Social media ethics: 5 things to worry about and 6 red herrings

Social media marketing presents genuine ethical challenges for attorneys. But there are also plenty of non-issues. This is an attempt to separate some of the former from the latter. These materials were prepared for Business Development 101 Tools and Techniques to Build a Successful Law Practice (Seattle University School of Law, 2014)

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In days of yore, advertising legal services was not only frowned upon, but outright prohibited. Bar organizations have dramatically departed from this traditional view and now see legal marketing as an important way for the public to learn about legal services, especially individuals who have not yet worked with lawyers.[1] The vast majority of law firms now rely on some form of social media marketing,[2] which may be a means of reaching traditionally underserved populations.

The prevalence of social media advertising suggests that most attorneys will have a working understanding of the interactive online platforms encompassed by that term.[3] For a quick roundup, the principal players in the field can be glibly summarized as follows:

Facebook-I like doughnuts Twitter-I'm eating #doughnuts Instagram-Here is a polaroid-esce [sic] photo of doughnuts [..] Youtube-Here I am eating doughnuts [on video] […] LinkedIn-My skills include doughnut eating[4]

Perhaps looming largest for many legal marketers, the “blawg” (or legal blog”)[5] might be characterized as follows:

Have you been injured while eating a doughnut? Here are my knowledgeable comments about others injured while eating donuts. (Note: comments apply only to doughnuts consumed in the State of Washington).

Take out “doughnut” and substitute a variety of legal subjects, and the attorney/social media author will find herself wading into an emerging field of legal ethics. This article provides attorneys with practical guidance for engaging social media while keeping on the ethical straight and narrow.

Not every form of internet marketing relies on social media per se, and this article will not address such topics as pay-per-click advertising,[6] or “daily deal” sites such as Groupon and Living Social.[7] Also, an attorney’s use of social media marketing is regulated by law in addition to ethics codes, but discussion of those laws is beyond the scope of this article.[8]

Certainly attorneys need to exercise their own professional judgment when interpreting their ethical responsibilities, and it is recommended they do so deliberately. By adopting an office policy on social media use attorneys force themselves to articulate how they will comport themselves.[9] This article attempts to offer practical rules of thumb that could serve as the basis for a social media policy. The article identifies “real issues” that merit serious attention from attorneys, and suggests defensible rules of thumb for contending with these issues. The article also identifies “red-herring issues” that, in this author’s estimation, are mostly academic. Reliance is made on the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct where possible. But in this rapidly evolving area of legal ethics, the article also references guidance from other jurisdictions, and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Ethics 20/20.[10]

Real issues.

1. You are neither an “expert” nor “specialist.” Sorry.

What rules? RPC 7.1, 7.4(d)

An attorney can make neither false nor misleading statements in her marketing materials.[11] Likewise, an attorney may not claim specialization or expertise in an area of practice except upon issuance of an appropriate certification (and Washington recognizes none).[12] For these reasons attorneys need to look carefully at representations a social media platform may be making about the attorney using the platform. Does it hold her out to be an “expert”[13] or as having a “specialty”?[14] If so, the attorney could be in trouble, since she would not be allowed to make such claims herself. Avvo allows attorneys to designate “practice areas” and LinkedIn allows users to designate “skills” that include areas of legal practice. Neither of those labels implies are problematic.

Practice tip: Log out of your profile on a social media platform, then navigate to the profile as though you were a user seeing it for the first time. Ask yourself, does the website assert that this attorney is an expert in a particular area? If so, that’s a problem.

2. On Q&A forums, avoid “you.”

What rules? RPC 1.18

On legal Q&A forums like Avvo, users post anonymous questions seeking input from attorneys. If an attorney answers such a question, might the forum user become a prospective or actual client of the attorney? If so this would trigger duties on the part of the attorney to safeguard confidential information and screen for conflicts.

Avvo’s General Counsel takes the position that no client relationship could form given the anonymity of the forum user.[15] An individual becomes a prospective client by engaging the lawyer in a “discussion” with the reasonable expectation there is a possibility of forming an attorney/client relationship. [16] The General Counsel’s view appears to be that it is per se unreasonable for the user to believe an attorney would be agreeing to form a relationship with an anonymous individual. But it is less clear whether a user could reasonably believe that an attorney might be considering formation of a relationship with the anonymous user, and that identity would be revealed if the relationship was formed. Whether this could give rise to duties owed to a prospective client is not clear.

