Social Media Guide for Lawyers v. 3.0: Twitter for Lawyers
Twitter is a real-time information and “micro-blogging” social media tool that enables a lawyer and law firm to send potential clients and referral sources brief updates on what’s new with themselves, their law firm, and the industries they serve. Lawyers also use Twitter to discover new information and learn breaking news about topics that affect their practice and clients. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters and are called tweets. Tweets are sent in real time to any Twitter account holder who has decided to “follow” (subscribe to) the lawyer’s or law firm’s account and can include images, videos or links to other web pages, such as a law firm website, blog, or article of interest…
Please see full Chapter below for more information.
iSocial Media Guide
© Copyright 2016, Meritas, Inc. All rights reserved.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this Social Media Guide for Lawyers is made
available for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to constitute specific legal
advice or to be a substitute for advice from qualified counsel. The information may not apply to
your specific situation or jurisdiction or may be incomplete. You should not act or refrain from
acting or rely on any information herein and should seek the advice of an attorney before taking
In the first edition of the Social Media Guide for Lawyers, the 2010-2011 Leadership Institute
proclaimed that “the world is changing.” Nothing could have been closer to the truth. Over the
last five years, hundreds of thousands of lawyers have flocked to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
to develop personal and professional profiles to connect with family, friends and colleagues. Now,
lawyers and law firms are increasingly turning to social media for marketing and business
development. In doing so, the question is no longer whether lawyers and law firms should use
social media to promote their practice but how it can be done effectively while avoiding serious
ethical pitfalls with lawyer advertising. The world has indeed changed.
The first edition of the Guide featured a “Best Practices Guide” on how law firms and individual
lawyers could use social media to add value and generate business. The Guide also provided step-
by-step instructions for effectively using the “Big Three”—LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Basically, that first edition served as “Social Media 101,” providing a foundation for those just
diving into the social media pool.
With the second edition, Heather Melick of the 2010-2011 Leadership Institute and I elevated
Meritas to the next level of social media use by showing lawyers and law firms how to harness
social media to their advantage by integrating “traditional” media with these new technologies to
further expand visibility and exposure. The second edition is largely incorporated into this Guide
with significant updates, new features, and effective tips on how to take advantage of the current
features offered on social media.
In this third edition, I address the primary reason why lawyers and law firms have yet to fully
embrace social media for marketing: the uncertainty surrounding how the advertising ethics rules
apply to social media. While advertising rules generally govern the message, not the medium,
many lawyers and law firms are still uncertain about how the lawyer advertising rules apply to
social media and how they can use these marketing tools safely. The Guide will empower lawyers
and law firms to use social media safely by summarizing the applicable advertising rules,
explaining how the advertising rules apply to a lawyer’s personal and professional social media use,
and providing examples of actual social medial profiles to assist Meritas lawyers. Armed with this
information, lawyers can connect with confidence, develop their professional online presence, and
effectively use social media to generate business.
I hope you enjoy the Social Media Guide for Lawyers v. 3.0.
Ethan Wall, Social Media Law and Order
Member of the 2010-2011 Leadership Institute
How-To Guide to
Social Media Platforms
TWITTER FOR LAWYERS
Twitter is a real-time information and “micro-blogging” social media tool that enables
a lawyer and law firm to send potential clients and referral sources brief updates on what’s new
with themselves, their law firm, and the industries they serve. Lawyers also use Twitter to discover
new information and learn breaking news about topics that affect their practice and clients.
Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters and are called tweets. Tweets are sent in real time to
any Twitter account holder who has decided to “follow” (subscribe to) the lawyer’s or law firm’s
account and can include images, videos or links to other web pages, such as a law firm website,
blog, or article of interest.
The primary benefit of Twitter is to allow a lawyer to easily share information on their area of
practice without the time-management and third-party content concerns associated with a
Facebook profile. Twitter is not ideal for the lawyer interested in creating a robust profile that they
may be accustomed to on other social media sites.
How to Create a Twitter Account
1. Go to http://twitter.com/
2. Select Sign Up on right side of the page.
3. Complete the necessary fields (name, username, password, and email). The lawyer may
select the “Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits” box. If the lawyer selects this
feature, Twitter will build a unique list of relevant suggestions about who to follow based
on the lawyer’s online activity.
4. Select Sign Up.
5. Once welcomed
to Twitter, select
Let’s Go to review
a brief tutorial.
prompt the lawyer
to select categories
of interest in such
areas as sports or
music that will
enable Twitter to
profiles to follow.
The lawyer does not need to select any categories or suggested followers to continue
creating an account. Select Continue to proceed.
