So here I am trying to get comfy here in my little corner on the internet, but first I had to write my obligatory legal disclaimer before I could feel at ease. I looked at some other disclaimers to get an idea and it made me think of a few issues.
The main issues for me were regarding communication with prospective clients and whether my blog advertising material (whether I intend it as such or not)? My gut instinct was ‘quite possibly’ but sometimes intuition does not serve well in predicting professional rules of ethics so like any good lawyer, I did my research. And good lawyers know you can’t just throw up a disclaimer and call it a day. ? I could only find one ISBA opinion back from 1996 that addressed the issue of websites but with the incredible changes in the internet, blogging, and social media, I was surprised I could not find anything more recent. So ISBA Opinion 96-10 will have to do (click here if you don’t have access to ISBA).
There are two main concerns for me. Firstly, whether I am directly soliciting clients and secondly, whether it is advertising material. ISBA Opinion 96-10 states essentially states a website is like a ‘yellow pages’ and that prospective clients have willingly chosen to look it. As far as advertising, well the usual goes, just tell everyone it’s advertising and don’t lie.
It definitely opened up my eyes on some seemingly minor things I should be careful about. I say ‘seemingly minor’ because although it is something small, it could still lead to violation of these rules.
While we’re at it, here is a very interesting and eye-opening list of ethics issues attorneys should be mindful of when using social media