Here is an excellent post in Susan Cartier Liebel’s blog by guest blogger Debra Bruce. She lists twelve concerns lawyers should consider when utilizing social networking. She presents the issues in very concrete ways, focusing on particular concerns with particular social networking platforms which is very useful in making the issues concrete. However, I think there are three basic issues involved in her examples:
1. Know your state bar rules regarding lawyer advertising. This is by far the most problematic issue with social networking for lawyers because there are fifty different rules and its unclear whether the drafters truly understood or considered social networking when drafting the rules. I would recommend reading your state’s rules and prepare a policy that shows how you are conforming with them in your use of social networking.
2. Avoid utilizing social networking for directly soliciting business. If you post about how you provide great results for clients, then you are much more likely to run into problems than if you educate your readers about best practices in handling a hypothetical case.
3. Don’t assume communications on social networking website is private. You maybe unknowingly communicating with “friends” of clients or judges or other interested parties. Best to continue to use email for professional communications not Facebook or other forms.