Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TWITS IN: Troubled times at Scots law firms as solicitors take to social media, twitter in bid for fame, money & insults

Insults included - Law Society says members are turning to social media. NEW FIGURES from the Law Society of Scotland have shown that more solicitors are using social media platforms professionally with usage particularly strong amongst younger lawyers and those working in larger firms. Research by the Law Society of Scotland found that LinkedIn was the most widely used social media channel by Scottish solicitors, followed by Twitter and then Facebook, where solicitors regularly insult each other with terms so explicit it cannot be published.

Whilst a third of solicitors are still not using any of the top three social media platforms in their professional lives, the figure has fallen considerably in the last 12 months.

Ipsos MORI carried out the research on behalf of the Law Society in December, interviewing over 500 solicitors working in firms or in-house for organisations across Scotland.  A similar poll was carried out last year.

Of those polled, 54% said they used LinkedIn, up from 42% last year, with 19% using Twitter, an increase from 15% the year before.  Facebook showed a decline in usage, down from 19% last year to 15%.

However, usage of social media varies considerably within the profession. It is particularly high for younger solicitors with 71% of lawyers under 34 using Linked-In and 27% using Twitter, way above the profession wide average.

There was also a big gender gap on Twitter use, with 25% of female solicitors using the platform compared to just 16% of men.

Solicitors working in big firms are more likely to use social media, with 80% using Linked-In and 30% using Twitter compared to just 38% and 13% respectively for lawyers in smaller high street practices.

In-house lawyers in the public sector were among the least likely to use social media with 65% saying they do not use any platform at all, followed by those working in the criminal bar and those working in domestic property law.

Lorna Jack, the Society's chief executive, said: "As an active user of social media myself, it is encouraging to see how more and more of the profession are using these platforms in their professional lives.  Within the space of a year, usage has increased markedly and it is a trend we fully expect to continue.

"In fact, we offer an online course about social media in the workplace and issued guidance about social media use for solicitors, to keep them on the right side of the law.”

"At the Society, we are active across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, not just so we can get out news and information on events but also so we can engage with members, hear what they think and respond to the issues they care about."

Ipsos MORI carried out the research of 583 members of The Law Society of Scotland between November and December by telephone survey. Previous surveys were carried out in 2011 and 2012 and aim to explore members' perceptions of the Society, the services it provides and priorities for the future. It also asks solicitors about their economic outlook and how well the Society communicates with them.

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