Ignore the Haters: Online Lead Generation is 100% Ethical

in Lead Generation For Lawyers

Last update on Jan. 30, 2015.


When we first began to research on Social Security Disability Lead Generation for firms, one of the first questions we heard was, “Is it ethical and legal for lawyers to find clients this way?” So we did our research:

In 2009, the ABA House of Delegates approved the revisions to the Professional Conduct Model Rules. Among other things, these revisions also address online marketing for lawyers.

The revisions, outlined in resolution 105B, address the following questions:

 

How do the online discussions affect the duties of a lawyer to prospective clients?

A lawyer’s duty to prospective clients is outlined in the Model Rule 1.18. The wording in this rule has been changed and the revisions now make it clear that these duties apply even if there is no oral discussion. A lawyer’s duty to a client may arise when the prospective client is invited to provide information regarding possible representation, without any cautionary statements or sufficient warnings.

 

Is it okay to generate leads through Groupon and similar websites?

Model Rule 7.2 addresses this issue. The rule says that it is okay for lawyers to pay to get leads from such services including Internet-based leads. However, the comment on the rule says that certain safeguards are required to be followed.

No comments should be made on credentials or ability of a particular lawyer or group of lawyers by the lead generation service(s). The lead generation services should also clarify that they are being compensated to provide leads to the lawyers. Also, services should not mislead the clients that the suggested lawyer, they are being referred to, is the result of an analysis of the legal problems of the prospective client.

 

What constitutes solicitations in online communications?

Model Rule 7.3 has been amended to clarify when the online communications of a lawyer may constitute a solicitation. The comment on the rule states that a solicitation is made when an offer to provide legal services is made by the lawyer.

All of these changes were proposed by the Ethics Commission 20/20 that was appointed in the year 2009 to study the impact of globalization and technology on the legal profession.