April 16, 2014 Articles

#Ethics #Good Idea? NYSBA Issues Social-Media Ethics Guidelines

The New York State Bar Association has created guidelines "to assist lawyers in understanding the ethical challenges of social media."

By Adam Reich

On March 18, 2014, the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) issued Social Media Ethics Guidelines “to assist lawyers in understanding the ethical challenges of social media.” These guidelines are derived from the New York Rules of Professional Conduct (NYRPC) and related ethics opinions, and focus on five specific topics: (1) attorney advertising via social media; (2) providing legal advice through social media; (3) acquiring and using evidence through social media; (4) communicating with clients regarding their social-media presence and activities; and (5) using social media to learn about prospective and sitting jurors. While other state bar associations have issued social-media guidelines (e.g., Minnesota and Washington), all attorneys should take notice of the NYSBA social-media guidelines because they are the most recent guidelines issued by any state bar association and thus may create a road map for other states to follow.

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