Marketing your law firm’s professional reputation online must include careful considerations on professional ethics. Unethical, distasteful, and misleading representations of your law firm online are both bad for business and risky in terms of your standing with your state bar.
Recently, the American Bar Association released a formal opinion on lawyer websites. While the opinion may not be conclusive in terms of compliance in your state, it does provide some excellent guideposts for developing a law firm website that both serves public visitors to your site, as well as, meets some of the general rules of professional responsibility.
Spend some time considering what warning and disclaimer language makes sense for your firm. Be sure to include language regarding communications through your website especially as they pertain to confidentiality.
Keep in mind that many states are likely to view your website and/or legal blog as an attorney advertisement. Make sure you follow the rules with regard to ethical advertising and marketing online.
While there are no clear bright line rules with regard to what’s ethical and what’s not, always remember that if a reasonable person is likely to be misled by the content of your site, you may be subject to ethics sanctions.