How to avoid committing malpractice on social media

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With over 2.2 billion people active on social media today, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the increasingly ubiquitous presence of social media in our lives. When it comes to the practice of law, understanding the nuances of this emerging social landscape is crucial to comprehending the cultural context in which legal matters exist today. Failing to do so can lead to some costly mistakes on behalf of your clients and with the increasing number of rules issued by state bars, you may even find yourself unknowingly committing malpractice.

Rise of social media

As of January 2014, 74% of online adults use social networking sites and new social media channels are emerging with their own trends all the time. Just in the past year, social media users have risen by 176 million people. Snapchat, Periscope and Instagram are just a few channels that have grown in popularity with millennials over the last few years. Does this mean you need to be active on all of these channels? Not necessarily. But you do need to be aware of the types of interactions these channels foster.

In order to keep a pulse on how trends are changing, you should be active on mainstream channels. Facebook for example, is host to an active user base that consists of a whopping72% of online adults — this is not a cultural blind spot that your practice can afford. Being active on social media and understanding the landscape is crucial to counseling your clients on how their online behavior may affect their case. It’s equally important that you understand how to conduct yourself ethically online to avoid making any blunders – such as inadvertently revealing details of a case.

To learn about how to avoid committing malpractice online, view the recording of our free CLE webinar with Josh King, Avvo General Counsel and VP of Business Development, “If You’re Not on Facebook, You’re Committing Malpractice.”

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