14 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 891 (2000-2001)
Cyberadvice: The Ethical Implications of Giving Professional Advice over the Internet

handle is hein.journals/geojlege14 and id is 901 raw text is: Cyberadvice: The Ethical Implications of Giving
Professional Advice over the Internet
There is a great wealth of knowledge that can be obtained through cyberspace.
A revolution is underway in the manner in which citizens can ask for and receive
professional advice. Through the use of on-line bulletin boards and websites,
doctors and lawyers are dispensing their expertise over the Internet. The Internet
serves not only as a method of giving inexpensive, and often free, advice, but also
allows professionals to provide many other services.' Not since the advent of
television has there been a method of communication that can provide
information to so many people with relative ease and low costs. However,
regardless of the abilities and favorable characteristics of the Internet and online
professional advice, the law has yet to address its implications and consequences.
This Note will respond to the adage that technology outpaces the law at every
turn2 by addressing the legal and ethical implications of providing cyberad-
vice.'3 Because of the similarities in the professional relationships between both
doctors and their patients and lawyers and their clients, the term cyberadvice
will apply to both such instances, where appropriate.4
Online attorneys provide a useful service; they convey information that they
possess, by virtue of their training and experience, to people who require it.5 The
same can be said for physicians and their patients. Both attorneys and physicians
who interact in cyberspace serve very useful functions. Further, these methods of
delivering professional services have profound implications for the practice of
* J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, (expected) 2001; B.A., University of Vermont, 1998. The Author
would like to thank her grandfather, Joseph A. Moran, Jr., for inspiring her in her legal pursuits.
1. The most prominent service on the Intemet is client solicitation. Almost every law firm and medical
institution uses cyberspace to recruit clients. Whether it is through websites dedicated exclusively to the
particular firm or on a more general site devoted to advertising legal and medical services, everyone in these
fields has purchased tickets on the information superhighway.
2. Judith F Darr & Spencer Koemer, M.D., Telemedicine: Legal and Practical Implications, 19 WHrrIER L.
REV. 3, 15 (1997).
3. For purposes of this Note, cyberadvice will include the practice of both lawyers and physicians using the
various resources of the Intemet to dispense professional advice and, in the case of physicians, prescribe
medications to laypersons.
4. Therefore, most references to either the legal or medical atmosphere in particular can be understood to
encompass the more general notion of professional services.
5. Brad Hunt, Note, Lawyers in Cyberspace: Legal Malpractice on Computer Bulletin Boards, 1996 U. Cm.
LEGAL F. 553, 555 (1996).

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