Monday, February 28, 2011

Does your lawyer know Facebook?

facebook3Last week,’s privacy blogger, Kashmir Hill, asked her readers a very simple question, does your lawyer know how to use Facebook? Her conclusion, after scouring news stories about attorneys’ use of Facebook in jury selection: “If your lawyer isn’t Facebook and Google-search savvy, you’re at a disadvantage. So check those skills (along with doing your own online stalking) before hiring him or her.” It’s not only jury selection that clients should be concerned about, but also witness investigations, other informal background searches, and formal subpoenas and discovery requests.

Similarly last week, Gruntled Employees discussed the need for businesses looking for a social medial policy to hire lawyers who understand social media:

But more often than not, [employment lawyers] don’t know much about social media. Which is a problem. When I see an announcement for a lawyer seminar on social media, I check out the bios of the lawyers presenting to see what their social-media creds are. I look to see what their blogs are called, how many Twitter followers they have, and how active they are on LinkedIn…. And if they’re not active in social media, they're much less likely to understand what makes social media the human phenomenon that it’s become. Which means that they’re more likely to tell their corporate clients that they should fear social media, and that they need prohibitive policies….

In other words, just like you wouldn’t ask a dermatologist to perform heart surgery, you shouldn’t hire a non-tweeting lawyer to draft a social media policy.

While we’re on the subject of lawyers and social media, this is as good a time as any to mention that the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog has its very own Facebook Page. Please pop on over and give me a “like.” It will enable you to receive all of the blog’s posts on your Facebook wall, as well as other contents that supplements the blog (tweets, documents available for download, and other thoughts).

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