The development of technology and its extensive use in the legal field now requires technical competency for ethical practice.
The Ethics and Professional Issues Committee of the Canadian Bar Assocation (CBA) has developed a new Guidelines for Practicing Ethically with New Information Technologies.
These guidelines are intended to help lawyers take full advantage of technology while remaining in complaince with the CBA’s Code of Professional Conduct.
The marketing section mentions blogs starting on page 13, saying that marketing principles and advertising rules must also be abided by. I never thought until today that broken links could be unethical.
More relevant are the Online Discussion Best Practices starting page 17, which state the following principles when writing online:
- be clear when writing as a lawyer and offering legal services, and provide contact information when doing so
- avoid jeapordizing professional integrith, independence or competence through online discussions
- be courteous, civil, and act in good faith
- encourage public respect for the administration of justice, and provide criticisms in a bona fide and reasoned manner
- be aware that the mere fact that one is a lawyer will add weight and credibility to any public statements
- hold the same respect for the administration of justice online as in other forums and media, complying with rules on advertising, solicitation and marketing
Appendix 1 has links to similar guidelines by several provincial law associations.