Social media and the attorneys’ profession

May 1st, 2012
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Law Society of South Africa AGM 2012

The Law Society of South Africa’s annual general meeting took place from 26 to 27 March at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. On the agenda were the Legal Practice Bill, court-based mediation, business rescue, corruption and the attorneys’ profession and social media.

By Nomfundo Manyathi

Paul Jacobson, web and digital media lawyer and founder of legal and compliance services firm web.tech.law, gave a presentation titled ‘Changing platforms: Social media and the attorneys’ profession’.

Mr Jacobson, who specialises in social media law, said that social media had changed how things were done in the profession but that relationship building remained as important as it had always been. However, technology had ‘radically expanded the market place’, allowing for potentially more people to be reached on a personal level on a large scale.

Mr Jacobson said that marketing was social and the internet offered a variety of social platforms and services, which had the benefit of being conversational.

He said that social media provided attorneys with a platform to engage through debates and discussion. He added that when attorneys set up their profile and business pages on social media, they should make sure that they choose the most appropriate platform for the kind of business services that they provide.

Mr Jacobson also warned lawyers to be mindful of ethical and regulatory constraints when interacting online.

Nomfundo Manyathi, nomfundo@derebus.org.za

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2012 (May) DR 21.