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Law Practice Management

Like a Dress Code, Social Media Policy Can Prevent Excess Exposure

Posted Nov 24, 2009 1:01 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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When potential clients Google your law firm, do you want a paralegal's MySpace page featuring "unprofessional interests and photos" to be the first hit they get?

Obviously, the answer to this question is no. But that's exactly what happened when attorney Greg Ripple looked up a law firm he didn't know a few years ago, writes West Michigan Business.

The situation illustrates the need for law firms and other employers to have a social media policy that helps them present their best professional face to the world, the publication notes.

“Clearly, she thought this was her personal site,” says Ripple, an associate of Miller Johnson in Grand Rapids, of the paralegal's inappropriate MySpace page. “But it doesn’t change the fact that when someone Googled her employer, that was the No. 1 hit. So it became the public face of that law firm. Companies don’t like that—or they shouldn’t like that.”

Although some employers are concerned that visiting social media sites can be an unproductive use of work time, this generally isn't a major issue, according to the article. More likely to cause concern are comments that, while perhaps well-intentioned, reveal confidential business information or simply interfere with the manner in which the employer wanted to present itself to the world.

For tips from Ripple and others about developing a social media policy, read the full article.

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