-house counsel listening quietly rather than actively engaging on the social web, the research provides timely new perspective and guidance on how to implement and measure social media strategies geared to the in-house community.”

The In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey measures how corporate lawyers' use and perceptions of new media have changed and what they are using digital communications to do.

The Highlights:

  • Prominent blogs influence the hiring of outside counsel. Eighty-four percent of respondents say they think blogs are credible, and more than half think a prominent blog will influence clients to hire that firm.
  • Blogs declined in daily readers from 2010, but an increase in weekly and monthly readers more than made up for it.
  • General counsel say they read firm-branded or law firm attorney-authored blogs slightly more often than they read blogs written by professional journalists.
  • LinkedIn is the most dynamic example of older lawyers increasing their usage of social media, with the majority of respondents of all ages using it at least weekly.
  • Communications between law firms and their clients is slowly but steadily going social, as evidenced by a modest increase in respondents who said they were using new media tools to access content from their outside firms.
  • Just seven percent of respondents say they have visited the Wikipedia page of their outside counsel. However, 87 percent say they use the platform to research issues, indicating law firms should consider a different approach to the e-encyclopedia.
  • Most in-house counsel listen but do not interact online. This suggests that firms cannot accurately measure the ROI of new media by pursuing dialogue and interaction with client-side lawyers.
  • Hardware innovation is influencing legal marketing as a growing percentage of respondents are using mobile devices—smartphones and tablets—to consume industry news content.

"By addressing not only where in-house counsel congregate online, but also what they are using digital platforms to do and what kind of content they find most meaningful, this research provides fresh insights into how legal marketers can better adapt and align their new media strategies with marketing and business development,” said Norm Rubenstein, partner of Zeughauser Group.

Added Thomas Duggan, Group Publisher, InsideCounsel: “It is fascinating to see how media consumption habits are changing. For instance, blogs—both those that are firm-branded as well as those that are maintained by traditional editorial operations—play an increasingly prominent role as niche media outlets for news and commentary about legal issues. As the leading publisher serving general counsel and other top in-house legal professionals, we are committed to keeping our finger on the pulse of how the in-house community is using new forms of media to stay informed and connected.”

To download a summary of the research report, click here. For more information, contact John Corey at or 312-252-4100.

About the Survey’s Authors:

About Greentarget (
Greentarget is a strategic communications firm focused exclusively on the communications needs of highly competitive business-to-business organizations. We counsel those who counsel the world‘s most sophisticated businesses and direct the conversation among their most important audiences to help deepen the relationships that impact the long-term value of their organizations.

About Zeughauser Group (
Zeughauser Group is the firm of choice for legal industry leaders seeking to increase their competitive advantage and profitability, enhance market position, and strengthen organizational culture.

About InsideCounsel (
InsideCounsel is the premier monthly magazine serving general counsel and other top in-house legal professionals. It is the oldest monthly magazine published exclusively for the in-house community with an editorial mission to provide the strategic tools that general counsel need to better manage their legal departments and fully understand the business risks companies face today.


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