Recent cases about social media and disciplinary action taken by regulators would appear to suggest most definitely yes. These cases might be alarming to read and you may be worried by the thought that the police are ready to knock on your door.
Principle 2 of the Code of Conduct is here to help you make the right decision about your professional and personal conduct. Outcome 2.2 of the Code focuses on maintaining trust and confidence in the actions that you take so that members of the public, as well as your colleagues or clients, can have confidence that you as a lawyer are trustworthy.
Within the minefield of social media, what can you do to make sure that what you publish privately isn’t used to damage your professional career or tarnish the view of the wider profession? Some useful questions to ask yourself are:
If you’ve answered yes to any of these, then pause and consider whether what you’re posting is a good idea. Remember not all social and online media allow you to delete records. The footprints you leave are often hard to remove.
Most people have access to some form of social media and it can take a simple name search to find out a lot of personal information about you. Clients and potential clients may use these tools to help them decide whether they want to use and/or retain your services. If you are entering the profession, recruiters and employers will often search social media to find out more about you.
In that sense social media can be a powerful influence on people’s opinions of you and if you can use it to promote your positive conduct, this may help you maintain professional integrity.
For more helpful guidance, read some of our other articles or go directly to the Code.