LinkedIn for Lawyers: Newly Issued Ethical Guidance Makes Social Media Use Less Risky

January 15, 2016  |  The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

The ethics guidance interpreting "Attorney Advertising" rules in the social media context continues to evolve, but this time the evolution appears to be for the better, taking into account the realities of the growing use of social media. As you may recall, early last year, the New York County Lawyers Association ("NYCLA") weighed in on the ethical implications for lawyers using LinkedIn and suggested that attorneys using the self-proclaimed “World’s Largest Professional Network” needed to beware that their posts on that site, even the most casual, did not run afoul of the attorney advertising rules. Now, however, a recently published Formal Opinion of the Committee on Professional Ethics of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York ("City Bar") has called into question the scope and applicability of the NYCLA opinion, recognizing that use of ethic rules developed for a pre-social media world in a post-social media context may be akin to attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole. As the City Bar acknowledged: the current attorney advertising rules "defy easy extension to the digital world and, in particular, to social media content." The difficulty of applying the rules of ethics to lawyers' social media activities, however, has not stopped lawyers from using social media websites -- particularly LinkedIn -- for professional self-promotion. The new City Bar opinion, however, sets forth a test that might make it easier for attorneys to navigate their responsibilities while continuing to document their achievements, both personal and professional on the internet. [...]

Read Full Blog Post Here