ABA Model Code EC 2-2 provided that the “legal profession should assist lay persons to recognize legal problems” and that lawyers should therefore “encourage and participate in educational and public relation programs concerning our legal system,” and states whose ethics rules are based on the Model Code continue to have such provisions in their ethics codes. Talks and writing by lawyers for non-lawyers should caution them not to attempt to solve individual problems upon the basis of the information contained therein. Consistent with that analysis, lawyers wishing to avoid formation of attorney-client relationships through chat room or similar Internet communications should limit themselves to providing legal information, and should not seek to elicit or respond to the specifics of particular individuals’ situations. Rogers, “Cyberlawyers Must Chart Uncertain Course in World of Online Advice,” 16 ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct Special Report 96 (2000) (quoting other legal commentators’ similar conclusions that broad disclaimers may not prevent the formation of attorney-client relationships through cyberspace communications).
Lawyers could, for example, explain general principles or trends in the law, or lay out the majority and minority viewpoints and/or the range of variation on particular legal issues across jurisdictions, or even describe a particular jurisdiction’s law. Lanctot, “Attorney-Client Relationships in Cyberspace: The Peril and the Promise,” 49 Duke L.
All the sites we visited emphasized that their purpose was to provide “legal information,” but not “legal advice.” Whether and how participating attorneys are permitted to follow up with Internet users with whom they engage in such communications appeared to vary. Rule 1.6, but only after “full disclosure” and “consent.” D. As we noted in Opinion 309, waivers of confidentiality may be especially problematic and thus “require particular scrutiny and may be invalid even when granted by sophisticated clients” with independent counsel. Such a limitation, however, would not be reasonable if the time allotted was not sufficient to yield advice upon which the client could rely.
One site stated that the lawyer “does NOT receive any portion of your fee, and will NOT serve as your legal counsel, during Live Chat or thereafter, so you can get a completely candid evaluation.” At other sites, however, the attorneys answering questions in chat rooms prominently provided their full contact information at the opening of the chat session and invited chat room participants to contact them directly after the chat session ended. Based upon the statements you made, it appears that you are in-status and your visa expires on September 8, 2001. Conduct 96-10 (following its prior opinion cautioning that attorneys who gave legal advice through a telephone service could easily run afoul of the conflict of interest provisions of Rules 1.7 and 1.9, to conclude that “lawyers participating in similar activity over the Internet would be subject to the same concerns”); see also Arizona State Bar Ethics Ass’n Op. Although an agreement for a limited representation does not exempt a lawyer from the duty to provide competent representation, the limitation is a factor to be considered when determining the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers § 15(1)(a) (2000) (lawyer owes duties to prospective clients to protect confidential information). “Conference on the Delivery of Legal Services to Low-Income Persons: Professional and Ethical Issues,” 67 Fordham L. 1751 (1999); “Symposium: Lawyering for the Middle Class,” 70 Fordham L. 623 (2001) (discussing need for innovation in legal services delivery mechanisms for both low and middle income clients). We do not dispute this observation or the spirit of concern and experimentation with which it is made. Accordingly, even if a communication begins as a public communication in a chat room or similar exchange service, the attorney may be required at some point to reserve his or her communications for the eyes of a particular advice seeker only. Rule 7.1 covers all communications concerning a lawyer’s services; the D. Rules do not include provisions patterned after ABA Model Rules 7.2 and 7.3, which regulate advertising and solicitation, respectively.
And the attorney must always take care in cyberspace, as in face-to-face communications, that information he or she receives through on-line communications does not end up creating conflict of interest problems with respect to existing clients. The lawyer in that case might have been better advised to respond to the inquirer’s query along the following lines: Generally, persons who are in the U. They might try to apply for a non-immigrant visa, such as a student visa, but they would probably be required to leave the United States to obtain such a visa. Such wording makes it more clear that the lawyer is not purporting to give legal advice than did the repeated “you should…” statements contained in the attorney’s response quoted earlier in this opinion. Comment  continues, “the client may not be asked to agree to representations so limited in scope as to violate Rule 1.1.” In other words, while it is permissible for an attorney and client to agree to a representation that is limited in scope (such as in being of short duration or for the purpose of giving legal advice on one discrete legal problem), it is not permissible to further limit the scope of such a representation to avoid the application of rules requiring competence and the like. RI-276 (solicitation of clients through “‘real time communications’” in Internet chat rooms violates state’s restrictions on in-person and telephone solicitation).