Keep an Eye on Facebook
October 11, 2012
So, people keep telling me that we need to start a law firm Facebook page. It’s hard enough for me to find the time to write blogs, as you can tell. Trying to post up-to-date, interesting, and witty content on the firm’s Facebook wall would just be something else on my long list of “to dos” that likely would be neglected. Like other social media sites, Facebook requires some time and tending to, so things don’t go stale. But there is another reason to keep a close eye on Facebook, especially those posts you receive from others.
In July 2012, the Ethics Committee published a proposed opinion, 2012 FEO 8, which states that a lawyer may accept and request endorsements or testimonials from clients or former clients to be posted on the lawyer’s professional networking website so long as the testimonial complies with Rule 7.1 and 2012 FEO 1 (the other testimonial opinion). In a nutshell, this means the endorsement or recommendation must be truthful and not misleading. In addition, if the recommendation generally refers to a positive outcome or result, there must be a conspicuous disclaimer associated with the recommendation pursuant to 2012 FEO 1 (see our “testimonials” page for an example of such a disclaimer). While 2012 FEO 8 specifically addresses recommendations posted on LinkedIn, the opinion applies to any social media in which you could accept or reject recommendations or endorsements, including Facebook.
As I understand it, firms have the ability to exercise control over what posts appear on their Facebook page or wall, and can set a restriction so that only approved feedback are posted to the firm’s wall. In light of this opinion, I think this would be a good idea. Another idea may be to post a static disclaimer on the firm’s wall to address any feedback that suggests a good result was achieved by the lawyer or law firm. If you decide it’s time for your firm to jump into the social media frenzy, make sure you’ve got the time, or a dedicated person, to regularly monitor Facebook and other social media sites that allow others to post comments or recommendations.