Law firms are taking to social networking like a duck to water, according to a recent survey of legal professionals.
Research conducted by software solutions company Stratatel Limited revealed that 26 per cent of respondents said their firm had already adopted social media for external communication purposes, while 50 per cent of respondents said their firms are considering adopting it in the future.
Adding to this, 76 per cent of respondents were convinced that social collaboration is here to stay, and 24 per cent said social media was currently being used for internal communication purposes.
"It's not surprising that the legal profession has been an early adopter of social media for external communications," said Stratatel's chief executive, Matt Parry.
"The profession has invested heavily in communication channels and social media tools in order to keep clients fully informed on the progress of their matters. In my experience, legal firms are [pouring] significant resources into technologies that give clients greater transparency and real time understanding of precisely what is happening on their behalf."
Parry said he believes social networking also allows firms to respond promptly to requests for additional information, while at the same time assisting clients to make more informed and timely decisions.
The Stratatel survey also found that respondents saw the biggest benefits of social networking to be in the domain of marketing, participation in projects and the sharing of ideas, closely followed by the ability to better access knowledge and expertise within the firm, and increased innovation in service delivery.
Amongst the perceived dangers were the potential for reputational damage, privacy issues and not having a full understanding of how to properly use social networking technology.
The most popular social collaboration technologies used in firms, according to the survey, are those used for file sharing, information sharing and wikis, while at a personal level, respondents visited Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube on a regular basis.
"The legal profession has been quick to embrace technologies that enable them to manage their practices more effectively," continued Parry.
"Increasingly, firms are investing significantly in cost recovery and print expense management technologies to increase profitability, reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies."