From our good friend, attorney Karen Rubin at Thompson Hine in Cleveland, writing in her blog, “The Law for Lawyers Today”:
An Oklahoma lawyer was suspended last month for two years based on misconduct involving an unlawful response to a bad on-line review of the lawyer’s services. The disciplinary case is a lesson in being careful about who you’re dealing with when you hire a consultant, and also about not doubling down when confronted with a potential problem.
Social media consultant goes rogue
According to the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s opinion, after the contentious breakup of his prior firm, the lawyer started his own firm and needed a new website. He hired a tech consultant to advise him on the website and “online reputation management.” The consultant advised the lawyer to search for his own name online to see what results appeared. After finding an article on RipoffReport.com that described the lawyer as “a criminal,” he asked the consultant “how we can get rid of it.” The consultant replied that such negative articles could be “de-indexed.” The lawyer exchanged another email with the consultant, asking for the IP address of the “Ripoff page.” According to the court’s opinion, Ripoff Report publishes online consumer reviews of businesses.
Six days later, the consultant emailed extortionate threats and initiated a flood of emails to the computer servers of Ripoff Report and its Arizona counsel.
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