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opinion that an endorser’s actual familiarity with the lawyer’s skills does not matter, provided the lawyer actually has the skill. Id. And, still another who found them not to be a violation at all because “they are not statements by the lawyer about his or her own skills.” Id. (citing California attorney Judith Szepesi). Although Szepesi cautioned that, “under California’s rules, these endorsements may constitute testimonials and require the lawyer’s LinkedIn profile to carry a disclaimer.” Id. So where does this leave us? The Ethics Committee of the Maryland Bar


Association has not had occasion to address this issue; however, Maryland Rule 7.1 provides that a lawyer may communicate about his services as long as the content of the communication is truthful and neither misleads nor creates false expectations. Unlike California, the comments to Maryland Rule 7.1, suggest that the fact that endorsements are made by someone other than the attorney may not matter, as Maryland Rule 7.1 “governs all communications about a lawyer’s services.” See MD Rule 7.1, cmt. Essentially, Maryland Rule 7.1 requires that all communications concerning a lawyer’s services “should be truthful.” Id. To that end, Maryland Rule 7.1 prohibits misleading communications. And, what about the fact that LinkedIn’s endorsements section is titled “Skills & Expertise”? Do


we need to worry about running afoul of Rule 7.4’s prohibition of lawyers from holding themselves out publicly as specialists? While this has not been addressed in Maryland, The Philadelphia Bar Association Professional Guidance Committee (“PBAPGC”) issued an opinion on this very issue, Opinion 2012-8 (November 2012). Although LinkedIn does not include the word “specialist” on its profile, a Philadelphia attorney sought guidance concerning whether listing practice areas in the “Skills and Expertise” section might be considered akin to an inappropriate representation that she is a “specialist.” The PBAPGC found “that listing under that heading, which cannot be changed by an individual placing a profile there, is merely listing the areas in which an attorney practices, similar to such listings on many law firm websites.” Id. at p. 3. However, to the extent that LinkedIn allows users


to indicate levels of expertise, the PBAPGC found that an attorney “may not categorize herself as expert or herself as an “expert” or for that matter “experienced” outside of the parameters of Rule 7.4.” Moreover, since an attorney’s connections can post comments about the attorney on the attorney’s LinkedIn page, PBAPGC cautions that an attorney “must monitor those postings to assure that any statements about her qualifications are truthful, do not convey unreasonable or unquantifiable


48 Trial Reporter / Winter 2014


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