Many law firms are (finally) starting to take a serious look at social networking tools as an inexpensive resource for developing new business. (Note: This author points out that online social tools may be inexpensive in dollars but they are time intensive if done correctly.) To conduct training sessions they are frequently using or considering using outside consultants.
Since the ranks of self-anointed social networking experts grows daily and general law firm consultants are picking up on the basics, there are a lot more choices these days of who to hire for the job.
In my travels I have learned several things that I am happy to share and that might help you. Here are 10 things to consider when looking for outside counsel to introduce attorneys to social networking tools.
Does blocking access to social networking sites at the office really work? Are social networking sites the only places of risk for companies and law firms on the new social Web?
Do you know that if your partners and employees can access blogs and other sites that allow commenting, reviewing, or streaming content (e.g. news videos or podcasts), via the firm Internet connection, you are, by default, giving them permission to participate in the social web.
Law firms need viable responses to the new way in which people are using the web. Shutting off access to social networking sites isn’t the last decision you’ll make.
So what should law firm leaders do? Here are a few suggestions that I recommend.
You know your culture better than anyone, so use that as a filter for decision-making. Every firm is different. It certainly is the administrator’s job to look for the loopholes and the worst-case scenario, BUT if you make something a bigger deal than it is, it will become exactly that. Permission based policy works better than restrictive policy.
Social media exposes firms to significant risks including serious damage to their reputation or the outcomes of the cases they may be working on or even impact their clients’ interests if not kept in check.