The annual ABA Legal Technology Survey Report is out and shows again that law firms are slow to adopt new technologies. There is a convenient audio summary audio summary by ABA’s Laura Ikens that discusses the results in brief covering e-discovery, blogs, and podcasts.
The interesting (though not surprising) piece to me was the low awareness and use of blogs in legal services (I first wrote on blogs as a law marketing tool in April 2003!)…
According to the ABA survey, even though it is recognized that blogs can be a great marketing tool, they are “not catching fire just yet.” Only 5% of firms (responding) produce a blog. And as awareness tools, blogs are still underutilized: more than 50% of respondents never use blogs for current awareness of current events, 22% use blogs less than once a month, 12% use them 1 to 3 times a month, and 12% once or more a week.
Furthermore, using RSS feeds and aggregators is even less common and less understood. 83% of respondents never use RSS (syndicated news feeds), and only 5% use them use them one or more times a week. Ikens reports that this low usage could be a matter of terminology as those who use tools such as MyYahoo! or iGoogle may not know they are using RSS feeds. (Aside: This is one reason why I developed Legal Marketing Reader, a web site that pulls together the headline feeds from the top blogs on law firm marketing, which sidesteps the user’s need to use or understand RSS, and just have an easy web site to bookmark for keeping up with law marketing news.)
As I said, I am not surprised by the ABA findings regarding law firms’ and attorneys’ slow adoption of these technologies, as my experience supports it. While I am sold on the benefits of blogging, lawyers as a group tend to be more cautious and risk averse. Similarly, the term and concept of RSS feeds is difficult for most people understand (see earlier post on slow adoption of RSS). And, RSS takes that little bit of extra time to set up and understand, that frankly, most busy professionals just don’t have.
That being said, the fact that others are slow to adopt these technologies, means that they are still very valid ways for motivated individuals, departments or firms to differentiate themselves, promote expertise, self-brand, and provide value to their clients and industry segments.
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