The Pennsylvania Bar Association has issued Formal Opinion 2014-300, a comprehensive opinion addressing numerous ethical issues involved in attorneys' use of social media. The 18 page opinion covers many areas that have plagued lawyers in their use of social media, and provides some guidance to help attorneys navigate what some have seen as hazardous territory.
Pennsylvania Bar members can obtain a complete copy of the opinion from the Pennsylvania Bar site, but here are the conclusions contained in the opinion:
1. Attorneys may advise clients about the content of their social networking websites, including the removal or addition of information.
2. Attorneys may connect with clients and former clients.
3. Attorneys may not contact a represented person through social networking websites.
4. Although attorneys may contact an unrepresented person through social networking websites, they may not use a pretextual basis for viewing otherwise private information on social networking websites.
5. Attorneys may use information on social networking websites in a dispute.
6. Attorneys may accept client reviews but must monitor those reviews for accuracy.
7. Attorneys may generally comment or respond to reviews or endorsements, and may
solicit such endorsements.
8. Attorneys may generally endorse other attorneys on social networking websites.
9. Attorneys may review a juror’s Internet presence.
10. Attorneys may connect with judges on social networking websites provided the purpose
is not to influence the judge in carrying out his or her official duties.