1998

  • Opinion No. 98-2
    Summary: The Rules of Professional Conduct permit a bar association to establish an Internet site on the World Wide Web that contains a publicly-accessible membership directory and "hot links" to the home pages of individual members. A bar directory, whether written or computerized, does not constitute a "lawyer referral service" for purposes of Rule 7.3(e) of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. The bar association also is not obligated to monitor the content of the individual home pages to which it provides Internet links in order to ensure that they comply with applicable ethical rules. Informational home pages maintained by participating attorneys and law firms, in typical circumstances, need not be labeled "advertising" under Rule 7.3(c), but the content displayed therein must be retained for at least two years under Rule 7.2(b). Conversely, home pages that record the identity of visitors for the purpose of issuing further targeted solicitations constitute the "solicitation of professional employment" for purposes of Rule 7.3, and must be both labeled and retained as required by subsection (c) of that rule. Finally, home pages that permit concurrent or "real time" interaction between prospective clients and attorney or law firm representatives are subject to the solicitation regulations of Rule 7.3.
  • Opinion No. 98-1
    Summary: An attorney may provide limited background advice and counseling to pro se litigants. However, providing more extensive services, such as drafting ("ghostwriting") litigation documents, especially pleadings, would usually be misleading to the court and other parties, and therefore would be prohibited.
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