The short answer is no. Based on my research, only two firms appear — and I use that term loosely — to have Twitter accounts. Skadden appears to have an account, but there have been no updates. And it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell if this is an official, firm-sanctioned account. The same goes for Orrick, which also appears to have a Twitter account.  But based on the content of the six updates, which in my opinion are quite strange and non-lawyer-like, I think that it is safe to say that someone has registered that Twitter account name without the permission of the firm.

It is clear, however, that people talk about some of the AmLaw 100 firms on Twitter.  Here’s a sample search of some of the names on that list.  Some of those tweets are from “real” news sources, like the ABA Journal, the UK’s Times Online, and Fox News.  Others are from regular Twitters.

So, will law firms start to use Twitter?  Should they?  Discuss.

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  • http://kmspace.blogspot.com Doug Cornelius

    I do not think law firms should be using twitter. I think lawyers at law firms should be using twitter.

    I find it odd that there are company twitter accounts. It works for news organizations as a way to push out stories. Its equivalent to the news crawl on the bottom of the television.

    I am not sure I would follow a Skadden or an Orrick on twitter. Would they be interesting enough to follow?

  • http://libleaders.wordpress.com/ connie

    Recently an unsanctioned person (who I suspect may be/have been an employee) was “tweeting” on behalf of Exxon. That person started to sound like an official mouthpiece, and is now refusing to give up the account. Smart companies and law firms should at least grab their name on Twitter so that others cannot use it to undermine them.

    I subscribe to some corporate feeds because I am interested in notices from them–in many ways I am using Twitter as my RSS news feed stream. I have a personal account on Twitter but recently started a separate one for my business. That way, I can push out work-related information and tweets from that stream. I don’t necessarily expect people to read that work stream, but I am using it to publish quick notes on my website.

    But, I agree it is helpful from a PR perspective to have a human (and recognizable) voice behind the twitter stream, not some faceless corporate entity. That does miss the point of Twitter.

  • http://libleaders.wordpress.com/ connie

    I’ve been thinking about it further. Here is the zen answer: whether they are there or not does not matter. You do not have to follow.

  • http://www.lawyerkm.com LawyerKM

    Twitter does give firms (and all companies) another medium to get the word out. What about a firm tweeting good news about itself – like the stuff that they would normally put on their websites – with links to the websites, of course? With Summize search (now twitter search) people may stumble upon interesting tweets (even if they don’t follow the firm).

  • http://www.informationoverlord.co.uk iOverlord

    This is quite funny as a couple of days ago I used summize/twitter search to look if the UK’s magic circle were present/mentioned. Again, no is pretty much the answer.

    Whether they should be on twitter, or at least whether their PR/Communications teams should at least be feeding their press releases etc out via the service is another question. I don’t personally see why they shouldn’t, as some people are now using twitter/FF and the like as their feed reader to a degree.

    Better, would be to have a real person who could mix this output with a human face, but I do not really see this happening, as the very large firms would not see Twitter as being a service which they were ever likely to get any business from (unless it was from Twitter themselves of course!), and unless you could show them otherwise, the view would be just what’s the point.

  • http://www.stemlegal.com/strategyblog/ Steve

    Ouch, Orrick got brand jacked IMO. I like Skadden’s approach of a placeholder much better. The account could be used to route news releases, or any type of firm commentary. Or just held for the future. There are no hard and fast rules here.

    The use of Twitter varies greatly, but depends on the organization. If CNN can route story headlines on twitter, so can law firms. Accounts are easy to set up, and can be as professional (or conversational – think recruiting) as required by firm culture. I’m not sure having a conservative culture should stop firms from taking part – just alter their approach.

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