How Lawyers Can Avoid a Social Media Nightmare

The recent media nightmare for Clifford Chance and their YouTube debacle has highlighted the need for law firms to take extra care over how they handle media, particularly social media.

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The need for firms to adopt a comprehensive and effective social media policy has never been greater. The dubious actions of disgruntled employees or malevolent behaviour of any kind, let alone morally questionable activity, can rapidly propel a firm or indeed any organisation, into the headlines.

Legal Week (subscription required) have looked at the matter here.

The ABA also looked at how law firms should deal with social media, noting:

Many law firms struggle with creating policy for the use of social media. The generally cautious and conservative nature of law firm management means that in many cases the decision makers often see only the real (or alleged) dangers, often without an understanding of the tools or an appreciation for their potential. Now that the use of social media is becoming so widespread, disengagement is not the answer. The issues are not insurmountable, and being a wallflower lets others gain a competitive advantage.

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.

The involvement of young minds is essential to the process. Lawyers unfamiliar with the tools should enlist new associates fresh out of law school to provide practical tutorials—they’ve always swum in this sea, and naturally have a different mindset.

Your new associates have also weathered the job market in the social media age. Ask them how they guard against overexposure on the Web: What steps do they take? How secure are their methods? Perhaps maintaining separate profiles is too onerous for some, with Facebook “smart lists” or Google+ “circles” providing a better solution.

Read the rest here

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