In the Spring 2012, edition of the Willamette University College of Law’s alumni magazine, Willamette Lawyer, SSJH, LLP’s managing partner, Mark C. Hoyt, was featured in the Ethics Corner. The Ethics Corner Department poses an ethics question to be answered by individuals in the legal profession.
You can find the reprint here:
ETHICS CORNER –
Should there be limits on the type of client solicitations done through social media channels, such as LinkedIn and Facebook? If so……what should those limits be?
I see no reason to apply unique rules to LinkedIn or Facebook. At present these are electronic tools for lawyers to do what lawyers have been doing for years, create a profile and presence in the community and make people aware of the services they offer. LinkedIn and Facebook are currently another way for lawyers to interface with each other and the community. While the electronic medium for interfacing is new, the interaction it facilitates remains the same – a professional contacting a person who may be in need of service to let them know the professional can provide the service. We have carefully crafted rules to govern this process, and I see no reason to change them simply because the message is delivered by computer.
Current rules authorize direct mail solicitation of clients. E-mail is quickly replacing regular mail as a means of communication. Thus, I see electronic solicitation as no different than direct mail solicitation. As one is authorized under the rules, I see no reason to treat the other differently.
If the internet has taught us anything, however, it is that the world can change in an instant. To that end, this is an area which requires monitoring to make be sure a profession known to be slow to adapt, does not get left behind. If we do, we risk abuse of a new medium – a result diametrically opposed to the values of a profession which prides itself on policing its own members.
— Mark C. Hoyt JD’92, managing partner at Sherman Sherman Johnnie & Hoyt LLP
Willamette University College of Law’s alumni magazine, Willamette Lawyer, includes alumni profiles, stories about WUCL faculty and staff, features on current issues in the law, College of Law news and events, alumni reunions and other events, and the latest news about WUCL grads. They publish two times per year, which results in a Fall and Spring edition.
You can find previous issues of the Willamette Lawyer here: http://www.willamette.edu/wucl/internal/alumni/lawyer/ and the Spring 2012 edition in in pdf format starting May, 2012.