Category Archives: Social Media Lessons

Pitfalls of Facebook Friendship

Friendship has taken on new meaning in the age of social media.  Old acquaintances, former classmates, co-workers, professional contacts, public figures, family, and close companions may all be similarly situated as a “friend” on social media, regardless of the level of personal interaction with each.  Social media users therefore often apply more liberal standard when accepting new network friends than they would in their personal lives.  Professionals, however, may need to be more cautious.

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Pitfalls of Professional Posting

Professionals love to publicize success stories on the web. Writing posts on recent victories is a valuable way of marketing a practice and generating new business. In the case of professionals, however, success stories often entail details regarding clients, which could raise client confidentiality concerns.

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Wearable Tech: This Season’s Hottest Litigation Accessory?

We appear to be in the midst of a new fitness renaissance. Trendy fitness programs such as CrossFit, Zumba and SoulCycle dominate social media mentions, while many others stick with tried and true exercise favorites such as running, swimming, biking, yoga, or a gym membership. Workouts and personal records are celebrated on people’s blogs, Facebook pages, and Instagram accounts. The apparent surge in fitness enthusiasm has brought with it a flood of new products designed to take advantage of the market; perhaps none more ubiquitous than wearable fitness trackers, such as those made by FitBit, Nike, Garmin and Samsung. These devices – which can track an astounding array of data, from heart rate to blood sugar to steps taken in a day – are an excellent resource for any fitness enthusiast, or anyone looking to create a healthier lifestyle. However, the demand for wearable tech designed to track our vital information may also prove crucially important to the manner in which we collect information to be used in litigation.

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Public Spat With Client Leads to Disciplinary Action

Many professionals are proud of their work-product, their reputation, and their capabilities. Along those lines, many professionals are sensitive of their public image, including their online presence. Therefore, when others post critical reviews of a professional on social media, it may be tempting to respond in a defensive manner. But, be careful.

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Facebook + FMLA Leave = Termination

Had a great vacation? Post it on Facebook. Fun surfing? Post that too. Swam some laps while on FMLA leave due to a shoulder injury? You should probably keep that one to yourself. Employers continue to struggle with balancing their own marketing interests with the interests of employees in maintaining a social media presence. Of course, an employee’s use of social media may not always comport with an employer’s interests as identified in its social medial protocols or otherwise conflict with accepted practices. Take for example the recent decision from the Middle District of Florida.

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Social Media Ethical Considerations

You love blogging. Who doesn’t? For some professionals, blogging is an important part of education, outreach and networking. But, as we’ve discussed previously, blogs may be considered advertising and, if so, ethical considerations apply. The State Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility recently circulated a proposed opinion for public comment that addresses the ethical implications of blogging by attorneys. The opinion considers when a communication subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct on attorney advertising.

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Attorney Suspended for Online Spat with Clients

Many of us are perfectly comfortable publishing to an anonymous, online audience what we ate for dinner, our political views, relationship status, the argument we had with a cashier, or other personal details. This is not uncommon on various forms of social networking. But, when it comes to professional relationships, there are rules to follow. As a result, today's professionals must pause before airing dirty laundry concerning a client or former client. Doing so risks violating ethical duties to former clients of confidentiality and can impair reputations.

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Failure to Cite Blog Content Leads to Copyright Claim

Professionals utilize blogs for a variety of reasons: for marketing and promotion, to highlight trends and relevant issues, or to be of service to the community. In many cases, professional blogs do not generate original content, but rather provide summaries and links to primary sources, which readers can further investigate. However, professionals, like all bloggers, must be careful to identify their sources and avoid simply copying content from other sites. Failure to give credit where credit is due, even in blog posts, can violate ethics rules and lead to costly plagiarism claims.

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Keep ‘Em Separated – Combined Social Media Accounts Leads to Property Dispute

Many professionals promote through social media. Within small practices, where an individual is often responsible for contributing content to the site, the lines between business profiles and personal accounts easily overlap. On the surface, a professional’s decision to add personal content to her company account does not necessarily raise any ethical or business concerns. However, where ownership of the business changes, disputes may arise as to whether the social media account is property of the company, or should remain in the possession of the individual professional who created it.

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Social Media Guidelines Get a Profile Update

Social Media has transformed the legal profession. Today’s lawyers routinely communicate, advertise, investigate and obtain information via the numerous social media platforms available at the click of a button. The rapid change in the way lawyers do business has created a new set of ethical challenges. In order to navigate this growing field of ethical issues, many states have issued guidelines for the use of social media in the legal profession. Last year, the New York State Bar Association’s Commercial and Federal Litigation Section issued its first set of Social Medial Ethics Guidelines. Just recently, those Guidelines were updated to address areas that require additional guidance including new sections on the retention of social media by lawyers, tracking of client social media, communications by lawyers with judges, and lawyers’ use of LinkedIn.

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