Legal ethics rules in a majority of states now require attorneys to become and remain familiar with technologies that affect their practices. However, the broad wording of the applicable rules and the constantly evolving world of technology may lead some in the legal profession to wonder what these rules actually mean for them. Fortunately, states across the country have begun to provide more specific guidance as to what these ethical duties entail, giving lawyers specific examples that may apply directly or analogously to the technologies they use every day.
The State Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct recently reaffirmed its position on attorneys’ duty of confidentiality toward their clients. In an advisory opinion, the Committee reiterated that lawyers may not disclose information, especially embarrassing information, acquired during the course of representing a client, even if that information is otherwise publicly available.
Today, Google introduced Google Assistant, a voice-activated personal assistant, joining Apple (Siri), Microsoft (Cortana), and Amazon (Alexa) in the battle for the best digital assistant. At first glance, Google Assistant boasts some advantages and a few possible disadvantages with respect to its competitors. Learn how to access Google Assistant now, and discover how this newest digital assistant might affect your SEO in ways that others haven’t done.
The American Bar Association periodically publishes a document that describes legal marketing rules for every state, detailing how they deviate from the corresponding ABA Model Rule. This document covers everything from restrictions on client testimonials to required language related to certain fees. Some of these rules may be particularly relevant in the realm of Internet legal marketing, so we highlight a few of these for you.
The Florida Bar Board of Governors has issued an opinion that attorneys contacting prospective clients by text must follow the same rules that apply to other written communications in this context. While most states have not yet addressed this question of attorney advertising by text message, lawyers who do wish to use this marketing method should exercise caution when doing so, as other states may follow Florida’s lead. The information in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.
When using a website or blog to market your law firm, you should be careful to avoid using language or portrayals that your state bar considers “misleading.” Three areas in which attorneys should be particularly careful about misleading material include: (1) language related to fees, including what prospective clients are and are not responsible for, (2) statements that can be construed to predict success, and (3) the use of actors to portray lawyers or events leading to lawsuits.
Embedded contact forms are an efficient way for lawyers to allow their website visitors to contact them. Like other aspects of attorney advertising, contact forms may be subject to regulation. In many jurisdictions, certain disclaimers might need to accompany your website contact form in order to comply with state laws governing lawyers. We discuss three considerations with respect to disclaimers that you may want to include with your contact form. This blog post is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only.
Lawyers who use a website and/or blog to advertise their services are usually subject to rules of professional responsibility and ethics that apply in the jurisdictions where they practice. Often, these rules require that the lawyers state in a prominent manner certain information that can help prevent prospective clients from being confused or misled about the attorney’s services. Here are six common disclaimers that attorneys might need to include on their website or blog. This blog post is not intended to be legal advice. Attorneys with questions about whether their website or blog conforms to applicable rules should consult their state bar or an attorney experienced in professional responsibility/ethics issues.
Different states regulate lawyer advertising in different ways. Lawyers who use a website or blog for advertising purposes should check the rules in their jurisdiction(s) to see whether their content may (or must) be approved before being published online. Regulation of law firm websites and blogs is a rapidly changing area of law, so it is important to stay abreast of the rules that apply to you and your practice.
Learn about some of the potential ethical risks associated with attorneys discussing client matters or information on their website or blog. Among these risks are violating the duty of confidentiality; violating rules requiring explicit client consent before you share case details in advertising; and violating rules regarding testimonials by, or actor depictions of, clients. The information contained in this blog post does not constitute legal advice; you should refer to the rules of your jurisdiction to ensure your marketing is in compliance.
A recent ethics opinion by the State Bar of California clarifies the circumstances under which legal blogs may be subject to that state’s professional responsibility and legal advertising rules. Other states have released, or are considering, updating their rules with respect to attorney advertising online, so all lawyers who use a website and/or blog for advertising should stay current on the developments in this area.