February 18, 2020 Feature

Social Media Marketing Ethics: The Real Issues and the Red Herrings

Jordan L. Couch and Greg McLawsen

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When drafting a social media policy for your firm, focus on real issues that merit serious attention, not red-herring issues that are mostly academic.

When drafting a social media policy for your firm, focus on real issues that merit serious attention, not red-herring issues that are mostly academic.

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In days of yore, advertising legal services was prohibited, but bar organizations have dramatically departed from this traditional view and now see legal marketing as an important way for the public to learn about legal services. See ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2, Comment 2. Most law firms now rely on some form of social media marketing, but ethical pitfalls are still being sorted out. To avoid those pitfalls, you might consider adopting clear office policies on social media use. Whether your office is a large team or “just” you, it is helpful to be clear about some general ground rules. To that end, this article offers practical rules of thumb for any social media policy and distinguishes real issues that merit serious attention from red-herring issues that are mostly academic.

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