6. Twitter will prompt the lawyer to customize their profile by adding a photo. Select Upload
Photo to add a professional image of the lawyer or law firm logo. Select Continue to
7. The next page will allow lawyers to find people they know on Twitter by using their AOL,
Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo account to search Twitter for existing Contacts who have Twitter
accounts. The lawyer may bypass this process by selecting Skip This Step in the lower right
8. An email will arrive at the registered email address. Confirm the account by selecting the
link provided in the email. After this step, the lawyer has access to their full Twitter page.
9. Once the lawyer has full access to their Twitter page, they can also search for accounts they
want to follow by using the search field at the top of the page. We suggest searching for the
current Meritas accounts, which are “MeritasLawFirms” and “MeritasLI” by entering
“Meritas” in the search field. Select Follow opposite the description of each account listed
after the search. The lawyer can search for clients, professional firms, professional contacts,
media outlets, etc. to follow; chances are good that many of their interests, colleagues,
clients and competitors will have Twitter accounts. The lawyer can also search by subject
matter (i.e., social media law).
10. All tweets from accounts the lawyer follows will appear chronologically in the center of the
Twitter home page.
How to Send a Tweet
1. Send a tweet by selecting the quill in the upper right corner of the Twitter home page. A
rectangular window will appear with the words Compose New Tweet on top.
2. Type up to 140 characters of text, include images, videos, or links to other web pages, such
as a law firm website, blog, or article of interest. As typing begins, Twitter will display the
amount of allowable characters remaining. Select Tweet in the lower right corner to publish
the tweet to the lawyer’s Twitter followers. Tweets may also be seen by other Twitter users
who visit the lawyer’s account.
3. One or more hashtags may also be included within a tweet. A hashtag is any word or phrase
immediately preceded by the # symbol (such a #socialmedialaw). When a hashtag is
entered into a tweet, other users can select the hashtag to see other tweets containing the
same keyword or topic. Using hashtags is an excellent way to demonstrate experience and
interest in a topic, locate other tweets and Twitter users who share interests, and quickly
find information on topics or keywords a lawyer is interested in learning more about.
How to Communicate on Twitter
In addition to composing Tweets that are directed to all of their Twitter followers, a lawyer can
also communicate with specific Twitter users.
Tweeting to Another Twitter User
1. To communicate with someone publicly, the lawyer can Mention another Twitter user with
a tweet. To mention someone in a tweet, place the @ symbol immediately preceding
another Twitter user’s name (for example, @ethanwall). There should be no space between
the @ and the Twitter user’s name.
2. Once the tweet is sent, the Twitter user mentioned in the tweet will be notified. This will
enable the Twitter user to easily Reply to the original tweet.
Replying to a Tweet
1. By replying to a tweet, the lawyer shares a public conversation on Twitter that other users
can see by viewing either user’s Twitter profile.
2. The lawyer may reply to a tweet in which they are mentioned by clicking the Reply button
next to the tweet, which looks like a curved left-facing arrow found in the bottom left of a
3. Once the reply is sent, the original Twitter user will be notified and the conversation
Forwarding a Tweet
1. The lawyer may also forward another Twitter user’s tweet to their own followers by
selecting the Retweet button. The Retweet button looks like two L-shaped inward facing
arrows that form a square.
2. Retweets are used to pass along news or other valuable information on Twitter. Since
retweets are information previously posted by other users, they retain original attribution
when retweeted. As a result, the retweeted tweet will be displayed with the original user’s
name and photo.
3. Sending a retweet promotes the free flow of useful information, permits a Twitter user’s
profile to feature other user’s content that the Twitter user finds interesting, and helps to
build relationships between Twitter users by sharing information to each other’s network.
Sending a Private Message
1. To send a private message to another Twitter user, select that person’s profile and select the
speech bubble shaped message button under the user’s profile photo. A new window will
open with the words Direct Messages on top.
2. Type a private message, which may include images, videos, or links to other web pages.
These messages are only visible by the Twitter users participating in the conversation.
Establish Twitter Privacy Settings
1. A significant benefit of using Twitter is that it allows the lawyer to grow their online
network by becoming introduced to other Twitter users who share similar interests.
Accordingly, activating privacy settings interferes with a primary purpose of Twitter.
2. Although Twitter privacy settings are discouraged and limited, they can be established by
selecting the lawyer’s profile picture at the top right of the Twitter page.
3. A new web page will open. Select Edit Your Profile on the right side of the page and select
Settings from the drop-
down box. The lawyer can
customize their account
settings from this page.
4. By selecting the Protect
My Tweets box
opposite the Tweet
Privacy heading at the
center of the page, the
lawyer can limit
followers to only those
who they approve to
follow their Tweets.
5. The lawyer can also
change their account
settings to prohibit other Twitter account holders from finding their account by the
registered email address (emails are not publicly displayed) and identifying them in photos.
