Law Firms on Twitter – An Update

Back in August 2008 I wondered “Is the AmLaw 100 on Twitter?” The answer was a resounding “no.”  There were a couple of “exceptions.”  Skadden had an account, but it  seemed to be simply parked, with no updates.  It’s still there, still with no updates, but now has 25 followers (including LawyerKM).  It also appeared, back then, that Orrick had an account, but based on the updates, it was clearly “brand jacked” as Steve Matthews put it, in the comments on that post.  The Orrick Twitter account still appears to be controlled by someone other than the firm, but it now has 49 followers, and two new/different updates, which are less offensive than the previous updates.

That was almost six months ago.  This is now, and the new answer to that question “Is the AmLaw 100 on Twitter?” is: well, not really, but sort of.

Here’s what I found looking around Twitter:

  • Fulbright & Jaworski has apparently embraced Twitter.  It appears that the account was started in October 2008.  Since then the firm has acquired 106 followers and posted 53 updates.
  • Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP has 73 followers, 25 updates and has been tweeting since December 2008. [updated 2/1/09]
  • McDermott Will & Emery started tweeting in December 2008.  84 followers and 40 updates.
  • Weil Gotshal & Manges also started tweeting in October 2008.  It has 65 followers and has posted 61 updates.
  • Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice gets the award for the best Twitter image (a bulldog) and slogan (“Innovators @ Law!”).  I also like their first update: “Launched the new Womble Carlyle Twitter page. Get current information on the legal issues facing your business. Friend us, we won’t bite.” With 92 followers and 86 updates, they have been tweeting since November 2008.

You’ll notice that the firms mostly post links back to their websites.  Not surprising – this is law firm marketing, after all.

There are several AmLaw 100 firms that have apparently claimed their accounts, but have done nothing with them.  This is a smart move if they are trying to avoid the fate of Orrick.  Here’s a list of firms and possibly their Twitter handles.  I say possibly because this is based on my research on Twitter – I have not contacted any firms to ask whether they have, in fact, claimed their Twitter accounts.  I didn’t include hyperlinks because, for the most part, there is nothing to see on the Twitter pages.  But the URLs, as listed, are valid.  If you see some that have one follower, it’s me.

  • Akin Gump –
  • AlstonBird –
  • Arnold & Porter –
  • Baker & Hostetler
  • Baker & McKenzie –
  • Baker Botts –
  • Bryan Cave –
  • Cleary Gottlieb –
  • Davis Polk –
  • Debevoise & Plimpton –
  • Dickstein Shapiro –
  • DLA Piper –
  • Fish & Richardson –
  • Foley & Lardner –
  • Gibson, Dunn –
  • Goodwin Procter –
  • Hogan & Hartson –
  • Holland & Knight –
  • Howrey –
  • Hunton & Williams –
  • Jones Day –
  • Latham & Watkins –
  • Dewey & LeBoeuf –
  • Mayer Brown –
  • Morgan Lewis & Bockius – (has four followers and is following four others)
  • O’Melveny & Myers –
  • Patton Boggs –
  • Paul Hastings –
  • Paul, Weiss – (I think that this may be a person named Paul Weiss – probably not the firm)
  • Proskauer Rose –
  • Reed Smith – (this is a “marketing guy” in Austin Texas – probably named… Reed Smith)
  • Ropes & Gray
  • Schulte Roth –
  • Seyfarth Shaw –
  • Sidley Austin –
  • Simpson Thacher –
  • Sonnenschein –
  • Squire Sanders –
  • Sutherland Asbill  –
  • Vinson & Elkins –
  • White & Case –
  • WilmerHale –
  • Wilson Sonsini –
  • Winston & Strawn –

I may have missed some.  If so, please let me know.

It’s not just the AmLaw 100 on Twitter.  Here’s a list of other firms that I’ve encountered from comments on Twitter:

  • Deacons (Australia) – 140 followers, 120 updates.
  • Staton Law Firm (Huntersville, NC) – 73 followers, 28 updates.
  • Clements Law Firm (Charlotte, NC) – 66 followers, 2 updates.
  • Christensen Law Firm (Draper, UT) – 4 followers, 1 update.
  • Hinshaw (USA) – 32 followers, 0 updates.
  • Gowlings (Canada) – 66 followers, 24 updates.
  • Patel & Warren (Houston, TX) – 47 followers, 12 updates.
  • Jackson Walker (Texas) – 79 followers, 18 updates (has 13 other associated Twitter accounts, and check out their website, which has a prominent “Follow Jackson Walker on Twitter” link).
  • Simmons Cooper (Illinios) – 80 followers, 130 updates.
  • ShannonGracey (Texas) – 173 followers, 31 updates.

And for those firms that have not *yet* jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, here’s the good news:  You’re still in the Twittersphere.  You may not be tweeting, but others are tweeting about you.  For example, the ABA Journal has a Twitter account, has posted more than 4,400 updates, and has almost 1,000 followers.  The AmLawDaily also posts updates about firms.  It has 188 followers and has made over 350 updates.

