Manchester is leading the way when it comes to the use of Twitter in the legal profession, according to a new league table.
Two of the city’s top soliciting firms have been named in a top 10 list of the most influential Twitter users in the UK’s legal profession, and they are just a stone’s throw apart.
The list compiled by I-COM analysed the Twitter streams of the most active 800 law firms nationwide and placed Ralli Solicitors and JMW Solicitors at numbers five and ten of the group.
Mike Blackburn, Operations Director of I-COM, said: “The North West business community as a whole is very active on Twitter and we know that some law firms in the region are leading the way.”
Both firms, which are based in the City Centre, agree that social media is very important to their businesses.
Robert Illidge, Marketing Executive for Ralli said: “We are seeing more business being drawn in with the use of social media.”
He added: “Off the back of the survey I am happy to say that it has boosted the business in all areas. It is ever increasing.”
Daniel Clark, Director of Marketing at JMW Solicitors LLP said: “Twitter has been a great way of engaging with private clients in areas such as: divorce, wills, motoring and even some commercial areas such as intellectual property and fraud.”
The Chamber of Barristers revealed that social networking sites such as Twitter have now become a valuable asset to the courts and a number of their team have been involved in cases that use this media platform, especially on the back of the Manchester riots.
Twitter is becoming a fast evolving marketing strategy for businesses as a whole, even proving as a valuable asset for Greater Manchester Police.
Last year, Greater Manchester Police successfully posted details on Twitter of every incident the force was called out on during a 24 hour period, showing the role of the site in modern day policing.
Other Manchester business Tweeters include Night and Day Café and independent cinema, Cornerhouse.
Social media in the legal profession: is it a good idea?
Social media has recently been under scrutiny in relation to the legal profession, with the biggest question being whether social media such sites as Twitter and live news feeds should be allowed in court.
In past times it was unheard of to have instant access to the events taking place in a court room; however judges are becoming more accustomed to solicitors and reporters broadcasting information instantly.
In recent months we have seen live newsfeeds and Twitter updates on the riots that broke out across Britain in August. It was through this easy access of social media that many of the culprits were caught. In addition to this, the public were kept updated with the related court cases on a regular basis and saw firsthand that justice was done.
It is not just solicitors and reporters who have embraced the social media trend, in the last year we have seen Greater Manchester Police become regular Twitter users. Last year GMP chose to tweet every call they received in a day which made for a gripping 24 hour read while publicising the activities of the police.
The main debate is whether social media is a hindrance or a help? The main pro for this argument is that such instant publication of news places a greater obligation on judges to make fair decisions as they are more accountable to the public.
On the contrary, many believe that it could result in an American celebrity culture similar to shows as the X-Factor where judges feel they have to live up to a reputation. This inevitably could result in an unfair trial.
Undeniably, social media is a double edged sword. On one hand it keeps the public informed, yet it acts as a tool for law firms to bring in business.
Daniel Clark, Director of Marketing at JMW Solicitors LLP said: “With the provision of legal services becoming even more competitive online the use of social media has become a now daily route to market for us.”
Where do we draw the line? Should a pitch for business be excused in the face of jeopardising a fair trial and how far should we go in the world of social media?
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