SC Bar Releases Ethics Opinion on Groupon

The South Carolina Bar Association just released an Ethics Advisory Opinion on the use of Groupon by SC lawyers.This interesting opinion dealt with the question of whether it is ethical for SC lawyers to use Groupon. The answer: Yes, but proceed with caution. Read SC Ethics Advisory Opinion 11-05 here.


  1. I just saw Stephanie Kimbro’s post on this same issue. Can you really imagine a Groupon write-up for a will drafting?
    If you’ve never subscribed to Chicago-based Groupon’s daily deal emails, then you should know that the tone of their promotions is more suitable to Krusty the Clown, than Lyle the Lawyer. I’m not talking about occassionally silliness either. It’s a full-on rubber chicken factory they’re running.
    Take a look at today’s Groupon ad for a dental whitening service in Vancouver:
    “Prior to dental technology, humans were forced to shine their teeth with fleets of flea-driven miniature zambonis.”
    Every single promotion is bursting with absurdity and sarcasm… and it’s not like they let vendors write the promotion themselves. (Groupon’s policy on write-ups states that they will do the wordsmithing to ensure the ads are “engaging, entertaining, and non-intrusive”.)
    So how would Groupon’s copywriters lampoon legal services? No need to speculate. They already have taken a crack at it at least once for this St. Louis firm: “Today’s side deal helps keep your brain from being inserted into any future Frankensteins […] A will coupled with power of attorney allows you to retain control of your estate and wealth even after you’ve died or decided to take a 30-year nap.”
    I suspect this tone would probably fail to conform to the conduct rules of most law societies.
    In BC, chapter 14 of the Professional Conduct Handbook states:

    Content and format of marketing activities
    4. Any marketing activity undertaken or authorized by a lawyer must not be:
    (a) false,
    (b) inaccurate,
    (c) unverifiable,
    (d) reasonably capable of misleading the recipient or intended recipient, or
    (e) contrary to the best interests of the public.

    Is there an implied exception for absurd claims and sarcasm? I can’t find one in the annotations.