The Ethics of Social Media Use


I will be speaking about prudent social media practices for lawyers at a New York City Bar CLE program on January 29, 2013. As an ethics lawyer and active user of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, I have both a professional and personal interest in the subject. The way I see it, there are four general ways that lawyers can get into trouble using social media. First, they make a false distinction between their personal on-line interactions and their professional social media use. Second, even when they have their lawyer "hats" on, they can run afoul of ethics rules, employment policies, or other rules. Third, they misuse social media as an investigative or discovery tool. Fourth, they fail to advise their clients adequately regarding their own use of social media.

This article provides examples in each of these categories and offers advice on how to avoid ethical pitfalls when using social media.

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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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