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Small law firms use social media to punch above their weight

The UK's top 200 firms have fewer than 360,000 Twitter followers between them

4 March 2015

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The UK's most successful law firms are failing to make an impression online, as eight of the ten most social media-savvy firms fall outside of the UK's top 50.

An analysis of the top 200 firms shows that while Irwin Mitchell holds the top spot, north-west firm Stephensons, Stephens Scown in Exeter and West London practice IBB rank second, third and fourth respectively, followed by Eversheds in fifth place.

Morton Fraser comes in sixth, with Pannone just behind in seventh. Simpson Millar, BP Collins and Harper Macleod make up the remaining top ten spots.

Passle, the company behind the findings, claims that its research is evidence of the "democratising impact of social media", which is allowing smaller firms to make a mark on clients without a substantial budget.

Each firm in the top 200 were ranked against seven criteria before coming to an overall score. They were:

  • the number of 'knowledge pieces' published;

  • the number of pieces per lawyer;

  • the number of Twitter followers;

  • the number of tweets;

  • the number of Twitter followers per lawyer;

  • the number of tweets per lawyer; and,

  • each firm's Klout (an app that uses social media analytics to rank its users) score.

The entire top 200 produced 30,056 knowledge pieces in 2014, which amounted to just 1.96 per lawyer, yet they have much progress to make in the new age of social media. Collectively, the top 200 firms have fewer than 360,000 Twitter followers.

Commenting on the results, Passle co-founder, Tom Elgar, said that potential clients expect more from social media than advertisements and dull announcements, but many firms are "unnecessarily reticent" about going further.

"These top 200 firms have the best experts in the business, yet they are not demonstrating it online. People, and businesses, want to work with experts. Ghostwritten blogs fail to deliver knowledge and insight on the same level - it really has to be written by someone working in the field to attract both clients and networking opportunities," he said.

"In an industry where many are slow to adapt and to adopt, there can be a real competitive advantage for those who embrace them now. It appears that the smaller firms are leading the charge."

John van der Luit-Drummond is legal reporter for Solicitors Journal

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