Judges and Attorneys Should Think Twice Before Clicking “Add Friend”

The issue of judges in social media has generated significant talk amongst the legal ethics community in recent years. The Tennessee Judicial Ethics Committee joined a handful of other states when it issued an advisory opinion this past October discussing judges’ participation in social media, specifically judges “friending” attorneys on Facebook. The opinion concluded that judges may utilize social networking sites, but must do so cautiously. Some of the other states that have opined on this issue include Maryland, Florida, California, Kentucky, South Carolina, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts and Oklahoma. Some states, like South Carolina, allow judges and attorneys to be friends in social media as long as they do not discuss a matter in which the lawyer is appearing before the judge. Other states, including Florida and Oklahoma, have gone in the opposite direction, finding that there should be no social media friendships between a lawyer and a judge he or she may appear before. The Maryland Judicial Ethics Committee Opinion urges judges to consider the impressions such activities may create. Judges now must decide whether the benefits of participating in social media outweigh the related risks.

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  1. The ABA Weighs in On Judges’ Use of Social Media - Balestriere Fariello - […] judges’ use of social media sites.  The Tennessee Judicial Ethics Committee, for instance, issued an advisory opinion this past…