Assuming the anonymity of users does not automatically prevent the user from becoming a prospective/current client, how can the attorney safeguard herself? Commentators routinely suggest attorneys avoid giving “fact-specific legal advice” and instead give only “general” information.”[17] This standard is difficult in practice, since virtually all forum users are seeking advice on legal issues specific to their own needs. Few forum users care about the theoretic intricacies of the Rule Against Perpetuities.

A good rule of thumb may be to ask whether a forum response requires use of the second-person personal pronoun (“you”).

Example

Question. “My landlord is trying to evict me from my apartment. He told me this over the phone, then emailed me this legal document. I have court next week, help!?

Bad answer. “Your landlord did not comply with the legal requirements for serving the document required to evict you. You should object in court that service was not proper.”

Better answer. “There are very specific rules landlords must follow when starting an eviction lawsuit. These include strict rules for sending the tenant the document required to start the lawsuit. You should consult an attorney immediately to find out whether your landlord followed these rules.”

Despite the amount of attention this issue receives from regulatory bodies and commentators, it is unclear how often forum users claim a protected relationship with an attorney who answered a question. Although the Avvo forum fields “millions” of user questions, its General Counsel is aware of no incident where a user claimed formation of a relationship with an attorney/answerer.[18]

3. Include a disclaimer (but’s it’s no panacea).

Judging by signature blocks on emails, attorneys are fond of disclaimers, and seem to have great faith in their totemic value. It seems attorneys believe that magical words at the end of an email can prevent waiver of evidentiary privilege, erase disclosures of client confidences, and pretty much safeguard against any potential ill worked by a poorly-directed email. This author is extremely skeptical such disclaimers have any legal significance, and is likewise skeptical that most disclaimers have much value in social media contexts. But they also don’t hurt.

A simply-worded disclaimer should be included wherever an attorney participates in information-sharing social media forums. The goal of the disclaimer is to undercut the reasonableness of any misperception by a user that she is forming a client relationship with the attorney. Since the content of the posting will often constitute legal advertising, the disclaimer should either include the attorney’s name and office address or provide a link to that information.[19]

Example:

The discussion above is general information only and does not constitute legal advice. By sharing this information I am not agreeing to be your attorney. You should consult an attorney to receive legal advice specific to your situation. Information about me can be found at <<URL link>>.

As just one example of why lawyers should be skeptical of disclaimers, whether or not an exchange qualifies as legal advice is a matter of law. A plumber cannot escape liability for the unauthorized practice of law by advising an individual about the enforceability of a running covenant, then announcing that her advice was intended only as “general information.” Nor can an attorney erase the nature of fact-specific statements made to a user on a social media platform. At most, “general information” disclaimers serve to underscore to the user that an attorney/client relationship is not intended. In other words, disclaimers undercut the reasonableness of a user’s belief that she is forming an attorney/client relationship.

4. Don’t talk about clients/cases without a signed release.

What rules? RPC 1.6

Attorneys may be tempted to discuss client matters over social media in at least a couple contexts. First, it is tempting to broadcast client success stories on blawgs, Facebook and LinkedIn, letting colleagues and prospective clients know about your good work. Second, an attorney who receives a negative review from a client on a rating website such as Yahoo Local, Yelp or Google+ may want to share her side of the story (“yes it took three months to file the petition because you dropped off the face of the earth”).[20]

Any law student would hopefully understand that she cannot broadcast personally identifying information about a client over social media, such as a client’s name.[21] Yet the broad protection of client confidences includes all information relating to a representation, encompassing far more than just information that could be traced to an individual client.[22] This broad scope far exceeds information about the client that is personally identifying.[23]

An attorney needs her client’s permission before announcing a client success on the firm’s website or social media.[24] Certainly an attorney is best protected by securing this permission in writing. Such an agreement need not be elaborate.

Example:

The author had an immigration client successfully approved for permanent residence. On the way out of the immigration interview, the client asked to have someone snap his photo with the author. When the client sent the photo the author, the following exchange took place:

Author: “Thanks! Is it okay if I share this on Facebook? (I won't use your name, of course).”

Client: “It's ok u can tag me id that's ok with u..”

