The opinion suggests that:
1) law firms are "encouraged" to monitor their attorneys' posts on social media to verify whether their employees comply with disciplinary rules:
Since law firms are "encouraged" to monitor postings of lawyers in social media regarding compliance with any and all disciplinary rules, the claim that it is done to verify that the particular attorney does not disclose confidential information in social posts is just a pretext for a larger spying on attorneys' private out-of-the-job lives on the Internet.
2) attorneys are threatened not to lie in their social media posts, because that exposes them to the disciplinary rule regarding the attorney's "duty of candor":
Of course, the duty of candor is to the clients and to the tribunal, and not whether you look 70 or 30 in the photo you post online.
3) Attorneys are encouraged to post bold-lettered disclaimers that their communications on social media are not legal advice and do not lead to attorney-client relationships - with a warning that even a disclaimer may not help, if attorney's "subsequent conduct is inconsistent with the disclaimer".
Think how many friends you may have on social media who will not think you are a freak, if you put a bold-lettered disclaimer on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, or what-not accounts.
Or - are you supposed to add that bold-lettered disclaimer to all your messages?
Like: "hey, how are you today? - but, please, be warned, that anything I tell you today in my messages is not and is not intended to be legal advice, and my messaging with you does not and will not lead to an attorney-client relationship."
Just think how many replies you will get to this one, and what kind of replies.
4) The ethical rule warns against "inadvertent acquisition of information", forming a "relationship" with unknown people (think accepting friend requests from people you never saw), or expressing your own views through comments, likes or tweets, if your views are contrary to the "interests" of your clients:
Apparently, the ethical opinion hints that
- when clients hire an attorney, clients literary own him, even in his private life, and control his private life and his public political life as a citizen;
- that an attorney should only represent people who he sides with on all issues and who have uniform interests - as in: an attorney should not represent clients with views and interests contrary to one another, and
- that the prohibition is not on holding views contrary to those of the client, but against publicly expressing them - so this rule is a manual of hypocrisy for lawyers.
- not to allow social media to collect his contact list from his e-mail (which happens anyway if the attorney opens a web-based free e-mail address, which most of attorneys do for convenience and cost-control);
- to monitor reviews about themselves and ask to remove incorrect posts - good luck with that; and
- restrict privacy, communicating with only the people the lawyer knows well and trusts - which is, in our day and age, a requirement for a lawyer to go back to the stone age and live a life of a hermit.
Attorney Bernius is double-Ivy-League-educated (Brown University and Yale Law School),
self-reports on his law firm's webpage that he is admitted in 17 jurisdictions, including the U.S. Supreme Court,
and reports of his total recognition by the various "peers" (not customers) and being a member of the D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility as part of his business advertising -
like, "come hire me and my law firm, we are that good, and fully protected, and whatever we do, I will make sure we will never be sanctioned - after all, I am the law".
Oh, and while issuing opions that are in direct violation of attorneys 1st Amendment and making the information that he is part of Board of Professional Responsibility part of his attorney advertising, Bernius has the audacity of claiming the highest rating and recognition on "ethics", "legal competency" - and the 1st Amendment:
The Vice-Chair of the D.C. Board of Professional Responsibility, Patricia G. Butler is an attorney and a highly-paid federal employee, and is thus also regulating her own competitors - apparently, in violation of federal antitrust laws.
Jason E. Carter, the Board's former Vice-Chair and present member, is an attorney and a high-ranking federal employee: he reportedly is an Associate Director for Europe and Central Asia of the U.S. Attorney's Office's Criminal Division, Office of International Affairs. He is both a competitor to attorneys he disciplines, and a very busy man, on the payroll of us the taxpayers, and there is a question - where does he get time for the regulation of the D.C. bar, when his Associate Director job for the U.S. Attorney General, Criminal Justice Division, Office of International Affairs, for Europe and Central Asia must be taking all his waking hours?
Mary Lou Soller is a civil and criminal defense attorney in a D.C. law firm Miller & Chevalier dealing with tax law and white collar crime. Ms. Soller is also a competitor of attorneys she is "regulating" through the D.C. Bar's Board of Professional Responsibility.
The next member of the D.C. Bar's Board of Professional Responsibility, Billie LaVerne Smith, is not an attorney, but is reportedly a federal employee, a dietitian employed in the Office of the Aging:
Thomas R. Bundy, III is an attorney and partner in a D.C. law firm Lawrence & Bundy.
Thomas Bundy is a competitor of attorneys he is "regulating".
John C. Peirce is an attorney in Washington, D.C., according to his own LinkedIn profile, and a competitor to attorneys he "regulates".
David Bernstein - if I've got the correct David Bernstein - is, according to his LinkedIn profile, an attorney for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., and a competitor to attorneys he regulates.
Matthew G. Kaiser is a founding partner at Kaiser Dillon PLLC, a law firm in Washington, D.C., "a small litigation boutique firm", according to attorney Kaiser's biography on the site of George Washington Law School, where attorney Kaiser is listed as an adjunct professor.
Imagine - a partner in a law firm, an adjunct professor and a member of the Board regulating attorneys in D.C. - when does attorney Kaiser get the time for all of that?
Not to mention that attorney Kaiser is a competitor to attorneys he "regulates".
So, out of 9 members of the Board of Professional Responsibility, 8 - a super-majority - are attorneys "regulating" their competitors, or, rather, deciding how to squeeze out their competitors.
That's exactly what the U.S. Supreme Court - and the Federal Trade Commission - meant in stating that such anti-competitive regulation either has to have the approval of the Legislature or supervision of a neutral governmental body.
Upon my information and belief, D.C. bar has neither and operates in violation of federal antitrust laws.
And that is exactly what a former federal antitrust attorneys warned State Bars against - competitors disciplining competitors not for the benefit of consumers, but to quash competition.
The D.C. Bar's latest "opinion" as to how an attorney should behave during attorney's personal time on social media, is, apparently, one of the efforts of the "regulators" to create a net of vague and grossly over-reaching rules that would be violated anyway, so the "regulators" will decide who they would let live - as a favor that can be called in the future, or whom, of their competitors, they will sink.
By the way - I put a "like" on the Facebook page of D.C. Bar - not because I like the D.C. Bar, but because a "like" is sometimes just a bookmark to follow certain pages and events.
And the D.C. Bar, with its own presence on Facebook, cannot be unaware of such use.
Or - are they on Facebook to follow their own opinion - to spy on attorneys?
By the way, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has ruled back in 2013 that a Facebook "like" (which D.C. Bar opinion also "cautions" about) is a form of protected speech - in a case where an employee of a Sheriff's Department was fired for a Facebook "like" of his boss's opponent in a re-election campaign...
I wonder if the D.C. Bar is aware of such a development of constitutional law - or if they do not "like" it?