Not so long-ago attorneys were discouraged from being active professionally on social media. However, the legal industry now appreciates that well curated and managed social media presences can help grow their businesses, introduce them to new audiences and much more. According to data from Kepios, 4.8 billion users, equivalent to 59.9% of the total global population, are on social media. Some are attorneys, and a select few of those have even become influencers, creating videos of them reacting to high profile cases through their perspective as a legal professional.
While this has proven lucrative for many in the legal space, those still hesitant to explore social media have warranted concerns regarding potential liability and ethical issues. Before diving headfirst into the internet, attorneys should consider a few social media best practices:
- Be ethical: The American Bar Association (ABA) provides ethical guidelines for attorneys regarding the use of social media. Familiarizing yourself with these guidelines will ensure you are aware of the contextual expectations. And because social media changes rapidly, revisiting these ethical guidelines on an annual basis, at minimum, is strongly advised. While there are not explicit rules for attorneys on social media, and some guidelines may vary based on what state an attorney practices in, the ABA guidelines offer a good framework to guide legal professionals.
- Use it wisely: To get the most out of social media attorneys should consider creating a social media plan that outlines the types of content to be posted and how often. This will help you create a consistent presence that fosters growth in followers and post interaction, and help ensure content is being reviewed, especially through an ethical lens. There are several resources online designed specifically for attorneys to help them manage their social media.
- Insurance: While attorneys can do everything in their power to correctly manage their social media and remain ethical, social media still presents a risk. As such, attorneys need to understand their lawyer’s professional liability insurance (LPLI) policy to ensure they are adequately covered for any type of social media mishap or unintended error. Social media interactions can quickly spiral and generally live on the internet forever, making an LPLI policy a critical line of defense.
Attorneys cannot risk missing the opportunities a social media presence can provide. While the increased connectivity presents greater risks, a little planning along with an appropriately crafted LPLI policy can put legal professionals in a position to grow their presence and reinforce their reputations to a wider online audience.