10 social media guidelines to shield yourself against an ethics violation

Posted on 09-08-2014 by
Tags: new rules , Latst Headlines & Stories , social media , social business , law firm trends

In this article on americanbar.org, Christina Harvey, Mac R. McCoy and Brook Sneath give us a list of 10 tips to avoid ethical lapses when using social media. Here are there 5 of 10 tips and a little bit of what they said:

1. Social Media Profiles and Posts May Constitute Legal Advertising
Despite what many may think, lawyer and law firm websites are deemed to be advertisements. Social media profiles (including blogs, Facebook pages, and LinkedIn profiles) are by their nature websites, they too may constitute advertisements.

2. Avoid Making False or Misleading Statements

Lawyer websites must comply with the ABA Model Rules that prohibit false or misleading statements. The same obligation extends to social media websites.

3. Avoid Making Prohibited Solicitations
Be careful who you make solicitations to. Solicitations by a lawyer or a law firm offering to provide legal services and motivated by pecuniary gain are restricted under RPC 7.3 and equivalent state ethics rules.

4. Do Not Disclose Privileged or Confidential Information
You cannot make confidential information known without the client's consent.  Lawyers must obtain client consent before posting information about clients on websites. In a content-driven environment like social media where users are accustomed to casually commenting on day-to-day activities, including work-related activities, lawyers must be especially careful to avoid posting any information that could conceivably violate confidentiality obligations.

5. Do Not Assume You Can "Friend" Judges
Just because you may have a friend who is a judge, doesn't mean you can or should "friend" judges.Online interactions between lawyers and judges through social media (e.g., becoming Facebook “friends” or LinkedIn connections) subject to ethical constraints.

To read more on each of  these guidelines you can check out the full article here.

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