I had a much longer and much different commentary on this issue last night, but I have now converted that particular post to draft mode to let my thoughts season a little longer. In any event, today's Courier Journal has a timely article on a proposed regulation on advertising (solicitation of clients by lawyers) using the social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, coming under this umbrella would be, IMHO (in my humble opinion), the increased use of blogs by lawyers to solicit clients.
Here is the Courier-Journal story by Jason Riley (which is well-done):
BTW, I did obtain a copy of the proposed regulation from KBA and posted it at Proposed KBA Ethics Rules Changes re social media (Facebook and MySpace) which contains the deletions and the additions. Many of the deletions are of little consequence because the language deleted is already in other regulations. Thus, the significant change in regulation is that lawyer communications in/on Facebook etc. are subject to the advertising regulations. FYI (for your information), my offer of myself and some oher tech-no-know-types to provide informal input on the mechanics of Facebook and Blogging etc. was ignored by the KBA.
This Courier-Journal story makes an interesting initial comment since not all "walls" are public and not all "friends" are YOUR real "friends" and once you post on YOUR wall it can go viral and pop up on other "friends'" walls who are "friends" of a "friend" (eg., FOAF - friend of a friend). Once it hits the digital realm, there is a certain permanence about it and a defenite loss of personal attachment, responsibility and contol for the remark or solicitation of legal business.
GSC (give me some credit), I know, and others know, that many of these remarks made by legal posters on Facebook are direct solicitations which are obvious. Other postings are indirect marketing and promotion on visits to court and results of legal work which amount to a little chest pounding and self-promoiton but solicitation/advertising nonetheless.
Those who post/advertise/market/solicit and those who do not might want to consider making a comment since those who post are getting access to clients that the non-posters are not and are therefore preempting the usual methods of advertising. Later on you might wish you had responded to the comment option of HBU (how about you?) Please note that we HADVD (have advised) you of your rights and options to let your opinion be heard.
Please note that those who post they can help you in drunk driving or other cases can have those posts read in a smart phone and with a quick click of a key have that name and number stored in their smart phone for future reference.
Should the posts contain the usual proscription of regarding this is a legal advertisement or will the usual text messaging suffice of IANAL (I am not a lawyer)??? Sorry, that's a little of bit of my poor attempt at humor which has me LMHO (laughing my head off) and hopefully others LIS (laughing in silence).
In any event, the remarks on Twitter and Facebook appear to be legal remarks made to friends and FOF (friends of friend) that are FOC (free of charge) and due to the regulatory laxity are also made without FOGC (fear of getting caught). Until the rules change with specificity and effective enforcement, the article shows that these attorneys will continue to GFI (go for it) with the salutation of GLGH (good luck and good hunting).
One thing is for sure, the following article reveals that the application of the solicitation rules by some lawyers show that this area is now getting MUBAR (messed up beyond all recognition).
And if you don't believe the use of Facebook by lawyers for client solicitation has not become explosive, the following two texting abbreviations should open your eyes a little (for list of abbreviations click here):
- MVA - Motor vehicle accident
- MVA no PI - Motor vehicle accident with no personal injury
- MVA w/PI - Motor vehicle accident with PI
- DUI - driving under the influence
- DWI - driving while intoxicated
In any event, the times are a'changin!!
Here is a link to the Courier Journal story:
The last note by the attorney featured in the story should give you pause for concern on the simple fact that the rules as written now are interpreted liberally and that the gold rush may be ending soon.
[name deleted] said he would abide by any decision the bar makes but “until I'm made aware of the rule, I don't plan on changing anything.”
On Friday, his Facebook status read: “Better get these in while I can. If you don't have my number programmed in your phone and you live in Kentucky, do it now. I can assist in any legal matter, and if I can't handle it, I will put you in the right hands. If you or any friends get locked up and need out ASAP, I am always available.”