Think before you tweet. Don't be a boob on YouTube (especially now that it is tied to your Google+ identity). Facebook can get you fired.
Social media is here to stay, but as everyone and their mother joins Facebook, it becomes more and more important to protect your neck. These five lawyers lost their cool, and gained Internet infamy, and thanks to the eternal nature of Internet scandals, absent a name change, they'll likely never outlive their mistakes.
What were the five biggest social media mistakes seen in 2013? Read on:
5. Parking Lot Rage
This is a bit of a stretch, which is why it is ranked so low on the list, but if someone is pointing a smartphone camera at you, the video will end up on YouTube, especially if you are calling a disabled student's mother four-letter words.
Christopher Kirby's tirade after a school district meeting got his firm fired by the district, and his name is conspicuously absent from the firm's webpage. It also earned him placement on these rankings.
4. Law Student's Dunkin' Donuts Racist Rant
This rumored law student, Taylor Chapman, went on a racist rant against the employees of a Florida Dunkin' Donuts, recorded it herself, and posted it on the Internet. She also talked about nuking the planet from Mars, so she may not have been completely "there" during the rant.
Thanks to her self-posted video, should she finish her JD, and pass the bar, finding a job will be pretty much impossible the moment future employers Google her name.
3. Client's Drug Deal Posted on YouTube
Continuing the YouTube trouble, Illinois attorney Jesse Gilsdorf obtained a video of his client completing a drug deal and posted it on YouTube. He thought the video showed police planting drugs. It didn't. His client ended up pleading guilty.
The state bar wasn't amused, and recommended a five-month suspension.
2. The Rage Tweet
SCOTUSblog, a private blog that provides comprehensive coverage of everything related to the U.S. Supreme Court, has a brilliant Twitter account that likes to troll confused tweeters. Often, when a controversial decision is handed down, people will tweet the unaffiliated blog with criticism of the Court.
An account that appeared to belong to BigLaw partner Steve Regan, of Reed Smith, warned SCOTUSblog not to "screw up this like ACA." SCOTUSblog responded sarcastically, leading the lawyer to tweet, "Go f@chk yourself and die." The firm disavowed the tweet and stated, "We are addressing this matter internally," reports Business Insider.
Rage tweeting. Never a good idea, especially when the tweet is directed at an account with 142,622 followers.
1. Racist Law Firm Advertisement
We still aren't sure if or when we'll get to the bottom of this, but Definitive TV produced a racist advertisement for a law firm (allegedly!), staring the company's Caucasian Jim DeBerry exploiting Chinese stereotypes.
The firm, McCutcheon and Hammer, P.C., claims they had no part in the video's making. The production company claims to have proof that the firm hired them. We don't really care. The ad isn't funny, is racist, got a ton of bad PR for the firm, and definitely deserves the top spot in the social media mistakes of 2013.
Did we miss anybody in our roundup? Give us a shout-out on LinkedIn.
- Will it Soon be Malpractice Not to be Social Media Savvy? (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Twitter and Google+ Can Help Your Legal Practice (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)
- Lawyer Suspended, Still Waiting for Nigerian Inheritance (FindLaw's Strategist Blog)