Social Networking Tips For Attorneys
LinkedIn. Facebook. Twitter. Blogs. Some say these social media websites offer prison professionals brave new worlds of possibility, marketing, and collaboration. Others assert they may be minefields complete of threat for the unwary or unwitting.
Which is accurate? Both of the path. Yes, these diverse sorts of social media present effective opportunities. Yes, besides, they pose vast risks.
So how can prison experts exercise “secure social networking?” In the spirit of the topic, we became too social networking websites, including LinkedIn and Facebook, to put that question to a ramification of legal professionals and consultants.
From the feedback we acquired, we distilled their advice right down to those pinnacle 10 guidelines.
10. Be an expert – always
Remember that you are a legal professional 24/7. Behave like one and usually be professional in whatever you do on-line.
That manner, principally, is honest in what you say approximately your self, your skills, and your exercise. Be especially careful within the bio you publish on your website or blog and within the profiles, you create for Facebook, LinkedIn, and other web sites. Do not portray yourself to be something you are not.
Being an expert also method no longer calling others names on-line. In particular, do now not name judges’ names. As comical as it appears to mention, a Florida legal professional became now not giggling after becoming disciplined and fined lately for writing on his weblog that a choose become an “evil, unfair witch.”
In something you post online, take note of protecting your personal “brand” and your very own expert popularity. “Participate – be a part of the communication,” advises Mark Beese, president of the consulting company Leadership for Lawyers in Denver. “But do not do anything that could diminish your reputation. Think.”
9. Be thoughtful about who you connect to
One easy way to protect yourself on social networks is to be careful who you connect to. Our story closing month gave an apparent instance of this in the choose who “friended” an attorney on Facebook. At the same time, that legal professional became representing a celebration in a tribulation before the judge. Not exceedingly, the choice was reprimanded, and the losing birthday celebration got a new trial.
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Another connection to avoid is one made for a bent purpose. An ethics panel has said, for example, that it’s miles irrelevant for a legal professional to friend someone to investigate the man or woman or to gain get admission to constrained records about a felony motion.
Also, be cautious to avoid connecting with others who may additionally have their own ulterior motives in connecting with you. And recall whether a connection or an endorsement ought to sooner or later come again to haunt you as evidence of a battle of interest.
“While social media offers anybody literally hundreds of connection opportunities, size of connections topics lots much less than the quality of interplay,” says Vanessa DiMauro, founding father of the Boston social-media consulting company Leader Networks. “Be intentional, make wonderful impressions, and offer value to folks that you connect or engage with.”
A commonplace practice amongst legal professionals is to segregate professional and personal contacts in one-of-a-kind networks. “I still deal with Facebook and LinkedIn one after the other,” says Reid Trautz, director of the Practice and Professionalism Center on the American Immigration Lawyers Association in Washington, D.C. “Facebook is for non-public use such as the circle of relatives, buddies, and professional friends; LinkedIn is precisely for professional connections and expert pals.”
Joshua Masur, a companion with the law firm Turner Boyd in San Francisco, does equal the usage of LinkedIn professionally but proscribing his Facebook connections to friends and near colleagues. “Of route, which means you have to be inclined to attract strains,” he says, “which means being willing to say no while human beings ask to connect in a community that you’ve restrained.”
8. Don’t fall suffer to the myth of anonymity
“I would by no means delude myself that socializing ‘anonymously’ on any of those systems is genuinely nameless, including commenting on blogs,” cautions Susan Cartier Liebel, the Connecticut-primarily based founder of Solo Practice University.
The Web’s current records are replete with stories of the unmasking of legal specialists who thought they had been posting anonymously. There turned into the assistant U.S. Lawyer exposed using a major magazine as a writer of an anonymous weblog about judges. There changed into the in-house attorney at Cisco, whose identification became revealed after a legal professional he wrote about as a patent troll offered a reward for his unmasking.
These examples show that an attorney has to experience security now not to say anonymously what the attorney would not sense loose to say with attribution.
Another dimension to this entails Facebook, wherein legal professionals can create restricted agencies and therefore experience safer to talk their minds. If you’re thinking about this selection, make sure you train yourself very well on the way to do it well, advises Courtney Kennady, a practice management consultant for the South Carolina Bar.
Even then, she adds, “There’s a sturdy caveat: don’t anticipate Facebook’s constrained businesses to restrict the whole lot. It is very tough to understand what kinds of items will slip via and be regarded by way of absolutely everyone.”
7. Watch the road among networking and soliciting
Lawyers sometimes walk a satisfactory line between speaking their minds and soliciting customers. They have each proper to do the previous and a professional duty not to do the latter.
One ethics opinion located that an attorney engaged in irrelevant solicitation while he posted remarks in a chat room for mass-disaster sufferers. It is simple to imagine how a lawyer may want to get into comparable hassle on Twitter.
Several states have either ethics guidelines or ethics evaluations that particularly cope with solicitation in electronic communications. Protect yourself through understanding the guidelines and workout not unusual experience.
6. Exercise editorial discretion – over your self and others
Say nothing online which you might not need attributing to yourself on the New York Times’ front page. Do now not anticipate that no one will read your blog or see your tweet. Once it is on-line, it is online forever, and it may and could be determined.
That does no longer mean which you can’t show persona or creativity, says Matthias Jung, director of Legal One Marketing in Houston. “It is good to let your persona shine through in your target audience; however, it’s miles critical to achieving this as if your mother or daughter had been sitting there beside you.””
However, that does suggest to remember the fact that customers and co-workers will examine what you are saying. Lawyers now and again appear to forget that their customers are following them online. If you no longer say it to a client’s face, do not say it online.