Policies can be as simple as one sentence all the way up to 33 pages such as the Air Force’s Policy. A large database of templates and policies can be found online. Note these policies come from a variety of businesses, not just law firms.
Baker & Daniel’s social media policy can be found here. Its two pages include 14 points ranging from keeping confidentiality to identifying yourself and my personal favorite “Do not pat yourself on the back”.
Steven C. Bennett of Jones Day published “Look Who’s Talking – Legal Implications of Twitter Social Networking Technology”Topics include Implications for Businesses, Implications for Litigation and Formulating Best Practices for Twitter Use.
Jaffe PR provides a template law firms can use but they strongly suggest adapting it to the law firm’s standards and culture. They also note the importance of being familiar with the ethics rules of the states [and provinces] in which you operate. Note the intellectual property notice if you plan on using it.
The Law Marketing Portal provides template with headings such as Introduction, Content of Online Networking Sites, Client Confidentiality, Responding to Blog Postings, participation in third-party online networking sites, disclaimer and privacy statement, personal blog sites, general listserv policy and social networking.
How you word your policy largely depends on a number of factors and might answer some of the following questions:
- What is personal vs. professional?
- Will employee’s with personal social media accounts such as Facebook be allowed to “friend” clients?
- Who can speak on behalf of the firm?
- What happens if an employee gets “flamed”, how will the person/firm respond?
- Who owns the various social media accounts and what happens when employees leave.
- Who will be responsible for moderating the various sites?
There are certain musts social media policies should cover:
- Maintain Client Confidentiality
- Do not create an attorney-client relationship
- Identify yourself
- Be respectful of colleagues, the firm and competitors
Social media policies are necessary if you plan on creating an online presence for your law firm. The content should reflect your law firm’s culture as it’s important to keep your brand consistent. It’s important to empower your employees and allow their personalities to shine through, this is the essence of social media.