A new research report from LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell tells us that lawyers are creating social media accounts but most of those accounts are practically abandoned after they’re created. In other words, law firms are protecting their names and creating social media presences, but they’re missing the opportunity that social media offers to build relationships and attract new clients.

Of the 110 law firms from around the world who participated in the research study, 85 had created LinkedIn Company Pages. However, a significant number of those firms had created LinkedIn Company Pages and never updated them again. LinkedIn was reported as the most popular social media site for law firms, so the statistics continue to decline as you look at other sites like Twitter and Facebook.

The full breakdown of the number of law firms using social media channels of the 110 firms that responded to the research survey follow:

  1. LinkedIn = 85 law firms (77%)
  2. Twitter = 35 law firms (32%)
  3. Facebook = 32 law firms (29%)
  4. YouTube = 12 law firms (11%)
  5. Blogging = 9 law firms (8%)
  6. Social Media Integration = 8 law firms (7%)

You can see the full infographic below (click and click again to view the image in a larger size) or view the full report here.

It’s important to understand that the law firms that participated in the survey were primarily international firms. It’s highly likely that smaller law firms and independent lawyers are doing a much better job of leveraging the tools of the social web to build their businesses.

The social web offers a place where businesses (including law firms) can establish trust with people and offer helpful and meaningful content. For the legal industry, it would seem that those are areas law firms would want to build. There is a perception of the legal industry as untrustworthy. The social web is the perfect place for a law firm to stand out from a crowded field of similar providers.

Bottom-line, simply creating social media profiles and then never touching them again isn’t going to help law firms. In fact, it could do just the opposite and actually drive people away. By surrounding consumers with useful and meaningful content that they can discuss and share with their own audiences as well as directly with the lawyer who published it, law firms can massage consumer perceptions and build relationships that turn into word-of-mouth marketing and ultimately to sales. Law firms that figure this out and start publishing great content and conversing in two-way conversations across the social web will find themselves far ahead of their competitors in the very near future.