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Yes, we are talking about social media again.

by on August 5, 2010

Above the Law tipped us off to yet another (but very necessary) discussion of how the use of social media like Facebook, Twitter and even…Myspace (seriously, it still exists) can affect the corporate policy and image of law firms. The original discussion started thanks in part to CNN editor Octavia Nasr getting fired for an indiscreet tweet, which led Fast Company to write a series of pieces on how various companies implement social media policies.   The most recent one looked at Harvard’s guidelines and actually approved of its approach:

“Think this one is going to be dense and chock-full of legalese? Though it’s not exactly written in plain English, the one page document titled “Terms of Use” is a straightforward take on how to blog under Harvard’s domain. Not surprisingly, the first point deals with copyrights, but goes on to include:

“As a general matter, you may post content freely to your blog and to those of others, so long as the content is not illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, infringing of intellectual property rights, invasive of privacy or otherwise injurious or objectionable.”

ATL also highlighted the advice of an attorney who just might be onto something.  His advice boiling down to, well, you can read:

“There’s a burgeoning awareness of social media in the law firm world. When we were in Chicago for an in-house counsel conference, we met a lawyer who had chucked the practice of law to advise law firms on how to use social media. We asked him about guidelines for law firms and lawyers when it comes to Facebooking, blogging, and celebrity endorsements via Twitter…

Adrian Dayton, who runs a blog devoted to Marketing Strategy and the Law, thinks lawyers are part of a law firm’s brand, and should be unleashed upon the world to promote what a firm does.

I advise that the social media policy be as simple as a single sentence:

‘Don’t say stupid things.'”

Hard to argue.  But really hard to implement.

Law firms are paid to keep information secret.  Social media’s main purpose is to disseminate information.  If you can figure out how to make that all work, then you might get rich enough to quit your law firm job.  Good luck!


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From → Legal Tech

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