Ethical Risks of Attorney Social Media Activity: Navigating the Dangers of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs

Avoiding Inadvertent Attorney Advertising and Client Relationships, Disclosure of Privileged Information, and Damage to Reputation

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A


Thursday, October 10, 2019

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will explore the ethical issues that arise when attorneys use social networking sites and blogs. The panel will discuss the risks associated with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other popular sites, and outline the evolving ethical rules related to lawyers and online activity. The panel will offer guidance for counsel to stay within legal ethics boundaries when networking and promoting their legal services.

Description

LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social networking sites offer lawyers myriad avenues for communicating with each other and the public about a host of issues. The potential of disclosure of confidential information makes an attorney's online presence a minefield of ethical danger. Attorneys must learn how to handle client reviews on sites such as Yelp and AVVO to protect their reputations while staying within legal ethics and professional conduct boundaries.

The American Bar Association's ethics committee issued an opinion last year clarifying rules relating to lawyers reviewing jurors' internet presence before and during trial. Local and state bar associations continue to grapple with new issues as they arise. Earlier this year, one association stated that attorneys should treat most LinkedIn profiles as "attorney advertising" with appropriate disclosures and ethical obligations. Attorneys must be aware of the evolving ethical rules so they can safely take advantage of the opportunities these platforms offer.

Listen as our panel of experienced legal practitioners explores the ethical issues that arise when attorneys use social networking sites and blogs. The panel will discuss the legal ethics risks of using LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media, outline the evolving professional conduct rules for online activity, and offer guidance for staying within legal ethics boundaries.

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Outline

  1. Review of Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys
  2. Legal ethics risks of attorney online activity on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, review sites
    1. Confidentiality
    2. Attorney advertising
    3. Client solicitation
    4. The unauthorized or inadvertent practice of law
    5. Positional conflict
  3. Recent developments in state legal ethics rules and court opinions
  4. Best practices for minimizing legal ethics pitfalls when marketing legal services

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • Are there legal ethics problems in counsel directing clients to "clean up" their social media history? Can the attorney do it for them under the legal ethics standards?
  • What types of online communications might unintentionally establish an attorney-client relationship?
  • Does a request to "friend" on Facebook or "connect" on LinkedIn constitute a communication from a lawyer?
  • Is an attorney who touts professional accomplishments on LinkedIn engaging in attorney advertising in violation of legal ethics rules?
  • Can an attorney respond to negative reviews on Yelp and other review sites without stepping outside the boundaries of legal ethics?

Faculty

Brownstone, Robert
Robert D. Brownstone

Technology & eDiscovery Counsel
Fenwick & West

Mr. Brownstone advises clients on information-security, data-privacy, electronic discovery, electronic information...  |  Read More

Harris, Charles
Charles E. Harris, II

Partner
Mayer Brown

Mr. Harris focuses his practice on a range of matters of paramount importance to the business community, including...  |  Read More

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