Monday, September 14, 2009

What Did the Facebook Page Say to the Bar Examiner?

What did the Facebook page say to the bar examiner? Maybe more than you intended. Earlier this month, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners made waves by announcing that it will investigate the social networking profiles of applicants on a case-by-case basis. (This policy replaced a previous recommendation, which would have required all Florida bar applicants to submit a list of their social networking pages for review.) Will this policy lead other state bar examiners to follow suit? Only time will tell; for now, set those photo albums and status updates to "private".

Don't be lulled into a false sense of security after the character & fitness review is complete. Yesterday the New York Times ran a fascinating story about practicing attorneys who have been disciplined for the content of their Facebook profiles and blog posts, including a Florida attorney who was sanctioned for referring to the judge in his case as an "Evil, Unfair Witch." Another attorney in Texas, who had requested a trial delay to attend a funeral, was denied an extension after the judge noticed a distinct lack of grieving on the attorney's Facebook page. Cases like these have prompted many law firms to create guidelines for attorney social networking; this is something to keep in mind during interview season (and beyond).