New York State Bar Association today released two opinions by its Committee on
Professional Ethics concerning whether lawyers may ethically participate in
electronic marketing services.
Committee’s first opinion, intended to guide lawyers who wish to use such
services, notes the variation in the structure of web-based services. The
opinion does not address every factual permutation that may exist, but attempts
to explain how such services can operate within the Rules of Professional
Conduct. It examines the issues that a lawyer using an electronic marketing
service needs to consider. Opinion 1131 can be
accessed at NYSBA.org/EthicsOpinion1131.
Committee’s second opinion is in response to an inquiry about a lawyer
participating in Avvo Legal Services, an electronic service that requires the
payment of a “marketing fee” by a lawyer. The Committee finds that a lawyer who
pays Avvo its marketing fee is making an improper payment for a recommendation
in violation of Rule 7.2(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
concludes that, under Avvo’s current structure, lawyers may not use its
services. It did not address other ethical issues that may be presented by
Avvo’s arrangements with lawyers. Opinion 1132 can be accessed at NYSBA.org/EthicsOpinion1132.
72,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar
association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director, Media Services[email protected]