Social media is a complex technology in today’s digital era, with many professionals marketing themselves effectively on channels like Facebook and Twitter. They have to work within extensive ethical and compliance-related frameworks to ensure that they’re well protected.
Lawyers may be inclined to share sensitive information via social media or talk about an on-going case on a public platform. They may even share unsolicited legal advice online, which can get them in trouble as well. It’s important to consider the legal ramifications of using social media, as well as the ethical violations that can take place via the written word.
Everything can be documented if shared online. That’s why lawyers need to be vigilant against ethics violations, whether done through their personal account or that of their organization.
Keep confidential information protected
While lawyers may want to share case studies online, it’s best to remain confidential on social media. This is because there are confidentiality clauses that may be directly broken years after the proceedings have taken place.
Your social media history may be pulled up in a lawsuit filing in the event that you shared classified information online. It’s critical to keep confidential information private at all times. Lawyers can store messages as drafts and have a dedicated legal team view them for ethics violations, if any.
Don’t make false statements
Making false statements is going to land your business in a heap of trouble, especially since every Tweet or post can be accessed regardless of whether you’ve deleted it. There’s always a copy of everything on social media somewhere online.
As a smart lawyer, it’s your job to filter out content that doesn’t comply to ethical standards of your profession’s practices. Any savvy personal injury lawyer can tell you about the importance of carefully filtering the statements that you make.
Share limited information online
When it comes to cases, proceedings, or court hearings, it’s best to limit the amount of information shared online. This is to protect your business against claims that you may have leaked sensitive information through social media.
You don’t want any smoke signals to show during your time on social media, which is why you should always interact in a professional manner. Limiting the information you share online is the best approach when it comes to complying with social media best practices.
However, attorneys can still conduct thorough research using social media, especially to prove witness competency in a certain domain. The social media posts of the person in question can provide leads into the case, giving lawyers an ethical pretext to conduct research.
All advertisements are subject to governing rules
All statements made online, via social media, are subject to the existing rules around attorney advertising and soliciting. The Social Media Ethics Guidelines of the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York Bar Association has extensive insights on what lawyers can do and not do while online.
Each state also has its own set of requirements that all lawyers must adhere to in order to maintain their license. Social media isn’t exempt from traditional guidelines, especially when it comes to adhering to different state regulations. Court reporters in Miami need to follow Florida guidelines when promoting their business in the state much like car accident attorneys from Carson would in accordance with California law.
This even extends to making statements within your bio, pertaining to the promotion of your business. You may have to add the term “Attorney Advertising” if the sentence structure is designed to elicit more business. This is critical to maintain, especially when talking about your business in a promotional manner. The alternative to this is keeping your bio short and simple.