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Social media presents us with many pros and cons, especially for lawyers. According to AttorneyAtWork, here are the 4 ethical sins of a social media lawyer:
Once you ask someone to contact you or visit your website, or invite them to become clients for monetary gain, you are soliciting business. Once it becomes a matter of soliciting business you must have a proper disclaimer. To avoid any trouble, ask yourself if the post contains commercial speech, before you send it out.
Posting on social media networks is not inherently advertising unless that post contains commercial speech. To avoid trouble, include a link in the “about” section of the social media network to your disclaimer and avoid commercial speech when you are posting.
How you obtain information on social media is up for debate. Facebook is the site frequently under questioning. This is because If the user’s profile is set to private, then you must “friend” them in order to gain access to their information. In states like New York, there is a more liberal policy on whether you can “friend” someone solely for the sake of discovery; Pennsylvania, on the other hand, is not so liberal. To avoid any trouble, it is best to check with your state bar association and ask specifically if you, or a third party, can connect with someone for the sake of discovery and what information you are required to disclose.
This is an obvious problem but it still occurs. There have been times when an attorney posts about a client by name or when people think they had proper consent to talk about a case when they didn’t. Best way to avoid any trouble here- avoid talking about clients on social media completely.