14 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 1099 (2000-2001)
Navigating a Sea of Uncertainty: How Existing Ethical Guidelines Pertain to the Marketing of Legal Services over the Internet

handle is hein.journals/geojlege14 and id is 1109 raw text is: Navigating a Sea of Uncertainty: How Existing
Ethical Guidelines Pertain to the Marketing of
Legal Services over the Internet
History indicates that the advent of new technology requires society to undergo
a paradigm shift. When a new communicative medium becomes increasingly
affordable and accessible, and therefore, increasingly common, there are both
positive and negative implications. When communication becomes more effec-
tive with the use of the new media, greater immediacy and the ability to reach a
larger audience are possible. Society is also faced with the daunting task of
molding the current laws and social and ethical mores to embrace the new
technologies. Lawyers, as practitioners, are not strangers to this concept. The
practice of law has come to accept not only the advantageous efficiency of such
developments as computer programs, fax machines, and cellular telephones, but
also the increased pressures of immediacy and perfection imposed by the use of
these devices. This paradigm shift also affects lawyers as advertisers, as lawyers
attempt to navigate, with antiquated compasses, the uncharted waters of the
Internet. In November of 1994, five law firms had websites on the Internet.' As
that figure continues to climb, the advertising lawyer must concern himself with
how far he can go in utilizing the Internet in the advertising and maintenance of
his business so as not to offend the current ethical and professional rules that
govern behavior.
After a brief history of the ethics of attorney advertising in general, this
Note will discuss the complexities that the Internet presents to a lawyer as a
solicitor of business, focusing on the various forms Internet advertising can
assume and the ethical ramifications of each; the state-to-state variance
questions created by the Internet's unique and pervasive capacity to cut across
state lines; and the current ethical rules' success in meeting the task of
guiding lawyers through the ethical problems they face when choosing to
advertise on the Internet.
* J.D., Georgetown Law University Law Center, 2002 (expected).
** J.D., Georgetown Law University Law Center, May 2002 (expected).
1. Elizabeth Wasserman, Lawyers Market Their Wares via World Wide Web, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, July
17, 1995.


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