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Tag Archives: Ethics Committee

From print to pixels, legal ethics struggle with new media (access required)

Not only does nearly every lawyer practicing have his own website, but potential clients are much more likely to plug "DWI lawyer" into a search engine than to look in the Yellow Pages. And as legal marketing has morphed into new arenas with ever-changing technology, there's some concern that regulatory agencies and state bars have not kept up. Ryan Blackledge (pictured), who serves on the N.C. Bar Association's Technology Advisory Committee, said that any new ethics rules need to reflect a true understanding of the various media.

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Ethics Committee grapples with pop-ups, Groupon and Google (access required)

Watch the pop-ups. That's the word from the N.C. State Bar's Ethics Committee, which is looking into the use of live-chat services on attorney websites - specifically, whether the use of a live-chat button would violate Rule 7.3(a), which provides that an attorney may not solicit business by "in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact." A staff opinion discussed at Thursday's Ethics Committee meeting says that it's fine for a lawyer to use a live-chat support service, the kind that typically features a button accompanied by "Click here to chat live online."

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Lawyer-owned mug shot tabloid piques Ethics Committee (access required)

You've seen them for sale at convenience stores and gas stations - those tabloid-size papers that feature the confused and dazed countenances of everyone who has been arrested that week, a parade of mug shots with criminal charges listed below each picture. In the Triangle, Charlotte or Triad areas, the tabloid is The Slammer, published by Isaac Cornetti of Raleigh, a 30-something entrepreneur who says he's trying to entertain and inform. But in Pitt County, a tabloid called the Jailbird that bills itself as "your local weekly mugshot newspaper," was until recently was owned by two Greenville defense attorneys.

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Ethics Committee nixes lawyer’s Web marketing strategy (access required)

Internet marketing is nothing new, but a few attorneys in North Carolina are trying a tactic that has caught the attention of the N.C. State Bar. It works like this: A lawyer purchases a keyword or a phrase though Google's AdWords service so that when a consumer types in that keyword or phrase, the attorney's ad pops up on the screen along with the search engine results. Attorney J. Mark Wilson (pictured) believes the marketing tactic could lead to possible trademark infringement cases.

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Non-discrimination preamble to resurface at Bar meeting (access required)

The N.C. State Bar will hold its quarterly meeting in Raleigh next week, and the Ethics Committee will take another stab at a putting to rest a controversial amendment to the preamble to the Rules of Professional Conduct. The preamble became an issue in July when attorneys argued whether a proposed amendment would limit free speech and threaten attorney autonomy. The controversy has been so heated that the Bar has had to publish comments to the provision in a separate book-length binder.

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