For attorneys currently or formerly in Big Law, greater caution will need to be taken to ensure they do not discuss matters without realizing they pertain to a client. Before discussing a case or legal situation online the attorney should turn to her conflict checking system to insure she will not be discussing a current or former client.[25]

5. Monitor endorsements.

A plethora of websites – LinkedIn, Avvo, Yelp, Google+, etc. – allow attorneys to receive endorsements and recommendations (or critiques) from individuals including current/former clients. If an attorney elects to participate on those websites then she is responsible for the content of those recommendations to the same extent as if they were statements of the attorney herself.[26] In essence, the statement is that of the attorney’s by adoption.[27]

The attorney’s core responsibility here is to ensure the endorsement is not false or misleading.[28] Misleading statements include those that have a “substantial likelihood” of leading the reader to form a false conclusion about the lawyer,[29] as well as those that give the impression the attorney is guaranteeing similar results to those achieved for other clients.[30]

Practice pointer:

Most websites allowing user ratings and feedback allow settings to alert a user when she as received a rating. Make it a practice to monitor your inbox for these alerts and to review the rating soon after receiving it.[31]

An additional question arises when attorneys agree to quid pro quo endorsements: agreeing mutually to exchange endorsements on, for example, LinkedIn. It is unsettled whether such an arrangement is an impermissible offer of value in exchange for a recommendation,[32] but the attorney must ensure the endorsement is truthful and not misleading. If an endorsement is based principally on the anticipation of a reverse endorsement, it is the view of this author that the endorsement is misleading.[33]

Example:

The author once got into a discussion on a law practice list serve about the ethics of endorsement-swapping, taking the view it is not allowed. An attorney the author had never heard of, who was involved in the discussion, immediately endorsed the author. It seemed the endorsement was made as a joke quid pro quo endorsement, so the author deleted it.

Red-herring issues.

1. Blogs and Q&A forums aren’t direct solicitation.

What rules? RPC 7.3(a)

A bedrock principle of legal marketing prevents attorneys from real time solicitation of prospective clients.[34] Can an attorney run afoul of this rule by posting replies on legal blogs, or answering forum questions? After all, those electronic replies will be delivered instantaneously – are they real time solicitations?

The answer is: almost certainly not. The prohibition against real time solicitation protects consumers from being pressured into representation, since after all, attorneys are supposed to be professional persuaders. Yet despite the speed at which forum replies are electronically delivered, the communication medium lacks the hallmarks of an exchange where the consumer could be pressured into hiring the attorney. As one bar committee explained, real-time communications include “electronic modes of communication used in a way in which it would be socially awkward or difficult for a recipient of a lawyer's overtures to not respond in real time.”[35] It is easy enough for a consumer to simply ignore an attorney’s response on a forum, and probably consumers generally do.

2. Discipline for conduct in other jurisdictions.

What rules? RPC 5.5(a)

Jurisdictions across the United States vary significantly in their approach to many ethics issues, including use of social media. Even if an attorney thoroughly knows her own jurisdiction’s rules, her social media will be broadcast nationwide. Can she ensure a blog post doesn’t run afoul of marketing rules in Alabama or Hawaii? Specifically, commentators warn that attorneys may inadvertently engage in the practice of law in other jurisdiction with their social media use, offering legal advice where they are not licensed to do so.[36]

A practical approach to this question is to ask whether the attorney is interested in soliciting clients from other jurisdictions. If the attorney’s practice is limited to the state or states in which she is licensed, it is hard to imagine another jurisdiction would have an interest in vetting her conduct.[37] Likewise, the attorney will want to ensure she has not provided advice in social media so specific it might be construed by the reader as instructions for drafting a legal form in another jurisdiction, which could constitute the practice of law.[38] But as described above, it is always sound advice to avoid this level of specificity, regardless of where the user is located, to avoid creation of an attorney/client relationship.

For attorneys such as immigration practitioners, whose license permits them to engage clients in other jurisdictions, greater caution is warranted. If a firm is attempting to build a nationwide client portfolio, it may need to calibrate its social media marketing based on the most conservative jurisdiction reached by its outreach campaigns.

3. Inability to include firm information.

What rules? RPC 7.12(c)

Some jurisdictions, including Washington State, require that legal advertising include the name and office address of the attorney responsible for the advertisement.[39] Some commentators have suggested that “it can be impossible” to comply with this requirement on a platform such as Twitter, whose 140-character limit leaves too little space for the attribution.[40] Unlike print or billboard advertising, formats like Twitter make it easy for the consumer to click through to the attorney’s profile page, which can easily include all the required information about the attorney. It is difficult to imagine an attorney would face sanction for a Tweet – assuming it qualified as advertising – if her name and office address was readily identifiable on her profile page.