They can also limit how Twitter uses their information to affect their Twitter experience
and ad content.
6. Select Save Changes to confirm that all changes are made.
7. Select Privacy on the left side of the page (in the greyed out section below Twitter) to view
Twitter Lists can be very useful to control the stream of information, or tweets, the lawyer receives
on their Twitter feed. Twitter Lists allow the lawyer to organize other Twitter users into Lists that
help them more easily monitor different networks of friends, colleagues, and interests. Setting up
a List enables the lawyer to view only the stream of Tweets from people included in that List. For
example, the lawyer could create a List called “Meritas,” which would allow them to quickly
review any Tweets by Meritas lawyers or law firms without reviewing every tweet in their Twitter
Lists also allow the lawyer to monitor a person without officially “following” that person. This can
be useful if the lawyer wishes to monitor competitors or gather specific market research.
Creating Twitter Lists
1. Selecting the lawyer’s profile picture located in the top right corner of their Twitter home
page will produce a drop-down menu.
2. Select Lists, which is the second option on the drop-down list.
3. Select Create new list, which is located in the bottom center of the screen.
4. A window will open with a prompt to enter List
name. Type in a title for this List (i.e., Meritas
Lawyers, etc.). The lawyer has the option to
describe the List (which is limited to 100
characters) and to choose whether it is Public
(anyone on Twitter can subscribe to or follow this
List) or Private (only the lawyer can access the
6. Select Save list. Repeat the steps in this section
to create more Twitter Lists.
Adding Users to Twitter Lists
1. Twitter will display a new page inviting the lawyer to find people to add to their List. The
lawyer can then search for other Twitter users by name and add them to the list.
2. The lawyer may also add a Twitter user to a List by visiting their profile, selecting the gear
icon to the left of the Following icon and selecting Add or
remove from lists from the drop-down menu.
3. The lawyer can select the List(s) they want to add a
Twitter user to by selecting the empty box next to the
desired List(s). A checkmark will appear in the box. Once
the lawyer has selected the List(s) to add that person to,
they selects the x at the top right to close that window.
The lawyer’s choices will be saved.
4. Follow the same procedure to add other Twitter users to
the various Lists.
1. To view the Tweets from the group of people in the Lists,
go to the lawyer’s home page.
2. Select the lawyer’s profile picture located in the top right
corner. A drop-down menu will appear.
3. Select Lists, which is the second option on the drop-
4. Select the desired List, and a stream of Tweets only from the
members of that List will appear on the screen.
Subscribing to Other People’s Lists
1. To follow another Twitter user’s List, select a user’s name until you reach that person’s
Twitter home page.
2. Choose the Lists tab on the left side of the screen, and the Lists that person subscribes to
will appear on the right-hand side of the screen.
3. After selecting a List of interest, select Subscribe in the upper left corner by the List’s title.
The lawyer is now a follower of that List.
Practice Tips for Effective Twitter Marketing
P To maintain an audience of followers, a lawyer and law firm should tweet frequently. A
Twitter account associated with a law firm without frequent tweets may create the
impression that the law firm itself is no longer active or in business.
P A law firm and a lawyer should use consistent hashtags when tweeting about certain subject
matters (such as #socialmedialaw or #NLRB) to demonstrate their knowledge in a given
field and in order for Twitter users interested in that subject matter to easily find the
lawyer’s or law firm’s tweets.
P A law firm and a lawyer should follow other Twitter accounts owned by persons/entities in
the legal industry, which will generate increased awareness of the follower’s Twitter account.
P A law firm and a lawyer should seek out and follow other Twitter accounts owned by clients
and other professional firms related to their practice areas, along with media outlets, and
in some jurisdictions, courts, to receive information that may have an impact on a practice
area or client.
P In the Bio section of the account profile, a law firm and a lawyer should insert a written
profile of the account holder, list the name of their law firm and primary office location if
the account will be used for marketing, and include a disclaimer that they are not offering
legal advice through tweets.
P A law firm and a lawyer should feature the law firm’s logo or lawyer’s headshot to
personalize their Twitter profile.
P The background/theme of the account holder’s page may also be customized to reflect the
nature of the Twitter account.
P A Twitter badge may be placed on the law firm’s or lawyer’s website so that potential clients
can easily find the associated Twitter account.
P A law firm should designate someone to tweet regularly. Tweets sent on behalf of the law
firm should be approved before being sent out by the person or persons at the law firm with
the authority to approve public announcements. This process should be streamlined in
order to enable efficient and timely postings.
