You may be among the thousands of legal professionals flocking to social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ to expand your professional presence in the emerging digital frontier. If so, have you paused to consider how the ethics rules apply to your online activities? You should. Some of the ethical constraints that apply to your social media usage as a legal professional may surprise you. Moreover, legal ethics regulators across the country are beginning to pay close attention to what legal professionals are doing with social media, how they are doing it, and why they are doing it. The result is a patchwork quilt of ethics opinions and rule changes intended to clarify how the rules of professional conduct apply to social media activities.
This article provides 10 tips for avoiding ethical lapses while using social media as a legal professional. The authors cite primarily to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) and select ethics opinions from various states. In addition to considering the general information in this article, you should carefully review the ethics rules and ethics opinions adopted by the specific jurisdiction(s) in which you are licensed and in which your law firm maintains an office.