Law Firm Marketing: Legal Ethics Expert Weighs in On Social Media Regulations

Over the past couple of months I have blogged here and here about the Florida Bar’s proposed new legal ethics in advertising rules.  Not that I’m obsessed, but I just had to share another viewpoint (one that I heartily agree with) from an interview at gjel.com with legal ethics expert Diane Karpman. 

Here’s an excerpt (the boldfaced parts are mine):

GJEL: Will the expanding use of social media by the general population have a permanent effect on attorney ethics guidelines?

DK: I’m not sure. There is a historic reaction against technological changes that the bar always takes. They always try to take the old rule and stretch it and see how it will encompass the new technological developments. The biggest problem with social media and lawyer guidelines is that at least in California, anytime a lawyer puts their name on anything, it’s deemed to fall under regulations governing advertising. Every state has very Byzantine regulations regarding lawyer advertising. The overarching theme is that everything lawyers say in advertisements must be true, accurate and not confusing. But these rules fail to take into consideration things like Twitter. If you only have 140 characters you just can’t comply with all the requirements.

People think that what’s online is friendly, but that’s not true when you are a professional. The main problem is that what’s posted on the Internet is there forever. It has a permanent effect on attorney ethics guidelines.

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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.

© Law Firm Marketing Experts, The Rainmaker Institute | Attorney Advertising

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