How does social media affect the legal world?

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Social media is a universal reality in the modern world. Everyone is exposed to it in one way or another. Businesses are trying to use social media to their benefit, some more successfully than others. Law firms have to be more careful when using this tool. They have to be aware of privacy issues. Likewise, for their clients, Facebook and Twitter posts can now be used as evidence in court.

The advice generally agreed on one thing: limit what you share on Facebook. Law firms can benefit from sharing universally useful legal tips, but sharing victories in court can breech confidentiality agreements previously made with clients. Billy Apostolou responds to how social media is finding its way into the legal world,

This is an excellent way to advertise seminars, legal alerts and changing law. In Maryland, October 1st brought about over 50 new laws. Social media helped get the “blurbs” out to our followers so they could be educated on the changes.”

Apostolou shares some constructive ways of law firms using social media. Post changes to the law with your audience to keep them educated and your firm’s reliability will increase. Chad Burton points out,

People use social media often in an unfiltered manner. This provides endless evidence for litigation, whether it is a business dispute, employment matter, divorce proceeding or some form of an injury case. For example, with Facebook’s ability to have others tag you in photos that are exposed to other “friends,” a supposedly injured employee may show up on coworkers’ feeds on Facebook depicting a flag football game when they are supposed to be immobile. Further, the technology is developing quickly to help obtain this data for litigation. Platforms such as Nextpoint.com can help extract social media data for litigation.”

Chad Burton makes it clear that Facebook can be a great tool for attorneys to gather evidence. What is shared on the internet becomes public knowledge quickly.

Shane Fischer adds how a law firm can market themselves on Facebook and Twitter without breaching any of the countless confidentiality agreements they regularly make:

They can do this provided they talk in general terms, without mentioning names or specific cases. Additionally, if there’s a confidentiality agreement in place the firm might not be able to mention it at all.”

Fischer sums it up nicely, law firms need to keep things general on the online marketing world to uphold the integrity of their firm and clients.

In the end, using social media can be a very valuable tool for law firms. It can bring clients through their doors, and help them gather evidence in their cases. But law firms need to be weary of sharing too many details on social media channels to respect their client’s privacy. Likewise, those involved in legal cases need to be certain that their social media footprint will not reveal evidence to hurt them in court.