Social media is starting to be accepted by all professions, including lawyers, as it’s a great way of providing opportunities to generate leads, connect with clients, network with other professional and build up your brand and reputation. However social media can serve as a double edge dagger; while it presents all these great opportunities, when used incorrectly by lawyers, it can ruin your reputation, lead to your license being revoked, or at a minimum, runs the risk of embarrassing yourself if you aren’t caution and end up running afoul of state ethical rules and obligations.
Let’s face it – if you do a search online, you’ll even find lawyers who have been disbarred or even placed under arrest for what they’ve done via social media which is why presented below are a couple of tips to keep in mind so that you embarrass yourself – or worse – when using social networks liked Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+:
Don’t Accidentally Reveal Confidential Information
All attorney’s know this, however it’s important to remember that what you do on social media isn’t private and confidential. For example, if you post a picture on social media, it might be geotagged wit your location and time which in turn might inadvertently disclose a meeting location that was meant to be a secret. There re also many websites that work in conjunction with social media – many sites actually ask you to create an account with your social media login. If you were to do this, it’s possible that the information is being cross shared which in turn could result in confidential information being disclosed which then means it would no longer be protected by the attorney-client privilege. In the same vein, it’s a common courtesy and quite important that you remind any clients that choose to interact with you via social media that they should be careful with what information they divulge so that they don’t inadvertently disclose confidential information.
Don’t Unintentionally Create Lawyer-Client Relationship
The great thing about social media and the online world is that it can be a wonderful place to exposure your knowledge and build up your reputation as an expert within a certain subject. However, this comes with some risk.
Whenever you provide legal education, you need to tread the waters very carefully to make sure that you are providing general education as opposed to specific advice which might inadvertently cause harm to the person and in which case they could potentially sue you. You also want to make sure that you don’t solicit confidential information as to not create a lawyer-client relationship.
Don’t Use Insults
The Internet seems to be a great place for people to get their frustrations out, but remember that once it’s out there, you have no control of what happens. How many news stories have you seen where someone has said something they shouldn’t have, only to realize their mistake and delete the post, and yet somehow what ever they’ve said is still caught.
Out of honor for your practice and for your reputation, make sure to refrain from badmouthing your colleagues, opposing counsel, and/or clients. Its quite possible that if someone were to find out about the insult that they can take some sort of action against you. Even if they don’t, you could irrevocably damage your reputation if people discover that you readily insult those you work with.
If you have additional tips or advice or have a story to share, leave a comment below!
- 19% of Lawyers Got a New Client via Social Media-Larry Bodine (nysbacle.wordpress.com)
- Using social media effectively: How do you use it? (anchoredinknowledge.wordpress.com)
- Two Things to Consider When Thinking about your Marketing Budget (sirenmediamarketing.wordpress.com)
- Social Media Is No Place To Air Divorce Grievances (prweb.com)
- Five Social Media Mistakes to Avoid (thedrilldown.com)