February 23, 2015 Articles

Tips for Young Lawyers: Ethics and Social Media

Be mindful of these ethical and professional responsibility considerations when utilizing social media in legal practice

by Angela M. Scafuri

Any attorney in practically any matter, whether transactional or litigation, will utilize social media at some point in his or her work. Whether preparing for a trial or researching an entity involved in a business deal, many attorneys will immediately turn to Google or a similar search engine in the hopes of getting a basic profile or an interesting factoid that may assist them in their legal work.

The amount of information online is vast and at times overwhelming. For example, the most recent data suggests that there are approximately 313 million LinkedIn users with approximately 16 million of those users from the United States alone. See "LinkedIn Company Profile and Statistics," Statistic Brain (Oct. 28, 2014). There are 645 million people on Twitter, tweeting 58 million times a day, on average, with 190 million unique sites visited every month. See "Twitter Statistics," Statistic Brain (July 11, 2014). It takes only five days to reach one billion tweets. Id. As for Facebook, there are over 1.31 billion active monthly Facebook users, with about 48 percent of them logging in on any given day. See "Facebook Statistics," Statistic Brain (Jan. 27, 2015). Moreover, every 20 minutes on Facebook there are one million links shared, two million friend requests, and three million messages sent. Id. Social media gives us immediacy and accessibility, all with complete anonymity. And therein lies the danger.

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