The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media for Lawyers


The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media for Lawyers

Even your little sister is on Facebook, but the truth is that social media is still a new and largely untapped resource for the law community. That’s probably because lawyers understand how posting the wrong thing can get you into some serious trouble, but that alone shouldn’t keep you away. Social media is becoming one of the best ways to meet new clients online, but there are definitely some “dos” and “don’ts” to follow. Here are a few to get you started:

Do interact with other lawyers and potential clients on social media sites. This is how the “getting to know you” phase begins. Be yourself and show everyone that you’re a real person, not just someone sharing information from a legal handbook.

Do make a consistent effort to post on social media sites. People need to see that you’re in it for the long haul, so posting once every two weeks isn’t going to cut it; you should try to post at least once every day.

Do share information that enhances someone else’s life. You’re probably following the latest trials more closely than the average Joe or Jane, so you can easily become the source for relevant news stories. Share links and ask people’s opinions about the trial details. You see, you’re helping your audience by sharing information, and they’re helping you by sharing their opinions (think of it as market research).

Don’t shamelessly promote your firm. It’s okay to throw in a plug every now and then, but people aren’t following you for advertisements. Provide value to them or they’ll hit that “unfollow” button faster than you can say “I object.”

Don’t practice law. This one can be tough for many lawyers, but it’s important that you don’t give legal advice online. The laws of legal practice vary from state to state, but every state has guidelines that govern who can give legal advice to its residents. If you’re giving legal advice to someone out of state, you might be breaking the law.

Don’t contact people related to your case. It’s okay to research jurors on social networking sites, like Facebook, but you can’t let the jurors know you’re doing that research. It can be a tricky situation, but you can get into serious hot water for friending a juror or another person related to the case.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will provide a good foundation for you to get started on social media. As long as you’re careful to follow some simple rules of etiquette, and to follow the rules of the law, social media can be very rewarding for you and your practice.

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