UK Law Firms with Klout – A Clearer Picture

Law Firm Klout

And the winner is..... not the law firm with the most clout (indeed not even a law firm at all)

Today The Lawyer published a top ten list and bottom ten list of law firms with Klout.

It will be obvious from a quick glance at the list by any lawyer that uses social media regularly that it is flawed. A check of actual Klout scores demonstrates that this is indeed the case.

One would have thought that The Lawyer would have learned a lesson from Law Firm Twitteratigate when Twitter Grader rather than Klout was used to produce a top ten list with clearly flawed results. At that time it was stated by some that Klout would have been a better tool to use to produce such a list. I would agree. But if you are going to use such a tool then do indeed use it properly and include all law firms that you can in your research not just some.

This is The Lawyer’s top ten list (they did not include the actual Klout scores involved but I have added these in brackets after each name):-

  1. Quality Solicitors (45)
  2. Cobbetts (30)
  3. Allen & Overy (43)
  4. Eversheds (44)
  5. Olswang (41)
  6. Taylor Wessing (40)
  7. Burness (38)
  8. Pannone (34)
  9. CMS Cameron McKenna (34)
  10. Blake Lapthorn (32)

Based on actual Klout scores the priority should therefore be:-

  1. Quality Solicitors (45)
  2. Eversheds (44)
  3. Allen & Overy (43)
  4. Olswang (41)
  5. Taylor Wessing (40)
  6. Burness (38)
  7. Pannone (34)
  8. CMS Cameron McKenna (34)
  9. Blake Lapthorn (32)
  10. Cobbetts (30)

I wondered how my own firm, Inksters, would fair in this ranking and checked its Klout Score. At 36, Inksters would have been number 7 on the list. However, what about other law firms that are active social media users but do not appear in that top ten list. Here are a few that spring to my mind with their Klout scores in brackets after their names:-

  • Silverman Sherliker (49)
  • T J Shepperson (49)
  • Steven Williams (48)
  • MacRoberts (45)
  • DLA Piper (44)
  • Biggart Baillie (42)
  • Azrights (41)
  • Heaney Watson (35)
  • Boyes Turner (33)

All of these have Klout scores greater than many of those in The Lawyer’s top ten list. It is not a detailed or exhaustive list, just my quick stab at showing the defects in the list produced or reported by (it is not clear who actually compiled the list) The Lawyer. Some of these are small firms, even sole practitioners. However, they should not be ignored because of this. If anything they are perhaps the “upstarts” referred to by The Lawyer that “top firms” are “losing out to”. Others may be larger but often have a lawyer fronting their social media activities in a much more active way than other law firms.

So my top 10 (with apologies to any law firm excluded that has a higher Klout score) is:-

  • 1.= Silverman Sherliker (49)
  • 1.= T J Shepperson (49)
  • 3.    Steven Williams (48)
  • 4.=  MacRoberts (45)
  • 4.=  Quality Solicitors (45)
  • 6.=  Eversheds (44)
  • 6.=  DLA Piper (44)
  • 8.    Allen & Overy (43)
  • 9.    Biggart Baillie (42)
  • 10.= Azrights (41)
  • 10.= Olswang (41)

It is perhaps questionable whether Quality Solicitors should feature in any of these lists as it is not a law firm. Like is perhaps not being compared with like.

Looking at The Lawyer’s bottom ten list I had difficulty in finding many of the firms listed on Twitter or Klout. Here is the list (again with Klout scores, if I could find them, added by me in brackets after their names):-

  • Morgan Cole (17)
  • Brodies (28)
  • Keoghs (Couldn’t locate)
  • Browne Jacobson (32)
  • Bircham Dyson Bell (10)
  • Hugh James (Couldn’t locate)
  • Capsticks (Couldn’t locate)
  • Bristows (Couldn’t locate)
  • Forsters (Couldn’t locate)
  • Penningtons (Couldn’t locate)

Looks a bit unfair to place Brodies and Browne Jacobson in this list given their relatively high scores. Furthermore, Browne Jacobson have a higher Klout score than Cobbetts, who were placed in second place by The Lawyer in the top ten list! And how can firms who don’t even have a Klout score be ranked at all?

If anything can be gleaned from all of this it is that such lists should be taken with a big pinch of salt and probably are best simply ignored.

