On March 10, 2015, the New York County Bar Association (NYCLA) issued opinion Formal Opinion 748 to offer guidance on whether a lawyer can ethically maintain a LinkedIn profile and when it constitutes advertisement.
According to the opinion, attorneys may maintain profiles on LinkedIn but they must ensure that all information and endorsements in their profiles is truthful and not misleading.
Lawyers should exclude inaccurate recommendations and endorsements. As long as the profile contains only the attorney’s education and current and past employment it does not constitute “Attorney Advertising”, according to the NYCLA. However, additional information or endorsements included in the profiles may be considered “Attorney Advertising”. In this case, the NYCLA recommends attorneys to include the disclaimers set forth in Rule 7.1 (i.e. “Attorney advertising”).
“Attorneys may maintain profiles on LinkedIn, containing information such as education, work history, areas of practice, skills, and recommendations written by other LinkedIn users. A LinkedIn profile that contains only one’s education and current and past employment does not constitute Attorney Advertising. If an attorney includes additional information in his or her profile, such as a description of areas of practice or certain skills or endorsements, the profile may be considered Attorney Advertising, and should contain the disclaimers set forth in Rule 7.1. Categorizing certain information under the heading “Skills” or “Endorsements” does not, however, constitute a claim to be a “Specialist” under Rule 7.4, and is accordingly not barred, provided that the information is truthful and accurate.”
Finally, the NYCLA notes that categorizing certain information under the heading “Skills” or “Endorsements” does not constitute a claim to be a “Specialist” under Rule 7.4, and is accordingly not barred, provided that the information is truthful and accurate.
More information on NYCLA Formal Opinion 748 is available at http://www.technethics…
More information on the ethical use of social media is available at http://www.technethics…