Category Archives: Social Media Lessons

“Friending” Leads to Ethics Complaint

An important aspect of litigation requires counsel to become investigator, to track leads, to turn every stone. Counsel seeks to better understand her adversary. Generally, this discovery process takes the form of formal document production, a long-standing and generally understood method of obtaining information. In this digital age, many attorneys also take to social media to gain additional information. However, unlike traditional paper discovery, using social media during litigation is fraught with peril.

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Case Analysis: Defamation and Blogs

In the age of lawyering we now live in, law firms frequently use blog posts, Twitter and newsletters as a marketing tool and to provide content of interest to clients or prospective clients. These blogs and postings have become a tool not only for “reporting” in the broad sense, but also of showcasing an attorney’s depth of knowledge about a particular subject, and the fact that they have their fingers on the “pulse” of legal developments in their field as they happen. While blogging, tweeting, or e-mail blasts often implicate ethical questions, another concern is whether, and to what extent, they may create possible exposure for defamation.

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The Ethical Concerns of Blogging Professional Successes

Professionals have embraced social media as a means to promote their businesses and market their professional successes. Managing social media accounts and writing blog posts allow professionals to directly communicate with prospective clients and advance their brand. However, professionals must be cautious that marketing tactics in the new age of digital media do not run afoul of traditional ethics rules and statutes regulating advertising and communications with clients.

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Restricting Employee Online Activity? Be Careful

Professionals take great pains to develop a positive reputation. Consequently, like all employers, many professionals monitor employee online activity to ensure that it adheres to internal policies and ethical standards. At times, employers may be justified, or even expected, to take action to limit online activity, such as when an employee makes defamatory statements that could be attributed to the employer. On the other hand, however, employers must take care not to infringe upon an employee’s statutory rights to voice legitimate criticism of their employer or to engage in activity to improve the circumstances of their employment. Doing so could violate federal labor laws. Just ask the NLRB.

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Safe Social Media Management: Part III

Today we focus on the ethical implications of endorsements and social media reviews in our final installment of PL Matters’ three-part series exploring the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s recent opinion on the ethics of social media management. While recognizing others’ abilities, and being recognized yourself, is an important marketing tool, the practice of “rating” by peers and clients is not without potential pitfalls. Social media endorsements are varied. Some websites permit users to recommend or endorse another’s skills. Other sites allow clients to submit reviews of an attorney’s performance during representation. Some, like LinkedIn, enable users to delete or limit endorsements. Whatever the manner of an endorsement, be sure to keep the following tips in mind.

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Does the “Private” E-mail Exist?

Innovations in technology have blurred the lines between work and private life. Many professionals regularly utilize personal devices, such as smart phones and tablets, while in the office, and can likewise access company files electronically through work-issued computers while at home. Given the lack of a bright-line distinction between that which is work and that which is private, employees may be tempted to engage in conduct on personal accounts or devices that would otherwise be clearly prohibited in the office.

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Safe Social Media Management Part II

PL Matters is pleased to provide the second portion of a three-part series exploring the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s new opinion on the ethics of social media management. Here, we consider an attorney’s obligations when communicating through social media and whether and to what extent an attorney may use social media content during litigation. Simply put, it’s a dangerous but navigable road.

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New Ethics Opinion on Safe Social Media Management

Professional Liability Matters is pleased to present a multi-part blog series exploring a new opinion on the ethics of social media management. As sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook continue to skyrocket in popularity, the use (and abuse) of social media in the business world remains a hot topic in the professional liability realm. Without fail, most networking events, seminars, and CLE presentations include a social media component and for good reason. Social media can be a great tool for all professionals, but can also be a source of risk and unexpected pitfalls. The law continues to adjust to emerging and dynamic technology; as a result, attorneys are sometimes left wondering how to best harness this technology to serve clients, and generate business while still staying in compliance with ethical rules. The Pennsylvania Bar Association recently issued an opinion that may help.

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The Ethics Bog of Professional Blogs

We love blogging! Blogs have become an increasingly important part of professional practice. Writing blog posts allows professionals to increase their social media presence and keep clients informed about recent developments in their respective industries. At the same time, blogs are an invaluable marketing tool that allows professionals to connect with potential clients and develop new business relationships in a less formal, and more interactive, medium than traditional print publications. But, bloggers beware. While this new form of interaction can be highly beneficial, professionals should be mindful of the possibility that their blog content may conflict with traditional ethics principles or otherwise alienate clients through unwanted attention.

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Don’t Tweet During a Depo

Today, everyone is a potential news source. Through a handheld device we can instantaneously upload photographs or content via social media to be delivered to an anonymous (and often eager) audience. In a sense, the world is shrinking due to instant access and connectivity. This technology has impacted the way we prosecute and defend cases. It plays into our strategy. Some attorneys use technology in an attempt to strengthen their case. But there are risks and limits. Take for example the Texas attorney who used Twitter to gain an arguably improper advantage.

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