I. What is LinkedIn?
There are a number of social media sites on the Internet which provide interaction and client development through exposure and mutual communication. One such site – and probably the largest – is LinkedIn,1 a site where one may register and provide a personal biography, including a photograph, list educational and employment background, honors and awards, as well as links to published articles, blogs, and websites.
Additionally, a member may give a summary self-description (such as “trial lawyer and ethics counselor”) and list the primary areas of focus for one’s practice.
Te key benefit to a site like LinkedIn is the ability then to “connect” with anyone else who is also a member and who agrees to accept you as a connection. Those members (nearly a quarter billion) are located all over the world and work in all kinds of businesses and professions.2
One of the functions of LinkedIn is to permit “recommendations,” a narrative written by another member about the endorsee’s abilities. These could be accolades from clients or observations by opposing counsel.
Another of the functions of LinkedIn is the “endorsement,” which allows a member to “endorse” another member – with or without personal knowledge – in numerous areas of expertise fitting somewhere within the general definition of the member’s profession. Te endorsee receives a message, advising of the endorsement. If added to the profile by the endorsee, the endorsement then appears on the member’s page, under the heading “Skills & Expertise,” with a photo link for each person who has endorsed the member for each area. In addition, after accepting an endorsement (by clicking “Add to Profile”), the endorsee is given the opportunity to endorse other members, as their profile photos appear, one after another, with a suggested area of expertise.
II. What are the risk areas and relevant rules?
False Specialization? Under Rule 7.4(a), MRPC,3 a lawyer “may communicate the fact that the lawyer does or does not...