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John Byrne Communicating About Communications

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It’s a surprising statistic for 2014:  One-third of the nation’s 100 largest law firms don’t include a way to connect with them via social media on their website homepages.  Not a single follow button for Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn (or anything else social, for that matter).

Sadly, nearly 1 in 5 of the AmLaw 100 firms — 18 to be exact — also refuse to acknowledge any type of social media or follow technology (i.e., RSS feeds) on their homepages.  There’s nothing but pictures, copy and links to pages inside their sites.  Seems a little pathetic, really.

Should we just be happy that all 100 have websites in 2014?  (Even if some of them look like they are holdovers from another century…)

Why should we care at this point?  For the same reason we cared whether or not they had firm websites back in the 1990s.  Clients want to know that their lawyers, like them, are keeping abreast of technology and marketing (even if it’s something they aren’t personally using).  Showing a button for Twitter or other social site is a sign that their firm could (yes, could) be interested in engaging with an audience, like clients, prospective clients, alumni or even employees.  Don’t think your clients would follow you or your firm on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?  Think again.

Ignoring social media on your website homepage is a pretty clear indication of how you think digital marketing is a one-way street.  Need proof?  A handful of these firms without follow buttons still included a link to “share” the site on various social media, but no way to “follow” them.  Seems kind of backwards for a homepage, no?

Do some (even many) of these firms have a social media presence?  Probably.  I spot-checked a couple on Twitter for kicks, and sure enough, there they were, tweeting away to thousands of followers.  But no follow button on the website homepage?  Mystifying.

Worse, and I will be reporting on some additional research in the coming days on this, there are still plenty of firms whose presence on social media is non-existent or moribund.  For example, has there been any significant improvement in AmLaw 100 firms using Twitter since I last checked on this back in 2010, finding only 39 with any significant activity?  How about using Facebook?  Let’s hope so!

In the end, setting up and maintaining a social media presence for an AmLaw 100 firm is neither difficult or expensive.  It just takes some time and a little commitment.  Those firms who aren’t even trying are missing significant branding and marketing opportunities for their firms (not to mention their lawyers).  C’mon, folks.  It’s 2014.  Time to catch up, even if you’re Wachtell.

*  *  *

Here are the raw statistics for the AmLaw 100 firms and whether they invite their website visitors to follow them on social media:

  • 64 have buttons for Twitter (although many use an outdated brand for it)
  • 64 have buttons to connect/follow the firm on LinkedIn
  • 47 have buttons to follow them on Facebook
  • 22 have buttons to check out their YouTube channel
  • 20 have buttons to follow them on Google+ (shocked it was this many, to be honest)
  • 42 have RSS feed buttons (or links).  Honestly, with Google Reader gone, how many people use this feature anymore?
  • 9 have “share” buttons/links to share the page on social media, which is very different than following.

The following social media channels had a single firm linking to them (not the same firm, though): Flickr, Xing, Vimeo, Blogger (for a blog) and JDSupra.  Several dozen firms invited website visitors to view their blogs, including a couple who had no other reference to any social media or similar content.

What are your thoughts or conclusions from this data?  Surprising?  Not surprising?  Please share in the comments or feel free to email me at

 Image: © Tashatuvango | – Web Button Dislike. Isolated On White Background. Photo

4 thoughts on “Anti-Social: One-Third of AmLaw 100 Website Homepages Lack a Link to Social Media

  1. jennylanctot says:

    I printed out this post to give to my boss (a lawyer) … I’ve been trying to convince him that he needs a social media presence for so long that I’ve realized I’m wasting my breath and eventually stopped caring. Maybe your post will help 🙂

    1. John Byrne says:

      Good luck, Jenny! Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the research, John. I am surprised, then again, I’m not. I am more disappointed because this is the low-hanging fruit for law firms. We have visitors, so why not let them follow us if they chose to? Putting logos/links to our profiles in social media is no more “salesy” than offering a link to share our content, so it is a bit baffling why this oversight occurs. People can choose whether or not to click. It is passive marketing with a wonderful upside.

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