Social media for lawyers can be a slippery slope. You want to get in front of your target audience and engage with them, but you also don’t want to run afoul of the ethical rules in your jurisdiction and put your practice at risk. If you’re looking for up-to-date information for using social media as a lawyer, check out the Care and Feeding of Social Media hosted by Megan Zavieh and Gayle M. O’Connor at TECH SHOW2019 on February 28, 2019. In the meantime, let’s review some of the basics related to social media for lawyers.
Do Not Add Your Clients to Your Personal Social Media Accounts
Do not send clients a friend request and do not accept a friend request sent by a client. It’s one thing for a client or potential client to follow or like your professional social media account. However, adding clients to your personal account can create a big problem for you. Clients may think you spend too much time on social media instead of on their legal matter. They may end up with a lot of information about you and about your family. If you’ve already added clients, change your privacy settings to limit what they can see. To review and customize your privacy settings on your Facebook account, follow this link.
If you haven’t done so already, set up social media accounts for your actual law firm. This will allow you to engage with your clients and potential clients while protecting your own privacy. Also, if you post too many statuses on your personal page that advertise your services as a lawyer, Facebook can shut down your profile for violating their Terms of Service. So, set up accounts for your law office and have people like or follow you on those accounts.
Should You Use Social Media to Learn about Opposing Parties?
Using social media can help you discover some really great information about opposing parties or even witnesses. Should you use it for that purpose? Above all, make sure that you’ve read and understand the ethics rules in your jurisdiction that pertain to social media for lawyers. Try to stick with posts that are set to public view (meaning you don’t have to add someone to see their posts). If you do find anything you think could help your client, remember to verify it. Just because someone puts something out on social media doesn’t make it true.
What’s the Worst That Could Happen Because of Social Media?
Social media is a mainstay of how our world operates. Not properly controlling your social media (and not following the rules in your jurisdiction) could cause you to face an ethics complaint. To learn more about social media for lawyers, sign up to attend Care and Proper Feeding of Social Media.