You could say that 2012 was the year that the legal industry embraced social media -- but that doesn't mean that social media embraced the legal system.

When 2012 started, the issue of social media and the law was prominently covered. Even the American Bar Association featured the subject as its theme for Law Practice magazine’s January/February issue. In that issue, the cover story was a social media networking guide for lawyers. The issue also investigated how law firms should handle social media, when to engage in the social media conversation and how to create a social media policy

In 2012 alone, the legal industry began to tackle issues related to employer requests for social media passwords, FDA guidance about the promotion of medical products on social media, and whether or not a Facebook "like" is protected under the first amendment. Additionally, there were issues related to the discoverability of relevant data on social media.

Law and Social in the Past

Prior to 2012, the legal industry -- among others -- chose to ignore social media, wishing and hoping that it would all go away. By 2011, some began to confront its presence, thanks to vendors who helped make it easier to incorporate social media into their EDRM platforms.

But 2012 was the year when the legal industry sought to better understand the fine line between social media and legality, so it’s not unreasonable that 2013 might be the year when social media and the law become more entwined so that users can better understand their rights and responsibilities across social media platforms and so that the enterprise can begin to think strategically when it comes to defining and evolving their social media governance policies.

Looking Forward

We wanted to learn more about what 2013 had in store for social media and the law, so we turned to Kroll Ontrack’s, Michele Lange. Who better than the director of Thought Leadership and Industry Relations at Kroll Ontrack to comment on what we've seen in the last year regarding social media and the law and any trends that will be forthcoming in 2013? Here’s what she wrote: