Imagine that you have been working as a paralegal for a sole practitioner for several years. Your supervising attorney has decided to create a website for the firm and would like you to research the ethical rules about what is permissible to include in the website. Your attorney has the following specific questions:
- Does the website have to list the state where s/he is licensed to practice?
- Can the attorney list a legal specialty on the webpage? If so, are there specific rules that have to be followed? Is the attorney allowed to state that s/he is a certified personal injury litigator?
- Is it permissible for the attorney to list famous clients or well-known cases s/he has worked on?
- The attorney would like to pay a former client, Susan Turner, for a quote about how well she was represented in a personal injury lawsuit. Is this permissible?
- The attorney would like to include a link in the website for web surfers to “chat with an attorney.” You, the paralegal, may be required to respond to chat, calls, or instant messages if the attorney is out of the office. Is this permitted by the rules?
Collaborate this week in the teams your instructor has assigned to discuss the above scenario and questions. Actively work in your team to discuss each question. Review the ABA Model rules and comments concerning advertising and websites at this link:
(See especially Rule 7.1 et seq.)
You may also find useful information at this link:
After you have completed your team exercise draft a memo to the attorney. Cite and apply the rules used to reach your conclusion as to whether or not each proposed item is permitted by the rules. Be sure to include an explanation – do not simply quote the rule, but explain why the rule does or does not allow each proposal.
You may use the following format for your memo to the attorney:
To: Supervising Attorney
From: Pat Paralegal
Re: Security Protocols in the Law Office
Student was able to articulate ethical rules about what is permissible to include in the firm’s website.
Student supported his/her position with research.
Overall paper length meets the 4–6 page requirement.
Writing shows internal citations in the body of the text as well as a proper list of references at the end of the paper, following APA or Bluebook citation as appropriate.
Citations appear consistently where needed, whether following quoted or paraphrased material in the text.
Note: Failure to provide citation in the paper does not result in a deduction of 15% from the paper, but will result in a failed paper and a plagiarism investigation.