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Published Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Social media saturates our personal and professional lives. From sharing family memories to promoting your firm's expertise to conducting a fraud investigation, the use of a social media platform is a daily — and necessary — task.

According to the ABA TECHREPORT 2016, the No. 1 reason that attorneys participate in social media is for career development and networking (73%), followed by client development (51%), education (35%) and case investigation (21%).

However, social media's influence on legal practice, client relationships and the establishment of boundaries between professional and personal activities must be navigated with care. In a recent edition of PROfessional Counsel, CNA Risk Control Specialist Theresa Garthwaite presents an overview of ethical concerns, practice challenges, potential benefits and the challenges of social media use related to the practice of law.

She points out that Linkedin is the most utilized social media forum for law practitioners, with 78% of firms reporting a social media presence on LinkedIn.
 

  • LinkedIn's potential benefits: Your firm and your employees can each create their own pages, and the platform is useful for firms seeking to grow their business. In addition, attorneys who share information about their professional success — such as a promotion, credential or award — do not have to worry about their posts becoming obscured among unrelated personal matters.
     
  • LinkedIn's potential risks: Users may unintentionally run afoul of relevant rules of professional conduct. LinkedIn offers members the option to "endorse" or "recommend" other members for their skill sets. However, such endorsements may not comply with ABA Model Rule 7.4 (d): Communication of Fields of Practice & Specialization.
     

If you and your firm intend to be active on social media, it's wise to create an account on a platform in which your posts will attract visibility. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly eight in 10 Americans (79%) use Facebook, which is double the usage of any other social platform. Note that while it's not uncommon for attorneys and clients to be both colleagues and friends, ensure that you exercise caution when connecting with a client on Facebook.
 

  • Facebook's potential benefits: Attorneys and law firms can capitalize on Facebook's vast reach of users. The platform is a user-friendly social media option for attorneys.
     
  • Facebook's potential risks: The platform offers great diversity in both its user participation and the content shared, including personal information. Therefore, professional posts reflecting legal practice may be inconsistent with the scope of a typical Facebook post. "Tagging," a process in which one user identifies another, can present issues as the tag could identify an attorney or a law firm in a shared post or photo. This action could create an erroneous appearance of an attorney-client relationship.
     

When potential clients contact an attorney or law firm through social media, lawyers should remain vigilant in adhering to the ethical responsibilities that you may owe to any prospective client.

For more information on the use of social media in client representations, or on using social media as a solo practitioner, download Theresa Garthwaite's article in CNA PROfessional Counsel: "Practicing Law in the Age of Social Media."

Insurance for Professional Services Providers

CNA is the nation’s leading insurance provider of professional liability insurance. We have the coverages to meet the unique needs of small businesses.

We understand the complex challenges of serving your clients and growing your business. CNA is the preferred carrier for professional liability programs for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). CNA is also the endorsed carrier of nine state bar associations, and we've been named Best Specialty Lines Insurer by Intelligent Insurer.

Our Underwriting, Risk Control and Claim professionals have an average of more than 20 years of experience working with professional service firms, and our tailored industry-specific small business insurance coverages are designed to meet the needs of your practice. CNA's educational programs, designed specifically for professional services firms by professionals with practical experience in the designated professions, have received wide recognition in the industry.

To build on your current success, you must be prepared to face risks or challenges to your reputation and bottom line. And when it comes to your business' risk management insurance, the coverage you seek – from data protection to cybercrime, to workers' comp to lawyer's professional liability — could just make or break your business' progress and reputation.

For more than 50 years, we've offered more than just a policy — we deliver expertise that helps professionals tackle their challenges and risks through professional liability insurance.

Products

Learn more about our broad portfolio of insurance solutions specialized to meet the needs of your business.

CNA offers a broad portfolio of insurance solutions — from general liability to property to professional and management liability and more — specialized to meet the needs of your business.

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Explore our services designed to help you manage your claims, understand your exposures, address potential losses and maintain business continuity.

CNA offers an array of services designed to help you manage your claims, understand your exposures, address potential losses and maintain business continuity.

Small Business Insurance Fundamentals

Learn more about how to identify the insurance and services you need to safeguard your small business.

For your small business, having the right kind of insurance is critical to success. Are you looking to learn more about the kinds of insurance coverage you need before you contact your local independent agent or broker? We've developed some helpful resources and tools to get you started.

What kind of insurance do I need?
Identifying the right coverages that address your risk exposures and your greatest challenges is important. To help determine your business insurance needs, use this checklist to help guide your discussion with your independent insurance agent.

Why use an independent agent?
Dedicated to offering the broadest selection of policies and coverage to best meet their customers' needs, independent agents represent multiple product lines from more than one carrier. CNA is proud to support the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America and their Young Agents Committee. Find a local independent agent for you.

 

What is risk control?
For small businesses, preventing and controlling risk can be just as important as being properly covered. CNA Risk Control offers a wide range of services focusing on management accountability, cost drivers and business solutions to help you improve your bottom-line profit.

How can I prepare for an emergency?
Learn how to safeguard your small business, your employees and your family in the event of an emergency by visiting Resources to Manage & Reduce Risk for online tools and resources from CNA's own business continuity planners and government organizations.

How can I better prepare for my policy renewal?
Your independent insurance agent is your best resource to ensure your small business has the proper insurance coverage as it changes and grows year over year. Review this list of 10 items to prepare for your conversation about how your business and its insurance needs have changed since your policy was issued.

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