Over 60% of law firms maintain a social site, up from 55% in 2012.
Whether for listing services, marketing, branding or all three, law firms and lawyers employing social media continues to increase as it becomes the new tool for old school.
If the clients you’d dearly love to have are on the Internet (and they are) you might be missing out on a world of marketing opportunity via social media. Last year Attorney At Work released an excellent complimentary e-zine called “Connected: A Lawyer’s Guide to Social Media Marketing.” With 50-plus pages of expert tips, tricks and links, this document will help you make your way comfortably around the social media map.
As with all professional social media endeavors, keep yours to being a resource and to legitimate marketing purposes per the ABA and your state bar. You’re smart and we’re sure you would never use your social media outlets in any unprofessional way like these lawyers and law students did.
The do’s and don’ts of social media are even making it into the law school classroom (below) and continuing legal education courses.
Another thing to consider for the lawyer or law firm using social media is the ability to lose attorney-client privilege blindingly fast in this digital age. ALPS Risk Manager, Mark Bassingthwaighte, Esq., points out in his white paper “Social Media and the Attorney-Client Privilege Warning” that this is a problem all lawyers should be concerned about. He writes,
“Clients have already shared what they discussed with their attorney on a variety of social media sites to include Facebook and Twitter… While you can’t and shouldn’t have to continuously monitor what your clients do online, you must not forget what being in the role of an attorney means.”
Ignoring social media simply just is not an option for lawyers, whether for marketing, e-Discovery, or news coverage of a case you’re involved with. The best advice is to get up to speed and know what the rules are, again, from the ABA and your jurisdiction.
Law practice blogger, Carolyn Elefant, may have said it best, “[T]here aren’t any shortcuts to lawyers getting their hands dirty when it comes to social media… Unless lawyers take the time to understand how social media works, they won’t use social media ethically or effectively – which is too bad for their clients, because many other lawyers will.”
Kiffin Hope is a freelance digital marketing and social media strategist. He blogs on all things cyber, tech, and emerging trends in digital.