Can social media be used in court?

Blogging, tweeting, posting: what social media can do for lawyers and how they can get started there

Always stay “worthy”

First of all, before starting their blog or Twitter account, lawyers should do what they do best professionally: First find out about the legal regulations. The days when lawyers weren't allowed to advertise are long gone. Nevertheless, there are a few rules to be observed. As far as the appearance in the social media is concerned, according to the BRAO (Federal Lawyers' Act), the general principle applies that the lawyer has to prove himself worthy of the respect and trust that his position requires, inside and outside the profession.

As far as the acquisition of new clients is concerned, it becomes more specific: "The lawyer is only allowed to advertise if it is factually informed about the professional activity in terms of form and content and is not aimed at placing an order in individual cases." For social media this means in concrete terms : There is no regulation that prohibits lawyers from using them professionally. Only the principle of "dignified" appearance hovers over everything. Logical: the lawyer has to appear on social media exactly as he is supposed to do in real life. In addition, it must be objective. Here, too, the following applies: What is not allowed in a classic advertisement, lawyers should refrain from on the Internet.

Social media all well and good - but what do I write?

If these legal considerations are completed, you can start and hit the keys! But what to write about, what to post and what to tweet? There are many options here for lawyers: strange cases from their own law firm - anonymously of course! -, groundbreaking decisions of the courts, articles on specialist areas. As a lawyer, you should pay attention to who you are writing for.

Would you like to exchange ideas with colleagues and discuss the latest judgments? Then you can use the appropriate technical language. If you write for laypeople, avoid them. Legal tips for specific cases in everyday life or how certain forms should look are welcome. These themes also work well for a Youtube video. For all appearances via social media, please note: Lawyers are allowed to discuss topics that are generally applicable, but cannot specifically recruit clients on a case-by-case basis! And: Of course, the imprint obligation also applies to Facebook and blogs if they are used professionally.

Regularity is the be-all and end-all

Once you've decided on one or more social media activities, it is important to post something regularly. Because nothing is worse than a dead blog or an orphaned Facebook page. It is not so important how often you publish something, but that you do it regularly. It is best to plan a specific day in your daily work at the law firm, on which you publish a blog entry, for example.

And what does the effort bring me?

Now the question still arises: As a lawyer, what is the point of writing a blog or being represented on social media somewhere else? Quite simply: attention. For example, if you write about a legal problem on your blog and someone finds you online searching, they will remember you when they need legal assistance. If you are present on the net, post funny or strange cases, you will be remembered. You can also build up a network within your professional group and develop expert status on certain topics.

With all the benefits social media lawyers offer, they also have some stumbling blocks. There are many gray areas that the courts have yet to address. To ensure that you are well protected when you are on the Internet as part of your legal work, the lawyers' liability insurance offers comprehensive protection against publication risks via, for example in specialist media, on websites, social media and blogs. And with the optional cyber personal damage insurance, the lawyer can also protect himself against the risks posed by cyber criminals, who are increasingly targeting law firms.