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Social media etiquette for lawyers

Written by Kim Lyons on .

 

The Florida Bar recently unveiled new rules aimed at regulating how its members behave on social media sites. The Daily Business Review wrote about the backlash:

Lawyers and law firms are expressing frustration with the new social media restrictions, saying they are difficult to interpret and overly stringent. Of particular concern are rules requiring law firms to state an office location on each tweet and barring lawyers from allowing third-party endorsements or listing their expertise on LinkedIn.

It seems the LinkedIn part is proving most irksome to Florida lawyers. Jennifer Pulice, director of communications for the Allegheny County Bar Association, says its members seem happy to have guidelines in place (the group only instituted the policy in April, so it's relatively new). She said the ACBA's social media guidelines are "very liberal" and lay a framework for members rather than spelling out do's and don't's.

Pulice said the ACBA has a closed LinkedIn group, which only other lawyers can join, but the association's Facebook and Twitter feeds are handled only by Pulice. The association hasn't offered specifics about lawyers' conduct on their personal social media sites, since there has not been a lot of demand from members for such guidance.

But there's a simple guiding principle Pulice suggests they follow: "Remember your posts can be seen online, even if you think your account is private."

Do you or your firm have social media rules in place? What do you think lawyers and law students should keep in mind when posting online?

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