In most cases, you can avoid running into trouble by using common sense and patience. Most of us have heard that timeless phrase: “think before you speak.”
Think before you blog!
Before you submit a blog post ask yourself if it contains any of the following “no-no’s” – just avoiding these red flags should be enough to keep your blogs trouble free (links to reference posts are provided in parenthesis for further reading):
- Don’t give legal advice (Social Security Disability Lawyer Blog)
- Don’t share confidential information (Blogging Lawyer Charged with Confidentiality Violations)
- Don’t make defamatory statements (Troll Tracker Defamation Trial Ends in Truce)
- Avoid inappropriate language (In the Matter of: KRISTINE ANN PESHEK)
- Avoid inappropriate images (Tenn. law bans posting images that “cause emotional distress”)
- Don’t write false, inaccurate, or misleading information (Social Media and Legal Ethics | No New Restrictions, Just Clarification)
- Don’t discuss cases without client approval (Lawyer Disciplined for Blogging About Client Cases Without Permission)
- Don’t share unfavorable opinions of colleagues, judges, clients, and so forth (A Legal Battle: Online Attitude vs. Rules of the Bar)
- Don’t write posts that are the equivalent of an advertisement for your services without without a disclaimer (The Virginia State Bar v. Free Speech)
- Don’t use copyrighted images without permission (12 Important Laws Every Blogger Needs to Know)
- Don’t provide any other information that violates your state’s ethics code – (Top 5 Social media Ethics Concerns for Lawyers)
A good test for whether you are about to commit a snafu is to ask yourself, “if I was running for a political office, how would this be perceived?” This test also works for email, voice mail, and discussions with your spouse … okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.
If you can think of more no-no’s or if you know of additional past or current proceedings, please share here!