By Tom Collins
If you read the title of this post out loud quickly, you'll get an idea of my personal opinion about lawyers — and their clients — who take a "sue first and ask questions later" approach to the feedback they get from customers via social media. A couple of years ago, I wrote a post called A Blogger in Every Firm, in which I asked,
"Whether businesses and business lawyers can/should continue to operate in a Web 2.0 world without becoming bloggers themselves, or having one on staff?
The uproar about a Chicago real estate company suing a tenant over her tweet implying there was mold in her apartment prompts me to update my opinion: I think every state should make it a mandatory CLE requirement for ALL lawyers to take a course on how social networks spread information and then participate in a blog, Twitter, or similar social media experience before being allowed to offer advice in this arena.
In the earlier post, I gave several examples where the lawyers' knee-jerk response of firing off a cease and desist letter seemed more likely to harm the clients' public image than accomplish anything positive. In the present case, here's the sequence of events: