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Firm to overturn Facebook ban

Firm to overturn Facebook ban

A new social media policy will allow staff at Colin Biggers & Paisley (CBP) all day access to Facebook.Around 12 months ago, CBP blocked access to Facebook and YouTube between 8.30am to…

A new social media policy will allow staff at Colin Biggers & Paisley (CBP) all day access to Facebook.

Around 12 months ago, CBP blocked access to Facebook and YouTube between 8.30am to 12.30pm and between 1.30pm to 5.30pm due to the pressures it was putting on its computer network.

Managing partner Dunstan de Souza told Lawyers Weekly that CBP is developing a social media policy that will increase the firm's bandwidth from 4mb to 10mb and allow staff to once more access Facebook at all hours.

"Bandwidth has been choked in the past by people on Facebook, and in the context of there not being a policy around it (social media), I understand the reasoning for it," he said. "It is not my natural inclination to have those restrictions in place, and while I don't go on Facebook at work, I want the ability to."

While no fixed date has been set for the new social media policy, de Souza hopes to have it implemented in the first half of next year. The firm also plans to create its own Facebook page and open a Twitter account. But before doing that, de Souza wants to develop a set of protocols and policies around its use.

"We will be putting in place a series of things we don't want our lawyers to do in social media forums," he said. "You can't breach client confidentiality; you can't reveal certain financial information.

"It is not just about being negative. There are also many positives to it. There are some really good tools to do some really good things. You can tweet links to our website, and you can tweet links to our articles to promote your expertise to promote this firm."

The firm will be providing all of its 28 partners and 107 lawyers with training seminars on social media before the formal policy is introduced later in the year.

"The risk is greater if we don't have a proper, considered response to this, but the fact that we do have a proper, considered response reduces the risk," said de Souza. "That is the whole point of this, to lessen the risk to our clients, and many of our clients welcome this."

de Souza, who has an active Facebook page, has previously championed the use of new technology in law firms.

In October, he spoke at the Lawtech Awards and said that "embracing new technology is extremely important for any firm's attractiveness to potential clients and future staff".

"If today's law graduates love the latest technology, then it's an important inducement," he said at the awards. "We need to keep that firmly in mind if we want the best and brightest graduates to want to work for us."

Last week Lawyers Weekly revealed that CBP is in merger negotiations with Monahan + Rowell as part of an expansion strategy to open an office in Melbourne in the first half of next year.

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