A Massachusetts Attorney was reprimanded for a facebook post about his status. Being friends with many lawyers in Massachusetts and all over the country, the attorney’s facebook post was typical of many attorney posts that I have seen on my newsfeed. The Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers found that this case violated the rules of professional conduct.
It seems so innocuous. An attorney updates his public Facebook page stating: “Back in Boston after appearing in Berkshire Juvenile Court in Pittsfield on behalf of grandmother who was seeking guardianship of six-year-old grandson and was opposed by DCYF yesterday. Next date – 10/23.” But is it so innocuous? Is the Facebook post simply an update of the day in the life of an attorney? Or is it enough information to run afoul of the Rules of Professional Conduct. On November 6, 2019, the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers (BBO) publicly reprimanded the attorney who wrote this post.
This is the type of situation every attorney must navigate daily. Social media forums allow attorneys to connect with potential clients, advertise the types of law practiced, comment on new case law, etc. Regardless of an attorney’s age, experience, or length of practice, an attorney is required to stay up to date on new technology (Rule 1.1). In today’s world, it could be argued that Facebook, established in 2006, is not a new technology, and all attorneys should be aware of the pitfalls of any client-related posting on Facebook.