A South Carolina attorney was reprimanded by linking his law firm’s website to competitors’ names in a derogatory manner via Google AdWords. This blog post from the Legal Ethics In Motion blog came across my Facebook newsfeed this afternoon, and it piqued my interest because Jesson & Rains is in the process of opening a Google AdWords account: South Carolina: Linking Google AdWords to Opposing Party and Counsel Violates Legal Ethics Rules.
For those who do not know, Google AdWords is way to advertise a business on the internet. You write a brief description of your business, choose the search terms that will make your ad display when those terms are searched, set your daily budget (you pay Google each time an internet user clicks on your website), and voila! — you have an ad on Google.
But attorneys should remember that state bar advertising rules apply. Also, like the attorney in South Carolina learned, nearly ever state bar has fairness and civility rules. The North Carolina State Bar has already addressed this issue. It is a violation of Rule 8.4(c) to use a competitor's name as a search term in Google AdWords because it is dishonest conduct. Here is a link to 2010 Formal Ethics Opinion 14.
I am happy I ran across this blog posting today because it reminded me to check the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct before deciding on the search terms for Jesson & Rains’s Google Ad.
Subscribe to our newsletter.