Andrew Perlman at the Legal Ethics Forum examines LinkedIn endorsements from the perspective of the rules of professional responsibility and see a few issues. They are:
Do the Professional Rules of Responsibility cover endorsements?
Given that its “communications concerning a lawyer’s [i.e., my] services,” the answer seems clearly yes.
What if the person endorsing me doesn’t know my work?
This appears to be a violation of ABA model rule 7.1 as its misleading to have someone who never worked with you “endorse” your skills. A related issue that I ran into was having a skill improperly listed and having someone recommend you when that isn’t even an area of expertise.
What if its a reciprocal endorsement – considered for pay?
If you agree to endorse someone in return for an endorsement this appears to violate model rule 7.2(b) because you are giving someone something of value (an endorsement) in return for your endorsement.
Also an issue of whether it qualifies as a testimonial or endorsement requiring a disclaimer?
Since this is called an “endorsement” it is pretty clear that this requires a disclaimer that a successful outcome with this client doesn’t predict future success as well. (Also found under Model rules 7.1)
First, while I agree these are all legitimate issues, I think the ABA or a state Bar association needs to craft an ethics opinion that addresses these issues with LinkedIn. Until that happens, I seriously doubt that any Bar association will come after violators. There isn’t adequate notice and there are far too many attorneys who knowingly or unknowingly are in violation of these rules.
However, if you have any doubts, you can go into your LinkedIn profile and click the edit icon under “skills and expertise” to remove any or all endorsements you have received.