About Solos Lawyers Using Social Media, CNA Gives Strange Warnings

By Nethani Palmani | Apr 03, 2017 11:49 AM EDT

If solo lawyers can’t receive more assurances from regulators or insurers that new tech is safe to use, and aren’t willing to take the risk without a safe harbor, then they might be left behind. (Photo : WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Malpractice insurer, CNA has raised two concerns about solo lawyers using social media. It observes that disgruntled clients may use social media forums to state their grievances publicly; and suggests that solo lawyers may not really have the resources to create, monitor and act in compliance to jurisdictional rules and regulations heeding to social media.

Whether or not solo lawyers put up a Facebook page, engage on Twitter or Snapchat, there is a myriad of sites for disgruntled clients to spill out their grievances, according to ABA. Yelp, for instance, is a platform that allows clients to post negative commentary about attorneys whether or not they've created their own listing.

It is clear that steering clear of social media won't stop clients from using it. Likewise, depriving solo lawyers of an opportunity to disseminate favorable testimonials and useful information to counteract criticisms, won't do much help either.

CNA's second point is solos who participate in social media are being faced with a thicket of regulations. However, the solution isn't for solo lawyers to run from social media, but rather, insurers should educate solos on applicable rules, assure solos that they'll be fully covered if a bar initiates an unfounded grievance, and even consider funding challenges to bar rules to provide solos with more clarity on the regulations.

What seems troubling is that CNA's warnings about social media are targeted only at solo lawyers, according to MyShingle. In fact, Professor Leslie Levin has suggested that malpractice insurers become more involved in regulating solos, fearing that insurers would impose onerous requirements that would increase the cost of premiums. 

It's strange that after ten years of using social media, insurers aren't ready to assure solo lawyers that social media is safe for law practices. Moving forward, technology innovations like wearable tech, the internet of "everything" and cyber security, are only some of the new challenges that solos will face this year.

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