Ethics online

Similarities Between a Google Penalty and a State Bar Suspension for Being Overly Aggressive

Similarities and Comparisons of Google and State Bar

State Bar Penalty and Google Penalty

By Attorney Michael P. Ehline. So I was reading this and thinking about why it is so important to have an attorney you can trust. And you know, that is part of what the Circle of Legal Trust is about. I need to know if I refer a case to another lawyer, that he or she is gonna do a good job for the clients, and also pay their referral fees, etc. When a lawyer has been found to have engaged in unethical practices, it is easy to see how they could close up shop and leave you in the lurch, and not pay or service their client.

I thought about how this could apply to the Circle of Legal Trust. Well, for example, we do Youtube videos, and online marketing. Some videos, such as those of attorney Michael Ehline, are on the air. So as trusted members, we should help eachother in understanding not just the online rules, but how the ethical rules of our professions apply in our states, with respect to fee sharing and disclaimers, puffery, etc.

Recent Case In Point

Commercials of two attorneys have been taken off the air, that were advertisements often seen in Winters and Yonkers in Louisville and in Florida. That is Matt Dolman’s territory. The commercials were pulled after these Tampa lawyers, who are the heads of the firm were suspended for misconduct, by the Florida Supreme Court, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The personal injury attorney’s commercials advertised they were “aggressive” and Thursday they were both suspended by the Florida Supreme Court, apparently for being too aggressive in other areas of their practices. Interestingly enough, Google has recently penalized websites for being too aggressive. http://www.seroundtable.com/google-over-seo-update-14887.html

Although Google doesn’t give you a public trial, the results are the same. The court ruled both were illegally aggressive, in attempting to steal clients from their former boss, in order to start their partnership, eleven years ago. A similar argument could be made by Google for aggressive SEO. Googlers attempting to steal rankings from those who were using “white hat” methods(?)

Attorneys Get Suspended and Purported Black Hats Get a Penalty or De Indexed

In our example, Florida Lawyer William Winters was suspended for 91 days and Marc Yonker was suspended 60 days, in the court ruling. They were given 30 days to close out their practice and to protect the interest of their existing clients, according to the ruling. They are not permitted to accept any new clients or cases.

Similarity

Recently, Google started filtering and lowering the rankings of sites that overused exact match anchors both on and off site, and those sites that overused, or “stuffed” keywords into the content. Sometimes, you can try and clean up your onsite and offsite problems and get your ranking back. Other times, you may have to junk your site and start over.  In our attorney example above, one lawyer was suspended less time than the other. In any event, not being too aggressive is probably the key to a good law practice, just as it is key to a healthy website and our members can help eachother in all these areas, and we should.

Other Sources:

http://m.wave3.com/autojuice?targetUrl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.wave3.com%2fstory%2f19679029%2fattorneys-suspended-commercials-taken-off-air

 

Posts by Michael Ehline

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