The social media age. Upside, your law firm takes advantage of the windfall of electronic recommendations and attracting new clients via LinkedIn, its website, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Downside, somebody has to keep updating your tweets.
Social media has empowered businesses and consumers alike. Individuals have never held so much influence in changing the world with just one click of a button. And, at the same time, businesses are empowered to advertise their products and services to a market much larger than before.
At first, law firms were a bit slow to take advantage of digital days. Not anymore. Now it’s necessary to task young associates with managing your Facebook page, Twitter account, and—hopefully—blog posts, or risk your bottom line by falling behind.
Here’s how your firm gets noticed:
- Publish your posts on media aggregators.
Upside: Websites like Reddit, Shoutwire, and Digg allow individuals to submit links to websites, blog posts, or any Internet-based page. The community of readers then votes up (or down) the link based on a review of its content. Create flashy titles and you’ll likely see in a flash the rise of your readership.
Downside: Comments by readers can be harsh. The anonymity of the Internet allows people to wriste down criticisms (NSFW) that may end up permanently cached on the World Wide Web.
- Add website sharing buttons.
Upside: Your firm’s website should have links to all of your social media accounts, as well as ways to share your posts. Programs like “Click to Tweet” make this easy.
Downside: Your firm may need a small amount of Internet savvy to create buttons on your website and restore broken links.
- Create interesting content.
Upside: Remember to write thoughtful arguments accompanied with eye-catching photos. There’s so much competition already when it comes to online content, your firm’s additions must stand out.
Downside: Yes, this requires a little more time and thought to write captivating posts and tweets. Consumers would rather see the “Yeti Seen Prowling the Streets Near Boston” than your tips about hiring Of Counsel at your company.
- Do your research.
Upside: If you know what time your readers are logging on then you’ll know the best time to publish your posts. Maybe you’re getting a lot of hits first thing in the morning. People are remiss to start work at 8am and decide to read legal news or browse the web. With this knowledge, you can now set your social media to publish at certain times to target your audience.
Downside: Due diligence on your casework is no longer enough. Time to do due diligence on your business development, too.
- Crossover multiple social media platforms.
Upside: Happy you finally mastered the art of blogging for your firm? Time to summarize that blog post on your LinkedIn and Facebook page and compile a 140-character hook for your Twitter account. Don’t be afraid to repeat the same ideas on different mediums.
Downside: Now you’ll have to memorize more usernames and passwords. More social media means more potential backlash.
Speaking of backlash, protect your firm from recent changes in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) governing e-discovery, which covers the legal use of social media e-discovery in cases.
Throughout 2016, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) amended the scope of discovery, timing of discovery requests and availability of sanctions for data preservation mishaps, and motivated judges to issue notable e-discovery opinions and interpreted new FRCP provisions.
Now, in 2017, in addition to keeping your social media prowess up-to-date, your firm must swift through e-discovery using up-to-date procedures.
There’s a lot to keep track of in the social media and electronic information world, and this will only get more difficult when it comes to training and managing employees—not to mention the fact that with the press of a button, the same information you created at your fingertips is lost at them, as well.
What does this mean for you? There’s still time to push social media at your law firm within the 2017 FRCP compliance.
For example, Michele C.S. Lange for Above The Law blog advises, look for intent when dealing with deleted documents.
“With an average litigation matter often involving thousands (or even millions) of documents, it is no secret that data preservation is one of the thorniest issues in ediscovery. How does an organization and its counsel ensure that all relevant documents are protected? Changes to Rule 37(e) were designed to reset the preservation duty by allowing courts to use good faith, intent and reasonableness when determining if a party should be sanctioned for destroying digital evidence. However, ‘proper preservation’ is still a blurry line, often dependent upon a myriad of case-specific facts, and in 2016 many judges delved into whether a party’s conduct was sufficient under Rule 37(e) to levy sanctions. There will be a steady stream of cases in 2017 addressing reasonable steps to preserve, intent to deprive another party of relevant data and the inherent power of the court to administer sanctions when data is lost.”
The Center for Competitive Management (C4CM) offers myriad webinars and services to help you navigate social media and technology at your law firm.
C4CM will also help you with law firm management. It’s difficult to give assignments to associates who are proven introverts. Learn more about how to structure meetings and trainings to encourage participation by introvers with C4CM’s live webinar. Sign up before January 25, 2017, and attend, “Introverts in the Workplace: Harnessing the Untapped Power of the Introvert,” for free on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017, from 2pm to 3pm EDT.