What Do You Mean I Can't Defend Myself on Yelp? - Breakout #1

Friday, June 1 
(2:00 - 3:20pm)

Moderator: Arthur Lachman
Panelists: Lonnie T. Brown, Lynda Shely, William Wernz

This panel will discuss the application (or not) of confidentiality exceptions when a claim is made on social media rather than in a proceeding such as a disciplinary charge, fee dispute, motion for sanctions, or malpractice claim.  Lawyers have faced disciplinary sanctions for attempting to defend themselves by responding to former clients’ online false and sometimes defamatory negative reviews.  Should the exceptions in the confidentiality rule permit lawyers to disclose information to defend their reputations online?  What about simply posting an article that discusses a former client’s public record case? This panel will discuss the policy considerations underlying proposed amendments to the Rule in Minnesota, as well as recent ABA opinions addressing the extent to which lawyers may disclose client information.


  1. ABA Op 202
  2. ABA Formal Opinion 479
  3. ABA Formal Opinion 480
  4. Dist Columbia Ethics Opinion 370 Social Media I - Marketing and Personal Use
  5. Los Angeles Ethics Opinion 525
  6. Los Angeles Ethics Opinion 529
  7. Minn Bar RPC 1.6 Report
  8. Nassau County Bar Association 2016 01
  9. NYSBA Ethics Opinion 1032
  10. Pennsylvania BA Formal Opinion 2014-200 Lawyer's Response To Client's Negative Online Review
  11. Proposed Am. 1.6
  12. San Francisco Ethics Opinions from the Bar Association 2014 1
  13. Texas Center for Legal Ethics - Opinion 662
  14. PowePoint Slides (5-31-18)  

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