Social Media and Internet

We’ve noted before that just because information relating to your representation of a client might be publicly available, your duty of confidentiality means that you can’t disclose it if it is not “generally known.”  The two concepts — public availability and being “generally known” —  are not the same, as a New Jersey lawyer learned

A prominent Chinese dissident may proceed with his malpractice case against a law firm based on allegations that the firm failed adequately to protect his personal data from hackers, a Washington, D.C. district court said in an opinion on February 20.  In his $50 million suit, the plaintiff, Guo Wengui, alleges that after he retained

Disclosing client information on Facebook has gotten yet another lawyer in trouble.  A Massachusetts attorney was publicly reprimanded earlier this month for posting details of a guardianship case on the social media site, in violation of the Bay State’s version of Model Rule 1.6 (“Confidentiality of Information”).  The Board imposed a public reprimand, rejecting an

Can we be Facebook friends?  That’s one question left open by the ABA earlier this month in Formal Opinion 488, on the subject of judges’ personal relationships with lawyers as grounds for disqualification.  While spotlighting judicial ethics duties in maintaining impartiality, the opinion fails to provide some needed guidance on social media relationships.

Model

As we’ve noted before (here and here), the ethical duty of confidentiality is broad, and can even cover publicly available information.  Now comes a reminder that based on the confidentiality rule you should obtain consent  before using your client’s name in marketing materials — and that some jurisdictions go even farther.  For instance,

We’ve written before about “web bugs” — tracking devices consisting of an object embedded in a web page or e-mail, that unobtrusively (usually invisibly) reveal whether and how a user has accessed the content.  Three jurisdictions (Alaska, New York and, most recently, Illinois) have issued opinions pointing to the ethics

Do we need another reminder about the perils of posting internet comments on cases and matters we are connected with?  Apparently we do, and here’s a strong one.  Earlier this month, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana was disbarred based on hundreds of comments he posted pseudonymously on the website of

Making big news this summer was the shut-down of Avvo Legal Services just a few months after it was acquired by Internet Brands.  (A couple of the many reports are here and here.)  Some speculated that the new corporate owner had no stomach to continue to fight for that portion of Avvo’s business