LinkedIn and Ethics – Florida opinion

There's a lot of flux and uncertainty about a lot of ethics and social media/technology.  For Florida lawyers, a staff ethics opinion had severely hampered lawyers' ability to use LinkedIn.  Apparently, that has been reversed, according to an article here.

I've been asked to present a 3 hour (yes, 3 hour) presentation in the spring of 2014 on e-ethics issues to a big group of Georgia judges, and will be looking at that stuff as I go along, and will post anything of interest here.

About David

Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law. Formerly Of Counsel, Taylor English Duma, LLP and in 2012-13, judicial clerk to Chief Judge Rader.

One thought on “LinkedIn and Ethics – Florida opinion

  1. 1

    Looking forward to your posts.

    I think that the business of law is facing some real world pressures (read that as cost factors) that the profession had previously largely been insulated from. While we still maintain a position in the legal system that must provide safeguards (we are not in an ‘open free market’ – and cannot be), our client base is EXPECTING something else (and demanding such).

    As the billable hour model slowly dies, accounting for the cost of business (especially the fixed costs portions) will continue to collide with the notion that you can only bill for earned services. There is a fundamental disconnect because the actual service rendered that earns fees is disconnected from the fixed costs (inherent in the definition of fixed costs).

    Currently (in my humble opinion), the ethics rules around fees are purposefully ‘loose’ enough so that inflated fees are deemed ‘ethical’ based on too many non-service factors. Client-driven demand (the part of the real world business pure-cost driven models) are shining a light on this, and ‘ethics’ will need to change, one way or another.

    The ‘billable hour’ suffers from too many inherent weaknesses and cannot survive in an open “business” model. I do not see true accounting of all actual time and effort as a viable driver of client billing.

    What clients want and what our ‘industry’ provides are at inherent odds when it comes down to payment of services. Our industry cannot survive a ‘no-basement’ fixed level of fee that would truly reflect “service rendered.” Pretending that we are above profit is an unsustainable illusion. The question that will need to be answered is what is a ‘just’ profit? And the current ‘ethics’ guidelines available to answer that question are simply too flimsy.

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