Facebook Like thumbs upI’ll admit I was surprised by a headline that recently crossed my desk: “Majority of Law Firm Managing Partners Embrace Social Media”

Really, I thought? So all of that fearful fretting I hear is not representative?

Reading deeper into the release and the survey on which it was based yielded some welcome nuance. No, the conversations I have heard from law firms are not atypical: Many still dislike the medium.

What “The 2014 Managing Partner Social Media Survey–Part 1” makes clear, though, is that managing partners are “overwhelmingly embracing social media, specifically the professional social network LinkedIn.”

Well, if we’re thinking of Linkedin as a social media channel, I guess I’d have to agree. It is a space in the cloud world in which wearing a belt and suspenders is still welcome. So it may surprise few that “more than 90 percent of managing partners have LinkedIn accounts.”

Dig down a bit and the useful survey also reveals that “while 39 percent felt social media is a ‘new and exciting way to interact with others,’ 35.6 percent saw the innovation as a ‘necessary evil’ but said that they would ‘learn to adapt.’”

Belt? Check. Suspenders? Check. Social Media? Um...

Belt? Check. Suspenders? Check. Social Media? Um…

A necessary evil. That’s more like it. Can you hear the kicking and screaming?

Read and download the report here.

And here are some useful takeaways:

  • While 39 percent of respondents overall had a favorable view of social media, this number was 75 percent for managing partners under 40.
  • All managing partners under 50 reported having a LinkedIn account, compared to 86 percent of those 50 and over.
  • The vast majority of managing partners set up their LinkedIn accounts on their own.
  • On average, most managing partners access LinkedIn once a week.
  • Of the few managing partners who reported not being on LinkedIn, the majority cited an inability to see the benefits of the network.
  • Most managing partners belong to four to five LinkedIn Groups.
  • However, 40 percent of managing partners are mainly observers in the Groups to which they belong.

(OK, I really tried to read that third bullet point without smirking. Good on them!)

Part 2 promises to cover “firm-wide social media policies and practices.”