Lawyer may participate in an online rating system, NC Ethics Opinion states
Topic: participation in website directories and rating systems that include third party reviews
The Opinion “explains when a lawyer may participate in an online rating system, and a lawyer’s professional responsibility for the content posted on a profile on a website directory.”
A lawyer may
– “claim her profile” or set up a profile on a website directory or business listing service such as Google’s My Business, LinkedIn, or Avvo and give information regarding her profile, provided that it is truthful and not misleading;
– the lawyer “must determine that the rating system uses objective standards that are verifiable and would be recognized by a reasonable lawyer as establishing a legitimate basis for evaluating the lawyer’s services;”
– pay the reasonable costs of advertisement to be included in a website directory of lawyers;
– take action to remove, redact, or disclaim a review that contains “a material misstatement of objective fact”.
Under no circumstances may a lawyer solicit, encourage, or assist in the posting of fake, false, or misleading reviews.
Also, according to the opinion, the lawyer is professionally responsible for the statements made about her or her services, but she is professionally responsible only for third-party content about the lawyer herself of which she is aware or reasonably should be aware.
North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6(a), 7.1, 7.2, 8.4
The full text of the 2018 Formal Ethic Opinion 1 is available at https://www.ncbar.gov…