LinkedIn To Change Setting In Response To Florida Bar Concerns

, Daily Business Review

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LinkedIn, the popular online business networking site, has reportedly agreed to change a setting that automatically lists a person’s professional “specialties” in response to concerns from The Florida Bar and other state bar regulatory organizations.

A LinkedIn senior legal counsel met with Florida Bar officials telephonically Dec. 17, according to Elizabeth Tarbert, ethics counsel for The Florida Bar.

The senior counsel, Catalin Cosovanu, reported that LinkedIn is in the process of changing its default setting so that attorney users of LinkedIn can voluntarily change their existing accounts to remove mention of professional specialties. The company is also working on changing the section in which outsiders can endorse individuals, Tarbert said. The change would allow attorneys to remove third party endorsements on their accounts as well.

LinkedIn representatives were unavailable for comment.

Listings of professional specialities and endorsements on LinkedIn have been sources of ethical concerns with The Florida Bar and other bar regulatory organizations such as the New York State Bar Association.

"It was a very positive meeting. It was nice they were willing to meet with us. Apparently we were not the only Bar that had an issue with these things."

But the LinkedIn issue is just one area of concern for many Florida lawyers, who feel The Florida Bar has been overly strict in its new advertising and social media rules, which went into effect this past spring.

One prominent law firm, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley of West Palm Beach, filed suit against The Florida Bar last month, asserting The Bar's new advertising and social media rules violate the First Amendment.

The prominent personal injury law firm is represented by two First Amendment lawyers—Richard Bush of Bush & Augspurger in Tallahassee and Greg Beck of Gupta Beck in Washington — in the lawsuit filed in Tallahassee federal court.

The Florida Bar completed a massive overhaul of its attorney advertising rules, which were approved by the Florida Supreme Court. The rules, which regulate attorney websites, social media, ads and commercials, are widely considered the most stringent in the country.

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