Mind your tongue

In recent local news, a Westchester county attorney tweeted what most see as racist (or at least insensitive) comments about the losing lieutenant governor candidate. In the aftermath of the comments, the attorney was forced out of a Bar Association leadership position (and some, of course, are calling for further punishment.)

This is another good example of why attorneys have to be careful with expressing personal opinions in social media (especially to the world at large). Like it or not, attorneys need clients, and clients (and potential clients) who see what they deem inappropriate comments from a professional adviser may soon find themselves a professional adviser. These could be anything – partisan political commentary, religious commentary, lewd or boorish behavior, etc.

Does this mean you can’t be you? No, certainly not, but it does mean you have to be mindful of your audience (and potential audience). It also means it can be especially important for an attorney to maintain a wall between a private social media presence (a Facebook account shared with close friends, perhaps) and a public (i.e., client-accessible) persona (LinkedIn, twitter, etc.).

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