YOUR IDENTITY ONLINE
You are responsible for what you post. You are personally responsible for any of your online activity conducted with a firm email address or that can be traced back to the firm’s domain or which uses firm assets. The FIRM DOMAIN.com address attached to your name implies that you are acting on the firm’s behalf. When using a firm email address or firm assets to engage in any social media or professional social networking activity (for example, LinkedIn and Legal OnRamp), all actions are public and attorneys and staff will be held fully responsible for any and all said activities.
Outside the workplace, your rights to privacy and free speech protect online activity conducted on your personal social networks with your personal email address. However, what you publish on such personal online sites should never be attributed to the firm and should not appear to be endorsed by or originated from the firm. If you choose to list your work affiliation on a social network, then you should regard all communication on that network as you would in a professional network. Online lives are ultimately linked whether or not you choose to mention the firm in your personal online networking activity.
Be transparent. When participating in any online community, disclose your identity and affiliation with the firm, your clients, and your professional or personal interest. When posting a comment to a blog, always use your name. Never create an alias and never be anonymous.
Do not post any information or conduct any online activity that may violate applicable local, state or federal laws or regulations, or any ethical guidelines for our profession.
Never be false or misleading in your online credentials.
CREATING AND MANAGING CONTENT
Never use a firm client’s name in a social post unless you have written permission to do so.
Credit appropriately. Identify all copyrighted or borrowed material with citations and links. When publishing any material online that includes another’s direct or paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos or videos, always give credit to the original material or author, where applicable.
Fact-check your posts. Always evaluate your contribution’s accuracy and truthfulness. Before posting any online material, ensure that the material is accurate, truthful and without factual error.
If you find that your blog entry or social post contains an error or mistake, correct it. Since transparency is key, admit your mistake, apologize if necessary, correct it and move on.
Blogs are part of social media.
When posting to a blog or social media site, refrain from writing about controversial or potentially inflammatory subjects, including politics, sex, religion or any other non-business-related subjects. Keep the tone of your comments respectful and informative, never condescending or “loud.” Use sentence-case format, not capital letters. Stick to this maxim whenever you are contributing to any blogs or social and professional networks.
Avoid personal attacks, online fights and hostile communications. If a blogger or any other online influencer posts a statement with which you disagree, voice your opinion but do not escalate the conversation to a heated argument. Write reasonably, factually and with good humor. Understand and credit the other person’s point of view and avoid any communications that could result in personal, professional or credibility attacks.
Never disclose proprietary or confidential information about our firm or our clients in your posts or responses/comments.
If in doubt, don’t!
CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY
Don’t disclose confidential information. Honor the terms of your contracts with the firm and contracts we have with any client. Do not disclose or use confidential or proprietary information of the firm or any client in any form of online media. Sharing this type of information, even unintentionally, can result in legal action against you, the firm or the client.
Avoid forums where there is little control over what you know to be confidential information. In the world of social networking, there is often a breach of confidentiality when someone emails an attorney or posts a comment congratulating him or her on representation of a specific client or on a specific case. Often, these things are being discussed in social network circles – it’s how attorneys are establishing credibility – so be very selective and thoughtful about where you post and how you reply – or don’t.
Respect the privacy of your partners and associates, as well as the opinions of others. Before sharing a comment, post, picture or video about a client or other attorney through any type of social media or network, obtaining the client’s or attorney’s consent is not only a courtesy; it is a requirement.
POTENTIAL CONFLICTS AND RED FLAGS
Get prior approval for a post when:
Responding to a negative post. If a blogger or any other online participant posts an inaccurate, accusatory or negative comment about the firm or any firm clients, do not engage in the conversation without prior approval of (NAME).
Posting recommendations for colleagues. Recommending colleagues is a tool of professional social networking sites. The recommendations and comments you post about other current and former firm attorneys can have consequences, even if you are making the recommendations personally and not on behalf of the firm. Therefore, we ask that you clear all potential recommendations and comments with (NAME) for anyone who is or was ever associated with the firm. [NOTE to creator of policy: You could give a time limit, such as “anyone associated with the firm in the past # years.”]
Responding directly to a journalist.
BUILDING YOUR VIRTUAL FOOTPRINT AND YOUR NETWORK
Build a reputation of trust among your clients, media and the public. When you are reaching out to journalists, bloggers, clients or colleagues through social media, take every opportunity to build a reputation of trust and establish yourself as a credible and transparent legal professional.
Don’t use your own personal online relationships or the firm’s network to influence polls or rankings.
When using social networks with your firm email and professional identification, do not “friend” or “connect” with anyone whom you either do not actually know or with whom you have not previously corresponded.
we limit data collected about you and your use of the platform,
your personal information is never for sale,
we use and disclose information to prevent people from abusing the platform, but
we never disclose it for any other reason unless required by law.