Security Protocols in the Law Office
PA230: Introduction to Legal Technology
Professor Kristin Johnson
March 12, 2012
To: Supervising Attorney
Re: Security Protocols in the Law Office
Date: March 12, 2012
I have received your request to research information concerning ethical rules and what is permissible to include on a website. After doing some research I found that there are ethical rules all attorneys must abide by the Rules of Ethics or the Rules of Professional Responsibility. “Each state has a committee or board created by the Supreme Court or legislature Some to enforce the rules of responsibility” (Goldman, 2010). With the exception of some states, most states have adopted the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct.. “This provides a high degree of consistency in the ethical guidelines for the legal profession across the country” (Goldman, 2010). Following are the answers to the questions you asked using the ABA Model Rules of Conduct a lawyer must abide by with any type of communication including a website. Communications differ for each jurisdiction, what may be authorized in one jurisdiction may not in another. A response to a potential client about a legal matter can be problematic for an attorney if they are not licensed to practice in the jurisdiction in which the client lives. On the website you have to provide which jurisdiction you are licensed to practice, rather it is in one jurisdiction or multiple jurisdiction. If the correct information is not available to a potential client on the law firms website it is consider misleading. The ABA Model Rules 4.1 Truthfulness In Statements, Rule 5.5 Unauthorized Practice of Law and 7.5 Firm Names and Letterhead pertains to the question “Does the website have to list the state where s/he is licensed to practice (2012).
Rule 4.1 Truthfulness In Statements:
In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not
(a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or (b) fail to disclose a material fact to a third person when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client, unless disclosure is prohibited by Rule 1.6 Rule 5.5 Unauthorized Practice of Law; Multijurisdictional: (a) A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, or assist another in doing so. Rule 7.5 Firm Names and Letterhead:
(b) A law firm with offices in more than one jurisdiction may use the same name or other professional designation in each jurisdiction, but identification of the lawyers in an office of the firm shall indicate the jurisdictional limitations on those not licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the office is located. On a law firms website they cannot say they are an expert, specialist or specialized, in any field of law without being licensed. Not only does the law firm have to consider the ABA Model Rules, they also have to consider state laws in which they are licensed to practice. An attorney can list a legal specialty or state they are a certified personal injury litigator aka trial attorney, but they must be certified in order to do so. Here again, if an attorney advertises false information it is considered misleading. The rule an attorney must abide by is the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct(2012) is “7.4(d)(1&2). Rule 7.4(d)(1 & 2):
(d) A lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is certified as a specialist in a particular field of law, unless:
(1)the lawyer has been certified as a specialist by an organization that has been approved by an appropriate state authority or that has been accredited by the American Bar Association; and (2)the name of the certifying organization is clearly identified in the communication.
Once a client...