In today’s digital world, it seems as though everyone has an online presence. As a catastrophic injury lawyer in Las Vegas, NV, personal and business-related social media accounts can be tricky to manage, and many attorneys are confused by what they should be sharing. Furthermore, Attorneys also advise clients on how to use social media when they are involved in litigation. This blog post will focus on best practices and what those in the legal field should and shouldn’t do when it comes to social media.
General Guidelines for Personal and Professional Social Media Use
Social media posts have the potential to reach people from all over the world. Usually when you post on social media, you don’t realize just how many people could see your post. When posting online, lawyers need to make sure that the information they are sharing would not make the public believe they are admitted to practice law in an location that they are not licensed. Because if this, lawyers need to be careful of the content they post and where it is shared. When creating a post on social media, lawyers should keep these points in mind:
• Avoid posting legal advice or information that could be interpreted as legal advice on social media;
• Be mindful of the possible reach of your content;
• Be transparent about attorney-client relationships and licensing.
Advertising on Social Media
A lot of lawyers choose to advertise their services on social media. When advertising, it is important for attorneys to not make any false or misleading claims about themselves or the services they offer. When advertising, it is important that attorneys include contact information for themselves or their firm, their website address or physical location.
Many state bar associations require that attorneys submit ads to be approved before they can be placed in magazines or on billboards. This same rule would apply to advertising online. Be sure to check your state bar’s rules for online advertisement before running an ad.
Employees and Clients
An attorney is responsible for the actions of non-attorneys they retain, employ or associate with in regard to their business. Because of this, attorneys are expected to monitor their staff’s use of social media and make sure they are aware of best practices for social media use. Many attorneys choose to hold team meetings or trainings in order to inform their staff what is expected of them.
Many states have issued guidelines for attorneys to follow when they counsel clients regarding their social media use. Generally, these guidelines include advising clients to change their privacy settings, remove content and not to discuss their legal matter on social media. It is important to note that clients should not remove any content that violates preservation obligations or obstructs evidence.
Social Media and Litigation
During litigation, attorneys are obligated to implement ethical social media practices. Information to be used in discovery and trial needs to be subpoenaed, screenshots or posts printed out are not admissible due to the possibility of missing data.
Attorneys are also not permitted to friend request or follow a witness, jury member or party on social media in order to gain access to their information for data collection in a legal matter.
Lastly, attorneys should avoid communicating with clients over social media. If they choose to do so, any communication should be conducted through private messages to maintain privacy.
Thanks to The Law Office of Eglet Adams for their insight on social media use in the legal profession.