Ethical Social Media Media Marketing Rules for Lawyers
As a part of the social media marketing services we provide to lawyers, we constantly stress the importance of understanding and implementing ethical guidelines associated with social media marketing. Ethical violations occurring on social media networks has greatly increased. Lawyers should use caution when marketing their law practice online. Read on to learn more about essential ethical rules lawyers should follow to comply with ABA guidelines.
Ethical Social Media Marketing for Lawyers
Lawyers often communicate about their current cases on social networking sites. Rule 1.6 holds that “a lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent.”
Lawyers should use caution when discussing legal information regarding their client’s cases on social networks. Though this tip may sound basic, do not be naive about how many lawyers actually do this.
For instance, an Illinois public defender was suspended for 60 days for disclosing too much client information on her blog. Do not make the same mistake this public defender made. Never disclose client confidences period.a
Lawyers should make sure all communications regarding their legal services is truthful and not misleading. Rule 7.1 states the following:
A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.
When communicating on social networks, lawyers should make sure all their statements are accurate, truthful, and not misleading. Lawyers should check their social media profiles regularly to make sure the information stays up to date.a
Lawyers often solicit for clients on social media sites. Rule 7.3 states the following:
A lawyer shall not by in‑person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment when a significant motive for the lawyer’s doing so is the lawyer’s pecuniary gain, unless the person contacted:
(1) is a lawyer; or
(2) has a family, close personal or prior professional relationship with the lawyer.
Lawyers must use caution when soliciting to parties in which they have no prior relationship with.
If lawyers seek to employ direct solicitation into their social media marketing campaign, they should implement the advertising disclaimers discussed in Rule 7.3(c) requiring advertising material to be identified as such.
Rule 7.3 (c) states that “every written, recorded or electronic communication from a lawyer soliciting professional employment from anyone know to be in need of legal services in a particular matter shall include the words ‘Advertisement Material” on the outside envelope, if any, and at the beginning and ending of any recorded or electronic communication.”
This means that lawyers should include a brief “advertising material” disclaimer on any electronic communication that involves soliciting to clients. For example, if lawyers have YouTube videos, or other electronic communications regarding their legal services, they should use advertisement disclaimers when applicable.