Ethical Concerns of Internet Communication


The use of the internet by attorneys - through websites, social networking, and blogging - has increased dramatically in recent years. This increased use raises a host of ethical issues. In this ethics column, we examine cases and ethics opinions and analyze the following issues: Internet usage creating inadvertent attorney client relationships and inadvertent prospective clients; duties of competency and confidentiality while using the Internet; prohibitions against false statements and contacting represented parties; and limitations on using the Internet for trial publicity and criticizing judges. We conclude that the increasingly public nature of social networking venues and blogs make discovery by ethics authorities increasingly likely, and the permanence of the electronic records eases enforcement. The primary lesson for lawyers: if you wouldn't do or say something off the Internet, don't do or say it on the Internet.


ethics, professional responsibility, ABA Model Rules, ethics opinions, internet, blog, social media, websites

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27 (4) Criminal Justice 45 (2013)


COinS Peter A. Joy Faculty Bio