Picking up from LinkedIn’s Endorsements: ABA Notes Ethical Concerns (Part 1), here are some additional ethical issues that the American Bar Association (ABA) has highlighted when it comes to lawyers’ use of LinkedIn.
Although LinkedIn’s endorsements may raise ethical issues for attorneys, LinkedIn is still a powerful outlet for a firm’s social media marketing strategies.
Ethical Issue 2: Endorsements can be given without any specific supporting evidence
LinkedIn’s endorsement feature allows others on the site to endorse attorneys for specific skills – even if these other people have never met the lawyer, have never witnessed him practicing the skills for which they are endorsing him and/or have no frame of reference (or supporting evidence) to back up the endorsement. When such haphazard endorsements are made, they are usually done so as one party’s attempt to get on another professional’s radar (for networking purposes, for instance).
While such connections with other industry professionals may be useful, the ABA has pointed out that the ease with which endorsements can be made can be a source of ethical issues for lawyers, especially if potential clients are looking at their LinkedIn profiles to learn more about their practice, skills and expertise.
The Bottom Line
While there may be some points of concern regarding the use of LinkedIn’s endorsement feature, the bottom line is that:
- Recommendations that explain a lawyer’s experience are generally always preferable to nondescript endorsements.
- Attorneys can manage their own endorsements (and delete ones that may be inappropriate) and are advised to do this so that they aren’t inappropriately endorsed for areas of practice (or skills) that are inapplicable to them.
- Incorporating a LinkedIn profile into a firm’s social media marketing strategies is an effective way to extend that firm’s (and attorney’s) reach to new potential clients.
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