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Ethos and social media

 Before social media was invented, the only impression the judge or the jury had of you was when they saw you in court. However, nowadays people can get an impression of you from your posts on social media, and so can your colleagues at the Bar. In order to not damage your professional and personal credibility whilst online, it is wise to avoid giving the impression that you are often

    • abusive to other people

    • Malicious or ill-intentioned

    • arrogant

    • excessively self assured/too confident

    • slanderous

 In the Advocate, which was the training manual for barristers back in the day, you were held to be dishonest and therefore acting in breach of the standards of behaviour applicable to the profession if you did any of the following:

If you profess what you do not believe,assent without conviction,assume what you do not feel,help to deprive a neighbour of his good name by circulating scandal,are overreaching in your dealings,seek your ends by any means,sacrifice your independence for patronage,prostrate yourself before the powerful,take mean advantages of those in your power,exact from your dependents more than you would claim from your equals,stand strictly upon legal rights without regard to the equity of your demands;in brief, if in any manner you do to your neighbour otherwise than as you would that he should do unto you, you are as guilty of dishonesty as if you had picked his pocket.






Whilst that was written 170 years ago It is probably a good idea to avoid being seen to do any of the above on social media. The general etiquette across the legal profession is that whilst you may disagree with your opponent you “play the ball, not the man” which means you don’t respond to a disagreement on an issue by making rude, personal remarks. If you wouldn’t make that remark to your opponent in court, then don’t make it online either.

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