Home‎ > ‎What's New‎ > ‎

Wall Street Journal, The Daily Writing Sample: Groupon Ethics Opinion

posted Jan 26, 2012, 10:52 AM by Pete Weinman   [ updated May 13, 2015, 12:57 PM by Lou Bara ]

Listen up, Cravaths and Lathams of the world: Big news. Yes, you can advertise your services on Groupon and other group coupon sites, alongside Ethiopian food tours, spa treatments and laser tag.

According to this recent opinion by the New York Bar Association Committee on Ethics,

A lawyer may properly market legal services on a “deal of the day” or “group coupon”website, provided that the advertisement is not false, deceptive or misleading, and that the advertisement clearly discloses that a lawyer-client relationship will not be created until after the lawyer has checked for conflicts and determined whether the lawyer is competent to perform a service appropriate to the client.

It’s unclear how many bar associations have weighed the issue. The New York opinion cites a similar finding from South Carolina. The committee says commoditized services, like simple will preparation, could be suited to discount marketing.

An interesting question is whether a lawyer can give Groupon (or any other group coupon company) money without violating ethics rules that forbid them from  paying for referrals. The committee concludes that the payments are OK, because lawyers are compensating the websites for a form of advertising.

Need a Real Sponsor here
  • JANUARY 25, 2012, 4:55 PM ET

Copyright 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit