Must Bar Regs on Client Reviews Change?

This is a useful podcast about the regulation of attorney review websites.  A portion of the interview is focused on U.S. News Report rankings of law firms which is less pertinent to solos and small firms but the section on how to look at client testimonials was quite helpful.

Here is my summary:

If a client honestly provides an attorney review on a site such as Avvo or Yelp, the question is whether the attorney is responsible under their governing state bar rules for that “testimonial?”  The panelists argued that if the site allows “clients” to independently submit review then the attorneys can’t be held responsible for the content.  Interestingly, they cite the “Communications Decency Act” which states that ISPs and “Internet Users” can’t be held responsible for third party content.  If a state bar disciplines an attorney for client postings on Yelp or Avvo, the attorney will have a ready-made defense.  However, for LinkedIn where the profile owner has the final approval of posting a recommendation, I don’t think the law applies as that ability to approve the content muddies the waters of whether it is truly third party content.

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