Professional Conduct and the Use of Social Media
Have you ever wondered why lawyers can’t say they are the best? Okay, maybe you have never thought that, but it’s something that lawyers have to be aware of when posting to social media or any media of the sort. There are rules that lawyers, due to the nature of their profession, have to follow.
Saying, “I’m the best!” or “We’re rated #1” or “The most honest lawyers you’ll ever find” is not something a professional lawyer is supposed to do. It’s called self-lauding and is frowned upon.
Do lawyers still try it? Yes, they do. Just like any industry, I suppose, there are always a few who push the boundaries of what they say and post to try to convince others to use their services. But, there’s a huge difference between saying something to someone and posting it to social media. In most cases a verbal conversation is not so easily remembered, whereas posting to social media puts a person’s words “out there” for others to read, share and reference time and time again.
Did you know that lawyers are prohibited from friend requesting potential jurors? Yep, another rule that controls what a lawyer must avoid doing. So, why is it important? The friending of a juror through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networks can be construed as influencing said juror in a way that might benefit the present case.
Oh, social media can be used to look at, review and reference juror’s lives, to try to learn about what the jury is all about … but, can’t be used to manipulate the present case in any way, shape or form. And, sending communication through social networks such as chat, direct tweet messages or messenger to potential jurors is also a big no-no!
A question that comes up quite a lot is, “can lawyers and judges be friends on social networks?” What do you think? Yes? No? Well the answer is still in that gray area. It’s one of those ethical boundaries that lawyers and judges need to think about before doing. In December 2010, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled, “that a judge could be a Facebook friend with an attorney who appears before the judge, so long as the communication otherwise complies with the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct.”
Why do I share this information with you? Well, I share it because you might be thinking of hiring a lawyer. You’re looking for a lawyer who is the best or rated #1 or says they are honest, well if you see those types of lawyers saying that, know that they in most cases are not following the Code of Professional Conduct.
So, how do you find a lawyer if you can’t look for the one that says they are the best, brightest or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Social media is still a great place to start your search, to review and learn, but know that lawyers may not be able to share certain things to protect their past and present clients.
Yes, we here at the Law Offices of David W Holub do use social media, and we are careful as to what we share. We also use video, blogs and a website to help educate potential clients so they have a better understanding of what to expect before, during and after a case.
If you’ve suffered an injury and it happened in the State of Indiana, we invite you to pick up the phone and call us at (219)736-9700. We will review your case and let you know if it has merit and what you can expect. And if you’d like to follow us on social media, that’s great, just know that we can’t offer legal advice, but you can learn a little bit about us, what we stand for and how we help our clients.