Worried lawyers and social networking

I’m perplexed about the fear lawyers have about social networking and online marketing.  Much of their fear gets focused on writing detailed and comprehensive disclaimers.  But there are still lawyers who fear any kind of social networking as a per se ethics violation.

Here is the kind of article that breeds this suspicion.  It’s a summary of social networking panels at the New York Bar Association and the author does a scattershot summary of findings out of context from different discussion.   It talks about attorneys handling cases and concerns they should have about what they say online; it talks about how to communicate with clients, libel dangers and various Bars and their opaque rules concerning electronic communications.  Its enough to make your head spin.

Bottom line:  my advice is to include a brief disclaimer on your website etc. if that’s a concern for you.  I frankly think its unnecessary but it won’t hurt and can ease your worries.  Most importantly, make sure that you send every client a legal services agreement and have them sign it.  That’s how you should do business when you answer the phone and a client wants to hire you and its no different if you receive a tweet from someone wanting to hire you.

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