Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Role of social media in the transformation of the legal industry

Social media has transformed the way people communicate and network. It has become a part of the daily routine for most of the individuals today. The number of individuals using social media is increasing by leaps and bounds and so is the case with businesses as well. However, the degree to which legal professionals have embraced social media remains unclear.  It is noticed that the industry has changed its mindset and is using these new networking tools.  A recent survey about the use of social media marketing in the legal industry by LexisNexis reveals that 81 % of the respondents have already used social media marketing while another 10.1% of respondents say they plan on utilizing social media for marketing within the next six months.

It is not only marketing which is being influenced by social media but it is used in litigation also to get hold of evidences which may be important in deciding the facts of a case. In recent past, social media evidences have been a key part in hundreds of cases. It has helped in determining the mental state of a person, evidence of place and location etc. The civil procedure rules, the litigation rules in England and Wales outline that electronic documents which can be demanded can include instant messages and material from social networking sites. 


Lawyers are using social networking platforms to strengthen their professional network, get latest industry updates and to keep a vigil on what can affect their clients’ interest. Professional networking site LinkedIn has hundreds of groups where lawyers join and network with like minded people. There are groups exclusively for in house lawyers, general counsels and other legal professionals where non lawyers are not allowed to join. Mobile applications on smartphones are also playing an important role. Lawyers find themselves more comfortable using their thumbs instead using all their fingers on keyboards.


Increasing competition always gives an edge to the consumers. With the introduction of Legal Services Act the competition is set to rise. Those who are not using social media must think about changing their mindsets and be open for networking through different channels of communication as change is the need of the hour for survival. Be it any legislative change or any major happening in the legal industry it spreads like fire in the forest and all because of the impact of social media in our day to day life. No doubt it has become an inseparable part of the marketing strategies of not only law firms but for all the businesses.
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