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Live Chat Pop Ups: Still Alive. . .

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Ever been viewing a website and had a Live Chat pop up window appear asking if you need assistance?  Who hasn’t?  At its most recent quarterly meeting in April 2011, the Ethics Committee voted to publish an opinion for comment that approves the use of Live Chat Support pop up windows on attorney websites.  The Ethics Committee did an about face on this issue, finding that the Live Chat Support pop up window did not violate the solicitation rules because it was not “lawyer-initiated contact” with a potential client, inasmuch as the the visitor has chosen to visit the lawyer’s website.  The ethics opinion also states that attorneys using such support services on their websites must be mindful not to inadvertently mislead a visitor to believe that the person with whom they are conversing is an attorney if that is not the case, and they must ensure that such nonlawyer agent does not give legal advice.  Finally, the opinion cautions that accepting too much information through the support service from a prospective client could create a conflict of interest with a current client that could require withdrawal.  See the full opinion which should be posted in a couple of weeks on the State Bar’s website.