Monday, October 9, 2006
Posted by Alan Childress
The recent proposals in the New York state bar over defining blogging as advertisement subject to bar regulation, noted here earlier, raise just one controversial ethics issue raised by the growth in lawyers' blogging and use of the internet. Other ethics and practice issues certainly apply to lawyers using the net (such as via email and more static websites), which are summarized in this short primer by a bar counsel for the state of Virginia. Though it is not shelf-life current, it raises the right issues for attorneys to consider (and do follow-up research in their state on) when using the www for for their legal presence and communications. More detailed and recent treatment of the disciplinary and liability issues specific to blogging is given in this helpful piece on SSRN by David C. Hricik (Mercer). Its abstract:
[The article a]ddresses the legal ethical issues that face lawyers who blog (or blawg), including the potential for disclosure of client confidences, inadvertent formation of attorney-client relationships, and the unauthorized practice of law.
And over at MyShingle.com, a nice site following solo and small firm practice, Carolyn Elefant writes her opinion (backed by reasons which persuade me) that On-Line-Marketing (OLM) through fee-based internet referral services had its moment in the sun but that moment has passed -- disputing an article she cites which predicts a boom in such OLM as "fashionable" for clients trying to find an attorney. But OLM is not realistically the primary tool for her audience's marketing of legal services; rather, blogging and Google searches are more likely to reach clients than OLM.