How Do You Rate Your Lawyer?: Lawyers’ Responses to Online Reviews of Their Services
Rigertas, Laurel A.
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With the proliferation of opportunities for consumers to review a variety of services on the Internet, it is probably only a matter of time until more clients review their attorneys’ services on the Internet. This raises a variety of potential ethical and public policy issues that will be discussed in this article. First, what can attorneys do to try to control their on-line reputations? Second, if a client posts negative comments about an attorney’s services on a public Internet forum, can the attorney respond on that forum without breaching the duty of confidentiality and, if so, how? Finally, when settling a dispute with a client, can an attorney put a provision in a settlement agreement that prohibits a client from posting any reviews of the lawyer’s services on the Internet? This article will address each of these questions in light of normative considerations, the rules governing lawyers’ conduct, clients’ interest in confidentiality and loyalty, lawyers’ reputational interests, and public policy concerns about consumers’ access to accurate information about legal services.