Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NY Bar Ass'n Committee on Ethics approves use of "Groupon"

Because ABA Model Rule 5.4 prevents a lawyer from sharing fees with non-lawyers in most cases, there has been some discussion on whether lawyers can try to attract clients by sharing a percentage of the fee with the service that provides the means for the lawyers to communicate with the possible clients.... or in short: can lawyers advertise and attract clients by participating in "Groupon"?

Back in September I wrote about ethical opinions in North and South Carolina on the issue (here). 

The question is now back in the news because the New York Bar Association's Committee on Ethics has issued a new opinion that concludes that "a lawyer may properly market legal services on a “deal of the day” or “group coupon”website, provided that the advertisement is not false, deceptive or misleading, and that the advertisement clearly discloses that a lawyer-client relationship will not be created until after the lawyer has checked for conflicts and determined whether the lawyer is competent to perform a service appropriate to the client."

You can read the opinion here

Thanks to the Wall Street Journal law blog for the information.

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