Home » Advertising » Missouri bar highlights several ethical issues for unaffiliated lawyers creating websites to provide generalized legal information and access to lawyers

Missouri bar highlights several ethical issues for unaffiliated lawyers creating websites to provide generalized legal information and access to lawyers

In opinion 980026, the Missouri bar analyzed the issues raised by a proposal by unaffiliated lawyers to provide generalized legal information offer access to three attorneys who are non-affiliated, private practitioners. Although a plain and unambiguous disclaimer may be sufficient to alert someone to the actual nature of the relationship, it may not be sufficient to insulate the lawyers from being treated as a firm from an ethical standpoint. In addition to the concerns about creating the appearance of a firm, lawyers should also be aware that there are concerns about soliciting e-mail from prospective clients through a web site. If a lawyer engages in the practice of communicating with current or prospective clients by e-mail, the lawyer bears the responsibility of providing them timely advice regarding the relative security of communication by e-mail, in general, and in the particular computer setting through which they would be communicating. Lawyers also creates the potential for conflicts of interest through the receipt of substantive information by e-mail.