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Will Tweeting Hurt Your Career? Willett?

If you're a lawyer or law student that is, or is on the cusp of being, technologically savvy, then you're probably on Twitter. After all, if there's a place to show potential clients that you are cool, woke, with it, or that you can, at very least, dig it, you should probably be there. Social media is exactly the sort of place where you can do just that.

There's no need to solicit clients or say you're available for business. Just being there, being a real person, and positively interacting with others can result in some serious social media marketing gains. The general public doesn't see lawyers as regular humans, so social media can go a long way to humanize individual lawyers. However, there are definitely ethical, public relations, and career considerations to think about every time you tweet, post, or decide to joke about a sensitive topic. Just ask Justice Don Willett, Twitter's most popular tweeting judge, who nearly had his tweeting bird cooked during his recent Senate confirmation hearing.

The Political Fray

As Justice Willett explained during his hearing, if confirmed, he doesn't plan on jumping on any of the social media bandwagons, or entering the fray of political and social debates online. As a Texas Supreme Court Justice, he had to face re-election, and Twitter, arguably, is a campaign tool. As a federal justice, campaigning would no longer be necessary. Instead, he plans on focusing his social media presence on educating his followers on the justice system and government. The potential Fifth Circuit Justice Willett Twitter would likely focus on way less interesting topics, which might not be great for gaining new followers seeking self deprecating judge humor, but it certainly could keep his name out of the media, as well as prevent future social media controversies.

If you aspire to politics, or have a politically leaning pool of potential clients, getting political might not be a bad idea, per se; just don't make off-color remarks as those can hurt in the long run.

Social Media Ethical Violations Can Really Hurt

When it comes to putting yourself, or your law firm, on social media, you should be extraordinarily mindful of your state's ethical obligations surrounding advertising and solicitation. Simply using the wrong language could land you in some serious ethical trouble. And, if you are a government attorney, or don't run your own practice, the consequences can be rather severe if you tweet something you controversial, especially if it goes viral.

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