4-Country Study: How Lawyers Use LinkedIn (2017)

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Social media marketing has become prominently used by lawyers to build a firm’s and personal brand’s identity. The world’s most popular professional social network, LinkedIn, lets lawyers do a number of things:

  • Connect with prospective and current clients;
  • Keep their biographies/resumes up to date;
  • Publish and curate thought-leading articles; and,
  • To engage with others, digitally.

As a lawyer, have you ever wondered how you fare versus other lawyers on LinkedIn? Or are you curious about how the industry is using LinkedIn for digital selling? In 2017, we took on the task of historically documenting how lawyers use LinkedIn. What follows is an infographic that represents the findings.

For further research and readings, what follows are:

1. The study findings in text.

2. Interesting observations.

3. Some terms of references that guided decisions by the researches.

The study findings in text:

  1. Date reviewed – August 20 to September 16, 2017
  2. # of lawyers in study – 240
  3. Countries – 4 (Australia, Canada, England, USA)
  4. The gender and role breakdown of 240 lawyers:
    • 60 – Associate / Female
    • 60 – Associate / Male
    • 60 – Partner / Female
    • 60 – Partner / Male
  5. The size of the firms in study:
    • 16 – Large firms (500+ employees)
    • 16 – Medium firms (100 – 499 employees)
    • 16 – Small (1-99 employees)
  6. Country breakdown:
    • Australia – 4 large firms; 4 medium firms; 4 small firms
    • Canada – 4 large firms; 4 medium firms; 4 small firms
    • England – 4 large firms; 4 medium firms; 4 small firms
    • USA – 4 large firms; 4 medium firms; 4 small firms
  7. Percentage (%) of lawyers that use LinkedIn – 87%
    • Australia – 91.7%
    • England – 90%
    • USA – 86.7%
    • Canada – 85%
  8. Genders on LinkedIn:
    • Females on LinkedIn – 90%
    • Males on LinkedIn – 83%
  9. Positions on LinkedIn:
    • Associates on LinkedIn – 88%
    • Partners on LinkedIn – 85%
  10. Average number of connections per country:
    • Australia – 465
    • USA – 412
    • England – 409
    • Canada – 345
  11. Connections per gender:
    • Female – 423
    • Male – 389
  12. Connections per position:
    • Partners – 459
    • Associates – 358
  13. Lawyer with highest connections – Denise Hamer, Partner, DLA Piper (England) with 4,893!
  14. Top 25 practice areas represented (in order of most cited):
    • Corporate finance
    • Employment
    • Litigation
    • Corporate
    • Real estate
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • Commercial litigation
    • Construction
    • Insolvency and restructuring
    • Family
    • Estates and trusts
    • Insurance
    • Intellectual property
    • Energy
    • Anti-trust and competition
    • Dispute resolution
    • Corporate governance
    • Technology
    • Healthcare
    • Securities
    • Commercial real estate
    • Product liability
    • Personal injury
    • Capital markets
    • Municipal
  1. Scoring Legend
    • Profile Score – a 10-point scale (33.3% value)
      • Profile Pic
      • Position & Company
      • Cover Photo
      • Bio
      • Experience
      • Education
      • Skills & Endorsements
      • Publications
      • Honours & Awards
      • Media, Volunteer, or One Extra Accomplishment
    • Connections score – 3-point scale (33.3% value)
      • 1-100 connections – 1
      • 101 – 500 connections – 2
      • 500 or more connections – 3
    • Activity Score (30-day review) – 5-point scale (33.3% value)
      • 1 activity
      • 2 or more activities
      • 2 or more activities & 1 post
      • 2 or more activities & 2-7 posts
      • 2 or more activities & 8 or more posts
      • Grand Total – Profile, Connections and Activity Score combined
  1. Lawyers with highest score per country:
    • Australia (two-way tie) – Michael Bacina, Partner, Piper Alderman (90%)
    • Australia (two-way tie) – Cassandra Heilbronn, Senior Associate, MinterEllison (90%)
    • Canada – Ana Badour, Partner, McCarthy Tetrault LLP (80%)
    • England – Michelle Howell, Senior Associate, Fieldfisher (80%)
    • USA – Alexander Foster, Attorney, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP (80%)
  2. Country Scores (out of 100%):
    • Australia – 53.2%
    • United States – 48.3%
    • Canada – 46.9%
    • England – 44.7%
  3. Aggregate Scores (out of 100%):
    • Profile Score – 58.8%
    • Connections Score – 74.6%
    • Activity Score – 11.4%
    • Grand Total – 48.3%

