July 10, 2017

With social media abounding, new ABA book offers ethics roadmap for legal professionals

CHICAGO, July 10, 2017 —The rapidly changing and challenging landscape of technology and social media is having a dramatic impact on the practice of law and the legal profession.

A new book from the American Bar Association, “Legal Ethics and Social Media: A Practitioner’s Handbook,” will assist lawyers in understanding these challenges and in navigating the often slippery slope of digital communications, such as Twitter, Facebook and You Tube. The book, written by Jan L. Jacobowitz, lecturer in law at the University of Miami School of Law, and John G. Browning, civil litigator and shareholder in the Dallas firm Passman & Jones, is a project of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility.

“Legal Ethics and Social Media” covers social media use from litigation of a case to attorney advertising and client relationships. It includes topics such as digital competence in investigating a case, advising clients and the effective and ethical use of social media for service of process, discovery and the investigation of jurors. The book also provides references to legal ethics advisory opinions and a table of cases that provides additional information and guidance.

Browning, whose range of law includes employment, intellectual property, products liability, professional liability, media law and negligence matters, said the book comes at a critical time because social media is affecting the legal system at a dizzying pace. “It’s critical for lawyers to know where the ethical boundaries are drawn when using social media,” he said. “And given the new standard of tech competence to which lawyers are being held, ignoring or failing to heed the significance of social media for our profession is not an option.”

The authors believe that lawyers, judges, law students and other legal professionals will find “Legal Ethics and Social Media” an invaluable tool. The book provides an accessible question-and-answer format that allows for an easy-to-use handbook — to answer an occasional question or to engage in a social media immersion.

“Communication is a lawyer’s stock in trade so lawyers must learn to navigate the social media highway, said Jacobowitz, who is also the director of the Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program at the University of Miami School of Law. “Our book provides a roadmap for lawyers — both the social media savvy and the uninitiated — to assist in ethically incorporating social media into the practice of law.”

The ABA Center for Professional Responsibility is widely recognized as a national leader in developing and interpreting standards and scholarly resources in legal and judicial ethics, professional regulation, professionalism and client protection. Its recent Formal Ethics Opinions can be found here.

Title:                            “Legal Ethics and Social Media: A Practitioner’s Handbook”
Publisher:                    ABA Publishing
Product Code:             2150068
ISBN:                           9781634257824
Size:                            6 x 9
Binding:                      Paperback and e-book
Price:                           $79.95 (paperback)
Orders:                        Call (800) 285-2221 or Shopaba.org

Editor’s note: Review copies are available by emailing Sharon Kube sharon.kube@americanbar.org. If you publish a review of this book, please send tear sheets or a copy for our files to Sharon Kube, c/o ABA Publishing, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement on line. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews