Law Firms, Attorneys, and Social Media

- Richard Brock

Social media plays a significant role in many, if not all, aspects of our careers. We may get frustrated with it, temporarily ignore it, and fight against it, but social media is here for all of us, including the legal profession. It has become a relevant means of communication within the firm, between the firm and its clients,  between the firm and its competitors, and beyond.

In fact, social media can help your firm in a variety of ways, including:

  • Building your professional brand/identity both as a firm and as an individual attorney.
  • Establishing a name within your community and your practice area.
  • Keeping up with new developments in the legal industry.
  • Using social media privately with trusted resources.

While law firms and lawyers may be more adept at avoiding snafus than other industries, it’s still imperative to vigilantly guard social media. Experts Simon Chester and Daniel Del Gobbo share pertinent advice,

“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.”

Professionalism and ethics are critical factors in your social media policies. The following list of commonsense guidelines should benefit everyone.

  • Involve your marketing staff in the process. Social media is an excellent way to promote and enhance your brand. Know and understand your target audience. Choose social media platforms where your potential clients are active.
  • Create professional social media profiles for your law firm
  • The primary use of posts should be informational. They should help educate clients and contain links to articles and posts outside of the firm.
  • Keep promotional content under 20%.
  • Develop a schedule for posting information. Each team member has specific days in the month to publish an article.
  • Establish general guidelines on what is acceptable and desirable material to use for online posting.
  • Choose length guidelines for the different types of articles to be posted.
  • Offer incentives for participation.
  • Post company news, but avoid photos that demean your professionalism.
  • Encourage staff to use wisdom and respect on their personal social media accounts. They are representatives of the firm.
  • Recognize that different generations will have different angles and styles.
  • Know technology tools well and stay up-to-date with new features.
  • Finally, A senior staff member should edit the content of contributions from junior staff, and everyone should have a reliable second person edit their work for grammar, punctuation, etc.

Technology, including social media, changes every day. Using a commonsense approach and embracing its positives will benefit every industry, including the field of law.

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