R. Thomas Dunn Presenter at 2014 Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting, "Is the Ethical Paradigm Shifting?"

As attorneys shift their focus from print to electronic advertising, and publications touting attorney rankings and recognitions are published with increasing frequency, is there an increased risk of running afoul of state ethics rules?

In his presentation at this year’s RI Bar Association Annual Meeting, Pierce Atwood partner Tom Dunn discussed these rankings and that those interested in using such rankings in advertising or online profiles must follow Rule 7.1 and not make any misleading statements in commercial speech. As a general matter, the use of lawyer rankings and listings is generally permissible provided that the information is not misleading or presented in a misleading way; there was no fee paid to the designating organization for the attorney’s inclusion in the list; and the organization is reputable and uses a verifiable process to make its designations.

Tom also discussed the red-hot topic of electronic discovery and the increasing cost and burden of litigation. Tom urged attendees to advocate for change by signing on to “The Cooperation Proclamation,” which was drafted by The Sedona Conference, the nation’s leading nonpartisan, nonprofit law-and-policy think tank.

Practitioners that sign the proclamation are pledging to reverse the legal culture of adversarial discovery that is driving up costs and delaying justice; to help create “toolkits” of model case management techniques and resources for the Bench, inside counsel, and outside counsel to facilitate proportionality and cooperation in discovery; and to help create a network of trained electronic discovery mediators available to parties in state and federal courts nationwide, regardless of technical sophistication, financial resources, or the size of the matter.
To download the proclamation, please click here.