The American Bar Association (ABA)’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 is examining legal ethics issues that arise from lawyers’ use of Internet-based client development tools, including social and professional networking websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
In its issue paper (.pdf), the Commission notes the Internet’s increasingly important role in lawyers’ efforts to attract new clients and disseminate information about the law and legal services. The Commission is seeking to
address those issues that create specific and identifiable risks to the public or to prospective, current, or former clients, … [and] determine what guidance it should offer to lawyers regarding their use of social and professional networking sites….
There is some concern among lawyers, as expressed in the legal blogging community, that the ABA is attempting to “burden lawyer marketing on the internet with unneeded ethics obstacles.”
The Commission is inviting comments on whether and what type of guidance it should offer in this area. Comments should be sent to the Commission by December 15, 2010.
For information on attorney Internet advertising, including current ABA best practices guidelines, check out CEB’s award-winning Internet Law and Practice in California §§17.10B-17.10D (Cal CEB 2004).
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