Q. I’ve had my fill of ignorant and arrogant judges who disgrace the ill-fitting robes they wear. As lawyers, isn’t it time we speak out and post about judicial incompetence so we may improve justice for all?

A. Unless you plan to retire, your efforts to reform the system through social media may not be a great career move.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter provide easy platforms to denigrate an “ignorant buffoon” for being “drunk on the bench,” to describe the “ugly, condescending attitude” of an “evil, unfair witch,” or to tweet bizarre tales from the courtroom of “Judge Clueless.”

At the click of a mouse, aggrieved attorneys may instantly expose the flaws of our judicial system and the shortcomings of those within it. It’s cathartic. Empowering. And free of charge.

But lawyers may face other types of charges for their impulsive posts.
Contesting misconduct charges before judges who may punish them for chastising their colleagues, attorneys may pay for their dissenting remarks with the loss of their careers. The exercise of First Amendment rights may be fraught with peril when judges move to silence their most knowledgeable online critics in disciplinary proceedings. In fact, the Rules of Professional Conduct themselves contain provisions that are arguably designed to chill the speech of those who dare to disparage the courts or who exhibit conduct “prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

To avoid an earlier retirement than planned, read this article before sharing your overdue diatribe…