Social Media Presence Attracts New Clients, Bloomberg Law Survey Shows

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By Michael Rose

Nov. 10 — Nearly a quarter of labor and employment attorneys say their firms don’t use any social media platforms, a survey report by Bloomberg Law shows.

That should change, the inaugural Labor and Employment Practice Benchmarks Report suggests.

LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be used “as business development activities,” the report said in a “takeaways and best practices” section.

The report, released Nov. 10, examines a wide range of aspects of modern-day labor and employment practices. Topics such as diversity, attorney compensation, areas of practice and fee structures are covered.

The results are “a helpful tool for labor and employment attorneys to understand the larger landscape in which they are practicing and make better informed business decisions,” Adam S. Forman, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green in Detroit who participated in the design of the survey, told Bloomberg BNA.

Fees Sometimes Negotiable

About half of the survey respondents said their firms have a fixed-fee structure. That structure is much more common at larger firms, the results suggest. Only 37 percent of respondents at firms with fewer than 50 attorneys said they have a fixed-fee structure, compared with 77 percent of respondents at firms with between 51 and 300 lawyers.

“Attorneys at firms with a fixed fee structure were also asked if they have the authority to negotiate fees, and nearly three out of four indicated that they do,” the survey report said.

Among the other findings: Most labor and employment attorneys work at firms that have a traditional partnership structure, and partners at those firms are mostly men. Also, about half of staff attorneys at surveyed firms are partners, and some 28 percent of those are women.

‘Peek Behind the Curtain.'

“Essentially, we want to give attorneys a ‘peek behind the curtain’ into other firms’ practices so they can evaluate how their practice stacks up against the competition,” Victoria Roberts, a vice president and general manager at Bloomberg Law, said in a statement.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents reported that their firms use LinkedIn, but that is “the only platform receiving regular usage by a majority of firms,” the report said. At the same time, nearly one-quarter of respondents said their firms don’t engage in social media.

“When firms do use social media, it’s often for networking, marketing and business development,” the report said. Social media use is among the “factors that contribute to better outcomes in securing new clients,” it said.

Best Practices of ‘Successful’ Firms

The final chapter of the report focuses on best practices for attorneys’ business development.

“Overall, L&E attorneys reported that their firms secured an average of 22 new clients in the past 18 months and had an average win rate of 33 percent when responding to Requests for Proposals,” the report said.

Among “successful” firms, or those that reported bringing in many new clients, many reported having members of a firm leadership team who weren’t attorneys, such as chief executive officers or chief financial officers. Such firms also reported using electronic collaboration tools, both internally and with clients.

The report is based on an electronic survey of some 400 labor and employment attorneys conducted in June and July.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Rose in Washington at mrose@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com

For More Information

The full report is available to Bloomberg Law subscribers. A complimentary executive summary may be downloaded at http://on.bna.com/AzpT3060JvX.

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