For the Lawyers: Top Tips to Avoid Ethical Blunders on Social Media
Social media took the world by storm. In just a few years’ time, it has exploded as a massive, generation-shaping phenomenon that now connects billions of people every day. It has also served as an effective marketing platform for businesses – but how about in the case of lawyers?
When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bates during the benchmark case, Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, the idea of advertising covered only the newspapers. The ruling that lawyers can advertise their practice back then did not include any provisions for social media. This is why up until now, social media remains a debatable advertising channel for lawyers.
The American Bar Association has noticed the platform’s potential. Still, its use is subject to strict guidelines, far stricter than what it’s like for regular businesses. The reason for this is that simply having an account on Facebook or some other site already falls under the idea of lawyer marketing, says LawyerMarketingExpert.com.
So how can attorneys harness this platform effectively? The answer lies in observing proper ethical guidelines in promoting the practice. Here are some tips to use social media as a marketing tool ethically:
Beware of Online Communication
Online communication is quite tricky. It is fine to speak to clients, but attorneys have to be cautious when talking to other people. Represented parties have to obtain written consent from their lawyers first. It is also taboo for lawyers to connect or get in touch with judges and officials.
Post only True, Valid Statements
Many lawyers have failed in social media marketing by making false claims. This has led to complaints in their respective bar organizations. To avoid this kind of trouble, it is important to post only true and verified statements. Claims are a touchy subject, so do not post something along these lines to stay safe.
Stay Mum on Confidential Information
The duty of lawyers to stay quiet about confidential information applies to social media. If there is any sensitive information regarding a case, a lawyer has to keep quiet about it. Posting details on social media would not amount to anything good.
Social media as a new form of technology is revolutionary. Nonetheless, lawyers who want to make full use of this platform have to tread carefully. After all, the guidelines and limitations on legal advertising still apply – at least in principle – to what an attorney posts online.