The Formal-to-Informal Rule of Lawyer Web Publishing

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One of the more interesting transitions the web has brought to legal marketing communication is the greater acceptance of informal lawyer commentary. Where formal business writing and legal analysis were once considered the only output for marketing materials, the advent of blogging, and now micro-blogging (i.e. Twitter), has allowed lawyers to create more approachable online personas and to simplify legal writing in a way that appeals to a wider demographic of readers.

This trend of informal communication, while liberating in many respects, doesn’t come without a few pitfalls. One that has become more evident recently, occurs with the automated routing of content between the different web services.

The possibility of displaying only a part (one half?) of a conversation, or an unprofessional exchange, is increasingly likely the more we mix our business and personal contacts. And when we start routing content from one web tool to another, it isn’t a stretch to say: “we need to be careful”.

Should we expect a bit more latitude with our professional peers that are now included on these informal social networks? Probably. But my conclusion is that lawyers should also be putting some safeguards in place. As alluded to, applying some personal -vs- business demographic boundaries to online tools would be a good start. The next step, in my view, is to make sure your content sources are routing properly, and preferably, from formal to informal.

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