Committee on Professional Ethics
Lawyers’ participation in “Questions and Answers” websites is allowed but cannot import solicitation of clients.
In Ethics Opinion 899, the New York State Bar Association Committee on Professional Ethics opined that a lawyer may provide general answers to legal questions from laymen on interactive websites, but the lawyer cannot solicit clients in violation of Rule 7.3. A lawyer must respond with a private written proposal off the website if a person initiates a request on the website to retain the lawyer.
Topics: Solicitation; answering legal questions on the Internet
Digest of the Committee:
“A lawyer may provide general answers to legal questions from laymen on real-time or interactive Internet sites such as chat rooms, but the lawyer may not engage in “solicitation” in violation of Rule 7.3. If a person initiates a request on the site to retain the lawyer, the lawyer may respond with a private written proposal outside the site so that those who did not request it cannot see it.”
Rules: New York Rules of Professional Conduct 1.0(a) and (c), 7.1(a), (q) and (r), 7.3(a) and (b)
The full text is available at http://www.nysba.org…