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Judges’ Use of Online Social Networking: Ethical Considerations

Product Code - LGA211
Speaker(s): John S. Summers, Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller; Maureen P. Smith, Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller
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The increasing use of Internet-based social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook by members of the judiciary raises multiple ethical issues. For example, may judges and lawyers be connected as “friends” or otherwise through these sites, or would such linkages create an actual or appearance of impropriety that should – or must – be avoided? Also, to what extent should the rules governing socializing among judges and lawyers apply to online relationships, or are new rules needed to guide us in this relatively new environment?

The faculty for this program will consider and evaluate the guidance provided by various courts and state ethics bodies and the development of judges’ use of online social networking sites. The program will also provide practical tips for lawyers and judges to consider when engaging in online social networking.

Educational Objectives:

• Understand the applicable ethical rules governing judges.
• Learn about the different approaches taken by various jurisdictions.
• Recognize the questions a lawyer or judge should consider before engaging in online social networking.

Who would most benefit from attending this program?

All legal practitioners who may appear before or interact with judges in any professional or social setting as well as judges of any state or federal court.

Program Level: Intermediate.

Credit Available: CLE. For more information, please click on the “CLE Credit” tab.

John S. Summers, Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller; Maureen P. Smith, Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller

John S. Summers, Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller
John Summers is a shareholder at Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller and also serves as the firm’s general counsel. Mr. Summers’ practice focuses on complex civil commercial litigation matters across a wide spectrum of industries. He has been appointed as East Coast Solicitor to the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, a role in which he counsels judges of the Court of Common Pleas on ethics matters raised by the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board. Mr. Summers has also served as a Member and then Chair of a hearing panel of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Summers earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as an editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and was awarded the Mark E. Lefever Prize for Law and Economics, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Wesleyan University. He is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Maureen P. Smith, Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller
Maureen Smith is a litigation associate in the Philadelphia office of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller. Ms. Smith’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on antitrust matters. Additionally, she provides counseling on issues related to the ethical rules governing lawyers and judges. Together with John Summers, Ms. Smith co-authored an article appearing in Bloomberg BNA’s United States Law Week entitled “Judges and Online Social Networking.”

Ms. Smith earned a J.D., cum laude, from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Catholic University Law Review, and earned a B.A. from Marquette University. She is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

This program’s CLE-credit eligibility varies by state. Bloomberg BNA is an accredited provider in the states of New York*, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, and most other jurisdictions grant CLE credit on a per-program basis. At this time, Bloomberg BNA does not apply directly to the states of Florida, Rhode Island, Montana and Hawaii although credit is usually available for attorneys who wish to apply individually. Additionally, the following states currently do not grant credit for Bloomberg BNA OnDemand programming: Arkansas, Ohio, Nebraska, and Delaware. All requests are subject to approval once the live webinar has taken place or the customer has viewed the OnDemand version. Please contact the Bloomberg BNA accreditations desk if you have specific questions that have not been addressed.

If you have further questions regarding a specific state or how to file for CLE credit, please contact Bloomberg BNA customer service at 800-372-1033 and ask to speak to the CLE Accreditation Coordinator.

Hardship Policy
For information regarding Bloomberg BNA’s Hardship Policy, please visit the Continuing Education Information page.

For more information about Mandatory or Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements, visit the American Bar Association website at

*Bloomberg BNA is an accredited provider in New York for experienced attorneys only.