Social media – it’s for lawyers too!
I feel like it wasn’t even that long ago when I created my first Facebook account! All my friends were signing up and I was barraged with invites. Fast forward 10 years later. I received a friend request from my Grandfather.
Social media is a real thing and it’s here to stay. Literally billions of users head to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other sites daily. What was once considered a fad for young people has turned into a massive social and economic FORCE! The legal industry has also been heavily affected by social media, but most lawyers haven’t paid attention.
There are three main considerations a lawyer should have about social media: (1) promoting their digital brand; (2) dangers of ignoring it; and (3) collecting evidence/investigations (ethically, of course).
How do people find lawyers? People still ask their friends or family, but often a google search is the more common first step. Lawyers who utilize social media effectively as a branding tool come up first in google search. Clients don’t like to scroll past the first two pages of a google search result, so the higher you rank, the more likely the client will call your firm.
This doesn’t just mean setting up a Facebook or LinkedIn page, but actually producing new content and engaging online. Writing a relevant blog or talking about your law firm’s updates are a good place to start.
Dangers of Ignoring Social Media
Lawyers can no longer afford to ignore social media. Not only is it a great tool for branding, but it’s also a great investigative tool. A quick google search can reveal troves of information on your current file, whether it’s information on a potential plaintiff or defendant, or even opposing counsel. Often, what a client posts online could affect their claim. Many jurisdictions have added a professional duty for lawyers to be technologically competent – this could include collecting evidence from social media.
Social Media Investigations
When investigating a party through social media, it’s important to be aware of your ethical duties. For example, creating a fake Facebook account to befriend an opposing client in order to get at their account data is a big no-no for lawyers.
Overall, social media has many implications for lawyers, both for firm branding and evidence collection. Law firms should ensure they have a solid game plan in place to utilize it effectively in their boardrooms and in the courtroom!
About The Author
Puneet Tiwari is the Co-Founder of Evichat, a tool for lawyers to help collect social media and mobile based evidence. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.