Social media is a realm where many attorneys fear to tread—and for good reason. The ethics surrounding social media use—what counts as legal advice, what is considered advertising, when an attorney-client relationship is created, and what is discoverable—are complex, with many rules still in flux.
Still, attorneys can and should use social media to grow their practice, albeit carefully. We recommend that you treat social media profiles as you would any other legal communication. Include a disclaimer on your social media profiles. Do not give legal advice on social media platforms. Do not solicit new clients via social media. Do not promise certain results or post misleading statements about your services or legal expertise.
Before creating your Twitter account or Facebook business page for your firm, make sure that you have a firm grasp of ethics as they relate to social media use. To test yourself, determine which of the social media posts below is in violation of ethics rules. (Hat tip to Nicolle Schippers, Corporate Counsel at ARAG.
1. “Case is finally over. Unanimous verdict! Celebrating tonight.”
2. “Another great victory in court today! My client is delighted. Who wants to be next?”
3. “Won another personal injury case. Call me for a free consultation.”
4. “Just published an article on wage and hour breaks. Let me know if you would like a copy.”