A New Trend: Emoji Lawsuits ;)

Attorneys know with a certainty that words matter in the law. But what about emojis? Reportedly, more emojis are showing up in court cases throughout the US. Thus, attorneys are left to argue about the interpretation of those characters and, apparently, courts are struggling to handle the nuances.

The number of reported cases with emojis as evidence in the United States reportedly increased each year since 2017 , and is at nearly 50 so far in the first half of 2019. However, there isn’t …

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Technological Advancements Complicate Confidentiality

The increase in connectivity has greatly improved an attorney’s ability to represent her clients. From searching a party on social media, to quickly parsing through online materials, saves hours and hours of time. Furthermore, attorneys can leverage professional organization memberships to seek input from thousands of other practitioners on legal questions or strategic decisions. Thus, an attorney can investigate deeper than ever before and easily liaise with other practitioners. But, this cuts both ways. Attorneys must be aware that technological advances also mean that her …

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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.

Recently, the Florida Supreme Court was asked to hear a law …

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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.

Recently, the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics filed a complaint against an attorney who publicized information regarding his representation of a client in a discrimination suit.  The attorney wrote an article about a case in which he represented an …

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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 …

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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.

Recently, a Washington D.C. attorney received an informal admonition from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel following a public dispute with a former client.  According to the Disciplinary Counsel, the client claimed that she …

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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 …

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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.

The opinion sets forth several situations involving attorney …

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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 …

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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 …

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