this phrase is rather formal and used mostly in written material.
Ref # Kanzen Master Level 1 - p67 - no.62
NOUN + 〜にそくして / 〜にそくした
You do realize that this phrase is rather formal and used mostly in written material.
i had no idea, so it will be noted!
perhaps [nisotte] is a similar but less formal phrase?
Yes, it is. にしたがって（従う） is not as casual as にそって（沿う） and is also not formal as に即して。に従って and に沿って are used in conversation as well.
I thought に従って [nishitagatte] implied more hierarchy, or cause and effect, whereas [nisotte] is more in parallel?
(fact) [nishitagatte] (effect)
高い。従って、買わなかった It was expensive. Accordingly, I did not buy it.
川に沿って道 the street parallel with the river
Your 従って in the eg above is 接続詞 conjunction. My 従って is a transformation of 従う。Yes, 従う implies hierarchy but not all the time. Also 沿う and 従う aren't the same meaning but implications are the same here. example : Please answer following the example 例題に即して、回答してください。 例題に沿って、回答してください。 例題に従って、回答してください。
See also に即した "based on, adapted to" プロとして現実に即した解決策を提示します。 As professionals we present solutions adapted to the facts of the situation.
According to two of my texts, this phrase is written using different 漢字 depending on the nuance: に即して (in accordance with the facts, objective reality, experience, etc.) and に則して (in accordance with arbitrary rules, laws, etc.) Following that, #5151 is not written correctly (boo to ALC). However, I also see that another source uses に即して in both cases, so maybe this is just a nitpicky distinction. Can any native speakers address this?
In Kanzen master it says 即 is appropriate for things that conform to experience or a situation, and 則 is for when things conform to laws and rules.