Does Your Small Law Firm Have Social Media Policies?

/, Tech Tips & Resources/Does Your Small Law Firm Have Social Media Policies?

According to a report issued by Business Insider, Americans spend more time on social media sites than any other Internet activity. So, what does that have to do with your small law firm? Yes, it means your staff is Tweeting and Facbooking while they’re at the office. Should this be a concern? Yes, it most definitely should – especially if the content of their social posts includes information about your firm.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are beginning to enact social media policies for employees in order to protect confidential client and company information. In an age where digital privacy seems not be nonexistent, it’s important to clearly spell out what is and is not acceptable to share on the web. Developing a social media policy can help keep your employees informed and your firm’s information safe. Good social media policies will do the following:

Explain what information is and is not confidential

When working with a staff full of intelligent lawyers, you may think it’s safe to assume they know what information, about the firm or about a client, is confidential. In order to avoid confusion, clearly spell out what kind of information, if any, is sharable. Typically, information involving financials and client matter details are not to be discussed on social media, but messages about company culture are acceptable. This should be as straight-forward as possible.

Explain the consequences of breaking the policy

Having a set response to an employee sharing confidential information on social media demonstrates the seriousness of this offense.

Explain the proper way to engage with people about your firm online

Ideally, you would always want your employees to write positive comments online if they say anything about your small law firm. Unfortunately, that’s not always how things play out. Ask employees to disclose that they are not speaking on behalf of the firm, but rather expressing their own personal opinion. This distances your organization away from any negativity and holds the poster responsible for any repercussions.

Whether you decide to create a social media policy for your firm now or in the future, keep in mind that clarity is key.

By |May 12th, 2015|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.