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Ask Eula Mae: Social Media and Work

Posted By NALS Editorial Board, Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Dear Eula Mae:


I am a new legal secretary at a large law firm and even though the human resources department gave me a tour and an employee manual, nothing was said about our use of social media.  I try so hard to have a good profile on Facebook and post tons of photos.  My concern is that maybe some of the photos do not show me in the best light, perhaps not professional, but may look like I am a party girl, when I am not really.  What do I do about keeping a professional profile outside of the office?


Fun Girl



Dear Fun Girl:


We live in a world where information is everything.  That means we must be careful of our social media profiles.  A friend can “tag” you in an unflattering photo on Facebook and what if they tag you in your “freewheeling” days?  This is probably not the image you wish to project as a legal professional.  Remember, you are an extension of your boss and your firm.  It all goes back to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct in that the attorney is responsible for the non-attorney personnel who work for them.  Avoiding even the appearance of impropriety is important to all the top professions.  In a large law firm, there may be a policy that describes what you should or should not post on social media—certainly not anything about any clients.  In a smaller office or a sole practitioner’s office, this might not be the case, so how do you manage that?  You could open a profile with a pseudonym to keep your information (somewhat) confidential and do not “friend” people that you do not know.  To guard your professional identity, choose carefully what you post and manage who can look at your profile.  Also, use your phone to access Facebook (on your own time and not on office time) rather than the computer on your desk at work.


Eula Mae




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