Social Media is powerful tool for law firms and solo lawyers who utilize social media platforms correctly.
Social Media has become a great way to enhance visibility, gain new traffic, connect with the community, and become the leading authority in a particular area of law for many law firms and solo lawyers. Social media has a number of benefits, but lawyers must never forget the ethical rules to which all lawyers are bound when utilizing social media.
Lawyers must comply with Rule 7.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Rule 7.2 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct:
(a) A lawyer may communicate information regarding the lawyer’s services through any media.
(b) A lawyer shall not compensate, give or promise anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services except that a lawyer may:
(1) pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications permitted by this Rule;
(2) pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service;
(3) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17;
(4) refer clients to another lawyer or a nonlawyer professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under these Rules that provides for the other person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer, if:
(i) the reciprocal referral agreement is not exclusive; and
(ii) the client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement; and
(5) give nominal gifts as an expression of appreciation that are neither intended nor reasonably expected to be a form of compensation for recommending a lawyer’s services.
(c) A lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is certified as a specialist in a particular field of law, unless:
(1) the lawyer has been certified as a specialist by an organization that has been approved by an appropriate authority of the state or the District of Columbia or a U.S. Territory or that has been accredited by the American Bar Association; and
(2) the name of the certifying organization is clearly identified in the communication.
(d) Any communication made under this Rule must include the name and contact information of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its content.
For some states, this requires a minimum of posting social media content that includes: (1) the name of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for the content; (2) the office address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for the content; and (3) that the content be copied and saved for a minimum period of time after dissemination, which varies by state. In addition, some states also require each social media post to be saved and submitted to the states ethics committee.
Remember, before utilizing social media to grow your law firm check the ethics rules in your state.