The value of Online Social Networks, such as LinkedIn are becoming more of a mainstay in the large law firm arena. Usually the taboos that follow these types of “outside the control of the firm” technologies prevent the use by lawyers or staff of the firm. However, I am seeing a shift in the attitude of some of the firms, and an embrace, although a weak embrace, of some of the functionality that these types of services can bring to the firm.Law Firm Alumni Groups
I broke out my “researcher” cap and started delving through the LinkedIn Groups page to see how many of the top 100 law firms had some type of Alumni or Employee LinkedIn Group. I found that 35 firms out of the top 100 had a LinkedIn Group page. Most of them were Alumni groups, but there were a few that had current employee groups along with the Alumni, or specific groups just for employees. And, a few were apparently rouge employees that created a group at some point, but never did anything with the group after it was created.
Here is a list of the 35 firms, ranked highest to lowest by the number of members, and the type of LinkedIn Group:

Firm Name Members Type
Skadden, Arps, Slate,
Meagher & Flom
839 Alumni
Heller Ehrman 323 Alumni
White & Case 281 Alumni
Baker & McKenzie 278 Employee & Alumni
Orrick, Herrington
& Sutcliffe
183 Employee & Alumni
Troutman Sanders 159 Alumni
Fish & Richardson 88 Alumni
Womble Carlyle
Sandridge & Rice
61 Current Employees
Dewey Ballantine
(Dewey & LeBoeuf)
53 Alumni
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius 52 Alumni
Cooley Godward Kronish 51 Alumni
Venable 51 Alumni
Cadwalader, Wickersham
& Taft
45 Alumni
Pillsbury Winthrop
Shaw Pittman
45 Alumni
Cleary Gottlieb
Steen & Hamilton
40 Alumni
Goodwin Procter 40 Employee & Alumni
Duane Morris 31 Alumni
Holland & Knight 21 IP Attorneys
Stroock & Stroock
& Lavan
17 Employee & Alumni
Mayer Brown 15 Derivatives Lawyers
Bryan Cave 10 Alumni
Jones Day 10 Washington Alumni Group
Hunton & Williams 9 Alumni
Sonnenschein Nath
& Rosenthal
9 Alumni
Drinker Biddle & Reath 8 Alumni
McDermott Will & Emery 5 Current Employees
Sullivan & Cromwell 4 Employee & Alumni
Davis Polk & Wardwell 3 Alumni
Baker Botts 2 Current Employees
Baker & Hostetler 1 Current Employees
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher 1 Alumni
Kirkland & Ellis 1 Current Employees
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart
Preston Gates Ellis
(
K&L Gates)
1 Current Employees
Seyfarth Shaw 1 Alumni
Steptoe & Johnson 1 Current and Former Paralegals

LinkedIn Profiles For Each Law FirmWell, these results got me thinking about the number of LinkedIn profiles that are also linked to these specific law firms. I decided to take a look at the LinkedIn Company data for each of these 35 firms, and jotted down some stats for each. For this portion I looked at the following information:1. Number of profiles linked to the firm (LinkedIn max is 500+)
2. Percentage of these profiles that had an “Attorney” title (associate, partner, counsel, etc.)
3. Median Age of the LinkedIn profile members
4. Percentage Male
5. Percentage FemaleHere is the results:

Firm Name Number of LinkedIn Members “Attorney” Titles (%) Median Age Male (%) Female (%)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom 500+ 60 30 55 45
Heller Ehrman 500+ 42 34 57 43
White & Case 500+ 60 29 54 46
Baker & McKenzie 500+ 57 29 52 58
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe 500+ 55 31 56 44
Troutman Sanders 454 67 33 59 41
Fish & Richardson 500+ 49 32 60 40
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice 323 56 36 59 41
Dewey Ballantine (Dewey & LeBoeuf) 359 61 30 56 44
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius 500+ 60 32 57 43
Cooley Godward Kronish 500+ 56 33 58 42
Venable 357 71 34 59 41
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft 283 66 31 65 35
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman 500+ 62 34 55 45
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton 470 58 28 59 41
Goodwin Procter 500+ 62 31 50 50
Duane Morris 500+ 60 37 60 40
Holland & Knight 500+ 69 35 57 43
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan 224 64 33 53 47
Mayer Brown 500+ 64 32 58 42
Bryan Cave 500+ 65 33 58 42
Jones Day 500+ 62 32 54 46
Hunton & Williams 500+ 50 33 53 47
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal 500+ 57 34 57 43
Drinker Biddle & Reath 468 62 33 53 47
McDermott Will & Emery 500+ 57 33 60 40
Sullivan & Cromwell 500+ 53 29 55 45
Davis Polk & Wardwell 457 56 28 52 48
Baker Botts 500+ 59 31 60 40
Baker & Hostetler 323 61 34 57 43
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher 500+ 62 30 54 46
Kirkland & Ellis 500+ 56 30 58 42
Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis (K&L Gates) 500+ 61 34 57 43
Seyfarth Shaw 500+ 60 35 50 50
Steptoe & Johnson 373 52 33 57 43

From these results I was able to calulate the following:

% 500+ Members 68%
Avg. % Atty Titles 59%
Median Age 32
Avg. % Male 56%
Avg. % Female 44%
Avg. “Group” Members 78

No Surprises…. Well, Maybe OneOf course, there are a lot of things that pop out of these results that are interesting, but not all that unexpected. Things like the average age being in the early 30’s isn’t surprising, or that a majority of those profiled are male (just look around your firm.) The one thing that did surprise me, was the large percentage of those profiled that had “Attorney” titles. I would have thought that there would be more “administrative” profiles (IT, Library, KM, Marketing, Competitive Intelligence, etc.) So, it would seem from this initial overview, that there are a lot of attorneys that are actually creating LinkedIn accounts. Granted, this doesn’t say whether or not they actually used the LinkedIn account after they created it, but nonetheless, it does show that there is an interest in using this sort of Online Social Network.

  • “Median age = 32” is also a telling sign. New associates are deep into social networking – Partners are not. This brings to mind my bastardized Napoleon quote, “Old ideas don’t die. You just kill the people who have them.” 😉

  • Nice Quote Toby… you should have your own demotivational calendar!

    I have a feeling that this is a trend that the “old people” just won’t be able to kill off. I wasn’t surprised that the median age was 32, since it is a “new idea”, but I was surprised at the number of attorneys and other employees that were using LinkedIn. And, it is apparent that they are doing a lot of things outside the confines of the Marketing Departments.

  • My firm’s Marketing Dept is the group leading the charge re: LinkedIn. Prior to their push, the majority of profiles were admin, with a few attorneys. Many more attorneys on there now however.

    Re: usage, I rarely see anyone from my firm “use” LinkedIn (besides myself – and even at that I’d say I’m a marginal user at best).

    I think if our Marketing folks could come up with guidance on “how to USE LinkedIn” rather than just “how to JOIN LinkedIn” that would go a long way to squeezing measurable value out of it. Until then, I fear it will be no more than another MH-ish profile page.

  • Any chance you've updated your research since your original post?
    Thanks!