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Social Media Use for Attorneys: Social Media Use: Electronic Resources

Social media has become prolific in our everyday professional and personal lives. This LibGuide will introduce you to resources that may guide you in the responsible and beneficial use of social media in your future law practice.

Websites

ABA Top 100 Blawg Lists

The American Bar Association provides an annual ranking of the top 100 Blawgs (blogs by and for lawyers), as voted by the ABA's members.  The best legal Twitter accounts to follow are also ranked each year.  The Annual Blawg rankings are organized alphabetically and by topic, so you can be sure to find a blog or two that fit your needs. In 2012, the ABA also announced its inaugural Blawg 100 Hall of Fame, which includes those blawgs that members cannot ever imagine not being a good read.

Blogs

The following list of links will lead you to popular blogs on the topic of social media use for and by attorneys.  These are just some of the more popular and useful "blawgs" that you can follow.  Blogs are only as useful and reliable as their authors, so when reading any blog, you should be sure to investigate the authority and reliability of the authors and/or contributors by verifying their credentials and researching their reputation on the Web.  Also, take note of how often the blog is updated, for a lack of currency can render the website unreliable.  This list is alphabetical, and there is no ranking of one over any other, so take a look at them and find the one that best serves your needs.

ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law 7th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference

On November 6 - 9, 2013, the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law held its 7th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference.  One program offered during the conference was "Ethics of Social Media for Lawyers: It’s Not Just Clients Who Need to Worry."   The presentation had two parts; the first focused upon ethical considerations of social media use by represented parties, witnesses, and jurors before and during litigation.  The second focused upon ethical and practical implications of legal advertising using social media.

The PowerPoint for the presentation is available here.  A 14 page article entitled, "Why Can’t We Be “Friends?” Navigating the Rules of Professional Conduct in the Age of Social Media," authored by two of the presenters, is also available online for your review.

BNA/Bloomberg Social Media Report

BNA/Bloomberg publishes the Social Media & Law Report, and as a member of the Touro Law Community, you can access this report directly from our Online Databases page. (If you are off-campus, you must be signed in to TLC Web in order to access the report.)  Updated on a continuous basis throughout the day, you can check out this resource here (Scroll down to click on the link - it's in alphabetical order.)

NYSBA Social Media Ethics Guidelines

Published on June 9, 2015, the Commericial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association Social Media Ethics Guidelines provides ethical guidance in the following seven areas:

  • Attorney Competence; Attorney Advertising; Furnishing of Legal Advice Through Social Media
  • Review and Use of Evidence from Social Media; Ethically Communicating with Clients 
  • Researching Jurors and Reporting Juror Misconduct; Using Social Media to Communicate with a Judicial Officer

You can access the policy here.

The New York State Bar Association also has a policy for those who volunteer to blog for the Association.  You can access it here. 

Ethics Opinions on Social Media Use by Attorneys

As social media use by attorneys proliferates, so do the ethical conundrums faced by attorneys and judges in using social media. National and New York Bar Associations have issued ethical opinions on the use of social media in litigation.  Access them here:

1.  *NEW* The New  York County Lawyers Association Professional Ethics Committee issued Formal Opinion #748 (4/10/15). Topic: The ethical implications of attorney profiles on LinkedIn - specifically that the inclusion of a description of areas of practice or certain skills or endorsements within an attorney's LinkedIn profile may be considered Attorney Advertising and thus provide the requisite disclaimers found in Rule 7.1.

2.   The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, issued Formal Opinion #466 (4/24/14). Topic: Lawyers may review jurors' or potential jurors' internet social media presence, but may not send an access request to a juror's electronic social media profile or account.

3.   The New York State Bar Association, Committee on Professional Ethics, issued Opinion #972 (6/26/13).  Topic:  Law firm may not list its services under heading of “Specialties” on a social media site [such as LinkedIn], and lawyer may not do so unless certified as a specialist by an appropriate organization or governmental authority.

4.   The New York State Bar Association, Committee on Professional Ethics, issued Opinion # 843 (09/10/2010).  Topic:  A lawyer's access to public pages of another party's social networking site for the purpose of gathering information for client in pending litigation.

5.  The New York County Lawyer's Association, Committee On Professional Ethics, issued Formal Opinion No.: 743 (05/18/11).  Topic: Lawyer investigation of juror Internet and social networking postings during conduct of trial.

6.   The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics, issued Formal Opinion 2012-2: Jury Research and Social Media. Topic: The propriety of attorneys reviewing and requesting access to the social media accounts and presence of jurors and potential jurors.

7.    The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Committee on Professional and Judicial Ethics, issued Formal Opinion 2010-2: Obtaining Evidence from Social Networking Websites.  Topic:  Lawyers obtaining information from social networking websites.

Lexis Advance: McGrady on Social Media

Lexis offers a serial authored by Paul McGrady entitled "McGrady on Social Media."  This treatise addresses a multitude of legal issues raised by social media and the specific way that certain platforms address those concerns when raised. It is intended as a starting point for research on this topic and also for the “quick answers” to recurring questions raised by attorneys and their clients.  Access is available to current Touro Law Center students via the e-link found here


Once you are signed into Lexis Advance, click on the "Browse Sources" link above the main red search box. A new page will open, and in the "Search Sources" box that appears on the top left side of the page, enter "McGrady."  The resource should appear in your results list.

LB Network Interviews Author of Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition

E-Articles

Here are some articles to get you started as you begin to learn about social media use by attorneys.  This list is simply suggestive and is by no means exhaustive.  You should continue this research on your own, using all the research resources the Gould Law Library has to offer you.