Addendum – 6 August 2011: An even clearer picture

It has now come out of the woodwork who actually compiled the flawed Law Firm Klout list. It was not The Lawyer but was a PR agency called Flagship Consulting (referred to by Gavin Ward on Twitter yesterday as ‘Flawgship Consulting’). They issued a press release entitled “Social media legal ‘Hot 100’ announced”. This included their full ranking of 100 Hot Social Law Firms and not just the top ten and bottom ten as published by The Lawyer.

When I originally read the article in The Lawyer I thought that Flagship Consulting owned Klout!:-

Devised by Flagship Consulting, Klout measures a firm’s social media influence across a host of popular networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Whilst not immediately clear from the press release it transpires (from Tweets elicited from @FlagshipCons by @_millymoo yesterday) that Flagship Consultancy took The Lawyer’s top 100 Law Firm list and re-ordered that according to social media Klout and also Peer Index (which The Lawyer failed to mention). I assume they also dropped 2 law firms from The Lawyer’s top 100 list to accommodate Quality Solicitors and High Street Lawyer that were brought in to create the ‘story’. Not sure why other legal groups were left out such as 360 Legal or Connect2Law to name but two. There again why would any of these groups be included as they are not actually law firms. Surely a better measure would have been to look at the smaller law firms (including sole practitioners) who are knocking the top 100 law firms completely out of the ring (or should I say the Google+ circle) when it comes to social media use. However, that is not news having already been covered in depth on this blog at Law Firm Twitteratigate – The Whole Story. Also mention of small firms such as my own (Inksters), TJ Shepperson, Steven Williams, Clutton Cox and Azrights will not get the headlines that pulling Quality Solicitors into the equation will.

If you are going to compile a top 100 social media law firm list you do not start with a list where most firms have very little or no social media presence. To obtain a Klout or Peer Index score I understand (but may be wrong) that you need at least a Twitter account (all searches on either rely on inputting a Twitter user name). Thus if you have no Twitter account you will have a zero score. There must be a large number of the top 100 law firms who have no such presence and hence a zero score. How can you then rank all those zeros?

If Flagship Consultancy were using both Klout and Peer Index did they combine the two scores for each law firm and divide the total by two? That would seem a fair enough way of doing it. However, if that approach had been used then Cobbetts (second on the list) would have scored only 19 (30 for Klout and 8 for Peer Index) whilst Brodies (92 on the list) would have scored 30 (28 for Klout and 32 for Peer Index). It looks therefore as though no real methodology was used.

Another rather surprising revelation is that Halliwells appears at number 59 on the list [Hat tip to @JonBloor for alerting me to the tweet by @RollOnFridayWeb who highlighted this “amazing spot” by @charlie_alys]. Halliwells of course is no more and has been no more for some time. Putting a defunct law firm who obviously no longer tweet and will never tweet again on a top 100 list is worse than Intendance putting Norton Rose on their top 10 list (at least then there was a hope that Norton Rose might one day Tweet and they now do so). In attempting to defend their decision to include Halliwells in the list @FlagshipCons tweeted to @RollOnFridayWeb that “we made the decision to keep them in” and “the list is a ranking of those featured on the Hot 100 – not a list of the best law firms at social”. Hmm… their press release is headlined “Social media legal ‘Hot 100′ announced” and they state in it:-

Flagship’s alternative ‘Hot 100’  based on measurement of a law firm’s social media clout (audience, reach, influence and engagement) – identifies Quality Solicitors as having the most influential online presence.  And High Street Lawyer, another recently established legal ‘network’, is in the top 25.  By contrast, Clifford Chance, ranked number 1 in the Hot 100, is only 32 in the social rankings.

Well I can’t see Quality Solicitors or High Street Lawyer anywhere in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 so how do they, in particular, get to enter this new ranking list? Having dropped two firms from it to accommodate Quality Solicitors and High Street Lawyer might it not have been an idea for one of those dropped to have been Halliwells? However, of course, if it was really “a ranking of those featured on the Hot 100 – not a list of the best law firms at social” then no one would have been dropped from the list (including Halliwells) and neither Quality Solicitors nor High Street Lawyer would have been added to it. Flagship Consulting have actually stated on Twitter that it was a “predefined list – we didn’t choose who would feature”. Who chose Quality Solicitors and High Street Lawyer then?

