ABA Emphasizes Importance of Law Firm Social Media Policy

    January 19, 2012

    Social media plays an important role in marketing for attorneys. Social networks such as Facebook, professional networks such as LinkedIn, and blogging sites such as Twitter provide attorneys with easily accessible avenues to publish, share, and comment on the law, politics, and everyday life. As more attorneys turn to social media for their personal and professional use, law firm social media policies are becoming essential.

    In the most recent addition of Law Practice Magazine, the American Bar Association (“ABA”) recognizes that many law firms struggle with creating policy for the use of social media. The ABA suggests the following guidelines to consider when preparing a policy appropriate for your firm:

    • All firms should develop a social media policy that encourages the use of these new and emerging tools in innovative ways. Get input from all stakeholders and participants by establishing a committee of your rainmaking lawyers, senior managers, IT experts, marketers, and members of Gen Y to devise your specific firm strategy.
    • For each new technology, draft general guidelines on what information lawyers may share online, including considerations on how the communication reflects upon you and your colleagues, how faithfully it represents your clients’ interests, and the implications of making this information public.
    • Your law firm brand is important. So involve your marketing staff throughout the process, because it is its responsibility to promote, protect and enhance the integrity of your brand.
    • Seasoned bloggers should be trusted to click and submit. Junior contributors should have their work read by one other editor before it goes live. Any more filters than that and your firm’s communications may lag.

    On Tuesday, I summarized The Social Media Guide for Lawyers on this blog. The ABA Law Practice Magazine featured the Guide as a useful social media resource.  I co-authored the Guide with members of the 2010-11 Meritas Leadership Institute Class.  The Guide addresses significant challenges with social media, including ethical issues, time management/productivity, and provides sample firm social media policies that are in-line with nearly all of the ABA’s suggested guidelines discussed in the article linked above.

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