Authored by Eleni Chalkidou, Director of Strategic Communications, Nishlis Legal Marketing.

If you know me at all, you will know that I am all for freedom of expression. 

As the daughter of a Greek philosopher and an eccentric chef, I was taught how to think and never what to think. I had no choice  but to reject conventional morality and make the world fit into my own, which I always thought were carefully deliberated rules. This of course came in handy, given that the local Greek priest in Germany was adamant I was possessed by the devil. Oh, the fun we’ve had!I won’t deny it, social media has always been one of my top means of sharing personal views and venting the geek in me, *(that and Speaker’s Corner at Hyde Park), and it is true that it has become an integral part of my life when I share on my personal platforms.

But what happens if I want to post from a platform that is also a business platform and which connects to my employer?

Social media is a must to business and law firms, and its impact on businesses and employment has become vital. There are ongoing opinions and debates about whether law firms should allow their employees to post whatever they like on their social media profiles. While some argue that employees should express themselves freely, others argue that this can lead to potential risks for a law firm.

But what about freedom of expression? 

Shouldn’t employees be able to express themselves and their opinions on social media without fear of repercussions from their employer? 

On one side of the coin, we may want to empower them to use social media as a platform to raise awareness about injustice, social and political issues, and they should be free to do so without any constraints.

On the other hand, however, there are potential risks associated with this, like the violation of client confidentiality. 

Law firms have a duty to maintain the confidentiality of their clients, and employees who post information about their work on social media can breach this duty. Nobody wants this, as it can lead to legal and ethical issues for the firm, and is guaranteed to ruin the trust and confidence that clients have in the firm.

Another such risk is of course reputational damage. What might be acceptable to one may be perceived as offensive by another client. This can damage the reputation of the firm and can have serious consequences for the firm’s brand and business.

Moreover, employees who express opinions or views that are contrary to the interests of the firm or its clients can create conflicts of interest. Not only could this lead to potential legal and ethical issues, and it could also damage long-established relationships between the firm and its clientele.

So, while I am all for freedom of expression, I believe it is important for law firms to have clear policies on social media use for their staff so that bad situations are avoided. These should be carefully defined policies with guidance, which outline the acceptable use of social media. It is essential for law firms to provide training to their employees on the use of social media and the potential risks associated with it. This is especially the case because, although it is good to maintain a happy workforce, allow them the freedom to express themselves and be creative, it is vital that you set some boundaries and give clear guidance to avoid the ugly.

It is essential for law firms to provide training to their employees on the use of social media and the potential risks associated with it.

In conclusion, yes, while freedom of expression is important, allowing employees to post whatever they like on their social media profiles will almost certainly lead to issues that could have been prevented with some guidance and training.

…and just in case you were wondering, would I not be doing something a tad more exciting than posting on LinkedIn if I ACTUALLY was possessed by the devil?

Any questions, we are here for you.