Dear Law Students: Clean it Up

I’ve been speaking with a bunch of law students lately and I thought I’d share the unsolicited advice that I’ve been dispensing. It’s never too early to clean up your Facebook page.

We all know the types of photos being posted on social media.  Sure, as we get older we get a little tamer, but our lives are littered with bad decisions that were memorialized on social media.  While we can’t erase our past entirely, we can make an effort to clean things up a bit.  The reasons are clear.

First, I hope we all know that checking social media pages prior to making employment decisions is a way of life for employers of all kinds.  And we should all realize that we can’t hide behind fake names– our prospective employers know that many students open Facebook pages using alternate names and they’re starting to ask questions.

Also, keep in mind that searching our Facebook pages is being institutionalized.  In 2009 the Florida Board of Bar Examiners adopted a policy of searching applicants’ personal social networking websites in select situations, such as cases where there are significant candor concerns. Don’t be surprised if other states adopt this policy as well.

Be careful– there may be times where cleaning up our Facebook pages is improper.  For instance, I don’t think it would ethically proper to change your website in response to an inquiry about your social media page.  On the other hand, I don’t think there would be anything wrong with proactively cleaning up your page, in the absence of any inquiry.

Given the times we live in, it appears that it would be wise for law students to give consideration to cleaning things up, like, yesterday.


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