The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center is out with its 2010 Legal Technology Survey Report. The six-volume survey looks at legal-technology trends in various aspects of law practice. Reliable statistics about lawyers’ use of technology are hard to come by, but this annual survey has proven to be a fairly good indicator of overall trends.

Volume IV of the survey covers Web and communication technology and has some interesting statistics regarding lawyers’ use of social networking.

  • Asked whether they personally maintain a presence in an online social network such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Legal OnRamp, 56% of lawyers said yes. Just two years ago, in 2008, only 15% said yes to that question.
  • The numbers were lower for the question of whether the lawyers’ firms maintained a presence in a social network. Just 17% percent said yes. Still, that was up from 12% last year and 4% in 2008.
  • At firms of more than 100 attorneys, more than a third of lawyers had no idea whether their firms were involved in social networks.
  • When broken down by practice area, IP lawyers are most likely to participate in a social network. That makes sense, but you’d probably never guess the next two practice areas on the list: contracts (62%) and commercial law (59%).

For the first time this year, the survey asked lawyers to identify which social networks they participate in. Here’s what they said:

  • LinkedIn, 83%.
  • Facebook, 68%.
  • Plaxo, 18%.
  • Martindale-Hubbell Connected, 4%.
  • LawLink and Twitter, both 2%.
  • Avvo, LegalOnRamp and LegallyMinded, each 1%.

When asked whether they participate in a microblogging service such as Twitter, Jaiku or Tumblr, 5% said yes, up from 1% last year.

Volume IV of the survey is available for purchase from the ABA for $350 (or $300 for ABA members).