Covid drives surge in thought-leadership marketing at biggest firms

Social media: LinkedIn the platform of choice

There has been an explosion in thought-leadership marketing among the country’s major law firms, driven in part by insights created to help clients navigate Covid-19, according to new research.

The top 100 firms created 37,397 individual blogs, articles and other insights during 2020, marketing platform Passle found – the last time it conducted this research, in 2018, it looked more broadly at the top 200 and they only produced 33,823 insights between them.

The 2021 Thought Leadership Index found that, by and large, larger firms produced more thought leadership, but there is a core of smaller firms “punching above their weight” with high numbers of posts.

“These firms such are driving quality thought leadership within their niche,” it said.

The research – which aimed to discover which law firms are most successful in building their presence and demonstrating their expertise online – found that, by volume, Norton Rose Fulbright produced by far the most insights, with 1,920 over the year, averaging more than three per lawyer (the average across the top 100 was 1.14). CMS (1,124) and Linklaters (1,038) were the next most prolific.

When judged by size, however, leading media firm Wiggin led the way, its 816 insights equating to more than eight posts per lawyer.

Passle ranked the top 100 firms across the knowledge pieces they created and their social media activity and followers for an overall ranking that put Norton Rose Fulbright top, followed by Kingsley Napley, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters and Taylor Wessing.

Rounding out the top 10 were Burges Salmon, Slaughter and May, Lewis Silkin, Irwin Mitchell and Osborne Clarke.

By contrast, volume conveyancing practice O’Neill Patient was at the bottom of the list, edging out Dickson Minto, Plexus Legal, Knights, Digby Brown, Capsticks, Keystone Law, Sackers, Ince and Minster Law.

When it came to social media, LinkedIn was very much the platform of choice, with firms averaging nearly 27,000 followers. Eight firms have more than 100,000, with three – DLA Piper, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy – way out in front with more than 175,000 each.

On Twitter, the average number of followers was 7,930, with DLA Piper the only firm with more than 40,000 followers; Allen & Overy, Irwin Mitchell and Hogan Lovells had more than 30,000 each.

Only seven of the top 100 were not using YouTube, but consumer practice Slater & Gordon was “the undoubted YouTube king of law firms”, Passle said, registering nearly 11.5m views last year.

Irwin Mitchell was second with 940,000; Hogan Lovells was the highest City firm on the list, with 236,000 views putting it fifth.

Adam Elgar, Passle co-founder, said: “It is no longer enough to tell potential clients how good you are – you need to show it too. Firms have nothing to fear and everything to gain by putting their expertise in the public domain, and there is often a clear correlation between this activity and enquiry levels.

“Particularly in the early days of the pandemic, firms were able to assist their clients and the wider business community hugely by ramping up their insights on the legal implications, with many creating dedicated knowledge hubs.

“People buy expertise but they also buy people. The savvy use of social media to share insights about both the law and the firm is a great way to sell yourself to potential clients, and it need not be a time-consuming exercise.”

Firms can request a free benchmarking report at

    Readers Comments

  • Andrew Twambley says:

    Slater & Gordon was “the undoubted YouTube king of law firms”, Passle said, registering nearly 11.5m views last year.

    This is incorrect 11.4 million views in total not last year for all time. Also this includes 9.5 million views on 6 adverts.

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