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These are slides from a panel presentation webinar for the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism which has published a book called Essential Qualities of the Professional Lawyer, edited by Paul Haskins. I wrote the chapter entitled "eProfessionalism."

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  1. 1. Chapter on eProfessionalism By Stephanie Kimbro July 24, 2014 Webinar panel presentation for ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism
  2. 2.  What comes up when you Google your name or your firm’s name? • Online presence matters – Control yours, be findable • Content generation • SEO • Brand building • Keeps you updated • You become a resource • For professional development • For client development
  3. 3.  Geographic locale • Some applications are more popular in certain areas  Practice areas and target audiences • Ex. LinkedIn viewed by businesses and higher-income clients. Avvo generates a lot of consumer traffic.  Personality and preferences  Your state(s)’ ethics rules  Remember the importance of building a personal presence online • Be genuine and transparent • Provide useful content and share  Think of the Internet as a conversation. As lawyers we need to be engaged in the conversation around legal services that takes place online.
  4. 4. Find the balance of the professional and the personal. Learn to use privacy settings and restricted lists to protect personal content. What “voice” do I want to have online? How will I balance the personal and professional in applications where I have a mix of contacts?
  5. 5. Where are my prospective clients? Who will I connect with? Who will I allow to connect with me? What content do I want to share? What value can I provide to the online conversation around legal services?
  6. 6.  Head straight to the privacy setting immediately after registering on a social media application.  Be aware of the terms of the user agreement with the service provider. • Know what information the site is able to share from your profile and how the flow of data is controlled, recorded, regurgitated, etc. • Know if others are able to post messages, ads, photos or other items on your profile or site that could reflect negatively.
  7. 7.  Expect to run into your clients & their family & friends within different social media applications.  Be prepared for how you will respond to them.  Let clients know your policy towards social media. • Include in your engagement agreement that you will not “friend” or “follow” clients if you choose this policy • Or take a different approach to this and invite with disclaimers  On your static site consider: • Explaining the risks and importance to client of protecting the confidentiality of their information. • Teach restraint in posting information online related to their legal matters.
  8. 8.  Educate rather than restrict.  Create a social media policy for your practice so that your employees understand your intentions and expectations.  Disclaimers • Recommend that your employees use disclaimers if they are providing general legal advice on any social networking sites or posting on their own blogs. • Remind employees not to post names of clients or even hypothetical client situations.  It could be possible that the client or someone who knows the client is reading.  Require that employees include a disclaimer on their personal blog and other profiles stating that their views are personal and not those of the firm. • Remember their right to free speech.
  9. 9.  Stephanie Kimbro  skimbro@burton-law.com  virtuallawpractice.org  @StephKimbro  My books: • Virtual Law Practice: How to Deliver Legal Services Online, ABA/LPM, October 2010. • Limited Scope Legal Services: Unbundling and the Self-Help Client ABA/LPM, March 2012. • Consumer Law Revolution: Lawyer’s Guide to Online Marketing Tools, ABA/LPM, June 2013