Best Practice Guidelines for Legal Information Web Site Providers
Elawyering Task Force, ABA Law Practice Management Section and ABA Standing Committee On the Delivery of Legal Services
February 10, 2003Approved by Action of the House of Delegates, American Bar Association,
An increasing number of sites on the web provide legal information. Government departments, non-profit community organizations, private companies, educational institutions, individuals, and law firms publish sites. Users of these sites have varying levels of knowledge of the law and the Internet. Therefore, it is essential that legal web sites providers give users sufficient information to make assessments about the accuracy and the quality of the legal information that is published.
The goal of these guidelines is to promote the development of quality legal web sites and to provide guidance to legal web site developers. The purpose of the guidelines is to establish "best practices" for both lawyers and other web site providers who offer legal information, documents and other services to the public, but the guidelines do not address the additional requirements that would be applicable to individual lawyers and law firm sites that provide legal advice. Individual lawyers and law firms should also consider whether the rules of professional responsibility apply to any aspect of their operation of a legal information website. When providers adopt and follow the guidelines, users will be less likely to be misled.
However, it is important to understand that compliance with these guidelines does not constitute approval or certification by the American Bar Association of the content and operation of the web site and no one is authorized to represent that it does. Instead, the guidelines encourage publishers of legal web sites to provide information about the legal content of their sites that assists a user in making a judgment on the quality of the legal information that appears on the site. Read the Complete Guidelines...