4. Impermissibility of friend requests.

What rules? RPC 7.3(a), 7.3(b)

Some commentators voice concern that the prohibition on direct solicitation could be violated by a Facebook “friend request” or LinkedIn “invitation” sent by an attorney with the hopes of wooing a potential client.[41] In fact, at one point the Kentucky bar proposed a rule that would require attorneys to pre-screen and pay a fee for any advertisement posted on Facebook.[42] The “friending” concern appears to be misplaced, since only “real-time electronic contact” falls within the scope of the direct solicitation prohibition.[43] Friend requests and invitations are more like postal mail than a live phone call, in fact they will often be received via e-mail.

5. Clients revealed through LinkedIn/Facebook connections.

What rules? RPC 1.6

On networking forums like LinkedIn and Facebook, once User A becomes connected to User B, she is typically able to see all of User B’s other connections on the forum. If User B is an attorney who is connected to her clients on the forum, does that mean she has violated RPC 1.6 by allowing User A to view her list of connections? Some commentators appear to believe so,[44] but this view is overly cautious. Most active LinkedIn users have hundreds of connections. The author of this article has 426, of which only a handful are current or former clients. A far greater percentage of the author’s connections probably have an attorney/client relationship with one or more other attorneys on any number of legal matters. A LinkedIn user would have no way of determining whether the author’s connection to another user suggested a client relationship versus any other professional or personal affiliation. Nothing prevents an attorney from meeting a client for an informal cup of coffee at a public location, even though the two could be publically observed together. Also, it is unlikely that the mere fact an attorney is connected to a client on LinkedIn reveals the existence of a client relationship or other information protected by RPC 1.6.

6. De gustibus non disputandum est. [45]

What rules? RPC 7.2

For whatever reason, social media – more than other marketing media – seems to invite attorneys to break new ground on the tacky and uncouth. At what point does racy or tasteless marketing cross the line into sanctionable unethical marketing? In this author’s view, probably not before the attorney’s business implodes. Generally, the RPCs recognize matters of taste as subjective judgments beyond the purview of ethical censor.[46] While egregious tackiness might rise to the level of misleading advertising, this boundary is probably less restrictive than what the free market is likely to tolerate. In other words, an attorney should likely be more concerned about whether the advertising conveys the desired image of herself in the community than whether it will exposure her to bar sanction.

Conclusion.

A conservative reading of the Rules of Professional Conduct will leave an attorney quivering in her boots at the thought of social media marketing. Attorneys who are willing to think critically about the goals underling the Rules, and who are willing to exercise professional judgment, should be able to venture off into the realm of social media in a responsible manner. At the same time, social media outlets also present a wealth of opportunities for attorneys who are more inclined to expound on intractable ethical dilemmas in the more legally convential realm of law review articles. But those looking for responsible means of promoting their private law practices will need to separate the “real issues” from “red herrings.”

[1]See RPC 7.2, cmt. [2] (“…Advertising involves an active quest for clients, contrary to the tradition that a lawyer should not seek clientele. However, the public's need to know about legal services can be fulfilled in part through advertising. This need is particularly acute in the case of persons of moderate means who have not made extensive use of legal services…”).

[2] According to a study by ALM Legal Intelligence this figure is nearly 85%. See John G. Browning, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – Oh My! The ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission and Evolving Ethical Issues in the Use of Social Media, 40 N. Ky. L. Rev. 255, 256 (2013) (citing Am. Lawyer Media, 2012 ALM Legal Intelligence Survey (2012)).

[3] Useful engagement with the ethical issues discussed in this article does not require a crisp legalistic definition of “social media,” and the rapidly changing nature of the technology landscape has made such definitions quite slippery. See, e.g., Oxford Dictionary, http://tinyurl.com/kqxxr6d (last visited Mar. 6, 2014) (“Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking”); Meriam-Webster, http://tinyurl.com/6gehdkq (last visited Mar. 6, 2014) (“forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)”).

[4] Urban Dictionary, http://tinyurl.com/n7pvlsl (last visited Mar. 6, 2014).

[5] Webopedia, http://tinyurl.com/ltmerdu (last visited Mar. 6, 2014) (defining blawg as a “[s]lang term used to describe an online blog that is written by lawyers, or one that is focused on providing legal-oriented content”).

[6] With pay-per-click advertising an attorney pays for “lead generation” where a website channels individuals looking for legal services to the paying lawyer. The comments to RPC 7.2 allow the use of such services so long as certain precautions are taken, such as ensuring the service is not vouching for the attorney’s expertise in a domain of practice.

