Research has shown the UK’s top 100 law firms increased their marketing efforts during lockdown, with a significant rise in the amount of content being created.

According to research by Passle, a sales and marketing platform for professional services firms, the top 100 generated more than 37,000 pieces of online content, including individual blogs, articles and other insights, in 2020. 

When Passle conducted this research in 2018, the top 200 firms collectively produced 33,823 insights, which demonstrates a significant, recent rise in this type of marketing. This increase may have been driven in part by content created to help clients navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

Co-founder of Passle, Adam Elgar, commented: “Particularly in the early days of the pandemic, firms were able to assist their clients and the wider business community hugely by ramping up their insights on the legal implications, with many creating dedicated knowledge hubs.”

Firms are creating thought-leadership pieces to attract potential clients and raise their profile. They are also increasingly using social media platforms, such as YouTube, to create a following.

Elgar said: “Firms have nothing to fear and everything to gain by putting their expertise in the public domain, and there is often a clear correlation between this activity and enquiry levels.”

The 2021 Thought Leadership Index found larger firms produced more thought leadership content than smaller counterparts, but there was a core of smaller firms “punching above their weight” with high numbers of posts “… driving quality thought leadership within their niche.”

The research found Norton Rose Fulbright produced the most insights by volume over the course of the year with 1920 insights, which averages at more than three per lawyer, more than double the average figure across the top 100, which was 1.14. 

CMS and Linklaters were the next most prolific generating 1124 and 1038 pieces respectively.  

When judged by size, however, lawyers at leading media firm Wiggin excelled, with 816 insights between them, equating to more than eight posts per lawyer.

The research analysed knowledge pieces created, social media activity and number of followers across the top 100, to create an overall ranking. Norton Rose Fulbright was top, followed by Kingsley Napley, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, Taylor Wessing, Burges Salmon, Slaughter and May, Lewis Silkin, Irwin Mitchell and Osborne Clarke.

By contrast, O’Neill Patient was at the bottom of the list, along with Dickson Minto, Plexus Legal, Knights, Digby Brown, Capsticks, Keystone Law, Sackers, Ince and Minster Law. 

LinkedIn was found to be the most utilised social media platform, with firms averaging almost 27,000 followers. Eight firms have more than 100,000 followers with DLA Piper, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy each having more than 175,000 followers.

DLA Piper was the only firm with more than 40,000 followers on Twitter, though Allen & Overy, Irwin Mitchell and Hogan Lovells were not far behind with more than 30,000 each.

Firms appear to have embraced YouTube, with only seven of the top 100 not using the platform. Slater and Gordon were top of the ‘views’ list, racking up nearly 11.5m views in the last year. Irwin Mitchell came in second with 940,000 views and Hogan Lovells was the highest City firm on the list, with 236,000 views putting it fifth.

Elgar said: “It is no longer enough to tell potential clients how good you are – you need to show it too. 

“People buy expertise, but they also buy people. The savvy use of social media to share insights about both the law and the firm is a great way to sell yourself to potential clients, and it need not be a time-consuming exercise.”

To request a free copy of the report, visit rankmyfirm.com.  

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