Blogging was where we began, and how we built our company so we have preserved this archive to show how our thinking developed over a decade of developing the use of social technology inside organisations

Social Networking for the Legal Profession

by Penny Edwards

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These are fascinating times for the legal profession, which is adapting to the recession and grappling with the role of new technology in creating the firm of the future. Law firms and in-house legal counsel are turning to social technology, not just because it is novel, but because it promises the kind of cost savings, valueenhancement and business transformation potential they need to emerge from the downturn as leaner, more competitive organisations.

This is an area we have been thinking and writing about for some time, so we were delighted to have an opportunity to research the state of current practice in some depth over the past few months.

Now, we are proud to announce the release what is a major new report, published in association with Ark Group, entitled Social Networking for the Legal Profession, In the report, Lee Bryant and I look at ways in which legal professionals are exploiting social networking for business, both internally foroperations and communication, and externally as part of their marketingand business developmentefforts. We provide insight into the thinking of some key players inthis space and look ahead to assess the longer-term impact of socialnetworking in general on the legal profession.

We explore the networking practices and social toolsthat are currently being adopted by individuals and firms, and providepractical guidance to those looking to get started with an onlinesocial networking strategy, including:

  • An examination of what social networking means in the legal context;
  • Asurvey of personal, professional and lawyer-to-lawyer social networksites, including the best sites for lawyers and what they have to offer;
  • Supportingsocial networking within the firm with social tools including blogs,wikis, RSS, presence sharing, social bookmarking and tagging;
  • Using online social networks for recruitment, value-added legal services, thought leadership and reputation management;
  • Using networks across the firm to improve experience location, knowledge sharing, current awareness and internal communications;
  • The role of social networks in improving both personal and network productivity, decision making, collective intelligence and relationship building;
  • Challenges to establishing and participating in online social networks;
  • Evaluating and selecting social networking tools, and assimilating them in to your professional and personal life in ways that suit and make sense to you;
  • Policy and governance issues around social networking adoption; and
  • Future social networking trends and their impact on the legal profession.

From our work with law firms and interviews with legal professionalswe have compiled an extensive collection of case studies that offerpractical advice and insight into social networking and the use ofsocial tools.  In the report you can find out moreabout:

  • Graduate recruitment and trainee networking at DLA Piper LLP and Addleshaw Goddard LLP;
  • Expertise location and networking within BT Legal;
  • Knowledge sharing at Allen & Overy LLP;
  • Improving information findability at Latham & Watkins LLP;
  • Creating a social intranet at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP;
  • Implementing a new digital environment at Linklaters LLP; and
  • Adopting social tools at Clifford Chance LLP, Hicks Morley and Mallesons Stephen Jacques.

A copy of the report can be purchased from the Ark Group by visiting the online store here or at a special discount price with these flyers:

6 Responses to Social Networking for the Legal Profession

  1. By Richard on September 13, 2009 at 3:01 am

    Hi – I’m interested in promoting this report in New Zealand. Could someone drop me a line at the above email address please?
    Kind regards

  2. By Sergio Storch on September 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I´d also like to promote these experience in Brazil.

  3. By Penny Edwards on September 14, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Hello Richard/Sergio, thanks for your comments. Will be in touch.

  4. By executive leadership development on October 1, 2009 at 4:17 am

    executive leadership development

    Hey great post, I’m adding you to my list of blogs to keep up with. Please feel free to use (w/credit to the site) any of my executive leadership development program tools for training for your posts/content. 🙂

  5. By Debra Dorrington on November 9, 2009 at 5:50 am

    Hi Penny, I have just become aware of your paper and it certainly sounds like one that is worth purchasing. The comments about sound like the report is primarily about what is happening within law firms, rather than how firms interact with the broader community. Is that right?

  6. By Penny Edwards on November 9, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Actually Debra, the report offers a comprehensive view into social business tools and their use externally (such as for client service, intra-organisational collaboration and working with peers), in the public domain (such as for marketing, brand building, crowd-sourcing and recruitment) as well as internally (for delivering improvements and innovation in communication, co-ordination, collaboration and knowledge sharing processes). To do that, we took an holistic view of what’s happening both within and across firms to build a clear picture of the impact of social networking tools on business development, community building and productivity. Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more.