EMMA SADLEIR: FORGING NEW UNDERSTANDING IN SOCIAL MEDIA LAW
Emma Sadleir is South Africa’s expert on social media law – having published two books and taking speaking engagements while dealing with clients personally.
In legal circles, Emma Sadleir needs little introduction. As a South Africa’s leading expert on social media law, Emma is today the founder of the Digital Law Company – a firm which specialises in educating and advising corporates, employees, schools, parents, teachers, and universities on the legal, disciplinary and reputational risks of social media.
Emma started her legal career by studying towards a BA LLB from the University of Witwatersrand and an LLM in Information Technology, Media and Communications Law from the London School of Economics – and graduated with both degrees in distinction alongside the award of a prestigious scholarship from the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust.
oday, much of Emma’s work involves creating social media strategies and policies for corporates and schools, drafting social media agency agreements and providing training and workshops on social media law. Additionally, Emma also teaches media law to journalists, and students of law and journalism – however, her tireless work doesn’t stop there, and often sees her working directly with private clients as well – often pro-bono.
Emma is also a published writer. “One of the highlights of my career is that I’ve been able to write books”, adds Emma, who is the co-author of Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex… And Other Legal Advice For The Age of Social Media, published by Penguin Random House, as well as the co-author of the legal textbook, Communications Law, published by Lexis Nexus in January 2015.
Through the Digital Law Company, Emma works to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands of people she has encountered in her role as a public speaker, media lawyer, author and thought leader in the emerging field of social media law, and contributes new knowledge to this rapidly developing field.
With career highlights that range from helping everyday clients affected by various concerns on social media to speaking at South by South West (SXSW), Emma continues to frontier this brave new legal field by contributing work that isn’t designed solely for legal professionals, but rather for every person of all walks of life to delve into.
“It’s been my life’s mission – so far, in this job – to educate people and to warn them against the risks of social media”, says Emma. “What everybody needs to know is that there are no ‘different’ laws that apply to social media… as soon as content has been seen by one person, we treat that content as if its been put on the front page of the newspaper.”
For Emma, whose passion outside of her work often see her horse-riding and showjumping competitively, fulfilment comes best from the feeling of a challenge, and rising above obstacles to better herself. “You’ve got to feel challenged in your life, particularly in your professional life… You’ve got to push boundaries and you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone,” concludes Emma.