Others are Tweeting about law firms, as well.  There is a huge community of lawyers and others in the legal profession on Twitter.  They post updates about firms big and small.  Unfortunately, these days, a lot of what they’re are saying has to do with law firm layoffs.  There’s even a Law Firm Layoff Tracker on the Lawshucks website that’s, sadly, a hot topic on Twitter.

The question remains: should law firms be on Twitter?  Some say no, but that lawyers at firms should be.  Maybe these are the Twitter purists.  Perhaps they think that Twitter should be all about the conversation and not about simple broadcasting and posting links.  My personal opinion is that Twitter conversations are great, but law firms should be on Twitter.  It is a marketing opportunity, just like a law blog.  It’s an opportunity to get a firm’s content in front of more eyes and drive more traffic to its website.  If a firm’s lawyers also use Twitter, then all the better.  Those lawyers can have Twitter conversations and build relationships.  But the two needn’t be mutually exclusive.  Firms might not engage in Twitter conversations, but neither do the many of the mainstream media outlets, like Fox News, CNN Breaking News, and New York Times.  Twitter–in its short life–has grown into more than just a place to chat.  It is a place to post news and information that others will chat about.

Being a mere mortal, and there being only so many hours in the day, I’m sure that I missed some law firms on Twitter.  If you know of others, please let me know by leaving a comment.  Thanks.

Finally, if you’re going to LegalTech NY this coming week, you won’t want to miss “What is Twitter And How Can I Use It?” – a panel discussion moderated by Monica Bay with panelists Matthew Homann, Kevin O’Keefe, and Chris Winfield.   It’s Monday Feb. 2, 2009 at 3:00 PM.  I’ll be there.   And feel free to DM me and say hello – in person.

In the meanwhile, join the conversation about Twitter in the comments below.

  • Should law firms be on Twitter?  If so, how should they use it?

Update: Thanks to Bruce Carton for pointing out his great list of BigLaw Lawyers on Twitter.  He noted a few firms I missed (now updated above).

LawyerKM :: Knowledge Management & Technology for Lawyers and Law Firms


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17 thoughts on “Law Firms on Twitter – An Update

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  • February 11, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks for the link – and, more importantly, the information about the twitter activity. We’re on twitter now too – @lawshucks

  • March 5, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    But who would follow – and why?

  • March 5, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    At a minimum, law firms need to grab their Twitter ID (or wrestle it back from the squatter.)

    The next step would be to merely use it as a distribution channel by sending out links to client alerts and news. They already post it to their websites and send them out by email. This would just add a step. If they are using a blog, they can just have the blog posts pushed out. (I do this with @ComplianceBuild.)

    Engaging twitter through a brand account has never felt right to me. I am not inclined to send a message back to some faceless brand. I would not send something to @goodwinprocter or @debevoise or @gibbons.

    I use Twitter search to look for topics. I generally run a search for “compliance” several times a day looking for new developments and new people. So posting to Twitter gets their alerts out there in another media.

  • March 5, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Biglaw may not be the right fit for twitter. If you look at the twitters with the most followers, they are nearly universally from small law firms or solos. I am a solo and with little effort have more followers than the whole list combined. It will be difficult for biglaw twitter accounts to compete with solo’s and small firms because they will not be able to show much of a personality. Unless you are a really big corporate name (like Dell or Zappos), you have to follow others to obtain followers. They will have difficulty when doing this because they may look like spammers. If I were to advise biglaw, they should allow select people at their firm twitter for them.

  • March 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Some of twitter’s great attributes are the lack of established rules about how one should use it and how it effortlessly evolves from one thing to another. One day you’re talking about the cute thing your cat did next day you find a community of like-minded individuals sharing ideas and pointing you towards things you wouldn’t otherwise find (or have time to find). I can’t see the should or shouldn’t of anything on twitter, except abuse as described in the guidelines. Plus, you can choose to follow a person, or a law firm, or not.

  • March 5, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Lane Powell PC, one of the larger firms in the Pacific NW and headquartered in Seattle, has begun a presence on Twitter. At this point, they have mostly used it to push out their legal update “Hotsheet” headlines.

  • March 5, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Baker & Daniels – AmLaw 200 – has been posting on Twitter since October 2008. Follow @BakerD_News

  • March 6, 2009 at 6:06 am

    I tend to agree with Doug. I would park the name, maybe post press releases, but that’s probably it. I would encourage lawyers, partners & psls to participate though as it’s a great way to connect with people and build your personal brand.

  • March 6, 2009 at 10:36 am

    iciclethief – As to who would follow? Many of the firms listed above, which have Twitter accounts, have dozens of followers.

    As to why? Because firms tend to put out good, thoughtful articles about topics that are of interest to people in the legal profession. If these firms are doing what most firms do on Twitter (simply list headlines and links back to those articles on their websites) then Twitter is a great place for people to either search for, or happen upon, those interesting articles.

    As to why firms would want to Tweet? It’s marketing – another way to get their content out to the world. And does it work? Look at this Twitter search and see a whole page of people who have re-tweeted or otherwise referenced Fulbright & Jaworski’s material

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