Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Florida Bar Takes on Social Media

If you're not a lawyer, skip today's post.

Those of you who are lawyers have likely heard about the Florida Bar's considerations of whether to regulate LinkedIn more stringently. Late last year, the Florida Bar's Board of Governors voted to rescind a staff opinion that would have done just that. Apparently, Bar staff was concerned that attorneys who don't purposefully opt out of LinkedIn's "skills and expertise" section that collects endorsements are violating rules concerning board certification. However, the Board of Governors voted to ask the Florida Bar's Standing Committee on Advertising to study the issue further.

I have grave concerns that the Bar will regulate even personal uses of LinkedIn. It has already done this with its guidelines on social media, for example. Many of you know that these ungainly guidelines for the use of social media show the Bar’s struggles to understand in how people actually communicate today. For example, those guidelines state that "[p]ages of individual lawyers on social networking sites that are used solely for social purposes, to maintain social contact with family and close friends, are not subject to the lawyer advertising rules." How do we differentiate between "social purposes" and other purposes? How do I know what a "close friend" is?

Tallahassee's Steven Hogan and I are collecting signatories for a letter that we're preparing for the Committee. Please email me if you're interested in reviewing the letter or signing on at jake [at] jacobtcremer [dot] com. We'll post the full letter here after it has been submitted.