Interesting Findings

  1. LinkedIn is a popular platform for lawyers standing at 87% usage at the time this study was conducted.
  2. Many lawyers use LinkedIn (87% of the total data set), had a reasonable number of connections (425 on average) but faired poorly with publishing content on LinkedIn with only 21% of lawyers having made a post within the last 30 days.
  3. Associates were more highly represented on LinkedIn than partners (88% vs. 78%) yet partners outdid their associate counterparts with their number of connections (486 vs. 367).
  4. Women were more represented on LinkedIn (90% vs. 83%) and had more connections (435 vs. 412) on average than men.
  5. The size of the firm didn’t have much relevance in terms the number of lawyers using LinkedIn: 87.5% representation at large-sized firms, 83.8% at medium-sized firms and 85.0% at small-sized firms.
  6. The size of the firm also didn’t appear to have much significance in terms of overall score: 29.8% represented at large-sized firms, 31.4% fat medium-sized firms and 30.1% at small-sized firms.

Terms of References

Here are some items from the Terms of Reference that was used by the research team in this study.

  1. 240 lawyers comprised of this study across 48 law firms in 4 countries.
  2. The countries selected for this study were: Australia, Canada, England and United States.
  3. Within each country, 12 firms were selected and within each firm, 5 lawyers were selected.
  4. All law firms and lawyers were randomly selected amongst their associated country and size category.
  5. Selected law firms were broken down into three categories base on the size of their firm: Large (500+), Medium (100-499), Small (1-99). The number of employees a law firm has, and subsequently its category, is based on its corporate LinkedIn page at the time this stage of the study was conducted.
  6. In selecting a law firm randomly, it was replaced if it didn’t meet a certain criteria (e.g., the researchers couldn’t find out enough information about the number of lawyers or their position  based on what was available on their website or LinkedIn corporate page).
  7. To create greater balance between genders and positions (partners or associates), every size category (60 total lawyers per country) ultimately were required to have: 15 female associates; 15 female partners; 15 male associates; 15 male partners. Subsequently, across all four countries (and therefore across the entire study), an equal number of females, males, associates and partners were represented.
  8. In selecting a lawyer or law firm, if their selection based on gender or position would imbalance the category (see the balancing goal in point #9 above), the lawyer or law firm was removed from the study and a different lawyer or law firm was randomly selected.
  9. The study was designed to: i. grade a lawyer’s LinkedIn profile thoroughness; ii. number of connections; and, iii. publishing activity. In the scoring, these three categories received equal grading (33.3% / 33.3% / 33.3%).
  10. If a lawyer was not on LinkedIn, their individual data set received a score of 0/100 (0%).
  11. Profile score included: (10-point scale):
    • Does the lawyer have a profile pic? If “Yes”, 1 point.
    • Does the lawyer have their title and company listed in their headline? If “Yes”, 1 point.
    • Does the lawyer have a custom cover photo uploaded? If “Yes”, 1 point.
    • Does the lawyer have a written bio displayed? If “Yes”, 1 point.
    • Does the lawyer have the experience module activated and at least one listing? If “Yes”, 1 point.
    • Does the lawyer have the education module activated and at least one listing? If “Yes”, 1 point.
    • Does the lawyer have both the “Featured Skills” & “Endorsements” module activated and at least one listing? If “Yes”, 1 point.
