Summarized: The 2013 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Social Media Leave a Comment

Greentarget InsideCounsel Zeughauser Study of Inside Counsel Use of Social MediaThose of us who care about all forms of marketing, networking and communication for lawyers anticipate surveys that study the use of Social Media, as well as all marketing tools, when it comes to lawyers’ clients.

They can help us wade through the possibilities that lie in front of us in terms of marketing strategy.

Today, the 2013 In-House Counsel new Media Engagement Survey conducted by Greentarget, Inside Counsel and Zeughauser Group was released. This is the third survey released by this partnership. The 1st was in 2010. The 2nd was in 2012.

I recommend studying the entire survey results, but have compiled what I hope is an easy-to-read, quick summary of the findings for you.

I have also posted and transcribed an interview with Greentarget CEO, John Corey, conducted by Bloomberg’s Lee Pacchia about the survey.

To begin, I’m pleased to see the number of in-house counsel taking part in the survey was 379, which was an all-time high. My files show me that number was 334 in 2012 and 164 in 2010.


In 2013, quotes of interest from the survey are:

“Mark 2013 as the year it became hard to find lawyers not using new media tools.”

“The trend is irreversible.”

“In 2013, the lawyer who has his paralegal print his emails for him, gets all his news from the print edition of The New York Times, and thinks a blog is a smudge on his tie is part of a dying breed.”

In 2012, the survey showed that the move toward new media had advanced considerably.

Quotes of interest:

“The primary utility of social media – at least for this survey’s audience – is as an intelligent filter of useful information.”

“They [inside counsel] are relatively invisible users who increasingly consume content via these channels, but give little public indication that they are doing so.”

Back in 2010, a quote in the survey summary included:

“Change is more extensive than many pundits have appreciated to date.”


The report goes on to state that key findings were that:

  • This year’s report offers ample evidence that social media tools have gone mainstream, providing strong insight to guide the marketing efforts of law firm marketers seeking to reach this important audience.
  • Consumption of media “on the go” is increasing as large numbers of in-house counsel prefer to consume information on smartphones, tablets and mobile apps.
  • Wikipedia is widely regarded as a legitimate professional tool for research and information.
  • Blogs continue to serve as an important information resource with a strong impact on hiring decisions.

In the Executive Summary, titled A Tipping Point, the survey shows that some of the most popular new media are not being fully utilized, and that “pioneering” lawyers and law firms that create high-quality content that grabs attention on those channels have great opportunity in front of them.


  1. The Luddites Are Disappearing: The percentage of respondents not using new media tools has shrunk to 27% from 43% in 2010.
  2. Mobile Consumption Is Rising: In-house counsel are consuming daily business media via smartphone (53%), tablets (39%) and mobile apps (23%).
  3. Blogs Are A Preferred & Influential News Source: 55% indicate they read attorney-authored blogs, on par with blogs written by professional journalists at 54%. 53% envision hiring decisions being influenced by a well-executed blog.
  4. Wikipedia Use Is Growing: The percentage using Wikipedia to conduct company & industry research is 65%, up from 51% in 2012.
  5. The Serious Social Network Is LinkedIn. They are using Facebook for personal reasons [take this to heart], but 66% report using LinkedIn in the past week for professional reasons.
  6. The Next Big Thing: Online Video? Although not frequently, 55% access video via law firm website & YouTube channels.
  7. Invisible Users Are Growing: Those using social media in listen-only mode is 74%, up from 68% in 2012.
  8. Peer-Driven Rankings Yield Little Influence: Referrals from trusted sources and online biographies are more important than rankings.
  9. Is A Generational Divide Back Again? A divide that closed a bit in 2012 is back, mostly in the use of LinkedIn and blogs.


Regarding in-house counsel Social Media use, the survey summary shows:

  • Only 27% said they didn’t use Social Media, meaning 73% do use it.
  • They are using Facebook mainly for personal use.
  • They are using work hours to research on Wikipedia and firm sites.
  • They are using LinkedIn to strengthen professional contacts.
  • They are reading industry news on blogs.
  • They are quiet or invisible users of Social Media.
  • A growing number of in-house counsel are consumers rather than contributors of professional content.
  • They read blogs rather than write blogs.
  • They read others’ LinkedIn posts more than they broadcast their own thoughts.
  • They are finding social media sources, such as Wikipedia, LinkedIn and blogs, more credible & legitimate.
  • They are turning to these sources with the same frequency as they turn to more traditional media outlets such as newspapers.
  • They may conduct general case-related research on Wikipedia.
  • They may keep up on industry news by reading legal or other niche blogs.
  • Ages 40 and up are using Social Media more widely, but a generational gap does remain in terms of Social Media use, with younger lawyers using some sites much more frequently than their older colleagues.
  • Older colleagues are still using Social Media weekly, and are keeping pace with, & sometimes getting ahead of, the younger generation.

For my visual readers, here is the infographic that showcases the survey’s key findings:

Do In-House Counsel Use Social Media?

Stay tuned as I will be summarizing more data and interviews.

As always, I am here should you need help with your Social Media strategy, execution or presentation needs, and can be reached here.

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