Ethical Concerns of Internet Communication

5 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2014

See all articles by Peter A. Joy

Peter A. Joy

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Kevin C. McMunigal

Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

The use of the internet by attorneys - through websites, social networking, and blogging - has increased dramatically in recent years. This increased use raises a host of ethical issues. In this ethics column, we examine cases and ethics opinions and analyze the following issues: Internet usage creating inadvertent attorney client relationships and inadvertent prospective clients; duties of competency and confidentiality while using the Internet; prohibitions against false statements and contacting represented parties; and limitations on using the Internet for trial publicity and criticizing judges. We conclude that the increasingly public nature of social networking venues and blogs make discovery by ethics authorities increasingly likely, and the permanence of the electronic records eases enforcement. The primary lesson for lawyers: if you wouldn't do or say something off the Internet, don't do or say it on the Internet.

Keywords: ethics, professional responsibility, ABA Model Rules, ethics opinions, internet, blog, social media, websites

JEL Classification: K19, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Joy, Peter A. and McMunigal, Kevin C., Ethical Concerns of Internet Communication (2013). Criminal Justice, p. 45, Winter 2013; Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-08-06; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-29. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2476052

Peter A. Joy (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
313-935-6445 (Phone)

Kevin C. McMunigal

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

11075 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106-7148
United States
2163683613 (Phone)
2163682086 (Fax)

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