    • Does the lawyer have the “Publications” activated and at least one listing? If “Yes”, 1 point.
    • Does the lawyer have “Honours & Awards” activated and at least one listing? – If “Yes”, 1 point.
    • Does the lawyer have either: “Media”, “Volunteer & Causes”, or at least one extra module in “Accomplishments” and at least one listing in the extra module? If “Yes”, 1 point.
  12. Connections score included: (3-point scale)
    • Does the lawyer have 1-99 connections? If “Yes”, 1 total category score
    • Does the lawyer have 100-499 connections? – If “Yes”, 2 total category score
    • Does the lawyer have 500 or more connections? – If “Yes”, 1 total category score
  13. Activity score (graduated scale) – based on last 30 days as displayed in LinkedIn:
    • Does the lawyer have 1 total activity? 1/5 total score
    • Does the lawyer have 2 or more activities – 2/5 total category score
    • Does the lawyer have 2 or more activities & 1 post – 3/5 total category score
    • Does the lawyer have 2 or more activities & 2-7 posts – 4/5 total category score
    • Does the lawyer have 2 or more activity & 8 or more posts – 5/5 total category score
  14. If a lawyer is selected from their corporate website but can’t be found in a reasonable search on LinkedIn, they are given a tentative score of 0; a second researcher will try and find the lawyer too to confirm the first researcher’s result. If the second researcher cannot find the lawyer too by conducting a reasonable search on LinkedIn, the 0 score stands.
  15. Each lawyer reviewed needs to be located in the country being researched at that given time. If the law firm website doesn’t list it, it’s presumed its within the given country as the law firms in this study have already been allocated based on the country of their head office.
  16. Other items that are recorded:
    • General practice areas
    • Are they an associate or partner?
    • The lawyer’s gender
    • Number of connections the lawyer has
    • Date this information was collected on a given lawyer
  17. The list of law firms that were randomly selected for this study:
    i. Large – Minter Ellison (2,056)
    ii. Large – Allens (1,298)
    iii. Large – Clayton Utz (1,473)
    iv. Large – Gilbert + Tobin (618)
    v. Medium – McInnes Wilson Lawyers (215)
    vi. Medium – McCullough Robertson (352)
    vii. Medium – Piper Alderman (279)
    viii. Medium – Holding Redlich (396)
    ix. Small – Ramsden Lawyers (34)
    x. Small – Kliger Partners (24)
    xi. Small – Kott Gunning Lawyers (44)
    xii. Small – Madison Marcus Law Firm (66)b. Canada:
    i. Large – Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (1,775)
    ii. Large – McCarthy Tetrault (1,407)
    iii. Large – Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP (1,082)
    iv. Large – Stikeman Elliott LLP (1,284)
    v. Medium – Cassels, Brock, & Blackwell (480)
    vi. Medium – Cox & Palmer (334)
    vii. Medium – Goodmans LLP (483)
    viii. Medium – Burnett Duckworth & Palmer LLP (222)
    ix. Small – Watson Goepel Lawyers (67)
    x. Small – Prowse Chown LLP (16)
    xi. Small – Soloway Wright (52)
    xii. Small – Wickwire Holm (25)c. USA:
    i. Large – Baker McKenzie LLP (10,453)
    ii. Large – Jones Day (5,524)
    iii. Large – Winston & Strawn (1,986)
    iv. Large – Baker Botts (1,549)
    v. Medium – Higgs Fletcher & Mack (151)
    vi. Medium – Foster Pepper PLLC (262)
    vii. Medium – Butzel Long (279)
    viii. Medium – Arnall Golden Gregory LLP (341)
    ix. Small – The Ferraro Law Firm (41)
    x. Small – Heidman Law Firm LLP (37)
    xi. Small – Collins, Buckley, Sauntry, and Haugh (22)
    xii. Small – Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez (9)

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