“Right now, approximately 1 in 4 Americans is dealing with some sort of legal issue. Half of those people are Millennials.” This from Attorney Nika Kabiri (@nikakabiri), Director of Strategic Insights at Avvo.

Where are these twenty to thirty year olds? Where would lawyers go to network with millennials in order build relationships and name?

The Chamber of Commerce? Kiwanis? Bar associations? Country clubs? Civic boards? Hardly. Millennials, like most Americans, are socializing, networking, helping others  and seeking information on social media.

According to the Pew Research Center:

A majority of Americans now say they get news via social media, and half of the public has turned to these sites to learn about the 2016 presidential election. Americans are using social media in the context of work (whether to take a mental break on the job or to seek out employment), while also engaging in an ongoing effort to navigate the complex privacy issues that these sites bring to the forefront.

Which social media are Americans using? 68% of all U.S. adults are Facebook users, while 28% use Instagram, 26% use Pinterest, 25% use LinkedIn and 21% use Twitter.

And which social networking site do millennials use?

  • 88% use Facebook
  • 60% use Instagram
  • 41% use Snapchat
  • 36% use Twitter
  • 34% use LinkedIn

Millennials, per Kabiri, want a lawyer who’s adaptable to the current legal and social climate. They want an attorney who reflects the times and who’s up-to-date.

Yet how many lawyers have adapted to the current social climate? How many lawyers really use social media to build a name for themselves and network with peers and the general community in order to build relationships.

Everyone in law talks a good game. This from Thomson Reuters’ Legal Solutions Blog earlier this week.

The American Bar Association and approximately 14 states now require that lawyers remain informed regarding benefits and risks associated with the use of technology in support of the practice of law. This requirement essentially places the duty to remain current on the evolution of legal support technology on par with the obligation to remain current on changes in the law itself. Lawyers are now routinely required to develop and maintain adequate knowledge associated with the opportunities and challenges connected with use of technology. All lawyers thus have a professional responsibility to develop at least a basic fluency in technology use.

Yet when I go to find the Twitter handle of a leader on the ABA Futures Commission so that I can give her a positive attribute, I can’t find a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account for her.

Thousands of lawyers and other professionals are dependent on the leadership of large law firm managing partners, executive chairs and other executives. Yet how many of them are leading by example when it comes to social media. How many of them are as conversant in using something (social media) that’s as simple and as obvious to use as a cell phone for the average American.

Fear, lack of time, and other excuses don’t cut it anymore. Your employees, families and the American people in need of legal services are dependent on you to act.

Kabiri’s post may relate to legal services at the consumer and small business level. But don’t think for a second that consumers of legal services at the corporate level don’t look to see how potential counsel has adapted socially.

More than one in-house counsel has told me how funny it is when a lawyer bio or law firm website talks about innovation and being tech savvy, when the lawyer they are looking at doesn’t even use Twitter.

It’s easy to dismiss social media and take comfort in the fact that the people and the clients that you know don’t use social media much. Of course they don’t. How could you connect with and engage those who do?

Making a move to social media offers huge rewards. Not only are their millenials on social media looking for professional services people and firms they trust, but your competition sucks. The vast majority of lawyers and firms won’t act – they’ll remain doing what they’ve always done — lagging the average American when it comes to social change.