In our latest episode of Remotely Ethical, we discuss how lawyers can ethically respond to a client's negative review on social media.
In this episode we address:
- The growing importance for lawyers to maintain a positive on-line reputation;
- The concerns that a lawyer may have when receiving an negative on-line review;
- What a lawyer may or may not do in response to a negative on-line review;
- The obligation to protect confidential information belonging to current or former clients, as reflected in Rules 1.6 and 1.9 of the New York Rules of Professional Responsibility;
- The so-called "self-defense" exception, which permits a lawyer to reveal confidential information in order to defend against an accusation of wrongdoing;
- New York State Bar Ethics Opinion No. 1032, which opines that the self-defense exception does not generally apply to on-line reviews;
- Why disclosing confidential information in response to a negative review may not only be unethical, but a bad PR strategy.
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It may actually be a better look for the lawyer to say "naturally I disagree . . . but because of my ethical obligations as lawyer, I can't respond here to these accusations." And that might be a better way for the lawyer to respond, both ethically and from an optics and appearance point of view.