I love surveys. I love to find out what other people think about things. Even though they are sometimes tedious, I also love to answer surveys. I don't know why this is. I'd like to attribute it to my introductory psychology course in college but that seems kind of silly. It just is what it is and introspection isn't useful.
In any event, I don't think I'm the only one who likes surveys. Perhaps it is because the internet and modern computing capabilities have made surveys so much more efficient in reaching a statistically significant population, with quick computerized data analysis and report capabilities. The most popular free survey services that I know about are http://www.instantsurvey.com/, http://www.surveymonkey.com/ and http://www.zoomerang.com/. The really neat thing about these surveys is that they offer a tool for accessing information from staff and attorneys that is otherwise very difficult and time consuming to gather. I don't think that these types of surveys are the only tool for gathering important information, but I do think that there are good options for them. There are also ways to ensure that the survey respondents remain anonymous, which can be quite helpful in eliciting honest feedback. To be sure, there is always the possibility that the tool will be misused by the respondents (or the surveyor), so survey design and use needs some careful thought.
These tools can be used internally, for gathering information from staff and attorneys about any number of issues, from the mundane office functions to training needs and desires to critical feedback in upward reviews. They can also be used for client satisfaction surveys.
In the mid 90's I remember a senior attorney confidently announcing that no one would ever hire an attorney based on a website. I don't think that prediction was entirely accurate. That same person recently commented that using web-based surveys would not be useful in gathering client feedback. I don't think that prediction is accurate either. I predict that these web-based survey tools will become increasingly useful to law firms that want to know what their employees and clients (and partners?) are really thinking.
So here is my first survey. All responses are anonymous.
Let me know what you really think.