The comment I read on LinkedIn yesterday that individual lawyers should only tweet if it is in keeping with the corporate image is horrific.
It reflects an ongoing attitude towards this new fangled social media thing that still persists. Should lawyers really be meddling with Twitter, Facebook and the like.
Reasons why not?
- Client confidentiality
- Liability for online comment
- Because your clients expect you not to. Isn’t it for children? I mean, what do you talk about?
Here we go.
Client confidentiality is not a problem, or at least no more of a problem than having conversation with a friend in a pub, at a restaurant, the opera (if you insist), public transport (heaven forbid) or anywhere. Client confidentiality means you don’t talk about your clients, whether online or offline. It really isn’t complicated and most lawyers get that. Really, we do.
Liability for online comment?
I’m not sure this has ever been a problem has it? Has anyone been sued for someone’s reliance on the legal merit of a tweet, or posting.
Anyway, disclaimers abound, just don’t take my word for it, okay?
The “Client’s expectation” one though is the most pernicious.
Should a profession, whether lawyers, teachers, plasterers, whatever, be debarred or disapproved because they take part in what large parts of society do? Surely not.
It would be like saying that because you’re a lawyer, you cannot go to a nightclub, or ride on public transport. My! What would people say?
Of course we need to be mature and responsible, as does a bus driver, or councillor, or a dentist, or a parent who runs the home. But disallowing or disapproving is nonsense.