A panel session on technology heard that junior lawyers should be brought on board to harness their deep knowledge and experience of platforms. New joiners should also be given examples of the reputational damage that can be caused when things go wrong.
Peter Wright, Law Society Council member and chair of the Technology and Law Reference Group, stressed that one tends to think of social media and law firms solely in the context of Facebook and Twitter. In fact, at the last count there were nearly 200 different social media platforms.
He added: ‘I have come across millennials training as paralegals taking photos in the office that capture client information, perhaps on post-it notes. This is the sort if thing that gets shared.
‘People who have grown up using this technology come into our firms and share everything without thinking about it. We need to say to them that the stuff they learnt at university about confidentiality applying face to face also applies online.’
Jo Edwards, managing director of marketeers JE Consulting, added: ‘Make sure you have a proper social media policy. Most of the problems we have to deal with in reputational management are caused by staff in the practice, or partners, not being trained to use social media.’ She added: ‘We’re also now starting to see 18-20-year-olds coming through who find it ridiculous they can’t use social media during working hours. You have to describe what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour.’
The session also discussed the pitfalls of online peer review.
‘Accountancy firms don’t seem to suffer the abuse legal firms do,’ said Edwards. ‘If you do get a negative review and it doesn’t need to be taken down, the most important thing to do is respond, and not just leave it lying in abeyance.’