New York Releases Guidance for Attorneys’ Use of Social Media to Offer Service & Communicate with Potential Client

Attorneys in New York may use social media to communicate with potential clients. The New York State Bar Ethics Committee released an opinion on March 2 advising that attorneys may respond to a potential client’s request on a website seeking counsel and that attorneys may offer services to potential clients through email or social websites, such as Twitter and Reddit.

If an individual asks an attorney for a response to a specific problem, and requests to be contacted by the attorney, the attorney may communicate with the individual. However, attorneys must be aware of the rules pertaining to solicitation and general attorney advertising. The opinion noted that when an attorney does not initiate the communication, then a specific response to an individual’s specific problem does not constitute a solicitation. Additionally, if the attorney only discusses the individual’s legal problem and not the attorney’s services with the goal of retaining the client, then the reply does not constitute advertising.

Additionally, the opinion advised that attorneys may post on a website, such as Twitter or Reddit, to solicit potential clients, but such a post does constitute a solicitation and must abide by the attorney advertising rules. For example, a post may not relate to a specific incident involving either a personal injury or wrongful death claim until the end of the thirty-day blackout period provided by the rules.

To read the full opinion, click here.

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