Category Archives: Advertising

NY Continues Trend of Rebuffing Online Legal Service Providers

New York has joined a growing list of states with ethics boards limiting an attorney's ability to participate in online legal service providers like Avvo and LegalZoom. Similar to other jurisdictions, the New York ethics board authored an opinion honing in on the so called “marketing fee” charged by Avvo for attorney use of its website. Although the opinion declines to decide a list of other potential ethical issues with the company, it concludes that the “marketing fee” is actually a referral fee in violation of Rule 7.2(a) of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct.

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Pitfalls of Professional Posting

Professionals love to publicize success stories on the web. Writing posts on recent victories is a valuable way of marketing a practice and generating new business. In the case of professionals, however, success stories often entail details regarding clients, which could raise client confidentiality concerns.

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Facebook Post May Lead to Attorney Disqualification

Social media is ubiquitous in the workplace. Professionals use social media to write about their achievements, to discuss developments in their field, and to promote their practices. Professionals who use social media as an extension of their practice must be cautious, however, that the discussion of pending matters does not violate their duty of confidentiality to clients or expose confidential information that would prejudice others.

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Just How Super Are You? Advertising for Super Lawyers

We work hard. We achieve results. We want to develop business as a result of those successes. That's all understandable since self-promotion is an important part of the development of professionals. By touting personal achievements, professionals are better able to position themselves to compete for new clients. Not surprisingly, many professionals include personal accolades in advertising materials. While the use of awards may be an effective advertising tool, if can also lead to ethical violations when done improperly.

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Ethics of Disclosing Client Identity in Advertising

Professionals love to advertise success stories. We want would-be clients to know the results we achieved for current clients. However, publicizing specific results could lead to the disclosure of confidential information. Professionals therefore must be cognizant of whether advertising a particular case or representation is likely to cause embarrassment or harm to the client, and ensure client confidentiality.

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Social Media Ethical Considerations

You love blogging. Who doesn’t? For some professionals, blogging is an important part of education, outreach and networking. But, as we’ve discussed previously, blogs may be considered advertising and, if so, ethical considerations apply. The State Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility recently circulated a proposed opinion for public comment that addresses the ethical implications of blogging by attorneys. The opinion considers when a communication subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct on attorney advertising.

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State Bar Prohibits Advertising via Text

Professionals are continuously looking for new ways to reach new clients. Given the popularity of text messaging, many firms have considered incorporating SMS messaging into their marketing plans. However, sending direct advertising to individuals’ cell phones could violate ethics rules on advertising and implicate federal laws prohibiting certain unsolicited telephone communications.

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NY Ethics Opinion Provides Guidance for LinkedIn Users

LinkedIn is perhaps the go to social media site for professionals seeking to promote their achievements and build their brand. LinkedIn has carved a niche within the social media landscape by integrating networking capabilities with the specific needs of professionals hoping to build relationships. Of course, the site also allows users to “endorse” a connection for certain practice areas or to write recommendations as to the user’s skillset. It is this component of the site that has generated professional ethics issues and opinions. Moreover, the distinction between permissible networking and improper advertising is not always well defined. The NY County Lawyers Association Professional Ethics Committee recently published a formal ethics opinion that provides guidance to attorneys using sites such as LinkedIn.

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Advertising Via Text is :(

We work in a competitive environment in which professionals seek various methods to reach would-be clients. Social media and other electronic resources may help professionals to connect and establish the brand. But, your friends at PL Matters routinely warn of the risks of new marketing methods that may infringe upon applicable ethics rules. A New York law firm recently learned that unsolicited text messaging may constitute improper advertising.

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The Ethics Bog of Professional Blogs

We love blogging! Blogs have become an increasingly important part of professional practice. Writing blog posts allows professionals to increase their social media presence and keep clients informed about recent developments in their respective industries. At the same time, blogs are an invaluable marketing tool that allows professionals to connect with potential clients and develop new business relationships in a less formal, and more interactive, medium than traditional print publications. But, bloggers beware. While this new form of interaction can be highly beneficial, professionals should be mindful of the possibility that their blog content may conflict with traditional ethics principles or otherwise alienate clients through unwanted attention.

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