In 2009 the Kentucky Supreme Court substantially revised the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct. Articles in this index written before 2009 citing Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct must be checked for any changes to the rule cited.
We lawyers tend to be gregarious and the opportunity presented by the social media on the Internet to exercise that tendency is enormous. It seems everyday there is yet another new way to get on the Internet and touch somebody. These contacts often lead to new friends and maybe even a new client or a client we did not know we had. Therein is the rub. While it is true that lawyers can have a personal life, when their social media networking spills over into professional activities they are at risk.
At the American Bar Association Spring 2010 National Legal Malpractice Conference two programs on social media risk management were presented – A Guided Tour of Social Media* and The Challenge Of Social Media For The Ethical Practice Of Law.**
In “A Guided Tour” social media was categorized with examples as:
Personal: Facebook, Classmates.com, and MySpace
Professional: LinkedIn, TalkBizNow, and Plaxo
Legal: LawLink, Legal OnRamp, MH Connected
Microblogs: Twitter, Tumblr, Jaiku, and Yammer
In “The Challenge Of Social Media” it was stressed that:
“Social media and social networking activities can be problematic because lawyers can
market their professional services, and
discuss their professional and personal lives.”
The program then covered the following risk management considerations to avoid malpractice and ethics issues when using the social media:
Don’t talk about clients or their matters
Don’t talk to clients about their matters
Know and respect the marketing-related Rules of Professional Conduct
Avoid the Unauthorized Practice of Law
Avoid conflicts of interest
Don’t give legal advice AKA avoid phantom clients
Protect your identity
Be polite and professional
Avoid making the wrong friends
Beware of employee social networking
* Presented by Catherine Sanders Reach, MLIS ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. ** Materials for a Panel Discussion prepared by Simon Chester, Heenan Blaikie LLP, and Jeffrey T. Kraus, Vice President and Loss Prevention Counsel, ALAS, Inc., together with articles written by Dan Pinnington Director of practicePRO, LAWPRO’s risk and practice management program.
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