Topic: Attorney Advertising and LinkedIn
“An attorney’s individual LinkedIn profile or other content constitutes attorney advertising only if it meets all five of the following criteria: (a) it is a communication made by or on behalf of the lawyer; (b) the primary purpose of the LinkedIn content is to attract new clients to retain the lawyer for pecuniary gain; (c) the LinkedIn content relates to the legal services offered by the lawyer; (d) the LinkedIn content is intended to be viewed by potential new clients; and (e) the LinkedIn content does not fall within any recognized exception to the definition of attorney advertising. Given the numerous reasons that lawyers use LinkedIn, it should not be presumed that an attorney who posts information about herself on LinkedIn necessarily does so for the primary purpose of attracting paying clients. For example, including a list of “Skills,” a description of one’s practice areas, or displaying “Endorsements” or “Recommendations,” without more, does not constitute attorney advertising”.
If an attorney’s individual LinkedIn profile or other content meets the definition of attorney advertising, the attorney must comply with the requirements of Rules 7.1, 7.4 and 7.5, including, but not limited to: (1) labeling the LinkedIn content “Attorney Advertising”; (2) including the name, principal law office address and telephone number of the lawyer; (3) pre-approving any content posted on LinkedIn; (4) preserving a copy for at least one year; and (5) refraining from false, deceptive or misleading statements. These are only some of the requirements associated with attorney advertising. Before disseminating any advertisements, whether on social media or otherwise, the attorney should ensure that those advertisements comply with all requirements set forth in Article 7 of the New York Rules.
ABA Model Rules: DR 2-101; DR 2-103; EC 2-15; DR 3-101(B); DR 4-101(B); DR 5-105 (E); DR 5-107(B)
New York Rules of Professional Conduct: 1.0(a), 7.1, 7.4, 7.5, 8.4(c)
The full text of the opinion is available at http://www.nycbar.org…