Social media guidelines for lawyers from the NYSBA

Wednesday, November 13 is the NYIPLA One-Day Patent Law Seminar! In New York! Princeton Club, natch.

I tell you this for a number of reasons. One of them has to do with the title of this blog post.

1. I am on the NYIPLA Programming Committee. So it is my duty to assist with promotion of this matter. That is not the one. The title of the post one, I mean.

2. I am in favor of more knowledge. Knowledge is power. Power is money. I want you all to have more money. Also this is not the one I meant.

3. OK, well, this is the one. And it’s this: I’m presenting. Wait — don’t panic! Yes, I did say it’s a patent program. It’s just this:

NYSBA Social Media Ethics Guidelines 2019

Yes. I may not know all that much about patents these days, but social media, that’s something I may know much about.

Oh? You’ve heard about the New York Bar Association Social Media Guidelines, right? I don’t mean “these ones.” I mean the July 2019 ones. You… you had heard, hadn’t you?

They are not necessarily there to make things any clearer, or maybe they are. (See what I did there?) For what it’s worth, though, this seems like a decent summary, and here are a few sobering bullet points from it:

  • Obviously, a lawyer is “responsible for all content” that the lawyer posts on the lawyer’s own social media profile. However, a lawyer may also have a duty “to periodically monitor” the lawyer’s sites for comments, endorsements, and recommendations to ensure that such third-party posts do not violate ethics rules. “If a person who is not an agent of the lawyer unilaterally posts content to the lawyer’s social media, profile or blog that violates the ethics rules, the lawyer must remove or hide such content if such removal is within the lawyer’s control and, if not within the lawyer’s control, she may wish to ask that person to remove it.” 
  • A lawyer’s posts on “issues and legal developments” should not be “inconsistent with those advanced on behalf of her clients and the clients of her firm.” 
  • A lawyer must avoid inadvertently undertaking to represent a person by providing legal advice on social media. Instead, the lawyer should only “provide general answers to legal questions.”

They sound like common sense, right?

Not necessarily.

Anyway, we’ll be discussing these and many other issues at the seminar on the 13th. Do join us! Registration is here.

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