Lawyer websites are “advertising” within the meaning of the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct. Opinion 2000-04. Lawyers must comply with the applicable requirements of Rules 7.1 and 7.2 concerning accuracy and record-keeping. Unless the information on the Web site is directed to persons or groups whom the lawyer knows to be in need of legal services and with whom the lawyer does not have a family or prior professional relationship, the Web pages need not include the words “Advertising Material” otherwise required by Rule 7.3(c). It is advisable for the lawyer to use carefully worded disclosures and disclaimers to clarify the purposes and value of the information on the Web site and in the lawyer’s e-mail responses to questions generated by the Web site. However, the use of disclaimers will not necessarily preclude the formation of a lawyer-client relationship and its attendant ethical responsibilities, “in” particular circumstances.
15 01 2001
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