Articles Tagged with “legal ethics”

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Sangary-Article-201409171849.jpgCall her the Zelig or Forrest Gump of California attorneys, but you can also call her “suspended.”

I’ve seen a lot of fun and strange law firm web site ethics issues come up since the mid-90s, but it is refreshing to see that there are still new takes on the concept of “deceptive and misleading” lawyer advertising online in 2014.

A State Bar Court judge in Sacramento, California has recommended a six month suspension for a Los Angeles attorney who put Photoshop to use in manipulating a photo gallery on her website filled with fake pictures of her with various politicians, celebrities and star athletes. The court found that this photo gallery amounted to deceptive advertising. Read the highly entertaining opinion here.

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red_flag.jpgRecently, a California State Bar committee discussed a controversial proposal that would put a red warning label on attorney profiles for those facing disciplinary charges. This would take the concept of a website disclaimer to new heights. Only in California. Actually, I’d say only in Florida. But, indeed, this comes out of the left coast.

The proposal came from State Bar prosecutor Jayne Kim. It prompted an outcry from defense attorneys that felt accusations that had not been fully litigated and proven in court would lead to a serious hit on a law firms’ business.

The state delayed voting on the proposal until after a 60-day public comment period. Kim had argued that it was unnecessary, claiming it was simply an extension of a 2011 policy that required consumer alerts on profiles of attorneys formally charged with misappropriation of client funds or improper loan modification activities.

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wmt-logo-24b.pngIn my monthly column on internet marketing for lawyers in Web Marketing Today, I tackle the sticky issue of ethics and compliance for law firm websites. If you had told me when I started teaching ethics CLEs on this subject in 1997 that I’d be this well-versed on the subject–and it would become a niche area of expertise for my practice, I’d have laughed. But lo and behold, the Rules of Professional Conduct have become my Ten Commandments. There are plenty of golden calves and false idols–but I won’t name names. Let’s just say that websites are now the tip of the iceberg in a land of Groupons and “ask the lawyer” sites, getting the disclaimer language right should be child’s play.