Ethics opinion from SBM board clarifies responding to negative online reviews

The State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners has issued a formal ethics opinion regarding responding to negative online reviews.

Formal ethics opinion R-26 states a lawyer may not disclose confidential client information or secrets when responding to negative online reviews. Such disclosure would violate the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6(b). R-26 further states that responding to negative online reviews is not included in the exceptions for responding to an accusation of wrongful conduct exemptions listed under MRPC 1.6(c)(5).

The State Bar of Michigan offers a variety of services to help attorneys stay up to date on ethics opinions and to help attorneys navigate difficult situations, including an ethics webpage (www.michbar.org/opinions/ethicsopinions) with a variety of resources as well as a confidential ethics helpline at 877-558-4760.

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