[7] On daily deal websites consumers receive deeply discounted (usually 50%) prices for a good or service offered on the site for a limited time. Possible ethics issues include the possibility such sites would impliedly endorse an attorney offering services there, or inadvertently create an attorney-client relationship with a consumer purchasing a service. For the view such sites can be used ethically by attorneys see Greg McLawsen, Window Cleaning, Wine Tasting... And Wills? Ethics of Attorney Marketing on 'Daily Deal' Websites, Vol. 67, No. 5 NWLawyer 7 (July 2013).

[8]See, e.g., James B. Astrachan, Social Media Marketing: Testimonials and Endorsements, 45-Dec. Md. B.J. 12 (Dec. 2012) (discussing regulation of attorney use of social media advertising under the 2009 update of the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines).

[9]Cf. Carrie Pixler, Ethical Challenges Create Need for Law Firm Policies, 47-APR Ariz. Att'y 34 (Apr. 2011).

[10] The Commission on Ethics 20/20 was formed in August 2009 with the goal to assess the impact of globalization and technology on attorney ethics. Glen M. Vogel, A Review of the International Bar Association, LexisNexis Technology Studies and the American Bar Association’s Commission on Ethics 20/20: The Legal Profession’s Response to the Issues Associated with the Generational Gap in Using Technology and Internet Social Media, 38 J. Legal Prof. 95, 115-16 (Fall 2013).

[11] RPC 7.1. False or misleading statements are also prohibited in other areas of the Model Rules. See RPC 4.1 (Truthfulness in Statements to Others), RPC 4.3 (Dealing with Unrepresented Person), RPC 4.4 (Respect for Rights of Third Persons), and RPC 8.4 (Misconduct). A threshold question for all ethics questions about social media use is whether the use constitutes advertising for purposes of the RPCs. This author agrees with other commentators that it is “difficult to see” now most use does not constitute advertising, as client development is generally the ultimate goal. Steven W. Kasten, Professional Ethics and Social Media, 55-Sum. B. B.J. 40, 42 (Sum. 2011).

[12] RPC 7.4(d) (“A lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is a specialist in

a particular field of law…”).

[13] South Carolina Ethics Opinion 12-03. Cf. Tom Mighell, Avoiding A Grievance in 140 Characters or Less: Ethical Issues In Social Media and Online Activities, 52 The Advoc. (Texas) 8, 10 (Fall 2010) (advising against answering questions on LinkedIn where sufficient answers could result in the designation “expert”).

[14] New York State Ethics Opinion 972

[15] He opines:

…attorneys who answer questions in the offline world may end up with “prospective client” obligations under ABA Model Rule 1.18. But on Avvo Q&A this isn’t a concern because the askers are anonymous – this inherently protects against inadvertent formation of the attorney client relationship, as there is no way for such a relationship to be formed when the attorney doesn't know the asker's identity.

Email from Josh King, Vice President, Business Development & General Counsel, Avvo, Inc., to Greg McLawsen (10:50 AM PST, March 4, 2014) (on file with the author).

[16] RPC 1.18(a). See RPC 1.18, cmt. [2]. The ABA 20/20 Commission advised replacing the verb “discusses” with “consults”.

[17] Ariz. Ethics Op. No. 97-04 (““Lawyers should not answer specific legal questions from lay people through the Internet unless the question presented is of a general nature and the advice given is not fact-specific”). Cf., Lackey & Minta, supra note 10, at 164.

[18] Email from Josh King, supra note 11.

[19]See RPC 7.2(c).

[20]See, e.g., In re Skinner, 740 S.E.2d 171 (Ga. 2013).

[21] Or so one would hope. See Michael E. Lackey Jr. and Joseph P. Minta, Lawyers and Social Media: The Letal Ethics of Tweeting, Facebooking and Blogging, 28 Touro L. Rev. 149 (2012) (discussing a case in which an assistant public defender “referred to ‘clients by either their first name, a derivative of their first name, or by their jail identification number’”) (quoting In the Matter of Kristine Ann Peshek, No. 09 CH 89 (Ill. Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Comm'n Aug. 25, 2009)).

[22] RPC 1.6. See also RPC 1.9 (former clients) and RPC 1.18 (prospective clients).

[23] But some jurisdictions hold that an attorney’s first amendment rights may protect the ability to discuss some publically-available information about his client matters, even for commercial speech purposes. See, e.g., Hunter v. Virginia State Bar, 744 S.E.2d 611 (Va. 2013).

