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Judiciary

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Social Networking with Florida Judges

It seems that the latest thing in legal marketing is the social networking scene, including Facebook, Twitter and other forms of internet interaction.  Well in Florida, where we practice, you better watch out if you decide to include a judge in your social network.  That is a no-no according to the Florida Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee.  The FJEAC recently rendered an advisory opinion warning judges not to add lawyers to their “friends” network on social networking sites.

The Committee’s conclusions are as follows:

ISSUES

Whether a judge may post comments and other material on the judge’s page on a social networking site, if the publication of such material does not otherwise violate the Code of Judicial Conduct.

ANSWER: Yes.

Whether a judge may add lawyers who may appear before the judge as “friends” on a social networking site, and permit such lawyers to add the judge as their “friend.”

ANSWER: No.

Whether a committee of responsible persons, which is conducting an election campaign on behalf of a judge’s candidacy, may post material on the committee’s page on a social networking site, if the publication of the material does not otherwise violate the Code of Judicial Conduct.

ANSWER: Yes.

Whether a committee of responsible persons, which is conducting an election campaign on behalf of a judge’s candidacy, may establish a social networking page which has an option for persons, including lawyers who may appear before the judge, to list themselves as “fans” or supporters of the judge’s candidacy, so long as the judge or committee does not control who is permitted to list himself or herself as a supporter.

ANSWER: Yes.

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This is a truly interesting opinion.  I guess I better not be “friends” with a judge!




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