Kaplan Survey: Law School Grads Believe Their Social Media Posts Are “Fair Game” for Prospective Employers


A new Kaplan Bar Review survey of over 700 aspiring lawyers finds that 78 percent think it’s “fair game” for prospective employers in the legal industry to visit job applicants’ social networking profiles to help them make hiring decisions.
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Law school graduates from the class of 2017 don’t object to prospective employers scoping them out on social media. According to a new Kaplan Bar Review survey of over 700 aspiring attorneys, 78 percent think that it’s “fair game” for prospective employers in the legal industry to visit job applicants’ social networking profiles like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help them make hiring decisions*.

Kaplan survey: law school grads says it’s “fair game” for prospective employers to visit their social media pages.
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Law school grads who think it’s appropriate for employers to vet prospective employees using social media shared the following opinions:

“A person’s social media presence is an extension of who they are and who they want to be perceived as. You could have a completely capable candidate for a position who meets all of an employer’s qualifications on paper and in an interview, but if the person acts in a contrary manner on social media it can not only affect what potential clients think about the attorney, but also about the employer. “
“It’s useful to know what kind of person an applicant is, particularly their personality and temperament, as opposed to what goes on a resume. Use of these sites is voluntary and if an applicant doesn’t want an employer to see the things they post then they shouldn’t post them.”
“Professionalism does not stop at work. When you represent your company, especially within the legal field, you have a higher level to uphold. The best way to truly see a person is how they act on their personal page and majority of the time it shows their true character.”
Those who object to prospective employers using social media this way opined:

“Attorneys should have an ethical standard that they hold themselves to, however, what I choose to do in my personal life is what I do in my personal life. There is no reason that an employer should try to see what I do during my personal time.”
“An applicant’s personal life is separate from his professional life and that separation should be honored especially when employers solely want someone who will be proficient in their work environment.”
“Employers hired people before social media existed based on what they had in front of them, and didn’t need to judge people’s social lives to make their hiring decisions. I’m not sure why they would need to do so now.”
Additionally, 66 percent of recent law school graduates say that it’s acceptable for a state bar’s fitness and character committee to visit law license applicants’ social networking profiles to help them make decisions about who gets admitted to the bar.

Just 7 percent of survey respondents say that they would be concerned about prospective employers or a state bar’s fitness and character committee finding posts that would negatively impact their nascent careers.

“Our survey finds that tomorrow’s lawyers are not only fine with prospective employers and state bar examiners looking at their social media trails, but it many cases think it’s a good idea because it may be necessary to protect the legal professional and individual legal practices,” said Tammi Rice, vice president, Kaplan Bar Review. “We know that aspiring attorneys are not a shy group, but given that many of the people who might make or break their legal careers could be seeing what they post, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. We encourage a healthy exchange of ideas and the right to express yourself, but it’s not without risk when it comes to your livelihood. You don’t necessarily have to share everything.”

To schedule an interview about Kaplan Bar Review’s survey results, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

*Kaplan Bar Review conducted the survey via email in July and August 2017. It includes responses from 714 law school graduates from the class of 2017.

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