Friday, February 11, 2011

Tip for social media savvy lawyers: When in doubt, leave it out

I found Nicole Black's article on social media tips for lawyers to be interesting. The article outlines five tips for lawyers using social media.

Here are the five tips:
1. Social media is useless without goals
2. Different social media sites serve different purposes
3. ‘Social media’ is a misnomer
4. People want to hire other people, not businesses
5. Lawyers cannot afford to be left out of the loop

Conspicuously absent from this list: ETHICS ETHICS ETHICS! If I were creating this list, the number one tip would be as follows: You do not check your ethical duties at the internet gate. I also browsed her book for the purposes of this blog. The book has one small chapter on ethics, but directs lawyers to check with their local bar association. To me, this is reflective of the growing concern that no one is really sure how to handle the internet. The local bar rules are only marginally helpful, and, according to Ms. Black and countless others, it is not only helpful, but almost necessary for lawyers to be socially network savvy if they ever plan on making any money in the legal field.

Therefore, until the House of Delegates and/or the United States Supreme Court determine the exact boundaries of lawyer ethics on the internet, the number one tip for social media using lawyer is: When in doubt, leave it out.

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