P Under no circumstances should confidential information, client names, or other
information that may be privileged or considered legal advice be published through
Twitter. A lawyer should consult the applicable rules of professional responsibility to ensure
that the content of all tweets complies with all rules concerning confidentiality or
and Next Steps
The Social Media Guide for Lawyers v. 3.0 should serve as a helpful handbook for lawyers and law
firms who want to use social media to more effectively promote their practice. The next steps will
depend on each lawyer’s personal and professional goals and interests for using social media in his
or her career. Meritas recommends the following three steps as a good place to start:
1. Determine the Lawyer’s Specific Marketing Goals
Everyone’s marketing goals are different. An experienced lawyer will have different goals from
first year associates. A lawyer interested in research and writing will have different marketing
goals than those who are passionate about public speaking and in-person networking groups.
A law firm will have aligned, but slightly different goals from their lawyers. Figuring out the
specific marketing goals for the lawyers and law firm will help determine how social media can
be used effectively for marketing.
2. Determine the Most Effective Social Media Strategies to Accomplish
Just as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to legal marketing, there is also no one social
media platform or strategy that will accomplish everyone’s marketing goals. Each lawyer’s
social media marketing strategy should take into account which social media sites they
currently use, consider how each site can benefit them or their law firm, and then design a
strategy that most effectively accomplishes their marketing goals. For example, if a lawyer’s
goal is to target members of a specific industry, the lawyer could accomplish that goal more
effectively by joining a LinkedIn Group tailored to that industry instead of sharing industry
related information to the lawyer’s personal Facebook friends. On the other hand, a lawyer
who wishes to educate their personal network about how they can help in family law matters
may be better served sharing information to their friends on Facebook.
3. Still Need Help? Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Not everyone is a social media-marketing expert. The lawyer should seek assistance from their
marketing director or a social media-marketing consultants to help them develop the right
strategy for their goals. Marketing professionals experienced in both social media and the law
will help a lawyer and law firm understand how social media marketing strategies can be
implemented effectively within the practice of law in a manner that complies with advertising
ethics rules. If the lawyer has any questions about the Guide, or how they can incorporate
social media into their practice, they are welcome to contact the author listed on the following
page. The author can serve as a helpful social media resource and is available for speaking
engagements and social media training sessions.
See you on social media!
The author would like to thank and acknowledge the 2010-2011 Meritas Leadership Institute
class: Heather Logan Melick, Gabriella Villagomez, Mark Colombell, Thomas Sullivan, Stephen
Campbell, Andres Montoya, Pascal Lauzon, Michael Pagni, David Darden, and Hiromasa Ogawa,
along with advisors Steve Gennett (Johnston, Allison & Hord, Charlotte, North Carolina),
Samantha Prasad (Minden Gross, Toronto, Ontario, Canada), and Kim Heinrich (Meritas),
without whose guidance the first Social Media Guide would not have been a success. The author
would also like to especially recognize Heather Melick (Luper, Neidenthal & Logan, Columbus,
Ohio) for her outstanding leadership, authorship, and companionship in developing the second
Social Media Guide. Finally, the author would like to recognize Jacqueline Wirtz (Luper,
Neidenthal & Logan) for her outstanding research, revisions, and contributions to the current
Guide. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such talented people on such a
Ethan Wall is the founder of Social Media Law and Order where he pursues his passion for
educating, consulting, and training lawyers and law firms on all areas of social media. Ethan
previously practiced social media, Internet, and intellectual property law at a former Meritas
affiliate in Miami, Florida. After serving on the Meritas Leadership Institute, and co-authoring the
prior versions of the Social Media Guide, Ethan quickly became widely recognized as an authority
on the effect of social media on the law. He has since authored three books including Fire over
Facebook: A Primer on Protected Social Media Activity in the Workplace and Best Practice Guide for
Managing Employee Social Media Use. Ethan also developed the Social Media Law and Order blog
to chronicle the effect of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media on the law. High profile news
organizations, including CNN, NPR, and Thomson Reuters have turned to Ethan for
commentaries on social media legal issues.
Ethan has an exceptional reputation for delivering engaging presentations and training programs
in the area of social media and the law. Over the last few years, Ethan delivered more than 100
seminars and workshops at national and international legal, business, and industry symposiums
including the Meritas Annual Meeting and Regional Meetings, and has published dozens of
scholarly articles on social media legal issues. He also teaches a law school course he developed
titled Social Media and the Law. He has lectured at the University of Miami School of Law, Nova
Southeastern University, and Florida International University School of Law.
Ethan also pursues his dream to
leave the world better than how he
found it through a charitable
initiative called Let’s Plant a Seed.
He delivers motivational speeches,
workshops and programs designed
to help people identify their dreams,
inspire them to pursue their
passions, and encourage them to
give back to the world in a lasting
way through community service.
Ethan regularly volunteers and
schedules community service events
in South Florida and in locations
where he speaks, consults and trains.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tel: (407) 484-5100
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