Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Social Media Marketing for Florida Lawyers: Proceed with Caution

In an earlier post titled The Florida Bar Warns Lawyers Against LinkedIn Skills & Expertise, we advised Florida attorneys to be aware of the Bar's strict interpretation of attorney advertising guidelines when it comes to the use of LinkedIn.

Below is an excerpt from a recent article written by Gary Blankenship in The Florida Bar News on the topic:

The pitfalls for lawyers navigating LinkedIn, the online business networking site, should be explored in a Bar advisory advertising opinion, according to the Standing Committee on Advertising.

The committee at a special October 29 meeting voted to ask the Bar Board of Governors to direct the committee to prepare that advisory opinion. The vote came shortly after the committee voted 3-1 to tell a law firm it should not list its practice areas on LinkedIn because LinkedIn lists those under the heading of “Specialties.”

The vote included contacting LinkedIn to let it know that some of its practices could be problematic for Florida Bar members.

The committee noted that under Bar rules, only a lawyer who is certified can claim to be a specialist or expert and that privilege is limited to the lawyer, not his or her law firm. The rules also require that an advertising lawyer list the areas in which he or she is certified. Committee members said that could cause a problem as lawyers using LinkedIn lists areas under “Specialties” for which certification is not available.

“We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s begun to come down the pike with this whole issue with the Bar and the Internet and social media,” said committee member Al Alsobrook, a former public member of the Board of Governors.

Click on the link to read the full article in The Florida Bar News.