How Progressive! New Jersey Judiciary Now, Officially, Tweeting and Using Other Internet Social Media

In a recent press release, the New Jersey judiciary announced that it is adopting an array of internet social media tools to keep lawyers, litigants and the public better informed of court developments.

The court system now has a Twitter feed and uses cell phone text messages to send out breaking news alerts. These cover unscheduled court closings and other high priority information. The courts also now have three RSS feeds — one for news releases, one for notices to the bar, and a third for Supreme and Appellate Court opinions.

In addition, the court system has set up a Facebook page, where it will post press releases, court information and photos of court events, and a YouTube page, where it will post videos that offer lessons in using the courts

Many attorneys in New Jersey are hesitant about blogging or using other social media technologies on the internet because they do not know whether the use of internet social media would violate New Jersey’s ethical rules of professional conduct. Does the state judiciary’s use of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube imply that New Jersey lawyers are now free to do the same without fear of an ethical violation? Unfortunately, there are no ethics opinions or other rulings on the topic that I know of. Practically speaking, however, I believe that it would be very difficult to impose an ethical violation on a New Jersey lawyer for the use of social media when the state judiciary has officially sanctioned the use of such media.

Thanks to the blogs Social Media Law Student and Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites for the heads-up about the New Jersey judiciary’s announcement.