Cocktail parties have been around for a long time, so attorneys have heard for years that legal advice in cocktail party conversation could result in an attorney-client relationship, whether or not the attorney intended to enter such a relationship.
Offering legal advice over the Internet can create similar relationships, without the drinks.
How can a lawyer keep current on latest trends and rulings at the intersection of attorney ethics and technology? Try checking the State Bar of California's Ethics and Technology Resources page.
The Ethics and Technology Resources page divides information by topic and by resource type. The topics featured on the page are:
- Online Communication (email, chat, blogs, etc.)
- Electronic Files (storage, metadata, etc.)
- Law Firm Websites (content issues)
- Social Networking
- Internet/Email Scams
Want to know what responsibilities will stem from your participation on a radio call-in show? Curious about potential ethics violations in chatting with mass disaster victims in an Internet chat room? The California State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct has issued formal opinions to give you guidance on these issues.
Ever wonder if California allows an attorney to make an ex parte "friend" request to a represented party? The Ethics and Technology website includes a link to a San Diego County Legal Ethics Opinion explaining why lawyers shouldn't "friend" the opposition.
The Resources page isn't limited to ethics opinions; it includes links to online CLE programs discussing ethics and technology, as well as scholarly articles on the issues.
If you're capitalizing on social media to promote your law practice, check the Ethics and Technology page regularly for updates and new opinions.
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