July 28, 2011 Articles

Ethical and Liability Risks Posed by Lawyers' Use of Social Media

The increasing use of social media to grow legal practices has led to concerns about ethical violations and liability.

By Merri A. Baldwin

Social media has excited a frenzy of interest from politicians, would-be revolutionaries, corporate risk managers, and the legal community. Estimates suggest that over 85 percent of younger lawyers use social media and that the percentage of older attorney users is not far behind—and both user groups are growing every day. See, e.g., the survey of lawyers’ use of technology done by Lexis/Nexis in 2009. As attention focuses on the ways attorneys may use social media to grow their practices and conduct the practice of law, concerns about ethical violations and liability escalate. This article will examine recent developments concerning lawyers’ use of social media and will suggest some practical ways in which lawyers can limit their risk as they increase their social media presence.

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