St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

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St. Mary's University School of Law


Elizabeth Germano

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With the proliferation of opportunities for consumers to review a variety of services on the Internet, it is only a matter of time until more clients review their attorneys’ services on the Internet. This raises a variety of potential ethical and public policy issues. First, what can attorneys do to try to control their online reputations? Second, if a client posts negative comments about an attorney’s services on a public Internet forum, can the attorney respond on that forum without breaching the duty of confidentiality and, if so, how? Finally, when settling a dispute with a client, may an attorney put a provision in a settlement agreement that prohibits a client from posting any reviews of the lawyer’s services on the Internet? This Article will address each of these questions in light of normative considerations, the rules governing lawyer’s reputational interests, and public policy concerns about consumers’ access to accurate information about legal services.