A recent opinion of out New York says that our LinkedIn profile may be considered an advertisement. Maybe more importantly, the opinion imposes a duty upon lawyers to periodically review their social media profile. I call it the “I told you so” opinion because I’ve been telling this to lawyers for some time in my ethics CLE programs.
Sure, the opinion is limited- it’s out of one particular state and it’s only advisory. But the rationale is solid and I could envision it being adopted in other jurisdictions.
Furthermore, the practical implications could be significant. For instance, any misleading statements on your profile would now be governed by the content restrictions contained in Rule 7.1; if you’re in a jurisdiction where disclaimers are require on ads, you may need to insert a disclaimer into your LinkedIn profile; maybe the concept applies to all social media sites that you use for professional purposes…and the list of concerns could go on. To get all of the details, download the full NYCLA Opinion 748 here.
I cover this concept in my ethics CLE program, “Tech, Tock, Tech, Tock: Social media and the countdown to your ethical demise.” Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want some more information.