[24]See ABA Formal Opinion 10-457.

[25]Cf. Mighell, supra note 8, at 11.

[26]Cf. Hope A. Comisky and William M. Taylor, Don’t be a Twit: Avoiding the Ethical Pitfalls Facing Lawyers Utilizing Social Media n Three Important Arenas – Discovery, Communications with Judges and Jurors, and Marketing, 20 Temp. Pol. & Civ. Rts. L. Rev. 297, 315-16 (Spring 2011).

[27] South Carolina Bar Ethics Advisory Comm., Formal Op. 09-10

[28] RPC 7.1.

[29] RPC 7.1, cmt. [2] (“…A truthful statement is also misleading if there is a

substantial likelihood that it will lead a reasonable person to formulate

a specific conclusion about the lawyer or the lawyer's services for which

there is no reasonable factual foundation”).

[30] RPC 7.1, cmt. [3] (“An advertisement that truthfully reports a lawyer's achievements on behalf of clients or former clients may be misleading if presented so as to lead a reasonable person to form an unjustified expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters

without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each

client's case…”).

[31] Some commentators suggest the volume of ratings, and their iterations on different websites, will impose “quite a burden.” Comisky & Taylor, supra note 17, at 316. Most attorneys, however, are unlikely to receive tidal waves of feedback from clients. Those who do should have the resources to delegate to ethics counsel, who they presumably will have the resources to retain.

[32] RPC 7.2(b) (“A lawyer shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer's services…”). Cf. Robert L. Shaver, Legal Ethics Rules Apply to Attorneys’ Social Media and Websites, 53-Feb. Advocate (Idaho) 16, 17 (Feb. 2010).

[33] The quid pro quo endorsement scenario is distinguishable from reciprocal referral agreements, which are endorsement by the comments to RPC 7.2. See RPC 7.2, cmt. [8] (“A lawyer also may agree to refer clients to another lawyer in return for the undertaking of that person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer”). The issue in quid pro quo endorsements is the reasonable understanding of a third party viewing the endorsement, which she is entitled to believe is based on independent merit and not self-interest. By contrast, the potential ethical pitfall with reciprocal endorsements is the exchange of value for client referral. See id.

[34] RPC 7.3(a).

[35] Phila. Bar Ass'n Prof'l Guidance Comm., Formal Op. 2010-6, at 7 (2010), available at http://tinyurl.com/kcl7goo.

[36]See, e.g., Lackey & Minta, supra note 9, at 163 (“the same technology that allows lawyers to easily send information across global networks also makes it easy for lawyers to engage in law practice within jurisdictions where they are not licensed”). See RPC 5.5(a) (“A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, or assist another in doing so”).

[37] This practical view is suggested by Prof. Bruce Green at Fordham University School of Law. Gary Munneke, A Conversation About Legal Ethics and Social Media, 84-Sep. N.Y. St. B.J. 10, 18 (Sep. 2012).

[38]See Michael H. Rubin, The Social Media Thicket for Mississippi Lawyers: Surviving and Thriving in an Ethical Tangled Web, 31 Miss. C. L. Rev. 281, 286 (2012) (citing cases in which an attorney sold legal forms and assisted a consumer in completing forms).

[39] Washington RPC 7.2(c) (“Any communication made pursuant to this Rule shall include the name and office address of at least one lawyer or law firm responsible for its content”).

[40]See, e.g., Lackey & Minta, supra note 9, at 157-58.

[41] Christina Vassiliou Harvey, Mac R. McCoy & Brook Sneah, 10 Tips for Avoiding Ethical Lapses When Using Social Media, 2014-Jan. Buis. Law Today 1, 2 (Jan. 2014) (“a Facebook “friend request” or LinkedIn ““invitation” that offers to provide legal services to a non-lawyer with whom the sending lawyer does not have an existing relationship may very well rise to the level of a prohibited solicitation”).

[42]See Browning, supra note 1, at 272.

[43] RPC 7.3(a).

[44] Margaret M. DiBianca, Ethical Risks Arising from Lawyers’ Use of (And Refusal to Use) Social Media, 12 Del. L. Rev. 179, 189 (2011) (“every connection in a user's network will be able to view who is in the user's online Rolodex, which could lead to the inadvertent disclosure of an attorney-client relationship”).

[45] Latin, meaning roughly, matters of taste cannot be disputed.

[46] RPC 7.2, cmt. [3] (“Questions of effectiveness and taste in advertising are matters of speculation and subjective judgment…”).