Client or Prospective Client: What's the Difference?


The use of websites and social media by lawyers has grown rapidly. In this ethics column, we explore the ethics of lawyers communicating with nonclients, prospective clients, and clients through websites and social media. To understand the potential ethical consequences of such communications, a lawyer needs a firm grasp of the distinctions ethics authorities draw among nonclients, prospective clients, and clients. We focus on these distinctions, with particular emphasis on ABA Model Rule 1.18 and the distinction between a prospective client and a client.


ethics, professional responsibility, client, nolnclient, prospective client, ABA Model Rules, ABA Model Rule 1.18, Internet, website, social media, blog

Publication Date


Document Type


Place of Original Publication

Criminal Justice

Publication Information

27 (3) Criminal Justice 51 (2013)

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COinS Peter A. Joy Faculty Bio