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NY Bar Issues Social Media Guidelines
March 31, 2014
The New York Bar Association has released a guideline document for lawyers using social media. It address such issues as what constitutes attorney advertising and when answering general legal advice over social media crosses the line into creating an attorney-client relationship. It also warns that, although lawyers may view public profiles of other people on sites like LinkedIn, the person may be able to see who was viewing their information. Ethical communication with clients over social media is also addressed, along with the issue of researching social media profiles of potential jurors and reporting juror misconduct.
“Lawyers must be conversant with the nuances of each social media network the lawyer or his or her client may use,” the guideline states. “This is a serious challenge that lawyers must appreciate and cannot take lightly.”
The guidelines are not best practices, the Bar takes pains to note, as the variety of ethical codes across the U.S. means different jurisdictions are sure to perceive social media behavior differently.