Social Media Ethics for Lawyers: 4 Things Attorneys Should Not Do Online

This post is written by my wife, Sarah Lavender Smith, who works with me at Cogent Legal as the director of communications.

Yesterday I attended a panel discussion called “Legal Social Media Gone Wild: A Look at the Ethics Involved in Lawyer Participation Online,” sponsored by the Bay Area Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. The wide-ranging talk touched on sticky issues that have emerged as attorneys go online to network, to promote their expertise and to connect with potential clients.

Attorneys’ seemingly benign social media activity can and sometimes does collide with the rules of professional conduct. Trying to promote themselves online while mitigating this risk “is like skiing while leaning backwards—it’s very difficult to do,” said one panelist, Adrian Lurssen, co-founder and VP of strategic development at JD Supra (which, BTW, is a terrific service for legal news syndication; you can check out our profile and articles there).

Here are a few take-away lessons for attorneys and legal marketers from the panel of experts, which in addition to Lurssen included: Miles B. Cooper of Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, John Steele of the blog Legal Ethics Forum, and moderator Lydia Bednerik, marketing director at Wendel Rosen Black & Dean. (more…)

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