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With the advent of online review websites, many lawyers are finding that they benefit from having positive client reviews on each site where their name appears (and suffer from having negative reviews). Lawyers should be aware of the rules of ethics and professional responsibility that might apply to the solicitation of client reviews. In a recent opinion, the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Professional Ethics held that lawyers may offer a discount on legal fees to clients who write an online review, provided that the discount is not contingent upon the content of the review, the client is not coerced to provide the review, and the review is written by the client and not the lawyer. Other states may have different rules or interpret similar rules differently, so all lawyers are advised to seek counsel if they are unsure about the way they are soliciting client reviews. The information in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

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Whether a lawyer or law firm may ethically bid on other attorneys' or law firms' names among the keywords in their pay-per-click campaign depends on the state(s) in which they practice. Although the practice, also known as competitive keyword advertising, is commonplace in many other industries, several recent opinions issued by bodies charged with regulating the legal profession have cast doubt on the viability of the practice by lawyers under current ethics rules. The information in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

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Criminal defense lawyers who maintain a blog as part of their approach to web marketing should follow these tips on what to blog about. It is important to publish new blog posts on a regular basis, so we offer some tips to bloggers on how to choose criminal law topics that are both relevant to their practice and valuable for search engines.

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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.

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Personal injury lawyers who maintain a blog as part of their online marketing strategy should consider following these tips for coming up with blog post topics. In order to be an effective marketing tool, a legal blog should reflect the practice areas of the blogging attorney. Judicial opinions and legislative developments are very good sources of subject matter for blog posts because writing about them can help the author establish himself or herself as an authority on the law in that area.

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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.

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One of the most important components of a strong content strategy for lawyers is to include legally substantive material throughout your website. Finding a balance between readability and legal substance can be difficult, so we describe three ways to help you find that balance. First, focus on a few basic rule statements. Second, give real-life (or hypothetical) examples illustrating the application of the law that a prospective client can relate to. Finally, explain why a reader should take action.

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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.

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Including images on your legal blog can make it look more aesthetically pleasing to readers, even though doing so does not affect SEO. However, it is important to be mindful of the copyright status of any photos that you find on the Internet. Follow these basic tips to avoid being liable to a copyright holder for using a photo without the proper permission. This post is meant for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions about the copyright status of an image on your blog, you should consult with an intellectual property attorney.

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The home page of a law firm's website is arguably one of the most important. Learn about how to write a home page that is engaging, substantive, and original. Be sure to include not only marketing language, but ways in which your firm is unique as well as substantive discussion of relevant legal issues.

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