Social Media

A generation ago, when something good happened, people’s first instinct was to find a telephone (usually attached to their wall or at least attached to a cord of some kind) and call up those closest to them to give them the good news. For those not lucky enough to warrant long-distance charges at the time, this good news might be conveyed to them through a Christmas letter that they received in the mail via the U.S. Postal Service. Today when something important happens it is only a moment usually before it is posted onto some social media site, most commonly Facebook, and everyone you know, and many you do not know, are apprised of what is happening in your life. In this age of instantaneous communication, it is important for attorneys and those in the legal profession to remember that the moment they hit send, what they wrote is out in the public forever. Innocent banter between a judge and attorney who are “friends” on Facebook can be construed as ex parte communication if it deals at all with the case they are both involved in. A moment of venting about a judge in a blog post can have ethics ramifications as well. Be sure when communicating via a social media site to remember that the Model Rules of Professional Behavior apply just as equally whether your communication is face to face or keyboard to keyboard.