Why would a PR company produce such a list anyway? A cynic might think that Flagship Consulting were on the pay roll of Quality Solicitors. They have denied this on Twitter and stated that “we created the report ourselves as we thought it would be interesting to see if there was a correlation between the two lists”. Hmm… not going to be a correlation if you decide to drop two from it and add two new ones in. It has been suggested on Twitter that perhaps the motive for compiling the list was to get their name into the Lawyer so law firms might ask for help. With a Klout of 36, as already highlighted in comments on this post, they may not be the best PR company to seek such help from.

Flagship Consulting on the back of comments made on The Lawyer article published a blog post: Are law firms too posh to tweet?

If you’re after entertainment, I urge you to check out the reader responses on the The Lawyer’s website; usually they’re marvellous mix of vitriol and superciliousness. In short, lawyers, love a good ‘hate’ and a recent piece on who’s up and who’s down in the social media stakes has really got them snarling. But before I go any further, I have to declare an interest – it’s all our fault!  Let me explain…

We sent our list to The Lawyer, the journal ran a piece and the “we talk to people rather than tweet them” comments rolled in. And many of the respondents had a point: Quality Solicitors and similar outfits are, obviously, not in the same space as long-established, full service firms serving the business community.  However we did want to make the point that like it or not social media is a powerful information channel which cannot be ignored.

Perhaps putting a spin on it and neatly side stepping the questions regarding the list being flawed in the first place. Flagship Consulting have, however, tweeted to me that they will respond to this post. I look forward to receiving and publishing their comments.

So there you have it: nothing but more nonsense about social media and law firms from a PR company, as we have seen before with the Intendance Report. However, they do say all publicity is good publicity. The Lawyer has now been bitten twice by this. Third time shy perhaps?

A note about manipulating Klout scores

It is also worth knowing that Klout scores (like ‘Hot 100′ lists) can be manipulated. Cube Social had a guest post by Jillian Ney on Klout… and how it can be manipulated which demonstrated how Jillian was able to increase her Klout by 4 points in 4 days. Indeed Quality Solicitors have admitted to such manipulation in a comment from Craig Holt on this Blawg where he reveals that adding a picture to Facebook with a link through to Klout was enough to earn them an extra 6 points!

US lawyer Bradley Shear alerts us to the fact that Klout’s Algorithm Appears To Be Compromised By Social Media Credential Fraud:-

Follower/Follow Ratio which appears to be a major component of the algorithm is being manipulated by those practicing Social Media Credential Fraud. If the Follower/Follow Ratio can be manipulated, it appears that the Followed Back % is also compromised.

Danny Brown says you can make yourself an influencer by playing the Klout +K game:-

But whether you think Klout has value or not, it’s now a lot of fun – because you can game the system and show its flaws, and this is all done by one of Klout’s own tools, the new +K option.

Do watch Danny Brown’s amusing video at the end of that post about Klout discovering a renowned sheep expert.

Some PR companies recognise that such manipulation is not a good thing. Social Spread Media in their post on Manipulating Klout state that:-

Klout scores are becoming drug-like. And people are finding all sorts of ways to increase their scores by retweeting comments and including twitter handles in tweets…  a good PR practice is to always be authentic. People are savvy enough to realize that you are manipulating your tweets to raise your Klout score.  And the social media purists out there will snub you.  Social media’s intention is to share your thoughts, ideas, passions and make a difference in the world.  Not to raise your profile ranking to get a “free” hotel night at a three-star hotel.

That last sentence surprised me but apparently “the higher your Klout score, the more free-stuff you “score.” It’s that simple and that’s why it is highly coveted”. Businesses are apparently giving away perks to those with appropriate Klout. Although this may just amount to Spotify invites or free @popchips (see: Klout is gaining clout with perks and PR). No doubt Craig Holt will be dishing out these freebies to Quality Solicitors’ members as an added perk to them ;-)

Trey Pennington gives you 4 Keys to Increasing Your Klout Score. However, ignore the keys and go straight to the end of Trey’s post where he wisely states:-

Don’t worry about increasing your Klout score (or twittergrader ranking or whatever comes next). Just use whatever gifts you have to help other people accomplish their dreams. If you’ll help enough other people get what they want, you’ll have all the influence you’ll need.

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