Smokeball Provides Its Clients With Compliant Legal Websites

//Smokeball Provides Its Clients With Compliant Legal Websites

For years now, it has been Smokeball’s best-kept secret: clients that want a new or different law firm website for their practice can have one built and hosted by Smokeball’s team of legal website experts. Lawyer websites for attorneys require careful attention to each state’s legal ethics rules. Smokeball helps with this process, but as with any ethics analysis, special attention must be paid to your state’s professional conduct rules during website production and before website publishing. Here are some things to keep in mind when working with Smokeball on your new website.

Know Your State Bar’s Rules
When it comes to websites and attorney advertising, the states differ in requirements and prohibitions. When building a client website, Smokeball takes into account the most general restrictions and necessary disclaimers, however, each attorney should check their websites against their state bar rules. For example, some state bars require the proposed website to be submitted to them prior to publication. Most rules prohibit marketing a “specialization” or “expertise”. Most also require certain disclaimers and an office location or address displayed on the initial access page. Smokeball’s team works with you to ensure general requirements are met, but always consult your local bar in case there are particularities in your state. After all, most state rules attribute responsibility for attorney websites to the attorney. A great resource for starting the process of ensuring your website meets specific state rules is found here.

GDPR Adds a Layer of Additional Considerations
The European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation has a far reach to any firm that does business with EU consumers, directly or indirectly. To build attorney websites, Smokeball utilizes Weebly. Weebly has implemented new features and processes to ensure compliance for all customers with the GDPR. Certain additions include a cookie opt-out element, cookie notification banner for published sites when visited from an EU IP address, and easy request processes for users to download or delete customer data. To learn more about Weebly’s compliance with the GDPR, visit its the Weebly Help Center.

Smokeball’s Law Firm Website Design Process
Smokeball’s law firm website design process is consultative and fun. Smokeball ensures that your firm presents a message and image that positively captures all that you do and want to do for your clients. As noted above, there are certain requirements associated with legal websites that do not apply to other small businesses. Smokeball provides a basis to begin the thought process for rules compliance, but clearly advises all attorney customers to review rules compliance before publication. Smokeball provides a Sample Legal Website Disclaimer in its pre-build materials. It is up to you to ensure that disclaimer complies with the specific rules in your state. Smokeball will certainly adjust the disclaimer based on your interpretation of your own state’s requirements. The Sample Disclaimer reads as follows:

DISCLAIMER

The materials presented in this website have been prepared by INSERT FIRM NAME HERE (“SHORTENED NAME”) for informational purposes only and are not legal advice nor should they be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship. No attorney client relationship is intended or created until a written agreement is signed. Readers should not act or rely upon any information contained on this site and should always seek the advice of an attorney in the reader’s state.

The law firm assumes no liability for the use or interpretation of any information contained on this website. The information provided is general in nature and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. The attorneys of this firm cannot represent anyone viewing this website in a state where the firm, its attorneys or the website itself fail to comply with all of the laws and ethical rules of that state. Online readers should not take any action based on information located within this website without first consulting with an attorney or other appropriate professional licensed in your state.

The transmission of information via e-mail messages sent to our firm or submitted through this website, as well as our response to the same, is not intended to create and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Do not send us confidential materials until you speak with one of our attorneys and obtain authorization to do so. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created until a written agreement is signed by both parties.

This website may contain links to third party websites or social media accounts for convenience, however (“SHORTENED NAME”) has no responsibility for the content, nor is it endorsing, the unaffiliated websites to which it is linked. While we hope to provide accurate information, we do not offer any express or implied warranty that the factual or legal information contained on our website or any website we are linked to is error-free, up-to-date or completely accurate. You use this website and any websites it is linked to at your own risk.

The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois. (Illinois specific)

This is an Attorney Advertising Notice. While this website is not intended to be a source of advertising, solicitation or legal advice, per some applicable legal and ethical rules, this website may be construed as advertising in certain jurisdictions. Aside from the attorney profile pictures, any other individuals portrayed on this website are actors or fictional representations. Prior results obtained by the (“SHORTENED NAME”) do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Aside from recommended disclaimers, Smokeball will work with you to organize your website in a way that fits your firm’s personality. The Smokeball Website Team will consult with you about what types of images you’d like on your pages, what types of pages (e.g., About, Attorney Profile, etc.), and if you would like to include client testimonials. Smokeball also assists with Meta Tagging so that the website performs stronger on search engines. Meta Tags are words or phrases you associate with your practice or think people will search for when trying to find your firm or a firm like yours. Smokeball will also take into account previous websites you’ve utilized should you be moving to a Smokeball-hosted site from another provider. The length of the initial website build is limited to ten pages; however, Smokeball’s Website Team will tutor you on adding additional pages should your firm require more than ten.

A compliant, easy-to-find and easy-to-use legal website is a must-have in today’s legal market, and to be able to have your site built and managed by the same company that makes your case management software makes things easy!  Many legal websites either lay dormant after years of good intentions to update them or cost a pretty penny to maintain – Smokeball can change that today! To initiate a Smokeball website build consultation, please reach out to your Smokeball Account Manager who will put you in touch with the Smokeball Website Team.

Not using Smokeball legal practice management software? Get your free demo and see why the most successfull small law firms use Smokeball.

By | July 19th, 2018|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.

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