Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, December 30, 2011

How the Model Rules of Professional Conduct Govern a Firm’s Website

HttpDavid A. Grossbaum (Attorney, Boston, MA) gave a presentation on avoiding malpractice in the internet age during the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys’ 2011 National Aging & Law Institute. Grossbaums’ lecture focused on helping attorneys avoid putting something on their websites or other electronic communication that could be the basis of a malpractice claim.

Model Rule 7.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct states that an attorney must only put accurate information on the internet. Grossbaum suggested that attorney keep copies of different versions of the firm’s web site and to make sure that internet information is accompanied by the author’s contact information, date the information was last reviewed, and a disclaimer.

Model Rule 1.18 (Duties to Prospective Clients) may govern an attorney’s inquiry into a visitor of the firm’s web site. This rule arises when a person “discusses” the possibility of creating an attorney-client relationship with the attorney. The ABA has stated that a web site that invites visitors to submit information regarding a possible attorney-client relationship is a “discussion” as found in Rule 1.18. Graossbaum stressed the importance of using disclaimers on a firm’s website that inform visitors that any unsolicited information will not be kept confidential and that the firm retains the right to represent the visitor’s adversary. Grossbaum noted that “click-through” disclaimers help ensure that visitors are not misled while visiting the site or sending information.  

See Avoiding Malpractice in the Internet Age, ElderLawAnswers, Dec. 02, 2011.


Professional Responsibility, Web/Tech | Permalink

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