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When trying to make a social media name for yourself, attorneys should be concerned about going too far. There can certainly be unintentional consequences if a lawyer's social media engagement takes partisan stances and politicizes issues.
Also, as we can learn from one of the more media savvy lawyers, Mr. #Basta himself, Michael Avenatti, if you have a reputation for airing information out to traditional and social media outlets, you could find yourself looking a little sheepish when federal investigators flat out tell you that they no longer want to interview your client because they do not feel comfortable with the meeting remaining confidential.
Although even the mighty #Lawyer-Twitter presence known as @Popehat acknowledged that the feds' stance on interviewing Avenatti's client was quite reasonable, Avenatti's strong branding means his protagonist persona just looks a little more roguish. And given his appearance and personality, that seems to work well for him. Remember, social media branding success requires authenticity.
However, before you go spouting off on social media about everything you believe in, you might want to consider who you're talking to, and whether they're going to be interested or annoyed by your speech. Like oral arguments, you have to play social media by ear, and be ready to stop talking, or include some visual aids (like videos, gifs, or even a picture) every now and then to keep your audience awake and interested.
Attorneys need to keep in mind that many social media interactions are very likely to be considered marketing, and that just because the conduct occurs on the internet, that does not mean ethical duties and rules governing legal marketing do not apply.
As such, it behooves attorneys to think long and hard before each social media post and ask themselves: Can this post be considered marketing? And if so, is it permissible? More likely than not, the answer is going to be yes, and yes, but it never hurts to think twice about any and all marketing efforts.
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