The Law and Social Media

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Ah, the law – there is not much that can get past it,  including social media usage.

Last week, fellow Bostonian and marketing thought-leader David Meerman Scott published a fantastic article interviewing a law professional who works with lawyers on the use of marketing and social media. The post was titled, f“Is social media worth the risk? A lawyer’s perspective” interviewing Vivienne Storey, General Manager of BlandsLaw, a small law firm specializing in Australian employment law.

As David explains of Storey, “In her role at a law firm, she advises global companies such as Deutsche Bank, ING Bank, Nestle, Phillip Morris and Deloitte about social media in the workplace.” Storey provided a very unique perspective on the use of social media for law firms in her video interview with Scott.

“There is no point trying to prevent people using social media because if they are not doing at work, they probably have smartphones and will be doing it under their desk if they’re not allowed to do it own their own computer and they definitely will be doing it at home.” Storey’s statement here could not be more true. With over 700 million people now on Facebook and tons more joining Twitter every day, it is almost inevitable that most of your employees will be using social network to some degree.

When asked how law firms should deal with social media, Storey pointed out that, “It’s better to train your employees to use social media appropriately, properly, responsibly, well-for-purposely for your organization rather than to pretend it doesn’t exist.” We agree completely. It’s a fact that social media is a pervasive technology and instead of ignoring it, why not embrace it? There are ways to use it in a safe manner just by creating a social media policy to guide employees.

“What do companies need to think about in terms of guidelines for social media?” asked Scott. “The basic principles to cover in guidelines are to cover your risk management issues. Things like confidentiality of company information and employee or supplier information or potential deals. Privacy issues with their employees, clients, IP issues. Brand protection is very important. Their image, company image is crucial and how that’s portrayed.” This is usually confidential information to a majority of companies, many of which like to keep it that way.

However, Scott asked if companies today should still keep this information 100% confidential. Storey responded, “Policies should absolutely be made public. It’s a great publicity tool which is what all of social media is about. it’s another way of saying ‘we are involved in social media’, ‘we want to engage with clients’ and its a great way to show the general public what you are actually trying to do on social media.”

Today, social media is all about transparency and trust. If a firm implements certain policies that pertain to their customers and clients, it is good business to share that information publicly with them, not in the tiny fine print at the bottom of a mailed document.

We at Backupify have spoken with many professional lawyers, specifically at LegalTechNY this past spring, and realized that almost all of them are experiencing this same dilemma: to get involved or not to get involved? After discussing the pros and cons, many realized that social media really is an impending technology to just about every business and they can  no longer ignore it.

The major drawback to the use of social media in law is the process of developing a social media policy to direct employees on how to use it appropriately for work. The other aspect is complying to the multitude of regulations, one of which is a records retention program. For law firms, government agencies, schools and non-profits alike who are looking to adhere to these regulations, many have found Backupify to be a great solution for archiving this data. Don’t take our word for it, though, see what others are saying about our archiving service here.

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