Attorneys Can Use Social Media and Adhere to Ethical Standards

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Social media, to the chagrin of some and the delight of others, has muscled its way on to the legal marketing scene and is now a force that is difficult to ignore. Social media itself is not exactly new – Facebook is 8 years old – but its ubiquitous presence on law firm marketing blogs and in law firm marketing plans is a more recent development. Even busy attorneys who eye the development with suspicion will grudgingly set up a LinkedIn or Google+ profile.

The ABA has (finally) officially recognized the unavoidable role technology plays in an attorney’s daily life. This week, the American Bar Association House of Delegates approved proposed changes to ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct with respect to technology. Among the updates are modifications to the comments to Rule 1.1, which covers competent representation. The comments were amended to say that attorneys must understand “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”

The ability of people to say something public and stupid online has not changed since bored teenagers huddled around a computer pretending to be someone exotic on a Usenet newsgroup. Twenty years later, the explosion of available platforms makes it even easier for a professional adult to breach ethical boundaries. In fact, some attorneys use ethical considerations as an excuse to avoid social media altogether.

Integrating social media into a marketing strategy does not have to portend doom. Simple steps can be taken to keep your online activities within ABA ethics standards... CONTINUE READING

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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