If you’ve been following our blog or have received our previous newsletters, you might remember that we talked about the ethics of responding to reviews before. We discussed how important it is to make sure that you respond to reviews—particularly negative reviews—with care. A wrong move in this area can lead to an ethical violation and even a bar sanction.
One lawyer learned this the hard way. The verdict against the Illinois lawyer—who was accused of disclosing confidential client information in a review response on Avvo—is in: the disciplinary committee has reprimanded the attorney. According to the committee, the lawyer “exceeded what was necessary to respond to [the former client’s] accusations.” Though the reprimand won’t be presented before the Supreme Court, it is still serious. Because the reprimand is public record, it could affect her ability to get new clients. After all, who wants to hire an attorney they fear might blab their confidential information on the Internet?
The outcome of this disciplinary complaint should serve as a warning to all attorneys: make sure that you adhere to all ethics guidelines when responding to clients’ reviews. When in doubt, don’t publish a response!